For years our favorite place was Tottono's in Brooklyn.Although Jerry's antics were "eccentric"(anyone who ate there while he was still the pizzamaker knows of what I speak!!)he made a great pizza. Are there still places where the guy whose name is on the window still makes the pies? I have heard that there is a Grimaldi and a Nick, is this true, and more importantly, how is the pizza?
Nick is probably Nicks from Ascan Ave in Forest hills (just off the E+F trains @ Continental Ave). A low key place w/great fresh pizza. No fancy bogus wood burning oven here, just good Pizza. As Michelin says "worth a detour". Grimaldi is Patsy Grimaldis under the Brooklyn Bridge. I haven't been there for a couple of years due to parking problems and long lines. But..this also is great Pizza. But..I heard that they have sold out recently so who knows. I don't think that any place that makes good Pizza does the guy in the window Schtick. I believe that's just the draw (and the only draw) for the multitude of orange death Pizza Parlors around town. Orange death is what you get when you use lousy ingredients and reheat Pizza to death. This results is the orange death of oil and grease galore. My biz was next door to a "Pizza Distributor" for years here in Queens. This fellow was bringing in mutliple trailers of "cheese" from Wisconsin every week. Occassionally we would get a hunk of the stuff as payment for a favor (ie:loaning a forklift or moving a car...) but we always threw the thing out. Boy oh boy I wouldn't even feed it to a subway rat!
re: Ivan Stoler
Being a life long resident of Carroll Gardens Brooklyn I am a pizza expert. There is a pizzeria on almost every block on Court Street and all do very well. However,there are two that stand out if you like the brick oven, thin crusted variety. Sam's on Court and Baltic(I think)is the type of place that hasn't decorated since 1944 and the pizza is outrageous (asymetrical cuts and all). You should also try the roasted peppers marinara. There is also Leonardo's on Court street and First Place. The pie is so light and crispy you'll feel like you can eat a whole pie yourself. Both are staffed by "neighborhood people" and are a treat.