With 2 Bros. Poised to Cut Into Business, Vinny Vincenz Slashes Slice Price

photo(81)Daniel MaurerVinny Vincenz, next to the incoming 2 Bros.

With a 2 Bros. Pizza set to open right next to it on First Avenue, Vinny Vincenz has dropped the price of its slice to a rock-bottom $1. Since then, business at the pizzeria, which turned ten earlier this month, has been up an estimated 500 percent. But Ari Elalan, the owner, isn’t happy about it.

Earlier today, Mr. Elalan stood behind the counter at Vinny Vincenz while, right next door, workers put the finishing touches on the incoming 2 Bros. He told The Local he wasn’t happy when he discovered that the wildly popular dollar-slice chain would be his neighbor, and he let its owner know about it: “I told him, ‘Don’t you know there’s a pizzeria over here next to you? He said, ‘I didn’t know.’ There’s a big sign outside and you didn’t know?”

Mr. Elalan decided to drop the price of his slice, formerly $2.50, to just $1, without changing the recipe. “I’m using the same size, same sauce, same cheese,” he said. “I’m not making no money on the slice, but listen, I have to compete.” The pizzaiolo, who said he was offering $1.25 slices back in 1987 when he helped run Pizza One in the West Village, believes there’s no comparison between his slice and the one at 2 Bros. After hearing that the chain was moving in, he tried one of the slices at the St. Marks Place original. “I took one bite and I threw it out,” he told The Local. “I said, ‘You know what? I don’t have to worry. If they’re going to use that slice I don’t have to worry.'”

But worried he is: after he dropped the price of a cheese slice, customers who otherwise would’ve ordered the $3.30 a la vodka slice started ordering the cheapo cheese instead. So Mr. Elalan had to drop the price of the a la vodka and the margherita to $2.50. At those prices, he said, it would be hard to pay his rent of nearly $10,000 per month, especially since the area doesn’t get a huge amount of foot traffic. “Sometimes you sit in the chair and in one hour 100 people walk by. Probably five of them will walk in. Where’s the money?” he said.

And 2 Bros. won’t be his only competition. Across the street, Joey Pepperoni is also doling out dollar slices. “To be honest with you, I just think he wants to compete with the guy across the street,” Mr. Elalan said of the owner of 2 Bros. “I’m the little guy and I got caught in between.”

At the 2 Bros. site, a contractor who didn’t want to be named said he didn’t see the harm in more options for people in the neighborhood. “Competition is good,” he said. “People get the $1 slice today and everyone’s happy.”