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Pizza Wars on Nostrand Ave

Roll and Go $1 Pizza debuts on Nostrand. But sometimes, "You get what you pay for"

A new pizza spot has opened on the corner of Nostrand Avenue and Fulton Street, Roll and Go Pizza. And already, in Bed-Stuy, it seems to have become a destination of choice.

On an early Friday afternoon, inside of its brightly lit windows gathered a large crowd of people of all ages and backgrounds-- some in suits, others who were quite possibly homeless and hordes of high-schoolers all trying to push their way to the register and place their orders.

The big deal? Pizza for $1. The last time I bought pizza for $1 in Brooklyn was when the Notorious B.I.G. still lived on St. James Place. It also does not hurt that Roll and Go’s entrance is at the mouth of the Nostrand Avenue subway exit, blessing the restaurant with waves of new customers every two minutes.

Plus, pizza’s not the only cheap thing on the menu. Roll and Go also serves beef and turkey hot dogs for $1.50 or two hot dogs and a soda for $2.99, a full breakfast (2 eggs any style, home fries, toast and coffee) for $2.99 or three pancakes for $2.

Roll and Go is the first of its kind in Brooklyn (there are two more stores like it in Manhattan), and it opened in early December, said Henry Padilla, Roll and Go’s co-owner.

“Business has been good; it’s alright, I guess,” he said with a shrug and then turned abruptly back around to finish rolling the dough for his next pizza pie.

“It’s good,” said Abu Sufian, 17. “The service is good. My favorite is the pepperoni pizza and the lemonade.”

One customer named Mattias who ordered a regular $1 slice, said the pizza was “just okay.”

“In my home it’s much better,” he said. “But I’m from Italy, and it’s better there. I just come here sometimes if I’m hungry.”

“It’s alright; it could be better,” said Ryan, 30. “I come here because I can get two slices for a $2. I go up the block, and I can only get one pizza for that price. It’s all about the price. It’s definitely economics.”

Then, at the register, a fight between two customers broke out. Apparently, someone pushed someone else, unsavory words were exchanged, mothers pulled their children away.

I was going to order pizza, but decided the fight was my cue to leave.

So I crossed the street and walked northward to 528 Nostrand, a few paces to Bona II, and there it was: a sign outside that read, “2 slices of pizza and a soda for $4.50.” At Roll and Go, two slices and a soda was $2.75.

How did Bona II’s owners feel about their new-fangled neighbors, a pizza spot twice its own size with specials at almost half the price?

“What pizza spot?” said Vinnie Moreni, Bona’s owner. “That’s not real pizza. The cheese, the sauce, their crust is not like ours. There’s a big difference.”

Everything about Bona II is traditional New York-- the look of the store, the owners and the pizza. In fact, according to Moreni, the store has been in the neighborhood since 1968, and they pride themselves with knowing their customers by name.

“That place hasn’t affected our business at all,” said Moreni. “In fact, business has gotten better!”

I ordered a specialty slice with beef pepperoni (yes, they have beef pepperoni!), a slice of Sicilian pizza and an order of mozzarella cheese sticks. All of that came to… $11! Although they cut me a deal and charged me only $10, that same order would cost $6.50 at Roll and Go.

Hmmm, was this the smartest fiscal move? Then I took a bite of the slice with beef pepperoni and abandoned any doubts. Bona II's pizza was warm, delicious and tasty, definitely worth the price.

Still, I hadn’t yet tried Roll and Go, and you definitely can’t knock $1 pizza when you’re broke and hungry!

“Hey Miss, by the way, what’s your name?” Moreni asked me. I told him. “Come back again, okay?”

Nice.

Good pizza. No crowds? No fights? I think I will go back-- broke or not. Because sometimes, you get what you pay for.

Melissa Danielle January 14, 2012 at 12:49 AM
What happened to the hot dog spot that was there? We used to have one on either side of the neighborhood and now they're both gone. We'll see how long this one lasts.
Eddie January 14, 2012 at 08:58 AM
Their pizza sucks. I'd rather cross the street to the pizza place right next to the discount store and pay for the two slices and a drink for $5. The pizza owner is extremely friendly and I know he has his regulars who remain faithful to him. Yes, you get what you pay for at Roll and Go--a buck for a slice of bootleg frozen pizza.
Tai Johnston January 14, 2012 at 03:06 PM
The pizza might be cheap--but it's true, you get what you pay for. Many times cheap products used to prepare a more than welcoming food, as in this case --pizza will cause health ailments in the long run. One would need to think about the cost of cheese, and mozzarella cheese at that. Mozzarella cheese is rather expensive if it is "real cheese". So what products can they possibly be using if the slice is one dollar? I think the nutritional products used to make these dollar pizza's need investigation. Many so-called nutritional products put in food today are loaded with unhealthy fillers, cancer causing carcinogenicity, high levels of estrogen and other less than nutritional garbage. If a perfectly healthy menopausal woman received a diagnosis of extremely high estrogen levels based on testing--and this was after eating certain foods for a week--and later change the diet, retest and get a nearly 0 estrogen result--something is wrong with the processing of the food.... Although unrelated, but a prime example is If you go to any supermarket, just check out the size of the chicken and perhaps beef along with the incredibly low price. These usual staples are pumped with estrogen and other unhealthy growth enhancers to attract consumers to purchase. And many do because of the cheap price. Moreover, you just get what you pay for. And this is not surprising in this neighborhood to add another unhealthy food trap.
Tai Johnston January 14, 2012 at 03:06 PM
I think those products used to make that cheap pizza need investigation.
Eddie January 14, 2012 at 04:40 PM
Tai--no need to investigate. Let's just sit back and watch the debilitating effects the purported "pizza" has on the "dollar dummies" who willingly consume it on a regular basis. No need to put some poor lab rats through the experimentation.
Jad2k January 15, 2012 at 06:05 AM
@ Tai and Eddie- no, it's a very specific business model which isn't necessary built on using low quality ingredients. First of all, pizza isn't the best thing for you in the first place so thinking it isn't as "healthy" as a $2 slice is splitting hairs. $1 pizza is able to make a profit because they position themselves in very high traffic areas with low rent. In order to turn a profit, they have to keep overhead low (small staff, small store, etc) and pump out lots of slices per hour/day.
nick January 23, 2012 at 03:32 AM
i work at roll and go, i have been a pizza man for over 15 years. Imitation cheese is made of soy and cost double what regular mozzarella cheese cost. Roll and go is not using cheep ingredients, its actually the opposite, because we sell such high amounts we get the best ingredients at the best prices and in return the costumer always gets the freshest and best prices. its basic economics, you can sell a lot for cheep or sell a little for expensive at the end it’s the same profit except we are fresher. do you shop at target or your neighborhood store. Target has the same products but for half the price. We use 100% mozzarella cheese. anyone is welcome to come and ask to see the box. Thank you and enjoy our pizza
Jimmi February 08, 2012 at 06:44 AM
So why can ths other Pizzerias make $1$ NICk since thats the same profit they could do that right Just like Roll And GO but i think Your pizza its not as teasty as 2 Daller because your souce Its all what you get chesse hope you stay another Month or Two when the boss does not see their is no money you would be close

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