Old-school pizzeria L’inizio opens on Vernon Blvd

pizza8August 7, By Christian Murray

L’inizio, an old-school pizzeria located at 47-23 Vernon Boulevard, opened today.

The owner, Tom Blaze, said that the pizzeria offers simplicity—from a casual, homey atmosphere to food cooked with the freshest of ingredients.

Blaze said the pizza is made each day, on site from scratch. All the produce is locally produced and even the mozzarella cheese is made in house.

“We aim to keep all our products as local and organic as possible,” he said.

For now, Blaze is keeping the menu fairly simple—offering items such as pizza by the slice, meatballs, garlic knots, cured meats, salads, and a range of different pies. He said over time he will expand the menu further but his focus is on getting the basics right.

Blaze said that by the end of the month he plans to be offering wine and beer.

Despite the focus on getting back to basics, Blaze has gone to great lengths to create the simple, traditional feel.

The restaurant is noteworthy for its exposed brick walls (adorned by artwork), timber floors and granite counter tops.

There is a large 1950s-style mural on the wall of a woman holding a pizza. Blaze said he had it painted to add to the old-school atmosphere.

The backyard, while ready, cannot be used. Community Board 2 made him pledge not to use it as a condition of getting his liquor license.

Blaze grew up and has lived in Long Island City for most of his life. He is also a broker for Modern Spaces, which is about a block away from his new pizzeria.

The pizzeria is currently open every day except Monday–from lunchtime until late evening. The hours are still being finalized.

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28 Responses to Old-school pizzeria L’inizio opens on Vernon Blvd

  1. Sonny L.

    Congratulations on a great soft open. Huge crowd, great success. Now if only the CB2 would catch up with the times.

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  2. Ray

    So so so disappointed the beautiful backyard is not open for use. Such a shame. I live in LIC overlooking The Creek and the Cave backyard and it's perfectly fine (and I'm a pretty uptight individual)! Its management strictly enforces the hours of usage for the backyard and it's not a big deal AT ALL -- I do not understand this community board whatsoever. It just continues to make me really sad.

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  3. r185

    1) Congratulations and welcome.
    2)CB 2 are a bunch of weak kneed a-holes.

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  4. Carla

    Picked up our pie to go and we're not disappointed. Wishing you a great success.

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  5. mike

    i will check it out for a slice

    old school nyc pizzeria?

    wonder if anyone in there knows what a one & one is?

    hopefully it's good i will not have to go to Greenpoint for my pizza fix

    maybe that crappy place down the block with the terrible pizza

    will step up his game or go away

    that guy totally missed the boat could have renovated that place a little

    and made some better pizza and food

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  6. Anonymous

    $$ broker $$ pizza.

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  7. Thank the Pizza Gods

    Mike, what's a one & one? I've been eating NYC pizza for many years and never heard of it.

    If L'inzio can turn out a solid, no-nonsense/yuppie BS old-fashioned slice like we used to get, it will be my new temple.

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  8. Sunny D

    If you want to sit in the gorgeous backyard, sign here:

    http://www.thepetitionsite.com/452/840/408/allow-long-island-city-restaurants-to-use-outdoor-space/

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  9. mel

    Do they serve beer and wine?

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  10. Funkybutt

    Stopped by yesterday and tried 3 different slices. Very disappointed. Pizza looks great but it was very very bland. Nothing special. I will go back though.
    And about the CB 2 - there's is actually one person there that opposes to everything. A very very pathetic sad fun-blocker person. We, the long time residents, know who he is...

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  11. Will give them time

    Tried to give L'inzios a shot. Walked in 2 times since they have been open to try them out. It is abundantly clear that no one employed there has ever run a restaurant. 5 people standing behind the counter without any direction/assigned jobs, and a line of customers that has no order, no beginning or end.

    I noticed several people getting frustrated with the lack of understanding as to where the end of the line was, and after waiting 10 mins or so on what they thought was the end of the line, they were told they were wrong and to get on the other end of that line - clearly the majority of those folks walked out.

    All that is needed is to give each of those employees a set job - one mans the register, another to get the order from the customer, another to pull the pizza from the oven, another to serve, and then only one is left to stand behind the counter walking in circles and appearing useless.

    Will try again, but order is necessary to run a successful business.

    Also - the seasoned restauranteur never makes the same mistake twice (if you sell out of dough on one night, you make more for the night after so it doesn't happen again).

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  12. r185

    Funkybutt, You mean William Garrett, right? He's got this pathological drive to silence LIC all because he bought a building on a commercial street to live in, and then discovered that there were businesses next door!

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  13. Lic fan

    Stopped by Sunday afternoon to a sign on the door: "Closed Today", not off to a great start. Hope they get their act together soon. Ended up at Juniors, nothing special but good old style NY pizza.

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  14. Sunny D

    So because they're closed, they're not off to a good start? A lot of restaurants close 1 day a week.

    Manetta's is closed on Mondays, so is El Ay Si.

    I thought the pizza was great. Everyone has different taste. Perhaps they're working out some kinks with organization, but I've experienced that with EVERY single new restaurant in LIC.

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  15. That70sManinLIC

    Quite frankly, these people haven't a clue as to what good old NY pizza is. First off, I get a kick out of these modern-day hipsters, children of 8-s yuppies, who think they can commodify the past to serve it to idiots who fork over lots of money, then drive up the price of things, thus forcing ordinary people like myself out of nieghborhoods in NYC (called gentrification, IT MUST STOP! We need to Stick it to the Man!) It would be a miracle if a place opened up around here that offered real good old pizza at an affordable price, 70s style, that is, if anyone still remembers what a big slice tasked like in the good old 70s (I remember for sure!). In the meantime, this place will NEVER get my business, aside from the 2 measley garlic knots I got for 2.17 ugh! And this 70s Man will never patronize any gentrified outlet serving worthless robots that are another slave to the Man. Dig it?!

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  16. 70s Prices

    No offense, but the dream for pizza (good or bad) at 70s prices is just that, a dream.

    And it has NOTHING to do with the people that are running the restaurant, or when or where they grew up and if their parents were or were not yuppies.

    It has to do with the greedy landlords who think they deserve more profit than anyone else and drive up rent prices to the point where either the cost of goods must increase, or the business owner is forced to move.

    I have seen a lot of restaurants open here, and in manhattan, and elsewhere. All openings have minor hiccups, but when it is apparent to someone who has never worked the restaurant industry, that the restaurant owners are in the same boat... thats not a minor hiccup, that's a severe lack of pre-planning, research and set up.

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  17. Larry

    Great Pizza, good atmosphere, awesome people behind and on the other side of the counter.
    Let's all be happy for a great place to eat and hang out in the community!
    Cheers!!

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  18. doc

    CB 2 continues it 's extortion of local businesses. Do what we want or we'll block the license you legally are entitled to. Vote these a-holes out.

    Likes(0)Dislikes(0)
  19. Gwen

    Went for a nice slice of cheese pizza - literally told
    To go to back of the room or go
    Elsewhere. So odd and very off putting.

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  20. pleased

    Had lunch there with my boyfriend on Thursday. Best pizza in the neighborhood. I didn't experience any rudeness at all. It has a family vibe and I can tell the staff is mostly friends or family of the owner because that's who he trusts. It's understandable. I would do the same thing if it were my first restaurant. In time he will learn that he needs to put an experienced manager behind the counter.

    I think Gwen is a liar. There's no way anyone who works there would ever say that to a customer. It sounds like she's hating on him because he wants to open his yard. Pathetic!

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  21. del

    Visited L'inzinio last night trying to get a slice for myself and my wife. No one would serve me. When I asked the two 'ladies' at the till for my request, they told me to get back in the non-existent line. You do realize that I carry cash and the desire to support local business right? Also, two regular slices of cheese or 'nanna' slices should take little to no time at all. I came in, saw what I wanted and asked for it. The reply? Just tell the cook. What cook? There was no one there. You had your chance to engage me with a hello and sure. What I got was 'I'd rather not' and "my nails are better than yours'.
    I have no problem sharing with potential customers that the 'customer service' is dreadful at best. It took me literally a second to decide that I will never spend a cent in L'inzinio, and I recommend a person try something else. Literally, anything else.

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  22. r185

    How about we all give them time to hit their stride? This happens in most restaurants. Employees, internal systems, staff training, food, management, etc. all go through varying lengths of breaking in time. What would anyone feel if your first day or weeks on a new job were open to public review and comment?

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  23. Will give them time

    There are "we are new and need some time" mistakes, and then there are "we are new and have clearly never done this before, ever" mistakes.

    If I were on a new job making the second kind of mistakes, I'd be dismissed fairly quickly.

    Here's hoping they find an actual restauranteur to help them move from the second kind of mistakes, and fast.

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  24. Leave the guy alone

    For Christ sake, they make pizza, they aren't performing brain surgery. My God, why are you giving this business such a hard time? It's no wonder the retail environment in LIC is so hazardous -- they have to serve you people! I wouldn't want you sitting in my backyard, so maybe it's a blessing in disguise that CB2 won't allow him to use his garden.

    Sometimes things don't go exactly the way you anticipate -- did you ever imagine that? I'm sure the place just needs to figure out the right pacing for the business. You're going to crucify the guy because he hasn't worked out the perfect timing to serve you a friggin' slice of pizza? Are you kidding me???

    I would pass on one piece of advice to the owner. I would urge him to consider the fact that an evidently large number of their customers are know it all, pain in the A$$es. Suck it up, buddy -- you're stuck with them.

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  25. yoursource

    Pizza was good. I wouldn't go nuts raving about it but I would definitely go back. They really need to get their act together in terms of service and knowledge of how to run a restaurant. Tons of people behind the counter and every single one was disorganized. Normally I'd blame this on the soft opening and everyone just starting out but these people didn't seem like they had any restaurant experience at all. A bit worrisome. The staff wasn't very polite either.

    And I say knowledge because when I asked for a cinque terre pie and pronounced cinque correctly, twice, the girl had no idea what I was talking about. Then she replied: "Oh, you mean cinque" and butchered it in a tone that was correcting me. Come on.

    The no backyard open is typical CB2 and is absolutely absurd.

    Oh and "old-school NYC pizzeria" is one of the funniest things I've read in a while. This is as fancy pants/yuppy as it gets. Not old school or NY style in any way shape or form but still good pizza.

    YourSource

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  26. mike

    fyi

    a 1 &1 is a regular slice and a Sicilian slice

    any self respecting ny'er knows this

    walked in this place and saw the writing on the wall

    totally not for me

    I will continue to go to Italy pizza in greenpoint on Manhattan ave

    great pie for $15

    once again a lic business is totally run by amateurs

    when did this hood turn into murray hill east?

    Likes(0)Dislikes(0)
  27. Mel

    Pizza was good and the rice ball as well, yummy!
    I will definately go back and love the atmosphere as well
    But old school it ain't. Polito's in Astoria is old school!

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  28. Kim

    I want to love this place, and the pizza is good, but what is going on with the service? I have to agree with some of the other posters, that it seems no one knows what they should be doing behind the counter. I came in and no one was waiting in line. I stood in front of the pizzas and not one of the four people behind the glass helped me. I said hi to one of them, and he ignored me. I then walked over to the woman at the register, and saw the post-it that said that you could only order whole pies there, and walked back. I finally flagged someone down and ordered my slices. When I went to pay, the woman behind the register didn't even look up, say thank you, nothing. Not even the most minimal courtesy. It wasn't even busy! It's early and I'll give it a couple more chances, but seriously guys, it's a casual pizzeria, they should have it a bit more together.

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Latest News

Upscale cafe/bar opens at Gantry Park Landing complex

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Sept. 28, By Christian Murray

Beans, Grapes and Leaves—an upscale coffee, tea and wine bar—opened Wednesday on the ground floor of the newly developed Gantry Park Landing complex at 2-14 50th Avenue.

The café offers premium coffee and tea–as well as four craft beers on tap and an extensive wine menu with more than 30 reds and 15 whites on offer. It also serves pastries and array of sandwiches.

“Think of a premium version of Starbucks with wine and beer,” said Simon Khan, the owner of the establishment, yesterday. “That is the concept and if it does well we will open other stores.”

Khan, a Sunnyside resident, is not new to the café business. He is a co-owner of Guy & Gallard, a company that has seven coffee /specialty food stores in Manhattan.

Khan said that he has been pleased with the reception Beans, Grapes and Leaves has received since opening. “This is our first weekend and people seem to like it.”

The café is the first of three commercial establishments to go into the Gantry Park Landing Complex.

Urban Market, a 7,500-square gourmet food store that will offer fresh meat and seafood, is expected to open by the end of the year.

Meanwhile, an urgent medical care center– North Shore-LIJ– is likely to open early 2015. It will be about 4,300 square feet in size.

The residential apartments in the building have all been leased. The 199 units went on the market in July, with rents starting at $1,875 for a studio, $2,450 for a one-bedroom and $3,250 for a two-bedroom.

Beans, Grapes and Leaves

Beans, Grapes and Leaves

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Italian group to hold procession along Vernon Blvd. Sunday, as piece of LIC history lives on

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Sept. 25, By Christian Murray

A piece of old-world Italian tradition will be on display on Vernon Boulevard this Sunday.

Members of Societa Sant’ Amato Di Nusco, which is located at 47-39 Vernon Boulevard, will be holding their annual procession through the streets of Hunters Point. The members will carry a life-sized statue of their patron saint, Saint Amato, as they pay homage to him.

Saint Amato is believed to have lived in the town of Nusco, about 40 miles outside of Naples, during the 11th century. He was canonized following his death in September 1093.

The Societa was established in 1903 by immigrants from Nusco, and since then they have paid tribute to their patron saint on the last Sunday of September.

“This was a big tradition we brought with us from Nucso,” said Frank Stagliano, the club’s secretary. “He [Saint Amato] is like our home town boy.”

The club, which operated out of Long Island City church basements and meeting halls in its early years, bought its Vernon Boulevard building in 1959, Stagliano said. He said that the club today has about 150 to 200 members, with about one-quarter of them still living in Long Island City.

Stagliano said that all the members are all from Nusco or have ancestors from there.

The group was founded to help fellow immigrants make their way in America, at a time when there were no social services to help those in need.

Sunday’s procession is the biggest event on the club’s calendar. The event starts at the club at 10 am, with the procession beginning at 11:30 am. It is followed by a church service at St Mary’s at 1 pm.

The procession will incorporate sections of 11th Street, Vernon Boulevard, 47th Road, 47th Avenue, 48th Avenue and Center Boulevard.

Italianparade

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Demolition of 5 Pointz enters a new phase
Source: David Or

Source: David Orecchia (from Citibank building)

Sept. 24, By Christian Murray,

The demolition of 5 Pointz appears to be entering into a new phase as workers get ready to take down the main structure.

The low-rise warehouse complex at the rear of the building has gone and work has begun on demolishing the main area where artists would gather for events.

A small section within the central meeting area has already been destroyed and workers have brought in heavy machinery to start taking down the main structure.

5 Pointz Sept 24A

5 pOINT sEPT 24B

 

 

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Alobar and John Brown Smokehouse win coveted ‘Bib Gourmand’ award

Alobar

Sept. 24, By Christian Murray

The Michelin Guide has just released its 2015 “Bib Gourmand” picks and Alobar and John Brown Smokehouse (10-43 44th Drive) were among the picks for the best value for money.

These two restaurants were the only Long Island City restaurants to receive the highly-coveted prize. Restaurants are evaluated for excellence on a budget (defined as two courses and wine or dessert for $40 a head).

The Bib Gourmand restaurant winners are widely considered the best and most affordable restaurants in New York.

For the full list, please click here.

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Van Bramer’s hit-and-run bill is passed by the city council
Van Bramer, Maribel Egipciaco , Melissa Mark Viverito (Source: Bill Alatriste)

Van Bramer, Martha Puruncajas , Melissa Mark Viverito (Source: Bill Alatriste)

Sept. 24, By Christian Murray

The city council passed legislation yesterday that would fine drivers who flee the scene of an accident up to $10,000.

The Council voted 49-0 in favor of the legislation that was introduced by Jimmy Van Bramer following three hit-and-run deaths that have occurred in Western Queens in the past year.

“I am proud to have sponsored Intro 371, the ‘Justice for Hit and Run Victims Act,’” Van Bramer said in a statement. “I was moved to introduce this bill in response to the death of three people who were killed in my district by drivers who fled the scene.”

Last September, Luis Bravo, 19, was killed crossing Broadway in Woodside. Meanwhile, Karen Pheras, 20, was struck and killed around the same time crossing Queens Plaza North. Then in March, Martha Puruncajas, 64, was killed crossing Northern Boulevard in Long Island City.

“They all lost their lives because of the unconscionable actions of reckless drivers who showed no concern for the lives of these three people,” Van Bramer said. “We will never know if one or all of them could have been saved had the drivers done the right thing: stopped their car and called 911.”

All three drivers have yet to be caught.

“It’s something you never get over,” said Bravo’s mother, Maribel Egipciaco, at a recent council hearing.”The pain is unbearable, the pain stays,” she said, adding that she hopes stiffer penalties would prevent future tragedies.

Under the bill, those who leave the scene of an incident without taking action would be subject to pay a civil penalty of up to $500 if property damage stems from the incident; $1,000 to $2,000 if a person is injured; and $2,000 to $10,000 if there is serious injury or death.

Currently there are no “civil” penalties in New York City if someone flees.

Criminal penalties are determined by the state lawmakers.

Mayor Bill de Blasio is expected to sign the bill into law. The law would take effect ninety days after he signs it.

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Modern Spaces opens second office in Astoria as development boom continues
Astoria location

Astoria location

Sept. 23, By Christian Murray

The real estate market is heating up in Astoria–and LIC-based Modern Spaces is looking to get in on more of the action.

Modern Spaces, which has its flagship office at 47-42 Vernon Boulevard, will be opening its second office in Astoria next month at 34-16 30th Avenue.

The new location will be much more substantial than its first Astoria office, which is in the Ditmars section of the neighborhood  at 29-20 23rd Avenue.

The 30th Avenue office will be 2,000 square feet, with room to house 25 agents. It will also include an outdoor garden space that can be used for events.

Modern Spaces, which was founded in Long Island City in 2008, will have six offices when its second Astoria office opens. It has offices in Williamsburg and Chelsea.

Eric Benaim, founder of Modern Spaces, said: “We are very happy to expand our Astoria reach with this new office, and are proud to be part of this community. The timing is opportune for us, as we have three new projects in Astoria that will be hitting the market early next year.”

Modern Spaces also announced that Greg Kyroglou, an Astoria resident who currently manages the firm’s Ditmars office, will head up the new office.

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First movie at LIC park a big hit
Source: Rob Basch

Source: Rob Basch

Sept. 22, By Christian Murray

More than 200 people attended the first movie screening at Hunters Point South Park on Saturday night.

The film, Julie & Julia, was displayed on a 26 x 24 foot screen, on what was a clear night offering unblemished views of Manhattan.

The Hunters Point Parks Conservancy, which organized the event, selected the movie since a good portion of it was shot in Long Island City. The film contrasts the life of Chef Julia Child with the experiences of Long Island City resident Julie Powell, who wrote a popular blog about cooking all of Child’s recipes from “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” within a year.

Julie Powell and Rob Basch

Julie Powell and Rob Basch

Powell, who has seen the film 13 times, had many supporters at the event, particularly her friends from the Murray Park dog run. They were there to “support me and make fun of me,” she said.

Powell spoke before the movie and discussed showcasing Long Island City to the late Nora Ephron, who directed the movie. She also talked about Child’s Boeuf Bourguignon recipe, which she said captured the soul of Child’s French cook book.

“The weather was perfect and a lot of people came with blankets, pillows and picnics,” said Robert Basch, who organized the event with the Hunters Point Parks Conservancy. He said LIC Landing had a pop corn machine going and was selling its regular food.

Basch said he was not sure when the next movie will be screened.“We don’t want our sponsors to pay $2,000 if the weather’s terrible.”

The film was sponsored by real estate firm Nest Seekers International.

For future events, click on Hunters Point Parks Conservancy Facebook page.

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No. 7 train to be closed from Times Square to 74th Street this weekend

7subway1Sept. 19, By Michael Florio

Getting around New York City is going to be a lot tougher for many Long Island City residents this weekend.

Number 7 train service between Times Square-42nd Street and 74th Street/Roosevelt Ave will be suspended from 2 am Saturday through 4:30 am Monday, according to the MTA.

In lieu of the closures, the MTA will be providing two free shuttle services this weekend. One will run from Vernon Blvd/Jackson Ave to Queensboro Plaza, stopping at Hunters Point Ave, 45th Road/Court House Square, and Queens Plaza.

The other will run between Queensboro Plaza and 74th Street/Broadway, stopping at 33rd Street, 40th Street, 46th Street, 52nd Street, 61st Street/Woodside, and 69th Street.

The service disruptions are due to ongoing construction taking place along the 7 line and are expected to continue until 2017.

 

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