Sunset Park’s Johnny’s Pizzeria Honored for 50 Years in Business

July 23, 2018 Jaime DeJesus
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A Sunset Park staple is honored.

Johnny’s Pizzeria, 5806 Fifth Avenue, celebrated its 50th anniversary as the Sunset Park Business Improvement District (BID) presented the establishment’s owner John Miniaci Jr. with a letter from Mayor Bill de Blasio, congratulating him and his staff on the pizzeria’s half a century of success.

“New York’s diverse and dynamic culinary landscape continues to enrich the cultural and economic vitality of the five boroughs, and for 50 years, Johnny’s Pizzeria has bolstered our city’s reputation for serving up the best and most delicious pizza while remaining a staple in the Sunset Park community,” the letter read. “Since its founding in 1968 by John Miniaci Sr., Johnny’s has been a mainstay in the neighborhood, welcoming generations of loyal customers and demonstrating excellence in the art of pizza making.”

Miniaci, Jr., who will be turning 47 in August, was honored by the presentation.

“I’ve been involved since I was 13,” he said. “Getting a letter from the mayor was a total surprise. The mayor taking time out of his day to write something for Johnny’s Pizzeria and my family, I don’t know what else to say but thank you very much. I’m happy to be a part of Sunset Park and Brooklyn. It’s a great day.”

Part of what has allowed Johnny’s to stand the test of time, and compete against a chain pizza store right next store, are its delicious dishes and care for the community.

“It’s an anchor for the community. It’s hard for any small business to survive a year or two,” said BID Executive Director David Estrada. “But when you see the operations that have continued for 50 years, it shows he’s doing it right. Along with making great pizza, they also take care of the neighborhood. They come to the charity events and support the groups. They’re part of what makes Sunset Park what it wants to be.”

“Be here when you need to be, that’s the secret,” said Miniaci., “You do things right and treat people right, they always come back. Without the Sunset Park community, Johnny’s wouldn’t be here today. My father came here with nothing but high hopes. He opened the pizzeria up with John and his brother Tony Miniaci and it’s been going strong ever since.”

Long-time Sunset Park resident and BID member Delvis Valdes was also a part of the celebration.

“It takes a lot to be in business today with all the regulations on top of you but to be in business for 50 years, it’s not only the product that he’s selling that is good and keeps people coming back,” he said. “He’s a community man too. He gets involved in whatever is going on in the neighborhood. That combination keeps you in business that long.”

“It has to be in your blood to do this type of work,” Miniaci said. “Not everybody can do it. But it’s rewarding. You take time away from your family. There are parties we miss and family events, but we love the work and the family understands.”

Although the menu is robust, customers typically stick to the classics, including Johnny’s most popular offerings — slices, squares and grandma slices.

Television shows such as “The Deuce” and “High Maintenance” have filmed at Johnny’s.

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