Staying True to the Recipe

Philadelphia is famous for its cheesesteaks, and New
York City is famous for its cheesecake, but last week a
Queens eatery and popular hangout for St. John’s students
hit the no. 1 spot for pizza, not dessert.
Off of Hillside Ave. and Francis Lewis Blvd. in
Queens Village sits a rather small Italian restaurant called
Gaby’s Pizza.

Serving nearly 1,000 customers per day,
Gaby’s Pizzeria’s top selling plain cheese pies helped
gain them recognition on the “Rachael Ray Show.” In an
Internet poll, Gaby’s was voted number one out of 5,970
pizzerias across New York City in New York City’s Best
Pizza competition.

“What we feel proud about is finally the little guy got
recognized,” said Orlando Correale, 48, a Co-Owner of
Gaby’s Pizzeria since 1986.

In Queens, Gaby’s has been a dominant force for 44
years in terms of serving good old fashioned pizza, Italian
dishes and sandwich hoagies. Originally founded by the
LoGiudice brothers, John, Jerry and Stephen, the pizzeria
was opened with the name ‘Gaby’s Pizza’ already on the
building from a previous owner. It is not clear whether
the pizzeria opened or not under the name before the
brothers took over in 1964.

The three brothers, natives of Rome, Italy, crafted a
special recipe here in the United States. This is not to say
this recipe is solely pertaining to food; it also combines
ingredients of customer service and great prices.

“For a $1.95 a slice, you can get two slices and a soda
for about five bucks; it’s perfect for a lunch,” said Rachel
Corcoran, 22, a first year Law student at St. John’s
University School of Law.
Although a different generation of the LoGuidice
family runs Gaby’s, they have always stayed true to that
unique pizza taste, even if it meant cutting profits.

Jerry LoGiudice Sr., Stephen LoGiudice Jr. and Orlando
Correale join together to run the busy establishment from
10 a.m. to 11 p.m. on weekdays and until 12 a.m. on

Over the years, the prices of Gaby’s pizza ingredients
have risen. The “Brankinelli” tomatoes imported from
Italy used to run $13 per case back in the early years of
Gaby’s. All these years later, the tomatoes cost $20 per
case. As milk prices drastically rose a few years ago,
Gaby’s continued to use the same cheese as always.

“We never changed a thing,” said Correale in a candid
interview inside Gaby’s Pizza. “We’ll make less
money, but we’re still giving customers the same thing
Correale admitted that most customers would not
know the difference if they changed cheese or tomatoes,
but the owners would notice. The loyalty they have to
their customers is also another ingredient in their success.

“We come here every Wednesday, practically twice a
week,” said Marie Slaughter, 41, a Gaby’s customer since
she was a little girl.

Slaughter’s daughter Antoinette is 18 months old and
a third generation pizza-eater. Gaby’s Pizza even sponsored
Antoinette in a beauty pageant that she entered.

Slaughter was proud to announce that her daughter won
the beauty pageant for her age group.
Gerry Seidita, 34, a St. John’s alumna also hopes that
his three-year- old son Giuseppe will be among the next
generation to eat and work at Gaby’s Pizza. Seidita married
into the family business after graduating from St.
John’s. He graduated with a Criminal Justice degree from
SJU and works nights as a NYPD officer in all of the five
boroughs. During the day, Seidita satisfies his love for
business by giving a hand to Gaby’s Pizzeria.
“I was always going to open my own business, and I
fell into this,” said Seidita, regarding his career plans
after marrying Jerry LoGuidice’s daughter Susan.

Seidita takes part in a business that has stayed strong
for so many years. Located inside the Fran Hill Mall
Shopping plaza, Gaby’s has had numerous competitors.

Across the street, the Crown Fried Chicken restaurant
serves pizza, but a limited amount of pies are sold per
A few years ago, Gaby’s faced potential competition
from Russo’s Pizza. The pizzeria could never hold a torch
to Gaby’s and shut down after operating for a little under
two years. Various other pizzerias have come and gone
around Gaby’s Pizzeria. It’s clear that distance is no
issue. Whether the competitors are across the street or
national chains like Chicago’s Pizza in Manhattan,
Gaby’s still wins.

“I’m glad Gaby’s won as best pizza,” said Oscar
Maradiaga, 21, a Briarcliffe College student. “I live over
40 blocks away and I still travel to get Gaby’s.”
Last year, Gaby’s Pizza was the runner-up in radio station
97.3 FM’s Best of New York Pizza competition. With
loyal customers and famous customers such as music
artists LL Cool J, Salt-n-Peppa and Run DMC, Gaby’s
made a name for itself long before winning the Rachel
Ray Show pizza contest.

Seidita advises St. John’s students in any profession
to, “always think about the community and the people
you’re dealing with.”
Gaby’s Pizzeria is proud to acknowledge that they
serve all ages and backgrounds. People originally from
the Queens area that have since moved to Florida and
North Carolina, for example, still eat Gaby’s.

Whether the out-of-state customers stop by Gaby’s in
person to pick up special frozen pies to go or order Gaby’s
to be shipped via UPS, they still receive that original,
homemade, good old-fashioned pizza.
“We might go up like a nickel or dime in pizza price,
but it never goes up to increase profits,” Correale said.

“Gaby’s is what you might want to call a true New Yorker – we’ve got everything.”