Fornino Williamsburg

Next level pizza from a chef that’s been turning heads for 40 years

By Erik Mathes

In a city known for some of the best slices this side of Sicily, it takes something super special to impress New Yorkers when it comes to pizza. So how about this: the claim that the scientific formula (okay, recipe) behind Fornino’s dough “allows for each of [their] pizzas to come out perfectly every single time, no matter the day, weather, or topping.”

That’s a bold statement. But then again, Fornino’s chef and owner, Michael Ayoub, is not your ordinary epicurean. An industry veteran who opened his first restaurant in 1977, he became the first Brooklyn chef to be reviewed by The New York Times, and was dubbed the “First Chef of Brooklyn” by them. He also comes from generations of bakers, which gives him the confidence to say—and back up—such lofty statements.

The sprawling Williamsburg location is the newest of Ayoub’s three Brooklyn outposts, each of which features a lengthy list of pies, along with a selection of shareable salads, antipasti, and Italian-American classics. Diners can watch as Fornino’s pizza chefs produce pie after pie in the expansive open kitchen, and marvel at the massive handblown glass light fixture that Ayoub actually made personally.
Fornino’s pizzas are divided into three categories: Naples/First Generation, Italy/Second Generation, and Fornino/Third Generation. The first are the most classic pies (think sauce, cheese, garlic, and herbs), the second introduce familiar toppings (sausage, broccoli rabe, roasted peppers, and different cheeses), while the third are marked by modern and unexpected combinations (such as spinach and hot soppressata). And true to the claim, no matter what or how many toppings are piled on, the chewy-to-crispy ratio is spot on every time.

To experience a taste of Fornino’s pizza expertise, BBE members are invited to the Williamsburg location for a dinner for two, featuring a salad big enough to share, your pick of two small pizzas, and a bottle of red, white, or sparkling wine, all for just $50. And let’s not forget dessert, which is a luscious tiramisu—the ideal closer for such an epic evening of eating.

Wine-wise, you can choose between Montepulciano for red, pinot grigio for white, or a J. Roger prosecco if sparkling’s your thing. It’s a deal just as unbelievable as Ayoub’s confident crust claim—or his glass-blowing prowess—yet, remarkably, just as true.

BBE exclusive meal package for two people ($50)

One salad
Two small pizzas (excluding tartuffo pizza)
One tiramisu
One bottle of red, white, or sparkling wine; chose from the following:
Pinot grigio
J.Roger prosecco


Lunch and Dinner: noon–11 PM daily
Brunch: Sat–Sun noon–4 PM

price range

$10 (small marinara pizza) to $50 (large tartufo pizza)