Critically acclaimed Brooklyn pizzeria and member of the Pizza 38 Paulie Gee's is planning a massive multi-city expansion, aiming to open locations in Chicago, Oakland, Portland, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Columbus, and Long Island. Pizzaiolo Paulie Giannone is currently working on opening in Baltimore in collaboration with the aptly named anonymous pizza blogger Pizzablogger, and he tells Eater more collaborations are on the way. No leases have been signed yet, but Giannone says that "if things break right" some location might open as soon as early 2014, otherwise locations are expected in late 2014 and in 2015.
In each of the expansions, Giannone will be opening with a partner who will be based in the new city, explaining that he wants to be able to expand without having to be in two places at once. His partners are already pizza experts, many of whom have been working a few days a week at the Brooklyn pizzeria to learn more about restaurant operations and the Paulie Gee's way of making pizza. On why he is partnering with pizza fanatics as opposed to seasoned restaurant veterans, Giannone says: "It's about passion ... I was able to make my restaurant without any prior knowledge in the restaurant world. I don't limit myself to the restaurant world." Giannone also explains that each new location will have the same kind of oven that he has in Brooklyn: a Stefano Ferrara wood-fired oven, complete with a sun logo. So where is Giannone going?
Giannone will be partnering with Slice founder Adam Kuban to open a Paulie Gee's in Portland, OR. Kuban approached Giannone with the idea and has been working with Giannone a few days a week at the Brooklyn pizzeria, learning Giannone's pizza ways plus the ins and outs of the restaurant business. The pair has not yet identified a space, but are actively looking.
Also on the docket for Giannone is a pizzeria in Oakland, CA, which he will open with Andrew Brown, who currently works at Paulie Gee's. Giannone decided on Oakland because his friends in the pizza world suggested that in the Bay Area, that would be the best fit. Giannone also adds that when evaluating potential locations he considers whether they have a similar vibe and demographic makeup to his home base location in Greenpoint, Brooklyn (just north of Williamsburg).
Giannone has also identified a partners for a location in Los Angeles' Highland Park with partner Lou Tomczak. Giannone is specifically looking for a space on the hip York Boulevard, but apparently there aren't many available spaces in that area. Giannone explains that Tomczak became one of his best dough makers while working in the Brooklyn pizzeria. He even has a pizza named after him.
Giannone has also identified partners for locations in Chicago's Wicker Park or Logan Square, Long Island's North Fork, Short North in Columbus, OH, and Las Vegas. Giannone also has his eye on Philadelphia, but hasn't identified a collaborator for that location. Giannone won't name names on those upcoming partnerships, but explains that these relationships are active and that the restaurant search is on. Giannone is also planning on expanding his Brooklyn location into the neighboring space and — pending an agreement with the landlord — will use the new square footage to ease wait times (which stretch well over an hour on weekends), open up the bar, and host private events.