I first encountered Luigi's Pizzeria, on DeKalb Avenue, in the early '90s. I woman I was dating was attending Pratt Institute, and we would pass by the hole in the wall often, and sometimes stop for a slice. I was stunned then—as I still am today—by the size of the joint. It is a shoebox. Maybe 10 feet wide, with low ceilings, there is room inside for a couple pizza ovens, a small counter, a fridge for drinks and a few people. It used to seem even more cramped back there because a big sign saying "Liugi's" hung over the entrance, dwarfing the place even further. Today the sign is gone, giving the pizzeria a slightly more airy look.
Liugi's was founded in 1983 by three immigrants from Sicily: Rosario Longo, and the brothers Angelo and Luigi Viaggio. They went to school together at P.S. 86 and became friends. The brothers started a pizzeria in Greenpoint in the late '70s, and Longo soon started to work for them. (On a sad note, Liugi passed away in January 2012. )
Liugi's has a captive audience in the hundreds of students that go to Pratt. College students eat pizza the way cops eat donuts. They can't help themselves. And there's not another pizzeria for blocks. So Liugi's pies don't have to be good. But the pies actually are quite good. Every slice I've had there has been hot, gooey, tangy and flavorful. Not too doughy, either. A nice think crust. It's an well-above-average NewYork slice. They also don't gouge. The price of a slice there is about the same as one anywhere in town.