Upside, the ’90s-themed pizzeria known for its high-quality approach to the time-honored slice shop, is taking its crowd-favorite pies — plus new additions of soft-serve ice cream and liquor — to Brooklyn. According to founder Noam Grossman, the popular, Manhattan-based pizza joint is opening a Greenpoint location at 640 Manhattan Avenue, near Nassau Avenue, in April.
The expansion marks the first Brooklyn location of Upside, which has steadily gained traction for its $3.50 to $5.50 New York-style and Sicilian sourdough slices topped with mozzarella made daily on-site, and other carefully sourced ingredients. The Greenpoint pizza menu will remain the same as it is at Upside’s three other locations, including cheese, pepperoni, mushroom with white wine lemon cream sauce, and unique slices like the Upside Don — a Sicilian-style pie with tomato sauce splattered on top of cheese and breadcrumbs.
Notably, the northern Brooklyn shop includes a location of Softside, a new soft-serve ice cream counter that Grossman will also debut at the chain’s Nolita shop on April 1. Abigail Rubin, a pastry chef whose resume includes Michelin-starred Union Square Hospitality spot Gramercy Tavern and Soho mainstay the Dutch, is behind the ice cream menu, which will include vanilla and chocolate plus two other flavors — likely pistachio and strawberry, Grossman says — in addition to toppings and chocolate and cherry dip. There’s also a sundae menu in the works consisting of three set combinations for each flavor, like vanilla with sea salt, honey, and olive oil; and chocolate with malt balls, caramel, and pretzels.
Grossman says he’s wanted to introduce soft serve at Upside for the past year, given his fond memories of eating pizza followed by ice cream in the clubhouse of the baseball field he played at as a kid. “Name a better combo than pizza and ice cream,” Grossman says, “I’ll wait.”
Inside the Greenpoint space, Upside is aiming for a more sit-down experience as compared to its more takeout-friendly Manhattan locations. It will be the biggest location yet, with a handful of tables throughout plus a standing counter and eight seats at the bar. A liquor license is in the works and Grossman plans to serve cocktails, natural wines, and craft beers. (While the Nolita location also has a liquor license, it only serves wine and beer.) Diners can order pies and drinks at the counter then grab a table indoors or in the front patio encased in ruby red matte tiles. Like the Manhattan shops, the Brooklyn outpost will also sell to-go slices. The new shop’s hours will be 11 a.m. until midnight and as late as 3 a.m. on weekends.
Upside has been on an expansion tear since its initial NYC debut three years ago. Along with partners Eli and Oren Halali of the successful dollar-slice chain 2 Bros. Pizza, Grossman first opened Upside nearby Midtown transportation hub Port Authority in January 2019, followed by the Nolita shop in spring of 2021 and a location near Bryant Park shortly thereafter. The trio also debuted the Downtown Brooklyn slice shop Norm’s in fall of 2019 and plans to continue to expand across the city. In northern Brooklyn, Upside joins a crowded field of premium pizza players including Greenpoint mainstays Paulie Gee’s and Fornino, and Leo’s wood-fired Neapolitan pies in Williamsburg.
Emily Wilson is a freelance food writer based in New York and Los Angeles.