I think it was about a year ago when I set off a Facebook war of sorts when I featured a well-known Gravesend institution, L&B Spumoni Gardens on 86th Street. I just wanted to talk about it since I cannot resist a square or two when I am in the area, and therefore faced the wrath of some readers who were outraged that I broke format on my own site.
L&B has been dispensing pizza, Italian food and spumoni desserts since the 1930s. More conventional slices are available, but L&B is renowned for its squares, similar to Detroit-style pizza, with thick crust and tomato sauce on top of the cheese. However it’s not as heavy as Detroit pizza (which is actually sold in NYC at Lions, Tigers and Squares, at 8th Avenue and West 23d Street). The restaurant on 86th Street as currently configured was constructed in the 1950s. At first, the Gardens sold just desserts and ice cream (which they still do), but later became famed for its Sicilian-style thick crust pizza. The Barbati family continues to operate the venue. Like Many Italian restaurants, there’s a sit-down dining room and a pizzeria on the side serving slices or in the Garden’s case, squares.
Well, I’m here to say that I can soon enjoy a square or two when I’m in DUMBO as L&B is expanding to a venue at #46 Old Fulton Street. I spotted this painted ad for it as I was happily strolling over the Brooklyn Bridge a few weeks ago, blissfully enjoying the pedestrian boardwalk without having to worry about being f!cked up by a speeding bicyclist, at long last.
Over the past couple of decades, Old Fulton Street has hosted the Pizza Wars, as coal-fired Julianna’s moved next to the longstanding coal-fired king, Grimaldi, which thereupon moved a few doors down to the corner of Old Fulton and Front, in a cast-iron building that now seems perpetually shrouded by construction stuff. The situation reminded me of Larry David opening Latte Larry’s out of spite next to Mocha Joe’s on “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” (Both eventually burned down).
L&B’s squares at least for now are considerably cheaper than Grimaldi’s or Julianna’s offerings: I hope L&B’s prices don’t rise in line with the other two. L&B is pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty good.
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