Brooklyn Brothers offers locals a slice of New York

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Brooklyn Brothers Pizza Parlor is celebrating five years making authentic New York-style pizza for local pizza lovers. 

Mike Ware and Spencer Strand, longtime friends from Brooklyn, New York, and co-owners of Brooklyn Brothers, had been looking for a true New York pizza in Middle Tennessee when they instead decided to introduce Franklin to New York pizza using the sauce Ware’s mother developed and the dough his neighborhood pizza man taught him to make at the age of 15.

“We’re still using those recipes — my mother’s pizza (sauce) recipe and the recipe I learned at my first job,” Ware said while kneading a ball of dough. “We’re going with what we know. I’ve been doing this a long time.”

It’s all about the love, the sauce for the pizza, lasagna and pasta, the dough for the pizza, sub sandwiches and garlic knots — and, of course, the New York size portions.

This year, along with celebrating the fifth year of a growing business, Ware, 52, is celebrating a new lease on life. 

Just when the pizza business was getting off the ground, he was forced to take almost a year off due to a heart issue. The business was temporarily left in the hands of son Vinny, who is following his father’s footsteps. 

Once Ware received a pacemaker and regained his energy, the pizza man returned with more energy, enthusiasm and ideas for the restaurant.

“We’ve added cheese steaks and eggplant Parm to the menu,” he said as he got up to stir the day’s batch of his mother’s marinara sauce. “Nobody does traditional anymore. I’m a purist.”

Each pizza’s dough is handmade — and tossed — if you’re wondering.  “Each pizza is unique, made just for you, so when you open the box, it pops,” he said as he slid a Sicilian pizza — another addition to the menu — into the oven upon request. Regulars have discovered Ware often has a sort of special of the day going on in the kitchen, so if menu items don’t tempt the pallet, just ask Ware what’s in the kitchen.

Top off the meal, if you have room, with a calzone, a giant cookie or his newest zepolla, which is Brooklyn’s version of a beignet, stuffed with ricotta cheese. 

Like so many in this area, in his spare time, Ware is a singer/songwriter. With just a little encouragement, the strumming pizza man will perform at the restaurant. 

He regularly entertains audiences at area senior centers and nursing homes with his original country-folk tunes and old, familiar cover songs. Of course, he’s been known to bring a pizza, some pasta or his delicious desserts along. His Italian grandmother taught him well. 

Customers who drop by for a bit will find a guitar on the wall for anyone to pick up and strum. A small drum stands next to it for back up, in honor of his partner, who sells drums and plays drums in area bands. There’s also an old record player in the back corner with a stack of vinyl and an open invitation to spin a record on the turntable. Bring your own in case you’re in the mood for something different.

Family is important to Ware and important to the business. His customers have become a part of his family, and the pizza parlor has become a place in the neighborhood to drop by for a slice, some entertainment and a touch of home. 

Brooklyn Brothers Pizza Parlor is open 4-8 p.m. on Mondays, 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 3-7 p.m. on Sundays. For take out, call 615-791-8383 or order online at www.bklynbrospizza.com.

Carole Robinson may be contacted at crobinson@williamsonherald.com.

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