From the outside, Vinnie’s of Williamsburg looks much as it did 50 years ago: an unassuming, determinately dingy slice shop. But after changing ownership back in 2007, there’s a whole lot more than meets the eye on the inside, beyond orange Formica tables and tins of old school Sicilian squares, that is. Because thanks to co-owner and chief innovator, Sean Berthiaume, the eatery regularly offers up to 40 different meat, veggie, and vegan variations, from the Caliburger with ground beef, cheddar, avocado, and Frank’s Red Hot, to the Daiya Pie-a with marinara and dairy-free cheese.
And then there are the specials—over 700 and counting—which truly plumb the depths of his madcap imagination. Assembled almost daily on dry erase boards, past offerings like the “AbraHam and Pineapple” (one of a three-part Lincoln series, which also included a “Penny alla Vodka” and “Emancipation Brocclamation”) are forever memorialized on a dedicated Tumblr page—although we’re sure you’re already duly acquainted with last April’s pizza-in-a-pizza box or last year’s pizza-topped-pizza—both were Internet-breaking sensations that earned Berthiaume top billing on blogs throughout the country, and even guest appearances on shows such as Jimmy Kimmel. “It really doesn’t stem from me wanting to make a million dollars, but just the urge to be fun or funny or punny or ridiculous,” he said of his enviable flush of pizza publicity. “I like to keep busy and to constantly experiment, so as soon as business gets anywhere close to slow, I need to create and do something new.”
So in the interest of keeping him on his toes, we couldn’t help requesting a custom-made creation. And what we got was Pizza Pops—grab-and-go, dough-encased, seasonally inspired goodness on a stick, alternating sauce and cheese, pepperoni and cheese, deep-fried pepperoni and cheese, buffalo chicken and blue cheese, and mac-and-cheese and bacon. “I was thinking of summer foods and cookouts and ballgames and concerts, and these pizza-corndog-drumstick things just came to mind,” Berthiaume explained. “They’re something you can eat without making a mess, and you can grab a bunch to take to the beach or park or rooftop or wherever, split them with friends, and dip them in a bunch of different sauces.”
We’re thinking Fallon will come calling next.
148 Bedford Avenue, Williamsburg
(Pizza Pops available by special request)
Photos by Maggie Shannon