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A Quick History of Grimaldi’s by Slice

DUMBO (and the world) loves it’s Grimaldi’s pizza. It’s on Marty’s hit list and we’ve all taken a turn, joined the long lines and marveled at the sheer volume of customers served even in the winter months. As you may have read, Grimaldi’s is moving – up the block to 1 Front. The folks at Slice put together this brief history lesson following the latest news that the original owner, Patsy Grimaldi, who sold the business a few years ago, is coming out of retirement to occupy the current Grimaldi’s location (complete with oven) with a new restaurant called Juliana’s.

From Slice:

A Helpful Timeline to Sort Things Out:

  • 1990: The original Grimaldi’s opened in this year, then helmed by its namesake, Patsy Grimaldi
  • It was originally called Patsy’s: Of course, there’s also that other Patsy’s — the original Patsy’s in East Harlem and the mini chain of spin-off Patsy’s, which started in 1994, after a group of investors bought the Patsy’s naming rights from the original Patsy’s in East Harlem. The original Patsy’s arranged to keep its name and operations intact at this location, operating independently of the mini chain. (Every so often you’ll hear someone refer to Grimaldi’s under the Brooklyn Bridge as “Patsy Grimaldi’s,” though that’s happens less and less often these days.)
  • 1996: Patsy Grimaldi changes “Patsy’s” to “Grimaldi’s” after a 1995 lawsuit brought by IOB Realty.
  • 1998: Patsy Grimaldi sells the original location and naming rights to Frank Ciolli.
  • Patsy Grimaldi opens Hoboken Grimaldi’s: Patsy Grimaldi has a similar deal with Ciolli allowing him to use the Grimaldi name on his Hoboken pizzerias, as the two Grimaldi’s in this Jersey city are owned and operated by Mr. Grimaldi and his business partner, Sean McHugh
  • 2006: Patsy Grimaldi opens a slice joint in the Aviator Sports & Recreation complex at Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn. It soon closes.
  • 2008: The first of the tax problems with Grimaldi’s pizzeria
  • 2009: Rumors circulate that Mr. Grimaldi is looking to open a pizzeria in Manhattan, to be named Juliana’s. Nothing comes of it.
  • August 2010: Grimaldi’s Brooklyn Bridge pizzeria faces eviction
  • October 2010: Patsy Grimaldi and Sean McHugh open second Grimaldi’s location in Hoboken.
  • Earlier this week: Word comes that Grimaldi’s pizzeria is moving just up the block, leaving its coal oven behind.
  • November 25, 2011: We find out that Patsy Grimaldi is reclaiming his old space.

But wait, there’s more…

Reports that the new 1 Front location has hit some hiccups dealing with the new coal oven are all over the papers, and, sadly, this week’s turn of events include the loss of Ciolli’s son, Russel, owner of the Grimaldi’s in Garden City.

DUMBO pizza continues to capture city-wide attention and we are all looking forward to a good old-fashioned pizza crawl (including a stop at Ignazio’s) once all of the new doors have opened.