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Fornino Branches Beyond Pizza With New Williamsburg Location

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Expect wood-fired pasta, braised meats, and a full bakery

Fornino pizza Fornino/Facebook

Fornino, arguably New York City’s OG artisanal pizza chain, has had a bit of a checkered past. But it’s still going strong, and founder Michael Ayoub is readying to open a fourth location in the former Cow and Clover space (and before that, Mercado on Kent) at 291 Kent Ave. in Williamsburg.

Cow and Clover
Cow and Clover
Naomi R./Yelp

Cow and Clover closed on March 20, writing on its website about its “newly formed partnership with the Fornino Restaurant Group.” It’s an interesting move, considering there’s already a Williamsburg Fornino just under a 15-minute walk away — but Ayoub was attracted to the ovens in this space, which includes the largest wood-burning oven in the city. “It’s quite a special spot,” he says.

Those ovens will be outputting the typical Fornino pizza-filled menu, but with the added benefit of the mini chain’s first full kitchen. That means pasta and other wood-fired mains, such as chicken parmesan, chicken cacciatore, and more. Ayoub is also planning to serve long-braised, off-cuts of pork, lamb, beef. The downstairs oven will anchor a bakery and the staging area for bread-making, sandwiches, antipasto, and breakfast.

Also expect a full bar, another first for Fornino, which is currently looking for someone to build out a cocktail program.

The 125-seat space at 291 Kent Ave. doesn’t need much work (Ayoub is an amateur glassblower, so he’s making the light fixtures, among other cosmetic changes), so look for a late April opening with lunch, dinner, and brunch available.

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