Lombardi's Pizza

Coordinates: 40°43′18″N 73°59′44″W / 40.72155°N 73.995624°W / 40.72155; -73.995624
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Storefront in February 2013
Restaurant information
Established1905; 119 years ago (1905)
Food typeItalian–American pizzeria
Street address32 Spring Street (corner of Mott Street)
CityNew York City
CountyNew York
Postal/ZIP Code10012
CountryUnited States
Coordinates40°43′18″N 73°59′44″W / 40.72155°N 73.995624°W / 40.72155; -73.995624

Lombardi's is a pizzeria located at 32 Spring Street on the corner of Mott Street in the Nolita neighborhood of Manhattan in New York City. Opened in 1905, it has been recognized by the Pizza Hall of Fame as the first pizzeria in the United States.[1]


It is believed that Italian immigrant Gennaro Lombardi started the business in 1897 as a grocery store at 53½ Spring Street, and began selling "tomato pies" (in which the cheese is put down first then covered by tomato sauce) wrapped in paper and tied with a string at lunchtime to workers from the area's factories. In 1905 Lombardi received a business license to operate a pizzeria restaurant, and soon had a clientele that included Italian tenor Enrico Caruso. Lombardi later passed the business on to his son, George.[2]

In 1984, the original Lombardi's closed, but reopened 10 years later a block away at 30 and 32 Spring Street, run by Gennaro Lombardi III, Gennaro Lombardi's grandson, and his childhood friend John Brescio. This hiatus and location change surrendered the title of America's oldest pizzeria to Papa's Tomato Pies in Trenton, New Jersey, which opened in 1912 and has sold pies without interruption since.[3] Brescio, who remains the current owner, was named as a captain in the Genovese crime family by law enforcement in 2017.[4]

The move to 32 Spring Street was because the space had a coal fired oven. When Lombardi's business suffered in the early portion of the COVID-19 pandemic in the 2020s, Lombardi ended its lease at 32 Spring Street (although keeping 30 Spring Street) and the owner of the building destroyed the coal oven.[5]

In 2005, Lombardi's offered entire pizzas for 5 cents, their 1905 price, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the first pizza sold at its original location. They did this promotion again in 2015 for the 110th anniversary.[6]

In 2019, suspicion was raised about whether Gennaro Lombardi was the true founder, after a search of his birth record, naturalization papers, and other supporting documents show he first came to America in November 1904 at age 17, classified as a "laborer." If he became involved with the pizzeria at 53 1/2 Spring Street in 1905, it was as an employee not as an owner. Research suggests Filippo Milone opened the pizzeria.[7][8]

Although there is dispute over the status of Lombardi's as the oldest continuously operating pizzeria, its establishment is linked to the current $45 billion pizza industry.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Asimov, Eric (June 10, 1998). "New York Pizza, the Real Thing, Makes a Comeback". The New York Times. Retrieved September 24, 2006.
  2. ^ Nevius, Michelle; Nevius, James (2009). Inside the Apple: A Streetwise History of New York City. New York: Free Press. pp. 194–95. ISBN 978-1-4165-8997-6.
  3. ^ Fox, Nick (July 27, 2011). "Trenton Pizzeria Stakes Claim to Being the Nation's Oldest". The New York Times.
  4. ^ Maykuth, Andrew (November 28, 2018). "Pa. gaming board rejects Lombardi's Pizza for alleged mob ties". Philadelphia Inquirer. Archived from the original on May 17, 2021. Retrieved May 17, 2021.(subscription required)
  5. ^ Wiener, Scott (July 1, 2022). "Man on the Street: Losing NYC's Coal Burning Ovens". Pizza Today. Retrieved May 9, 2023.
  6. ^ Steinbuch, Yaron (March 19, 2015). "Lombardi's celebrates 110-year anniversary with 5-cent pizzas". New York Post. Retrieved January 12, 2021.
  7. ^ Bruns, Kendall (February 5, 2019). "Lost Forefathers of Pizza in America Discovered". US Pizza Museum. Archived from the original on February 6, 2019. Retrieved February 9, 2019.
  8. ^ Gennaro Lombardi documents at Regas, Peter W. (February 5, 2019). "Who was Gennaro Lombardi?". PizzaHistoryBook.com. Archived from the original on February 10, 2019.
  9. ^ Passy, Charles. "Slice of Pizza History is Disputed --- the Tale of Fabled Lombardi's – Touted as America's First Pizzeria – is Challenged." Wall Street Journal, February 15, 2019. ProQuest

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