Fire it up! New ‘Brooklyn Firefly’ is a combination pizza palace and performance venue

Brooklyn Paper
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Art corner: Young artists in the making decorated pizza boxes with markers at the family-friendly joint.
Promoting the arts: Owners Michael McLeer and Raymond Medina aim to highlight the local art scene by featuring artists’ work on the walls and showcasing local musicians.
Retro vibe: Locals appreciate the restaurant’s retro atmosphere.
Local favorite?: The Brooklyn Firefly opened on Third and Ovington avenues to a packed house.
New neighborhood joint: Bay Ridgite Aruthur Rabanal enjoyed pizza and beer at the grand opening of The Brooklyn Firefly on Third and Ovington avenues.

It’s a slice of real Brooklyn.

Two Bay Ridgites opened a pizzeria reminiscent of a jazz club on Nov. 12. The Brooklyn Firefly on the corner of Third and Ovington avenues boasts artisanal slices, a vintage vibe, and aims to highlight the local arts scene by hosting musical performances and visual art, according to one co-owner who hopes it will become a creative hub for the neighborhood.

“You know we’re old souls from the neighborhood, and we wanted to give something back to harness art and music, community, and family,” said artist Michael McLeer, a founding member of rock–hip-hop crossover group Lordz of Brooklyn who also goes by Mr. Kaves. “It’s about telling your story. And saying, ‘This is us, this is our neighborhood, and this is what we cherish.’ ”

The eatery features a stage for local musicians to croon and plenty of wall space to hang paintings. McLeer plans to run monthly art shows that will feature little-known artists and develop a line-up of local musicians, poets, and even screenwriters to share their work.

Even the pizza boxes are meant to foster community — kids can decorate their own cardboard doggy bags while they eat, according to McCleer’s business partner.

“We really want to make this a space for everyone,” said restaurateur Raymond Medina, who also owns Brooklyn Tap House on the border of Clinton Hill and Bedford-Stuyvesant. “We want families with kids to come, people who want to share their art. The vibe is for everyone.”

The menu features recipes from McLeer’s household, including a spin on his mother’s meatball recipe and a few unique creations such as the “Lord of Brooklyn” (with smoked mozzarella, sweet and spicy sausage, and San Marzano tomatoes) and the Rosie (mascarpone, mozzarella, and the chef’s secret sauce) — all in a nod to a nabe known for its nosh, McCleer said.

“We wanted to do something that felt homemade, and Bay Ridge is known for having some great pizza, so we wanted to throw our hat into that,” he said. “We’re not reinventing the wheel but we’re definitely putting our own neighborhood shine on it.”

Artists interested in performing or displaying at The Brooklyn Firefly can message

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

Hortensia from Park Slope says:
Do they have gluten-free pizza? I don't want to eat poison.
Nov. 16, 2016, 11:09 am

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