Patsy Grimaldi Gets OK To Open Juliana’s Next To DUMBO’s Grimaldi’s Pizzeria

Looks like Mr. Grimaldi is nobody’s patsy. A Queens judge has ruled that Patsy Grimaldi, founder of iconic Grimaldi’s Pizza, can open a competing pie joint next door to the flagship DUMBO location he sold to Frank Ciolli in 1998.

In September, Ciolli sued the “coal oven legend,” charging he violated a non-compete clause by coming out of retirement to again pawn pizzas at Juliana’s Pizza, a spanking new restaurant in the same building he used to rent in DUMBO, which, of course, is right next door to Ciolli’s pizzeria.

The New York Daily News reports that Queens County Supreme Court Justice Augustus Agate decided against granting a temporary injunction to block the opening, calling it “healthy competition.” In a mid-December decision, he said: “There’s no proof that (Grimaldi) took any steps to actively solicit any of the plaintiff’s customers.”

Ciolli, who purchased the Grimaldi’s Pizza name for $500,000, vowed to fight on, noting the case is still pending. “We’ll have our day in court,” he said.

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  • James

    Ciolli seems to be the Apple of the pizza world – sue to stifle the competition.

  • Livingston

    Good luck. “Non compete” clauses are difficult to enforce and not in-perpetuity. The ones that stand are usually specific (for a set period of time) and there is compensation involved to off-set the loss of economic opportunity. After 14 years of non-competing, plus a new name that does not invoke Grimaldi’s, can’t see why Mr. Grimaldi can’t open his pizza shop — it’s just plain-old American enterprise.

  • bagel boy

    Disagree. In a different neighborhood I could see it. But right next door ? That’s a pretty scummy move. Luckily there is no shortage of customers.

  • Fritz

    What’s with this “coal fired oven” deal? Why should anything matter but the temperature inside the oven? Gas, electric, charcoal, wood – why should it matter?

  • NYClady

    Livingston is correct, but I’m curious as to why Patsy wants to be next door. Does it have something to do with the coal-fired oven? I thought that was grandfathered in at just the Ciolli location. I wonder if it extends to the Juliana’s space?

  • WillowNabe

    There is plenty of business to go around. It would be nice to be able to eat at one of those locations without having to wait on a long line with the tourists.

  • Big Dave

    Ciolli put in an oven at 1 Front street, presumably the oven next door at “Grimaldi’s” old store, now Juliana’s, was still there. Interesting that Ciolli got an okay for a new coal fired oven. Chuck is slightly incorrect, Patsy is opening in his old location, not next door to it. Ciolli moved to 1 Front, for the larger space, one imagines…

  • JK

    The best pizza between the two will likely turn on which of them has the original ovens. If Cioli took the old ovens to 1 Front, he wins. If he abandoned them, Juliana’s is the place to go. I hope BHB will follow up with the inside info to steer us right. Thanks!

  • yoohoo

    There’s enough business to go around; even Ignazio’s on Water Street had queues of people waiting outside on summer and fall weekends.

    On a recent cold evening, there was the usual line outside Grimaldi’s, but I swayed at least two people at the end of the line to take themselves to Juliana’s after I had told them the tale of two Grimaldis. They said, “you convinced us,” and I hope they were satisfied with Patsy’s pizza (Juliana’s was almost full).

  • Alex P

    Grimaldi’s moved to Front Street because they were evicted and not paying rent. Patsy Grimaldi of Juliana’s moved in to his old location once it became available. I’ve been to both places. Juliana’s is the place to go hands down. Pizza is cooked perfectly and they’re actually nice to the customers. The tourists can wait on line at Grimaldi’s.

  • Kt B

    I have no sympathy for the owner of Grimaldi’s. He didn’t pay his rent for years and some how managed to convince a judge to allow him to stay in the old space while he readied his new space. Now that is what I call scummy!

  • Boerum Bill

    Wood, coal…it all causes cancer.

  • Still Here

    I believe that the original no-compete was for five years.
    For the past week there have been lines on both (actually, all three….Ignazio’s had a line as well. Pizza central

    And coal is supposed to provide far more intensive heat than can be achieved with gas or wood.

  • shamrock

    I feel WillowNabe and Yoohoo or both correct in saying there’s plenty/enough business to go around. I’m still blown away with the lines that form down there (I think we’ve all pretty much agreed the bulk are tourist). I always liked Patsy’s old place and look forward to an opportunity to go back if there are less crowds.

    Chuck, your opening line in story, “Looks like Mr. Grimaldi is nobody’s patsy” is great!

  • Fritz

    It’s only pizza.

  • WillowNabe

    No, it’s not!

  • Hicks St Guy

    @Fritz, it that’s how you feel, you don’t get it.