Joe’s Pizza, the city’s preeminent slice shop, isn’t happy one of its former employees is running a knockoff chain over in Brooklyn that could definitely fool even some seasoned New Yorkers. Victor Zarco spent 17 years at Pino “Joe” Pozzuoli’s famous pizzeria, but departed in 2004 to open a Park Slope pie shop — which he uncreatively called Joe’s Pizza, but with an “of the Village” tacked on the end.
Apparently, for over a decade, the two have coexisted peacefully. But TMZ says that last month Zarco replaced the signs on both of his storefronts. Instead of blocky sans-serif font and an Italian flag (shown above), he did a white one with a red, angled “Joe’s” and “PIZZA” in all-caps, very similar to a certain pizzeria on Carmine Street in the Village.
Zarco may consider the ripoff halfway an homage, but the attempts to come off as part of the OG Joe’s are pretty blatant. “My name is Victor Zarco, but you can call me Joe” is how his bio starts on the restaurant’s website. It catalogues his glory years with Joe’s — how he mopped floors, delivered pies, played an extra in Spider-Man 2 when it filmed there, took pics with Sarah Jessica Parker, and rose up to “bec[o]me the pizza man.” By 2004, he says he’d saved enough money to open his own spot. “Since Joe had become such an important name in my vocabulary,” he writes, “I decided to call my business ‘Joe’s Pizza of the Village.’”
Joe’s legal team is making sure “copyright infringement” is also in Zarco’s vocabulary, now that his competing restaurants have façades nearly identical to his former employer’s. The lawsuit is demanding damages, and that Zarco remove his new signage immediately.