Frank Ciolli couldn’t have hoped for a better ending to the great Grimaldi’s saga of 2011. Things looked irreparably tragic when his son and restaurant co-owner Russell passed away suddenly last month, and the pair’s newly installed coal-fired oven at their future location was deemed illegal. And yet, passing the new space at 1 Front Street on Saturday, we couldn’t help but notice the familiar smell in the air, not to mention the familiar line of hungry pizza-lovers stretching halfway down the block: Grimaldi’s is (re-)open for business.
After all the drama, and the apparent impossibility of securing a permit for 1 Front Street’s illegally installed coal-fired oven—long considered the secret to that declicious Grimaldi’s smokiness—the Post confirmed that the city’s Department of Buildings had given Ciolli a permit in time for Saturday’s reopening. “He can proceed with this oven, but he is still subject to enforcement from other city agencies,” DOB spokeswoman Jennifer Gilbert said vaguely threateningly.
Ciolli, for his part, is cautiously optimistic: ““The pie will be the same, maybe a little better.” We’ll see what Patsy Grimaldi has to say about that when he opens Juliana’s at 19 Old Fulton Street in March.