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NYC Location of Prince Street Pizza Faces Massive Backlash After Racist Posts Online

Plus, Sausal presses pause, the James Beard Foundation fund is now open, and the New York Times talks Riverside dining

A spicy spring square slice with pepperoni cups shown from above.
A slice from Prince St. Pizza in Los Angeles
Wonho Frank Lee

Prince Street Pizza, the nationally-known, Instagrammable slice shop from New York City (now with a Los Angeles location in West Hollywood), has come under fire for a shocking collection of racist Yelp review responses and other bad behavior over the past several years. Joe Rosenthal, who helped to break the Sqirl mold story online, has been cataloging various misdeeds from the father-son ownership duo of Frank and Dominic Morano for weeks, reports Eater NY, including an incident in which one of the Moranos publicly call an Asian Yelp reviewer a “mongrel” and “yellow dog.” Son Dominic Morano also posted a social media video in 2016 showing a driver hitting Black Lives Matter protesters in the street, with the following caption: “Why do BLM and other protestors cross the road? To get run over by angry drivers.”

In response, the Morano family has publicly apologized on the New York City Instagram page, saying that they disavow the language they’ve previously used, adding that they will be stepping away from day-to-day operations moving forward. The Moranos will retain ownership of the company.

Each of the troubling incidents, including additional racist language used on Yelp and a longstanding Blue Lives Matter sticker in a window, stem from the New York City location only, where the Morano family lives. Eater reached out to the Los Angeles operators of Prince Street Pizza and received the below statement, similar to one posted on the Los Angeles restaurant’s own Instagram page. It reads:

Prince Street Pizza based out of Los Angeles, CA., unequivocally denounces all forms of racism, discrimination, inequality, and bigotry.

The controversial events that became public in the last week about the New York store do not reflect the views, values, or beliefs of Prince Street Pizza LA. Prince Street Pizza LA is operationally separate from the New York store.

The events that were uncovered last week involved incidents from well before the LA store was in business, and the leadership changes in the New York store will have no impact on the operation of the Los Angeles Store. Prince Street Pizza LA and New York share a belief that good food brings people together. Both businesses are dedicated to being good stewards of the communities they serve.

In other news:

  • Uncle Paulie’s is next up on the Montilla Meals delivery bandwagon. The partnership will bring Uncle Paulie’s meatball parms, Italian sandwiches, and Montilla Meals caprese salads (among other things) door to door for under $19. Preorder now for delivery Wednesday, January 27.
  • Applications are now being accepted for the James Beard Foundation’s investment fund specifically for Black and Indigenous Americans. Applicants who meet the criteria within have 10 days to potentially get in on the fund as a way of supporting their own restaurant endeavors.
  • The New York Times takes a look at Riverside’s Punjab Palace, a mellow, 17-year-old Indian buffet restaurant that has managed to survive the pandemic so far — despite depressing stats about the rate of restaurant closures around California, particularly for owners of color.
  • Robb Report has a new look at high-end sushi around Los Angeles, and how it’s become a lifeline of sorts for some restaurants. The experience isn’t quite the same as sitting at the sushi bar in front of a master, says writer Andy Wang, but it has translated sufficiently to the take-out world to keep places afloat, for now.
  • Sausal in El Segundo is closing, for now. In a “we’ll see you when we see you” note sent out to those on the restaurant’s email list, ownership says, in part: “...we have made the difficult decision to temporarily close our doors until it’s safe to re-open and serve you in person.”

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