575 Henry St., Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn; 718-858-4086
Accidental pizzaiolo Mark Iacono opened Lucali as a labor of love, to save the local candy store of his Carroll Gardens youth from an uncertain, generic fate (i.e., becoming a Subway or Dunkin’ Donuts, no doubt). After devoting himself to the monklike regimen of making old-fashioned thin-crust, brick-oven pizzas, Iacono has created a business that has instantly become woven into the neighborhood fabric, a cozy, softly lit, and effortlessly soulful spot where families commune over the simple pleasures of Iacono’s rough-hewn, satisfying pies, all of them made front and center at a workstation that looks like a stage. Vestiges from the candy store hang on the brick walls, along with a chalkboard menu restricted to pies and calzones. It’s cash-only, BYO, and like Graydon Carter’s Waverly Inn, not really officially open, according to Iacono, but the lack of familiar trappings only adds to its charm.
Best Neighborhood Pizzeria
From the 2007 Best of New York issue of New York Magazine
So what exactly does “best” mean in a city with thousands of pizza joints, hundreds of celebrity masseuses, and museum-worthy concept shops on every corner? Well, in the case of this, our annual “Best of New York” roundup, there’s a heavy emphasis on what’s new or what has somehow remained virtually unheard of (until now, of course).