You may recall that the wildly popular coal-oven pizzeria Grimaldi's was reportedly (briefly) seized by the taxman a couple of summers ago. The DUMBO destination quickly reopened, blaming the closure on "electrical problems," and everyone promptly got back on line. But today the Wall Street Journal reports that the flagship location is once again imperiled, because owner Frank Ciolli owes the landlord a lot of dough.
On Friday, the landlord, Dorothy Waxman of Florida, will ask a state Supreme Court judge in Brooklyn to evict Grimaldi's. She claims she's owed $44,000 in back rent, and her attorney tells the Journal, "Our client has just had enough. Somehow, those lines out the door aren't leading to our client getting paid her rent." For his part, Ciolli insists he's been paying rent on time "for the most part'' by giving Waxman post-dated checks in advance. "Certain people, there is no way to please them,'' says Ciolli, who also owes $12,250 in taxes to those ball breakers at the Finance Dept. And the city marshal served him eviction papers on July 27. Where's Michelle Obama when you need her?
Reached by phone at Grimaldi's this morning, manager Tina Peluso told us, "We're not going anywhere." But when pressed about the lease, which Ciolli has reportedly lost the right to renew, Peluso told us, "If we have to move, we'll move, to somewhere else in Brooklyn, or Manhattan, wherever." Grimaldi's has other locations on Queens and New Jersey, and supposedly has a new spot opening up in the Limelight Marketplace on Sixth Avenue in Manhattan. But DUMBO is where it all started twenty years ago, and Ciolli's lawyer tells the Journal, "Here's a pizzeria that does a lot of business on a street where half the buildings are vacant. They should be thankful they're getting the rent that they're getting. It's an 1,100-square-foot cracker box."