After 100 years in the family, Coney Island pizzeria Totonno’s is up for sale

It looks like the end of a very long era for Totonno’s, the beloved family-run pizzeria in Coney Island that has been in operation since 1921.

The world famous (if you count a visit by David Chang in his 2018 Netflix show) restaurant added a note on its website Wednesday looking for a buyer or investor, potentially ending its 100-year run as being exclusively family operated. The reason is simple: The owners are tired and not getting any younger.

“We’re coming up in age and we don’t have the manpower to continue,” Louise Ciminieri told the New York Times, while stressing that interested buyers “can’t go by numbers” and have to honor its history and traditional pizza making methods.

Started by her grandfather Anthony, Totonno’s has been owned by Ciminieri for four-plus decades, along with her sister and brother, keeping the family tradition alive of being the “oldest, continually run, family-owned pizzeria in America, and possibly the world,” according to its website.

Totonno’s has stayed in business this long for its old-fashioned methods: Using an archaic coal-brick oven, fresh mozzarella cheese placed directly on the dough (none of that low-moisture mozzarella junk), a thin layer of fresh tomato sauce and finished with olive oil and grated pecorino.

“Everything is exactly the same, the way our grandfather made it,” Ciminieri told the Times. “People come in all the time and say, ‘I’ll give you a better price on cheese.’ No.”

Totonno’s has had its hardships, too. It closed for five months following Superstorm Sandy and struggled again during the height of Covid-19 a few years ago. But it endured all of that, and Ciminieri thinks it can thrive even longer with the help of money or a new owner.

“They have to understand the potential, and they have to understand my blood, sweat and tears in that place for 45 years,” she said.

That dough, though (Photo by wordloaf, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

The post After 100 years in the family, Coney Island pizzeria Totonno’s is up for sale appeared first on Brooklyn Magazine.

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