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Entries in Storefronts (1183)


What to Expect: Pete's Pizzeria, 289 5th Avenue

Last night, the owners of Pete's Pizzeria had a small gathering for friends and family to sample some pies in advance of opening, and were kind enough to invite me. They'd spent lots of time perfecting their brick-oven skills, and when the restaurant opens in a couple weeks (in the former SP Vino space on Fifth Avenue between 1st and 2nd), the newest addition to Pizza Row will give their competitors a run for their money. 

First, a little backstory. Dominick Servino opened his first pizzeria in 1920 at 289 Hudson Avenue. In the 40s, his son (Pete I) expanded to 328 Myrtle Avenue, near Fort Greene Park. Pete's brothers also opened their own pizzeria by the 69th St. Pier in Bay Ridge, and Pete II ran the Myrtle Ave pizzeria until it closed in the 70s (ironically, the site today is a Domino's). Pete Thristino III (the current Pete) opened Pete's Downtown in 1984, and will be running this restaurant with the help of his brother, Joe. Got all that? 

They built the wood-burning brick oven by hand, and because their previous ovens were coal-powered, this one took some getting used to. It's right out in the open in the middle of the back dining room, and watching Pete make the pies is really a spectacle (brick ovens are notoriously hard to control, so each pie requires a lot of care). It's a simply appointed space, and 40 outdoor seats will certainly be a hit come springtime. 

So how's the pizza? Ridiculously good, and very similar to what you'd find at a local joint in Naples. The pies are smallish with a chewy crust and the sauce is uncooked, sweet, and chunky. Add a little fresh buffalo mozzarella, a drizzle of olive oil, basil, oregano, and some grated Parm, and you've really got something unlike any of the other pizzerias in the area. They'll also come with toppings like prosciutto, arugula, and balsamic; pesto, roasted vegetables, and Feta; and ricotta with spicy cherry peppers. The pizza will be the centerpiece, but the menu will also include antipasti and wood-fire friendly items like baked clams.

White pie with hot cherry peppers
Don't know about you, but I'm excited for this place to open. When a fourth-generation pizzaman decides to set up shop in my neighborhood and work tirelessly to perfect his brick-oven recipe, I shake his hand. And eat his pizza.

Pete's Pizzeria, 289 Fifth Avenue Brooklyn NY 11215. 


Friday Foodporn: Scalino

Scalino is an unassuming 3 1/2 year-old Italian trattoria on the corner of Seventh Avenue and Tenth Street. With its large windows, blue and yellow outdoor color scheme, and simple brick interior it's one of the more attractive restaurants in the area, and it's serving up some surprisingly good food. Scalino is a real hidden treasure; I might even go so far as to say that it's the best Italian restaurant on Seventh. 

The simple, rustic decor is echoed in the food, and the menu changes according to what's fresh and in season. It's all prepared as simply as possible, but with plenty of care. You can tell there's some skill at work here, even in the pasta dishes, some as simple as tagliatelle tossed with herbs and lemon. The daily specials are the real draw here, although the small regular menu is always well-curated (try the osso bucco with lentils, you won't be disappointed). The portions aren't massive, but the food is high quality and there's no gloopy red sauce in sight. Case in point: some grilled tuna over a salad of green beans and cherry tomatoes, tossed in an onion vinaigrette, above.

Owner Mateo Yaksick is almost always there, catering to a group of loyal regulars. He's from Pittsburgh, so don't be surprised if you see a Terrible Towel or some Iron City Beer around (The beer is for decoration only; "I'm not afraid to say that it's absolute shite," Yaksick told me. If you're not a Steelers fan I'd advise not dropping by on Super Bowl Sunday, but if you haven't eaten here yet I'd seriously recommend stopping in next time you're looking to discover a new neighborhood gem. 

Scalino, 347 7th Avenue Brooklyn NY 11215. 718-840-5738.


Pet Grooming Salon Coming to 410 Seventh Ave

4 Paws, a professional grooming salon for cats and dogs, will be opening February 1st on Seventh between 13th and 14th. In this area there's a surprising lack of grooming spots as well as dog daycare centers since the forced closure of Dog's Den, so all signs point to this venture being a success. 

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