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COVID-19’s Latest Victim: America’s First Ever Pizzeria

The world may really be coming to an end, or at least it has for foodies everywhere.

Lombardi’s at 32 Spring Street is credited with creating New York City’s pizza culture as we know it. Since opening in 1905, Lombardi’s has become a staple in one of the world’s restaurant capitals. The first family of pizza has outlasted the Spanish Flu Pandemic and the Great Depression, but may have final succumbed to COVID-19, which has become the world’s deadliest battle since World War II.

The novel coronavirus crippled countries, wearing economies down to a knub. Operating in a place like New York City doesn’t come cheap, especially not when you’re given a break on a $40,000 monthly rent. The ongoing restrictions the virus is causing has withheld the influx of Lombardi’s usually massive clientele, some of whom included French Prime Minister Emmanuel Macron, Jackie Onassis, Enrico Caruso, and Jack Nicholson.

John Brescio and Jack Nicholson

Currently operating at two locations, co-owners Michael Giammarino and Gilbert Soto, have worked tirelessly to keep the iconic Little Italy location open, but the cost of operation is becoming too steep. The calling card for Lombardi’s has been its signature oven, which is built into the wall, and would be lost should they not be able to make the rent. Ownership came to an agreement that they will choose to close only half the original location, meaning they would officially be leaving the corner of Spring Street and Mott Street. For the present time being, their legendary pizza oven is safe, as they elected to close they half of the restaurant that didn’t include it.

John Brescio and Emmanuel Macron

Before entirely closing, Lombardi’s has transitioned to a type of take-out service, which offers smaller versions of their iconic pizza pies on demand from a window in addition to regular seating now that they may lose a part of their signature location. These plans will take effect in the coming weeks depending on the severity of the pandemic.

In an effort to encourage more patrons, Lombardi’s has expanded their menu to include other dishes aside from pizza. They will now serve stromboli, chicken parmesan, eggplant parmesan, and various pasta dishes. Breaking from tradition, Lombardi’s will also be offering square styled pizza for time in the pizzeria’s history. 

“At home, I’ve been working on the square pizza that Gennaro Lombardi used to make during the holidays,” said John Brescio, the retired former owner of Lombardi’s. “There’s a potato mixture in the dough that will make the pies come out better than ever.” 

Since the coronavirus pandemic started, Lombardi’s contributed to the effort by feeding members of New York University Langone medical center and the United States Naval Ship Comfort (USNS). The gesture was well received, with a thank you letter from the Rear Admiral of the United States Navy, Edward Cashman.

Through this hardship, Lombardi’s is holding out hope that their luck will change. In adaptation with the coronavirus pandemicregulations, Lombardi’s is featuring outdoor dining with protective shields of plastic between each table and live music. 

On August 19, 2019, New York City Mayor, Bill de Blasio,offered a hand in friendship to Di Fara pizza after he called for it to be saved on Twitter. Unless someone steps in soon, the original New York style pizzeria may be lost forever. 

If Lombardi’s keeps heading in the direction that it is, America will lose its first ever pizzeria, and it will take New York City’s pizza culture along with it.

With this news, which I’m proud to say is an exclusive to Hardcore Italians, I’m hoping to launch a “Save Lombardi’s” campaign. Let’s work together to save America’s first ever pizzeria!

Spread the word to get people back in this iconic pizzeria!

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