When Danny Durante immigrated to New York, the neighborhood of Williamsburg was very different than it is today. Danny came from a small town outside of Naples and arrived here in 1976. He was a teenager and didn't speak a word of English. Someone gave him the idea to work at a pizza shop and he managed to learn English pretty quickly.
Danny opened his own corner pizzeria in 1983 and eventually expanded into the space next door with a sit down restaurant and bar utilizing the same kitchen from the pizzeria. Danny still runs this neighborhood pizzeria along with his son Danny Jr.
Another character in this story is the previous owner of the building, According to his daughter, the previous owner supposedly operated a bootlegging operation out of the space during Prohibition. We delve into more stories about bootlegging and gangsters on our Craft Cocktail tour.
There are three styles of pizza at Danny's and on our Brewed in Brooklyn tour, you get to try all three. The most classic Italian is the margherita (Tomato, Mozzarella, Basil). Danny also makes a thicker square Sicilian slice and a thin crisp Grandma Pizza with fresh tomatoes and a sweeter sauce.
Turns out the neighborhood and building are full of history and Danny happens to love history. For instance, he was excited to discover old photographs showing that this neighborhood was largely Italian. When Danny first got here in the 1970's, the population in the area was mostly Latin American. Turns out the current pizzeria used to be an Italian grocery in the 1920's. Danny has collected old photographs of the street and of Brooklyn in general. They are on the menus and hang up around the restaurant.
Both the corner take-out joint and the bigger restaurant are usually populated by locals, some who are brand new to this ever-changing neighborhood and some who have lived in the area for decades. Danny's provides a friendly, comfortable environment to hang out and have some good food and drinks.
We've been coming to Danny's since we launched our Brewed in Brooklyn tour in 2007. It's consistently a crowd pleaser. And while this neighborhood joint might not get as much notoriety as other pizza hotspots in the neighborhood, it's a classic Brooklyn establishment that has changed with the times and also held on to history. Plus it's a mighty fine place to get a pizza and a locally made beer. And we all know those pair together perfectly.
239-241 Bushwick Avenue
Brooklyn, New York 11206