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Grimaldi’s set to come to Queens

New York City's favorite pizza is coming to Queens.

Grimaldi's Pizzeria, the Brooklyn pizzeria famous for serving great pizza, is set to open at the Douglaston Plaza this summer.

The pizzeria, to be located next to the Starbucks in the shopping center on Douglaston Parkway, will include everything that made the location on Old Fulton Street in Brooklyn such a success — including the coal-fired oven that gives the pizza its unique flavor.

"The only thing they'll be missing is the Brooklyn Bridge," said Gina Peluso, daughter of Grimaldi's Pizzeria owner Frank Ciolli.

Voted No. 1 by the Zagat Survey and featured by the Food Network as one of the best pizza places in the nation, Grimaldi's pizza is already a favorite of many New Yorkers.

What makes Grimaldi's pizza unique and keeps customers coming back are fresh ingredients and a great oven, Peluso said.

There are pizzerias that use the same ingredients, but the flavor is not the same without a coal oven , she said.

It is illegal to install a coal-fired oven in the city, but because Grimaldi's used the oven before the ruling, the family-owned business was able to install a coal oven in the new location, Peluso said.

Grimaldi's founder, Patsy Grimaldi, began making pizzas at the age of 10 in his Uncle Patsy's pizzeria in Harlem. Grimaldi opened his pizzeria in Brooklyn because it was illegal to open a pizzeria with a coal-fired oven in Manhattan, according to Grimaldi's Web site.

Peluso's family purchased the restaurant about 10 years ago, she said.

Peluso, a Whitestone resident, said the owners of the Douglaston Plaza approached the family about opening a pizzeria in the shopping center. . The owners wanted to change the shopping center and asked if Grimaldi's was interested in coming to Douglaston, Peluso said.

Still, the decision to expand the pizza chain, which has spots in Garden City, L.I.; Hoboken, N.J.; Las Vegas; and Arizona, was easy.

"It's nice to accommodate our Queens people," Peluso said. "We have a lot of Queens customers already. We'll just be saving them gas."

Reach reporter Katy Gagnon by e-mail at kgagnon@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300 Ext 174.

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