Slice of Brooklyn cinematic sadness: Lenny’s Pizzeria, made famous by John Travolta in ‘Saturday Night Fever,’ to close
Legendary Lenny’s Pizzeria won’t be “Stayin’ Alive.”
The 70-year-old Brooklyn business, made famous after John Travolta grabbed two slices of pie there in the movie “Saturday Night Fever,” will close its doors for good Sunday night, the owners announced on their website.
“The tourists know about it from the movie, but the locals have been coming here since day one,” said local resident Anni Xhezilaj, 22. “I grew up with them. It’s a sad reminder that things of our youth are changing.”
Owner Frank Giordano, 77, made the decision to retire and spend more time with family, including his daughter and co-worker Josephine.
“I’ve had more than enough,” said Giordano amid the Saturday crowd of well-wishers. “For 40 years, I’ve been here. I sold the building, I’m out.”
Travolta, playing Tony Manero in the 1977 hit movie, famously ordered two slices at Lenny’s before scarfing down the pizza as he strutted along 86th St. in Bensonhurst. Travolta stacked one slice on top of the other, and customers still order the “double decker” to this day.
Travolta returned for a visit in 2018, holding two slices in his hand, with the owners naming a slice in Travolta’s honor.
On Saturday afternoon, the line of customers snaked outside the door and onto the sidewalk as the clock ticked toward closing time.
Former borough residents Nikki Apostolou and her husband Jose Horrach drove 90 miles to Brooklyn from Tannersville, Pa., to bid a melancholy farewell to the site of their first date.
“I came to say goodbye,” said Horrach. “This is where we fell in love”
Apostolou, who stood outside Lenny’s with a pizza in her hands, echoed his sentiment.
“I went on a lot of bad dates here,” she said. “But this was a good one.”
Apostolou recalled weekly trips taken with her grandmother for slices at Lenny’s long before meeting her husband.
“It’s definitely a loss to the neighborhood,” she said. “I came here to show support and get the best pizza in New York.”
The booths inside were packed for the sendoff, with the official shutdown for the last slice set for Sunday night at 10 p.m.
Josephine Giordano said the decision was made in consultation with her dad.
“It’s bittersweet to inform you guys that we are closing our doors after so many years,” she said in an online post. “My dad is finally retiring ... We thankfully have done very well and felt it was best to close once my dad was ready.
“It’s time for him and I to enjoy our families. We want to thank everyone who has given us the opportunity to serve them.”
Hundreds of people responded to the closing announcement by sharing their memories on Facebook.
“Wishing your Dad and family the very best on his well deserved retirement,” read one post. “Thank you for serving the public all these years. I’ll always have the segments on ‘Saturday Night Fever’ as a wonderful memory!”
Matthew Badogato, 27, joined the crowd bidding farewell to the local landmark.
“I grew up eating Lenny’s pizza for 23 years,” he said. “It’s an awesome neighborhood establishment. Lenny’s brings friend together. Ask anyone in the community where to eat and they say Lenny’s.”
For local guy Xhezilaj, the news provided sad proof that nothings lasts forever — not even his favorite slice of pizza.
“It was a go-to-spot in the neighborhood,” he said. “But the neighborhood is changing.”