Grimaldi’s owner says eviction talk is pie in the sky!

The Brooklyn Paper
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Grimaldi’s owner Frank Ciolli lashed out at reports that his beloved, tourist-filled, Sinatra-loving pizzeria is about to be evicted from its spot under the Brooklyn Bridge.

The Wall Street Journal first reported that the DUMBO coal-burning pizza staple faces eviction at a court hearing on Friday over $44,000 in back rent.

But Ciolli told us that the money’s all there — and that his Florida-based landlord actually refused to accept his August rent payment and a security deposit on a new lease because she’s mad that he got a few Department of Sanitation violations earlier this year.

“I don’t owe her any rent [as the Wall Street Journal reported],” Ciolli said. “We’re waiting until Friday to give the landlady whatever the total is. We’re happy to serve Brooklyn and we’re not going anywhere.”

At the hearing, the owner of the Grimaldi’s building, Dorothy Waxman, is expected to ask a Supreme Court judge to evict the pizza hub regardless of whether Ciolli pays.

This isn’t the first time that the Ciolli family has faced a shutdown for not paying up. In 2008, the taxman closed the shop down for a few hours after Ciolli fell behind in as much as $165,000 of unpaid taxes. That dispute was settled within a day, and Ciolli said that he expects the same thing on Friday.

“What are they gonna do, move in another pizzeria?” Ciolli said. “It’s not gonna be Grimaldi’s. They’re gonna have an empty store. My rent’s gone from $3,000 to $8,000 a month since we opened [in 1990], and yet my pies are the same price. Where else ya gonna get that?”

Still, local business owners said that accruing interest on rent and paying at the last minute is just the way Ciolli plays the game — and with all that cash (no cards, please!) from those long lines down the block every day of the week, it seems to work.

“It’s how Frank works,” said Peter Thristino, owner of Pete’s Downtown restaurant just a couple storefronts down from Grimaldi’s. “But this guy doesn’t actually wanna leave, and with this kind of cash, the landlord doesn’t really want him to leave either. He’ll pay up.”

Updated 5:19 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Sid from Boerum Hill says:
shouldn't that be pizza pie in the sky? This is an all cash business with lines out the wazoo. If the rent is high its because they agreed to it.... Its the tenant now holding up the landlord and now wanting his cake(note maybe pizza pie) and to eat it too...
Aug. 11, 2010, 6:02 pm
A Neighbor from Dumbo says:
It would be nice if that pizza line would go away.
Those people have no idea that it is a public sidewalk.
Aug. 11, 2010, 8:07 pm
Moshe Aron Kestenbaum from Williamsburg ODA says:
HEY THE PIZZA SUCKS. All pizza does, it give you GAS
Aug. 11, 2010, 8:52 pm
al pankin from downtown says:
Frank, pay've got a gold mine without gold, just pizza..nothing worse than a dead beat wining tenant
Aug. 11, 2010, 9:42 pm
Joe from Dumbo says:
Who cares
Aug. 12, 2010, 10:42 am
no_slappz from flatbush says:
Yeah, there's lines out the door, and often in the restaurant business, there's lines up someone's nose. Especially when the cash is flying. That's one reason the rent goes unpaid.
Aug. 12, 2010, 7:13 pm
C from Brooklyn Heights says:
No pay, no stay. The owner of this place is shameless to take advantage of the old lady.
Aug. 13, 2010, 3:11 pm
RichieConti from Carroll Gardens says:
Pay the rent or get lost . You guys make a so so pizza , no credit cards , you have to wait on line outside to get in and the prices are no bargain either for what you get !!
People listen to me go to Sam's Restaurant of Court Street near Baltic in Cobble Hill if you like this kind of Pizza They have been making it there long before this guy showed up in Brooklyn !! They are there over 75 years I think.
They make a Great Pizza Pie and you can get other things there as well It is a Restaurant
Try the Baked Clams I have been going there for years. I have always order one pie and 2 orders of Baked Clams on a regular basis since I was a teenager.
Louie makes The Best Baked Clams and Pizza in all of Downtown Brooklyn maybe all of Brooklyn !!
You will not be disppointed
Aug. 14, 2010, 10:38 am
Bobby from Brooklyn Heights says:
I agree 110% with the guy from Carroll Gardens. I live in walking distance of Grimaldi's . I live in The Heights on Clark Street for years now. I am Italian. Been eating Pizza all my life and their's is not so great at all like so many say it is. Sure it is different and good compared to what they are used to in the regular Pizza shops but compared to Sam's on Court Street they do not even come close. I have been going there for years. More then I care to remember and I think I once shared a pizza there with some friends in the back room near the kitchen . The pizza was $1.10 cents and a coke was a dime :O)
The Pizza was great then and just as good today.
It is worth the short trip from the Heights to Court Street and Baltic.
I have friends who still frequent Sam's Restaurant for Pizza, and other dishes regularly from PA, Jersey, Florida and all parts of Brooklyn and Staten Island too. I even know one couple that goes there from Philly !!
Aug. 14, 2010, 4:48 pm
Johannes from DUMBO says:
Hey, Ciolli didn't start the place in 1990, Patsy and Carol Grimaldi did. He's taking credit for that? I'd love to listen in when the IRS starts to look at this guy's books. And if you want real pizza, go to Lucali in Carroll Gardens.
Aug. 15, 2010, 7:36 am

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