Though the restaurant kept serving pizzas well after its lease expired on November 30th—until at least December 8th, when The L ordered five delicious pies from Frank Ciolli and company—this week Brooklyn pizza institution Grimaldi’s left its space at 19 Old Fulton Street. On Tuesday Grub Street noted many wine boxes making their way one door up the block to the future Grimaldi’s space at 1 Front Street, and this morning all the decorations had been removed from the windows of 19 Old Fulton Street, the metal shutters were down, and the distinctive green awning had been removed.
While Patsy Grimaldi’s new pie joint, Juliana’s, won’t fire up the pizza master’s old coal-fired oven at 19 Old Fulton until March—allowing time for substantial renovations and remodeling of the space—Ciolli plans to reopen Grimaldi’s at 1 Front Street as early as next week. Renovations on that elegant and significantly larger ground floor space have resumed following the resolution of a stop-work order from the Department of Buildings in late November, when Ciolli installed a new coal-fired oven sans permit.
The million-pizza question, though, is what has become of that illegally installed coal-fired over. Because of their environmental impact, coal-fired ovens are rarely granted new permits, and most of those burning in the city have been grandfathered into their respective restaurants. Paradoxically, it’s also considered to be the secret ingredient that gives Grimaldi’s pies their delicious smokiness. If Ciolli manages to keep the new coal-fired oven and get a permit, it will be quite the coup. It will also set the stage for an epic pizza battle with Grimaldi’s founder Patsy Grimaldi come March.