Frank Ciolli, the current owner of Grimaldi's, is stirring up an old pizza war with a $6 million lawsuit against the landlords of the iconic pizzeria's original Dumbo location. Ciolli was kicked out of the space back in 2011, but is now claiming that the landlords illegally prevented him from taking the restaurant's coal-fired brick oven with him when he moved the restaurant down the block, and that they then got rid of the oven all together. As followers of this long-running pizza war may remember, this is not the first time Ciolli has feuded over ovens.
Coal ovens were the source of much conflict when the battle was raging between Grimaldi's founder Patsy Grimaldi and Ciolli, who bought the business in 1998. After Ciolli moved next door, Grimaldi began work on opening Juliana's in the old space. When Ciolli's opening was delayed after someone complained to the Department of Buildings that his coal oven wasn't legal, he (suspecting Grimaldi) filed the same complaint with the DOB against Juliana's.
In the end, both spots got the ok for a coal oven (a rarity these days), but Ciolli is not ready to drop it. A lawyer for the landlords say he already sued once before for the oven, but the judge then ruled that he couldn't remove it since it was an "inherent part of the building." Patsy Grimaldi declined to comment to the Post, and at the moment it's still unclear whether anything of the original oven remains at Juliana's, or whether the whole thing really was thrown away.
· Grimaldi's Files $6M Lawsuit Against Landlords [NYP]
· All Coverage of Grimaldi's [~ENY~]