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Old-school pizzeria L’inizio opens on Vernon Blvd

pizza8Aug. 7, 2014 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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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.


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!



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?


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.


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.

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.


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?


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.


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!


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.


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.


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!

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.


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?!

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.

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.


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!

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).


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…

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.


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


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.

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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