Independent New York City restaurants lose another with the sale of iconic pizzeria Grimaldi’s to an Arizona chain of the same name.
The coal-oven pizzeria opened in Brooklyn in 1991, growing to a national chain over the last 28 years. But the prized Dumbo location, at the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge, was still owned by Frank Ciolli, who purchased the brand from founder Patsy Grimaldi in 2001. No longer. Now, Grimaldi’s Pizzeria company, headquartered in Scottsdale, Arizona and operator of 42 locations, is the owner.
The Dumbo restaurant has been closed for renovations but will reopen under this new ownership on March 29. It’ll have two floors for the thin-crust pizza, as well as calzones, salads, and cheesecake. The chain is so big now that it even has its own brand of Italian wine, Mille Gradi. Eater has requested more information on the ownership structure of the parent company.
Grimaldi’s has had some issues over the years. The Brooklyn location briefly closed in 2008 for unpaid taxes, but opened shortly after the owners paid the taxes owed to the state. A “recurrent vermin problem” also closed that location temporarily in 2018. Plus, the Chelsea location shuttered in December after being seized for unpaid taxes for the second time.
On top of that, founder Grimaldi opened a competing pizzeria next door called Juliana’s, which also serves coal-oven, thin-crust pizza. It went into the original Grimaldi’s location, before it moved around the corner to where it is now. In 2012, Ciolli sued Grimaldi for the competition, and Grimaldi said “he wouldn’t want to have his pizzeria’s name back even if he could have it.”