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Roberta's Serves Pretty Cheap Pizza and Pastrami

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Earlier today I awarded three stars to Roberta's in my first review for Eater. In that writeup, I mentioned that Chris Parachini and Brandon Ho's Bushwick hot spot was charging a few dollars less than its competitors for both margherita pizzas and pastrami sandwiches. But precisely how much do Roberta's competitors charge?

Let's find out!

margherita again.png

Check out These Pizza Prices:

Franny's: $17
Luzzo's: $17
Motorino (EV or Williamsburg): $15
Eataly: $14
Keste: $13
Olio e Piu: $13
Don Antonio: $12
Roberta's: $12
Paulie Gee's: $11.94

Roberta's, along with Paulie Gee's and Don Antonio, serve the lowest price margherita pies at $12.

All of the pizza purveyors listed above, incidentally, serve Neapolitan-style pies in the same ballpark as Roberta's — roughly 11-12 inches. What accounts for the price differential? Likely the same factors that impact price in any given venue: Location, rent, labor, ingredients, and occasionally, though you'll rarely hear a restaurateur confirm this, demand (i.e. "because we can").

So Paulie Gee's in Greenpoint is naturally going to charge a few dollars less than Luzzo's in Manhattan. And Franny's, situated in a posh nook of Brooklyn right by Grand Army Plaza, can command a higher price than Roberta's, in an industrial swath of Bushwick. Keep in mind that pizza is more of a local product rather than a destination venue like, say, Noma, so it's unlikely you'll travel from one part of Kings County to the other to exploit the $5 price differential, which probably won't make or break your bank account.

Location, of course, doesn't explain everything; Motorino in Williamsburg charges the same price its East Village branch ($15). And it's worth noting that Franny's uses imported mozzarella di bufala (which this critic generally finds too rich), while Roberta's serves house-made mozz from domestic curds (rightly so) on its margherita. FYI: the price for Paulie Gee's is 8.875 percent lower than what you'll find on its menu, which already reflects NYS sales tax.

pastrami again.png

Here Are Your Pastrami Prices:
1. Carnegie Deli: $18
2. Second Avenue Deli: $16.95
3. Katz's: $16.95
4. Pastrami Queen: $15.95
5. Sarge's: $14.95
6. Mile End: $14
7. Roberta's: $13
8. John Brown: $12
9. David's Brisket House: $7 (small)-$13 (large).

Roberta's is near the bottle of the list again, but keep in mind that its pastrami was a lunchtime special, and prices for specials can trend lower (or higher) as a restaurant tries to figure out whether to serve that dish full-time.

And notice how if you exclude the small sandwich at David's Brisket House, there's just a $6 price differential between the lowest and highest priced pastrami sandwiches, just a dollar off from our $5 pizza differential!

This relatively tight band of prices is likely because margherita pizzas and pastrami sandwiches are viewed, for the most part, as casual foods that don't change a whole heck of a lot in size or style from preparation to preparation. So even though you might not cross from one borough to the other to save a few bucks on smoked meat, it's unlikely you'll be overcharged much more than a few bucks because of the competitive environment.

· All Editions of Suttonomics [~ENY~]


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