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New kosher pizza joint emerges in crowded Kew Garden Hills

By Gabriel Rom

The Queens kosher pizza market is a crowded one.

Especially in Kew Garden Hills, where there are at least five pizza joints within a one-mile radius of Main Street.

But The New Pizza Professor, which opened last month on 14-125 Jewel Ave., has something the others do not: name recognition.

The space has seen a number of kosher restaurants come and go.

After poor management and legal issues, the former Pizza Professor, known throughout Queens, was forced to close in 2012.

Since then, a burger joint known as the Burger Professor and a Hibatchi steakhouse, came and went.

But the new restaurant’s owners hope their venture is here to stay.

“We saw a space open and we took it,” said David Mirz, who co-owns the store along with Joseph Jakubov and Sal Isakov.

“We made it into the same pizzeria that it was, we kept the name, the ingredients, everything.”

The restaurant, which is under the strict supervision of the Vaad Harabonim of Queens, the borough’s rabbinic council, offers signature pies that include the Flaming Professor, the Israeli Professor and the Smokey Professor. The restaurant’s more offbeat offerings include baked curly fries, a chocolate pie and a peanut butter and jelly pie. More traditional pies, like cheese and jalapeño, are also offered.

The store has been open for a few weeks, and Mirz said the response from Queens and beyond has been tremendous.

On a recent Tuesday afternoon, a line snaked out the door and onto the street while a harried delivery man seemed to be perpetually running to-go pies from the store and into his van.

Capitalizing on the recognition of the former restaurant, Mirz said he has customers from across Long Island, Five Towns and as far out as North New Jersey.

The space, cramped with minimal seating area, is best suited for delivery.

Nevertheless, the atmosphere remains warm and welcoming. A visitor is immediately struck by the sense that customers and workers all seem to know each other.

“It’s a family environment,” Mirz said. “Everyone from the neighborhood comes through here — family, friends, everybody.”

Mirz has big plans and hopes to franchise the restaurant around the city.

“We’re just trying to keep our reputation up,” he said. “Out of everybody, kosher and non-kosher, we’ve got the best tasting pizza.”

Reach reporter Gabriel Rom by e-mail at grom@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4564.

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