If you live off the Graham stop you’re either a Tony’s or Carmine’s pizza loyalist. But Carmine’s closed for renovations on January 1 so it could work on a full bar and pizzeria next door — one that’s aimed to cater to New York sports fans and is sure to be heavy on Yankees ephemera if the decor at Carmine’s is any indicator. Though the plans for Carmine’s Sports Bar were announced early last year and the banner above the entrance way still states a Fall 2013 opening, the space is still largely a work in progress.
“It will be open at the end of February… or the beginning of March,” said Danielle, who was working the phones at their second location on Union Avenue. When asked what was causing the delay she offered a terse response: “Hey, it’s been a full remodel over there.”
Both pizzerias have been longtime staples of the Italian-American neighborhood, with Tony’s opening in 1950 and Carmine’s in 1979, but the latter — owned by the Gangone family — experienced such a boom in success that it relocated in the early ‘90s, just a few store fronts down, expanding to a full restaurant with a second floor party room.
Each joint has loyal clientele, but the Carmine’s crowd flocks to the pizzeria early to socialize, often visiting daily to talk sports and neighborhood gossip. Patrons are looking forward to taking that next door once the bar opens. “I don’t mind heading over to Union for a slice,” said Mark Tito, who’s lived a few blocks from Carmine’s for most of his life. “And when the bar opens we’ll finally have a place on Graham – -a real New York bar — to watch the Giants and Yankees. It’s worth the wait.”
There’s also a change coming to Kitty’s Cards ‘N Things, a store that offers… well… things like phone chargers, photo developing, internet access, and toys. Its small selection of pipes and bongs will now grow to fill the large glass cases currently being installed. Meaning sending faxes or printing out tax documents is going to be secondary to Kitty’s, which will become more of a smoke shop. And one that’s perfectly located next to a place to get a buzz and later a slice when you get the munchies.