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The Original Original Ray’s Pizza Is Closing

While dozens of pizzerias throughout the city may bear its name, the true original Ray’s on 27 Prince Street is set to close at the end of the month due to long standing legal disputes amongst the restaurant’s heirs.

The Times reports that the Little Italy restaurant will stay open till September 25th, the end of the Feast of San Gennaro. However, after that, the fate of Ray’s Pizza appears grim.

Nasty legal battles may be the primary cause for Ray’s demise, but various pizza locations throughout the city have been forced to increase prices or shutter its doors in light of the recession and rising rent prices. The pizza industry specifically has taken a direct hit by the rising cost of ingredients. For the second year in a row, the United States has seen wheat prices soar due to droughts in Kansas and Texas, cutting output by nearly 22 percent from 2010.

Coupled with rising cost of cheese, pizzerias have gone so far as to experiment with other “pizzas that aren’t so flour and cheese dependent, such as thinner crusts that might cut the use of each in half,” as Wes Pikula, vice president of operations for Buddy Pizza, describes.

Legendary Di Fara pizza in Brooklyn may not choose to sacrifice top quality ingredients, but they have not been left out of the recession’s grasp, as a slice now goes for $5. New York food blogs, such as Serious Eats, have also taken note and dedicated posts on where the craving hungry can score a rare, dollar slice.

But high rent has been displacing more than pizza. recently. New York’s literary darling, St. Mark’s Bookshop, is also under the threat of closure after Cooper Union raised rent to a whopping $20,000 a month. The possible eviction has sparked an online petition to help support the popular bookstore stay in business. East Village coffee favorite, The Bean, also lost its lease recently and is being replaced by, you guessed it, Starbucks.

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