An Open Letter to Lucali’s

Dear Lucali’s,

I’ve eaten there twice now, and between those two visits I’ve sampled three different pizzas and two calzones. You have all of the hallmarks of a great pizza place: out-of-the-way location, small dining room and open kitchen, BYOB menu, family-run business. And let’s not forget the inflated prices of a great pizza place. In fact, your pizza is very good. But is it great? I think we both know the answer to that question is “no.”

Don’t get me wrong. Your sauce is excellent, it really is. And your crust is usually perfectly charred. So what is it that I am complaining about? In my opinion, great pizza is all about the balance of ingredients. And I’ve eaten truly great pizza. Frankly Lucali’s, you’ve got that part all wrong. There’s too much sauce on your pizza; it weighs down the slice when you pick it up, it soaks into the crust, and it oozes out wetly into my mouth when I bite into a slice. I don’t mean to sound picky, but these are serious considerations when trying to find great pizza, especially in a city like New York where so many different pizzerias are clamoring for that crown.

Also, your cheese is unremarkable.

I know this will not be a popular stance. One of my friends thinks you have the best pizza in town. I have seen the regulars who eat there at least once a week, and I know their loyalty is based on the quality of your pizza and the friendliness of your staff.

Just to be clear, this isn’t goodbye forever. As I said, your pizza is good and I’m happy to eat good pizza anytime, no matter where it is. I just felt it was time to tell you that your pizza is not nearly as good as I think you think it is. Maybe you’re a victim of the NYC pizza hype machine. You wouldn’t be the first. As long as you continue to put out quality pizza, I’ll be in your corner. I just can’t call your pizza great.



Lucali’s — 575 Henry St, Brooklyn


3 thoughts on “An Open Letter to Lucali’s

  1. The only thing I don’t love about Lucali’s is the wait. Although Mark’s pies are a different stlye than most artisanal pizzerias, it is for just that reason that I like it so much. I love the unique tang of his cheese and his crackery crust. The calzone doesn’t suck either. Even if I have to bring my own ham. And it is by far the best atmosphere I have ever experienced in a pizzeria. Anywhere. I’m curious Howard, how do you know how good they think their pizza is?


    Paulie Gee


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