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.