Heated debate! Is ‘Artichoke’ pizza too fancy for Bay Ridge?

Plain but perfect: Bay Ridgite Loutfi Fares takes issue with Artichoke Basille’s Pizza — he feels that artichokes have no business being on pizza.
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This pizza is slicing Bay Ridge in two!

Locals are divided over news that artisinal pizza mini-chain Artichoke Basille’s is cooking up a storefront on the corner of 91st Street and Fourth Avenue. A few are already feening for eatery’s butter-and-cream-laden, Artichoke-topped pies — but crusty purists are cheesed off that cooks are trying to pass anything with vegetables off as pizza, one said.

“Vegetables should be nowhere near my pizza. If you’re going to do pizza, do pizza — get it dripping with cheese and sauce and grease,” said Ridgite Michael Marotto, who argued Nino’s on Third Avenue and 91st Street is the real deal. “To me a real slice of pizza is plain or pepperoni. When people start adding all these fancy toppings, they lose me. Artichokes belong in salads, not pizza.”

Rumors have simmered since springtime that the restaurant — contentious among New York pizza aficionados — was eyeing Bay Ridge.

Of seven locals surveyed, two were warm to an Artichoke opening, and five said the restaurant was a crime against chewmanity — none had eaten there before.

The notion of any toppings at all is too much to swallow, another gastronome said.

“Artichokes? No thanks. Plain is all I need,” said Loutfi Fares, who regularly buys pies from Pizza Wagon for family dinners with his nine children and 23 grandchildren. “Nothing beats a plain slice.”

Artichoke has six kitchens peppered across the city — and another in California — and serves up crab, meatball, and margherita pizzas in addition to its eponymous artichoke pie. Co-owner Francis Garcia, a Staten Island native, understands the personal attachment to the plain slice but feels his menu has a lot of offer Bay Ridgites.

“Pizza is a very personal thing,” said Garcia. “We’re native New Yorkers, we’re not trying to hurt anybody. We just hope to bring a little bit of variety. I hope that everybody comes out and gives it a try.”

Garcia and his cousin opened the first Artichoke in Manhattan in 2008 after working in their family’s Staten Island restaurant Basille’s for years. The 91st Street location replaces Verrazano Pizza and will be the borough’s second Artichoke — the first is in Park Slope. Garcia plans to open before the month is out, he said.

Picky pizza eaters aside there are still those in the nabe excited to sink their teeth into an artichoke pie — after all, how many red-sauce-and-cheese slices does one neighborhood need, another eater said.

“I definitely plan on coming over and trying a slice,” said Christine Bravermen, who usually goes to Luigi’s on Third Avenue and 85th Street. “I’ve heard they’re really good, and I’m a sucker for those speciality slices. It’s nice to have something different in the neighborho­od.”

Reach reporter Caroline Spivack at or by calling (718) 260–2517. Follow her on Twitter @carolinespivack.
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Jay from Earth says:
If there's a neighborhood in NYC which will complain about something different and new, it's Bay Ridge
Oct. 12, 2016, 8:26 am
bkmanhatman from nubrucklyn says:
The old schoool brooklynites will complain about beardos moving to their hood...meh.
Oct. 12, 2016, 10:10 am
Michael from Bay Ridge says:
Jay - this isn't new, it's an already existing chain restaurant. It's vegetables are a fatty buttery dip, not some healthy alternative. Bay Ridge has tons of delicious, special, mom-and-pop pizzarias all over. Should we be jumping for joy for a less healthy chain opening? No thanks, I don't intend to.
Oct. 12, 2016, 10:45 am
Michael from Bay Ridge says:
And BKManhattan - are chain restaurant owners from Staten Island 'beardos'? Maybe I misunderstood what hipsters were.
Oct. 12, 2016, 10:46 am
Bob from Bay Ridge says:
This silly piece of tripe is written to bait locals against newer residents , with it's divisive code words like split, etc, , this rag has a long standing practice of doing this with any nabe that is experiencing a shifting demographic. Better luck next time....
Oct. 12, 2016, 10:59 am
Ms. Me from Bay Ridge says:
It's sort of like a college newspaper with its juvenile-ness.
Oct. 12, 2016, 12:25 pm
MJ from Bay Ridge says:
Tony Manero approves Artichoke Basille’s Pizza
Oct. 12, 2016, 12:33 pm
Antonino from Park Slope says:
I agree pizza is a personal thing. So personal that even the WAY you eat your slice is governed by "local rules." Eating pizza with a knife & fork is treasonous to Italian-Americans. Not so in Italy. Toppings? Have you had Sicilian with anchovies, octopus, sardines, etc. Eat that combo with your hands why don't you? Don't let the Brooklyn Paper or the NYPost tell you what Italian is like. They are clueless.
Oct. 12, 2016, 2:57 pm
old time brooklyn from slope says:
bay ridge is a bell jar ubnto itselef - i escaped in 1977

pizza is like p-ssy - - all personal taste (no pun intended)

I have beeen to artichoke many times in manhattan and great stuff.

the beardos are coming ti bay ridge or as many now call it gay ridge.

This aint your grand pappy's thunder dome any more kids

mazel tov and l' shona tova
Oct. 12, 2016, 3:43 pm
Joe from Bay Ridge says:
Ignorance is amazing. This pizza is probably the best in all of NYC not only for the taste but the large slice. The regular mom and pops in bay ridge all taste the same. That same $2.75 slice that you can't tell apart if you were blind folded. Artichoke brings a great alternative so stop knocking something good. We should be happy they are bringing their amazing people to the neighborhood
Oct. 12, 2016, 7:38 pm
Joe from Bay Ridge says:
**amazing pizza
Oct. 12, 2016, 7:39 pm
Mary from Bay Ridge says:
Mr. Joe, do we need larger slices with high fat toppings? I tried one on 14th street in Manhattan years ago. It was too big and tasted too creamy. I'm sure it has tripple the calories of normal pizza. They could call it the heart attack slice. Sounds like you're going to the wrong pizza places if you think they all taste bland.
Oct. 13, 2016, 8:59 am
Fred from Bay Ridge/Naples says:
Lived on 76St @ dead end 1951-1968: enjoyed Vesuvius by OLA/3rd Ave Leno's.
Stationed @Naples, Italy 1990-92.
Loved Naples thin crust Margerita. Tried artichoke, calamari ! (Naples is a coastal city afterall) and even quartered hard boiled egg (What?). Artichoke was delicious. Calamari- chewy. Egg- weird.
Oct. 13, 2016, 12:50 pm
Bill from Bay Ridge says:
Seriously, how fancy is Pizza ?
Oct. 13, 2016, 5:01 pm
Carmine from Bay Ridge says:
For me, Nino's is the best, but you can never have too many pizzerias. I don't understand guys who say you can't put vegetables on pizza. Lots of genuwine-Italian pizza slices have sliced tomatoes, onions, and all kinds of vegetables on them. Myself, I think pineapples on pizza are disgusting, but some people like them, and they're entitled to their choice.

The problem with this place is that their toppings are too greasy and fatty. It's *not*, I repeat *not*, anything like "hipster" or "artisanal" or "gentrified" pizza. The correct analogy is Pizza Hut, Domino's and Little Caesar's, only pretentious and more expensive.

Amy's has a frozen pizza (flat, square) with artichokes that is better than the ones you can get from this place. Bu to each his or her own.
Oct. 13, 2016, 7 pm
Joe from Bay ridge says:
Don't you realize they just don't sell artichoke pizza?!! Their margherita and pepperoni as well as meatball pizza are fantastic. I don't get why people bash a place that serves great wholesome home cooked food. Try the regular margherita pizza. Nothing in bay ridge tastes like it. Pizza wagon, ninos, luigi, petes, all tastes the same. It's ignorant to say they just have artichoke pizza and vegetable toppings. Try it before you out down a great business
Oct. 14, 2016, 12:23 am
Joe from Bay ridge says:
Yea carmine. Just like Pizza Hut. Those statements just go to show you dont have any idea on what good food is so anyone reading this shouldn't take your negative comments seriously. I'm thrilled they are coming to bay ridge. They offer a top product. Go enjoy the $2.75 Nino slice
Oct. 14, 2016, 12:25 am
Michael says:
Joe - this is a chain making extra-fatty pizza, just like pizza hut. carmine hit the nail on the head there.
Is $2.75 supposed to be expensive or cheap? I don't get what you're trying to say with that? It sounds really cheap to me. Like the price of a one-way on the subway.
The product is not is not the top - it's blah. Mass-produced blah. Call me old-fashioned (or a hipster?), but I like independent businesses and interesting local things. If I want some junky Staten Island Pizza, I'll go to Staten Island.
Oct. 14, 2016, 5:02 am
Joe from Bay ridge says:
How do you know it's mass produced? Because there are several locations? There are several because the masses like it obviously. This pizza has flavor and high quality ingredients. The $2.75 slice tastes like every other place out there, artichoke pizza is unique. If you can't see that then we should end the conversation. It's really ignorant to compare this pizza to a Pizza Hut or little Caesars
Oct. 14, 2016, 8:07 am
Spoiler says:
"Joe from Bay Ridge" is not from Bay Ridge, and works for the pizza chain.
Not only is their food crappy, but they're online bullies as well!
Oct. 14, 2016, 11:46 am
Bob from Bay ridge says:
I agree, Joe from bay ridge is with the chain or has financial interest and posing as local.
Oct. 20, 2016, 9:02 pm
Ryan from Bay Ridge says:
Carmine, the correct analogy is absolutely not pizza hut, dominoes or any other crap chain. That really proves you have no idea what you're talking about and need to be disregarded. Go there, have a slice and I guarantee you'll change your mind.

Actually i'm not sure if you will. It's clear and evident that you, Bob, and "spoiler" obviously work for other pizza places in the area and are scared. Please stop posing and acting in your own self interests.
Oct. 29, 2016, 6:39 pm

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