Specializing in artisan, Neapolitan-style pizzas in Brooklyn since its location at 187 Bedford Ave. opened on October 20, 2004, owner Michael Ayoub said it was no coincidence that they opened the doors to the new location on May 20, 2013.
“August 20 is my daughter’s birthday,” Ayoub said. “That 20 number worked out so well, so we shot for it again.”
The menu offers pizza enthusiasts an array of authentic ingredients like handmade soppressata, fresh buffalo mozzarella and parmigiano.
The menu is broken down into three generational categories.
The first generation are pizzas from his family’s roots in Naples, and according to Ayoub, they are the only style the Italian government consider “pizza.” The second generation of pizzas are a variety of regional pizzas that pass the Denominazione d'Origine Controllata (DOC) rating system, or the controlled designation of origin.
Authentic Sicilian pizzas are made with anchovies and olives; pizzas from Parma incorporate prociutto, and pizzas from the region of Poya are typically made with sausages.
In all, Fornino offers 33 different kinds of pizza.
“The third generation are my concoctions,” said the classically trained French and Italian chef. “I bring a new sensibility to pizza.”
Born and raised in Bay Ridge Brooklyn, Ayoub said he always wanted to start a pizza place with his mother’s maiden name, Fornino, which mean’s “little oven” in Italian.
“We arguably are the first ones who brought this artisanal pizza to a craze in New York,” he said.
For inspiration, Ayoub remembers eating at the Pizza Wagon on 86th Street and 4th Avenue in Manhattan when he was a kid, and has taken his love for the city and pizza and created something he is proud to serve.
“The recipe is unique for the fact that the classic Neopolitan pizza is too wet for me, so growing up in New York that was the New York pizza,” he said. “I’ve kind of bridged the gap and blended the two styles of pizza into this one.”
This summer, Ayoub is looking forward to opening his next location, Fornino The Art and Science of Pizza, at Brooklyn Bridge Park at the Pier 6 restaurant space.
Regina Meyer, president of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation, said she is looking forward to welcoming the expansion along with a number of other additions to the park.
“We are thrilled to welcome Luke’s Lobster, No. 7 Sub, Ample Hills Creamery and Fornino, The Art & Science of Pizza to the park this summer,” Meyer said. “Brooklyn Bridge Park is quickly becoming a destination for the foodie in all of us.”
No. 7 Sub and Luke’s Lobster opened over the weekend at the Smoke Stack building.
As for Greenpoint, neighboring restaurants are thrilled to have a fresh face.
Krystyna Dura, owner of Christina’s Polish Restaurant, has been on the block for nearly 20 years, and says that while the neighborhood has changed from a more Polish population, she is thrilled to see younger foot traffic on the block.
“Mike is very nice and it is a very nice restaurant,” Dura said. “The younger people love to go eat out and that’s a good opportunity for his business. They are very friendly and I wish him only the best,” she said. “I was there for opening night and everything looks great.”