Pizza for 99¢ a Slice. In New York City?!!

Pizza for 99¢ a Slice. In New York City?!!

Food & Drink

Pizza for 99¢ a Slice. In New York City?!!

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By Cari Martens

In a metropolis better known for its outrageous prices (tried the $1,000 omelet at Norma’s in Le Parker Meridien Hotel, or the “$41 burger”:http://www.jaunted.com/story/2009/4/15/14214/5457/travel/The+Old+Homestead+Hawking+$41+Burger at the Old Homestead Steakhouse?), you can now find several NYC establishments offering pizza for a buck a slice. Right in midtown Manhattan.

One company, 99¢ Fresh, advertises its pizzas as 99¢ each, but only gives back the penny in change if requested. A competing pizzeria chain, 2 Brothers, advertises pizzas for $1.00 each, tax included.

A incredible deal anywhere—but in New York?—it’s nothing short of astonishing.

We’re not sure we can call this an extension of the Dollar Menu marketing trend now firmly entrenched in the quick-service chains such as McDonald’s, Burger Kings and Wendy’s, because these New York pizza joints have built their entire business around the dollar-a-slice concept.

Both the 99¢ Fresh and 2 Brothers chains have four locations in Manhattan, all located in areas where rent is relatively cheap, at least by New York standards. And the trend has spread beyond the two firms. There are now about 15 places in Gotham that sell dollar slices of pizza, according to Manny Fernandez, who recently covered the story for the New York Times. Most restaurants in the city sell pizza for $2.75 per slice.

Mohammed Hossain, manager of one of the 99¢ Fresh shops, says they were first with the buck-a-slice deal. As noted in Fernandez’s story, some enterprising customers of 99¢ Fresh treat the place as a wholesaler, ordering dozens of pies in the morning and selling them elsewhere for $2 a slice.

The question that comes to mind is, how can these dollar-a-slice shops stay in business at that price? The answer, apparently, is speed. These little pizzerias crank out around 400 or more pies a day.

Is the pizza gourmet quality? Well, no. But as Adam Kuban the founder of pizza blog, Slice, says, ‘For somebody who just wants bread and sauce and cheese, it’ll do you right.’

Mr. Mohammed says the inspiration for the trend came from the homeless, who use a 24-hour drop-in center near the first 99¢ Fresh location at Ninth Avenue and 41st Street. Quoted in the Times article, he says, ‘I think about these people. I say ‘I want to do something for these people.’ ’

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