Chowhound Presents: Table Talk with Yotam Ottolenghi and Helen Goh of Sweet: Desserts from London's Ottolenghi | Ask Your Questions Now ›

Restaurants & Bars

Outer Boroughs Pizza

Luigi's Pizza in Park Slope / Sunset Park - good pizza, very unfriendly service


Restaurants & Bars 14

Luigi's Pizza in Park Slope / Sunset Park - good pizza, very unfriendly service

coffeemaven | Jan 3, 2004 04:47 PM

I happened upon Luigi's Pizza (21st St and 5th Ave). It is one of many pizzerias with that name in Brooklyn.

It is in Sunset Park, on the border with Park Slope (unless 20th St and 5th Ave is Park Slope).

It had a nice interior and good looking pizzas. Their pizzas had an *extremely thin crust*.

The guy working there (the owner?) rolled the pizza dough and spun it before your eyes, while spooning on a thin layer of tomato sauce.

I asked for a plain slice ($1.50). Before sitting down, I asked the guy if he had a takeout menu. He simply said "no", without further explanation. I then asked if he had a card, and he mumbled a reply. I said he could give it to me when he finished with making his latest pizza.

The slice was crunchy and tasty, but not spectacular; its modest crust and thin layer of sauce only carried it so far.

While I sat and ate, an older, large woman (his mother?) with an apron on came out and inspected the front of the store.

An old fashioned cash register sat there, and I remembered how it rang when he took my money.

An old acquaintance / friend of his walked in, with her daughter (or niece), who'd just moved into the neighborhood. The lady said to him, "I'm showing her around the neighborhood. Introducing her to the people here." He confirmed "to the *good* people here, right?" and she laughed nervously and said, "yeah to the *good* people here." They talked about the old neighborhood, and he commented that there was not much left of it. He talked about a grocery store owned by the silent girl's grandmother, how it had passed through 10 owners over the last couple decades, how one owner had it for a week and then died suddenly of a heart attack. The suddenness of that parting did not seem to trouble him. His eyes gleamed as thought of the good old days - dying like that last owner.

I stood up, my slice finished, and I threw the greasy butter paper away. I approached him again when a tentative silence set in, as the lady pondered what to say next, the girl hiding behind her, still silent.

I said, "I don't suppose you deliver, right?". He replied again with a single word "no". "I'd better not mention the card again", I thought.

At this point I contemplated how his pizza shop was so neat, how the pies looked so good. How he maintained that old-world world look, metal cash register and endless spinning of dough. I thought, "Someone must buy his stuff, even if he doesn't deliver. Maybe the *good* people buy pizza here - but I am not among them."
Maybe my accent scared him. Maybe I was different, not Italian enough; maybe people who he thought were like me were replacing the white, green and red of his neighborhood with the while, green and red of their own.

It was clear that it was time for me to go. I longed for a cold, sweet soda, but I had clearly overstepped my bounds. I had stepped into the pizza parlor of the good people, and had had the gall to ask about delivery options.

If he had asked me if I would come again, I can say with certainty what it would be: "no".

Luigi's Pizza
686 5th Ave
Brooklyn NY 11215
(718) 499-3857

Want to stay up to date with this post?

Recommended From Chowhound