Two Boots Pizza—the popular New York-based pizzeria with 17 locations in 6 states—has emerged as one the fastest growing pizza chains in the US.
With that explosive growth has come a focus on expansion in the Tri-State area. This week the firm has signed a 12-year lease for their Lower Manhattan flagship at 86A Nassau Street, near Fulton Street. In addition, Two Boots is scheduled to open Wednesday its approximately 1,600-square-foot pizzeria at 717 Atlantic St., Stamford CT in the new Metro Green mixed-use development, a block from the downtown Metro-North train station.
“Two Boots Pizza had been looking in Lower Manhattan for years because they recognized that this was becoming a true seven-day neighborhood and they could provide a valuable service for the growing residential community,” said Winick Realty Group Director Aaron S. Fishbein, represented both Two Boots Pizza and landlord 86A ½ Nassau LLC along with his associate, Jeremy Wintner.
Previously a clothing store, the former tenants of 86A Nassau Street only utilized the building’s ground floor, leaving the second floor—with a hidden deco ceiling—abandoned for more than 20 years. Construction has already started on the property, as Two Boots Pizza is working closely with building ownership, spearheaded by Theresa Veltri, to fully restore the structure, bringing out the beauty in its classic architecture.
“We’re incredibly excited about both the building and the neighborhood,” said Two Boots Pizza owner Phil Hartman, “and we look forward to bringing our unique Cajun-Italian pizza and funky folk art deep into the heart of the financial district.” Plans include a pizzeria on the ground floor and a cozy bar/lounge on the second floor—plus the potential for rooftop seating. Added Wintner, “This one-of-a-kind property will give them an amazing Downtown presence.”
Two Boots in Stamford marks a return to Connecticut for the company. It ran a popular restaurant in downtown Bridgeport from 2008 until March, when it abruptly closed. The Stamford Two Boots is not meant to replace the former restaurant in Bridgeport, although it is expected to attract many of its fans, Rosenthal said.
“Stamford is a much different footprint” than Two Boots Bridgeport, Rosenthal said. “No bar — although we do have beer and wine. No dining room — although we are happy to bring your pizza over to your table. And no stage or performance space or DJs, shows, live music, etc.”
“Once everyone has developed their expert-pizza-making muscle memory, we will do a grand opening party/ribbon cutting in Stamford and an accompanying marketing/PR and press outreach to spread the word,” Two Boots Connecticut Principal Edward Rosenthal said.
To ensure consistency in food quality and customer experience, Two Boots uses a relatively standard menu at all its restaurants. But each location has its own “Home Pie” featuring local ingredients or culinary techniques, which usually recognize a local celebrity.
Two Boots Stamford’s Home Pie will be the “Cone Head,” named after former Major League Baseball player David Cone, who owns a home in Stamford. He pitched for the New York Yankees and Mets, respectively, the beloved teams of Rosenthal and his business partner and Two Boots founder Phil Hartman.
The Stamford Home Pie aims to satisfy fans of both teams. The Yankees side has scratch-made marinara sauce, sweet Italian and Andouille sausage, and Galbani mozzarella cheese, and is topped with ricotta “pinstripes” and chopped scallions. The Mets side consists of a white pie with Tasso and Capicola ham along with ricotta and mozzarella cheese, and is topped with scallions and an “Amazin’” red pepper pesto.
“It’s pretty great, if I do say so myself, and I don’t know of anyone else who does a half-red (and) half-white pie,” Rosenthal said. “So people in mixed marriages don’t have to fight it out to decide between the two.”
The Stamford eatery’s menu will also feature Two Boots’ custom-made, cornmeal-crusted pizzas, po’ boy sandwiches, meatballs, chicken, eggplant Parmesan sliders served on homemade garlic knots, salads, soft drinks, beer and wine.
Two Boots, whose name refers to the boot shapes of Louisiana and Italy that symbolize its Cajun and Italian fare, runs several restaurants in New York City, where it was founded, and other locations in Baltimore; Jersey City, N.J.; Los Angeles; and Nashville, Tenn. Two Boots is also slated to debut in Washington, DC later this year.