GOODBYE TO ANOTHER AUTHENTIC NEW YORK SLICE; CAESAR’S CLOSING AFTER 36 YEARS

Caesars Palace Pizza at 493 Amsterdam Avenue (83rd-84th) is preparing to serve its last pie on Wednesday after 36 years, and the restaurant is blaming “unreasonable rent increases.” Management thanked the community in a note posted on the door.

Caesar’s was known for serving classic New York slices, and for not skimping on the portions.

Locals and tourists depended on Caesar’s for that authentic New York experience: “Great pizza, greasy, huge slices just like I imagined,” wrote one Virginian who visited the shop.

Read Elle M.‘s review of Caesar’s Palace Pizza on Yelp

It’s becoming tougher and tougher to find an authentic slice.

“With T&R Pizzeria questionable, there are fewer and fewer places in the neighborhood (well, 80’s on the west side of the West Side) to get a plain old fashioned slice of pizza,” wrote Jeff. T&R on Amsterdam between 79th and 80th Streets was closed for months after a gas leak in its building and has faced challenges reopening.

Thanks to Jeff, Matt, Cody, Juliet and Kenna for the photos and tips.

FOOD, NEWS, OPEN/CLOSED | 67 comments | permalink
    1. UWSider says:

      This is such a sad loss for the neighborhood. Truly one of the best NYC slices, and a hangout for young kids after school. Caesars could increase their prices by 50% and they wouldn’t lose any customers. So sad.

    2. Where has my city gone? says:

      Born and raised in the city, and after 40 years on the UWS, I am moving my family–nobody can afford to love New York. The pizza at Caesars was pretty good (made by people who know how to make a slice) and there are few pizzerias that can do that anymore–in New York!! Once one cannot get good pizza, you might as well live in another state where you can have space and quality of life. I am very sad about the direction the city has taken, so I am directing myself away :(.

      • Margaret says:

        agree with you wholeheartedly. Very tough to watch the UWS change as it has over the past few years. Good luck wherever you land!

    3. Westender says:

      Caesars redid their seating and raised their prices just a few months ago. Maybe it’s not just rent?

    4. Joe says:

      This was our go to pizza by the slice place. Anyone have any suggestions for good real NY pizza in the 70’s, 80’s or low 90’s? While the high quality italian places that have opened (motorino’s etc.) are great, I am looking for the classic NY slice or pie.

      • Michele says:

        Little Italy on 92nd and Bdway. Best slices on UWS

        • Chris says:

          Agree. Little Italy is great for delivery or a slice on the go.

        • Octavius says:

          This. They put cornmeal on the bottom of their standard pies, so it can get a bit messy.

          Their Grandma’s pie is pretty great too. Last place that had a Grandma’s pie that I knew of (let alone a decent one) was Maffei’s on 6th and 22nd… which is now long gone as well.

        • UWSSurfer says:

          The vegetable slice at Gigi’s is my favorite on the UWS. (Broadway, between W.72nd+73rd)$3.25

          • Stuart says:

            Obviously, your surfing leaves much to be desired, since Gigi’s (which is neither a pizza shop or Italian restaurant, but someplace that sells pizza among all its other non-Italian items) is on the west side of Broadway between 71st and 72nd Street

      • Tom says:

        Perfecto on 92nd and broadway is the best pizza on uws

    5. MJ says:

      This sucks! Caesars is great, real NYC pizza! I love Motorino and the other more artisanal places from time to time but, real NYC slices are needed too! Especially for birthday parties, after school, or your average order a pizza night at home.

      These rents are getting out of control. Where is the mayor to stop this? If this place sits empty (like so many others do) how does that benefit the landlords?

      Anyone know who the landlord is? We should bombard them with emails!!!

    6. steve says:

      Good.

      The food was garbage here. Pizza was below average. People that think this is good pizza don’t know much about pizza. Hopefully we will get a business that actually cares about the product they sell.

      It’s not a “loss for the neighborhood” by any means. This is a gain for the neighborhood.

      It’s just a typical mediocre failed business that is crying about a rent increase to influence the simple minded

      • Wijmlet says:

        agree

      • patricia says:

        Bad pizza? Are you from Idaho?

        • steve says:

          Italian, born and raised in ny Patricia. Go enjoy your frozen DiGiorno pizza. If you liked this place supermarket pizza should be right up your alley

      • anonymous says:

        Yeah, kind of crap pizza. We never go and we live about 3 short blocks away. When the article has to quote a Virginian who visited the shop once…well, that says something lol.

      • Cato says:

        Steve – Since so many people here (representing, I suspect, many others) didn’t realize that the pizza they liked so much was, in fact, “garbage” and “below average”, could you please share with us where in the neighborhood we can get *good* pizza that is at least at, or even above, “average”?

        Let us know so that (a) we’ll know where we can get that good pizza, and (b) we’ll know enough about your tastes so that we can assess your qualifications to dismiss everyone else’s likes.

      • Sorry to see this place go! It was convenient, but the pizza was not that great. I don’t understand how anyone could characterize their pizza as being a typical NY Pizza!
        The best single slice pizza in NYC is at Joe’s on Carmine Street, just off Sixth Avenue–made by real Italians!

    7. Bob says:

      never hit this spot… lil out of my zone but I walked by it a lot. I like the new My Pie on 72nd.

    8. Sharon Schanzer says:

      Our favorite pizza on the UWS without exception. They will definitely be missed!

    9. Super sucks. I grew up on those slices. 20 years of pizza. Great pizza & staff. Loved the late night slice scene. Total chaos. You will be missed!

    10. MQue says:

      I’m lost for words. My favorite neighborhood pizza joint. Great pizza, awesome sandwiches. I hope they can find a spot near by and open for another 36 years

    11. jor says:

      Well only if they put kale/quinoa/avocado in their pizza and charge $8+ dollars for it, they’d still be in business…

    12. Cozmocharlie says:

      OH NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

    13. Kathleen says:

      When I lived on 84th Street Caesar’s was my go to pizza parlor. They were always busy and I agree their pizza is the quintessential NY slice, greasy and delish. You can’t compare this to the newer nouveau pizza places. And, yes, the best order-in-a-pizza movie night at home. They provided a great service to this neighborhood and it is sad to see them go. NYC is figuratively and literally losing its flavor.

    14. Roz says:

      So here’s what I don’t get about the UWS commercial real estate market: 1) there is a ton of inventory (empty space), and 2) Many of the spaces that become available stay available for a long time. Last I checked 100% of $0 rent is still $0, so why are landlords continuing to increase rents? Shouldn’t there be a market correction?

      • Sid says:

        As I understand it, they can deduct empty storefronts as a loss on their taxes.

      • ws says:

        Tenants set rents, not landlords. That is why rents are higher here than in Idaho – tenants won’t pay NYC rents there. Rents have been dropping for more than a year in NYC. There are dozens of successful restaurants within three blocks of Caesar’s. Rents around there are about $150 psf. Caesar’s hasn’t adapted or renovated and is finding itself left behind. Sad.

        • Cato says:

          If tenants set rents, then there wouldn’t be an overload of long-term vacancies.

          Sad!

    15. Stephanie says:

      No!!! This is terrible news!! It’s was the perfect place for a NY slice and their Baked Ziti was such a good portion and so delicious! Does anyone have a recommendation for Baked Ziti in the neighborhood?

    16. Wijmlet says:

      awful pizza

    17. UWS40 says:

      Guess no one remembers Vinny’s on Amsterdam Avenue who made authentic Italian pizza.

      • Kathy j says:

        Oh I remember and crave Vinnies to this day. The best the best the best!!

      • Cato says:

        To the contrary! Many of us remember Vinny’s and still miss it (thought it did go a bit downhill after they expanded and tried to upscale).

        But that’s just the point. Decent slice places are disappearing, like so much else that once defined the neighborhood. It’s just one more symptom of the change of character of the neighborhood and its people — remember Big Nick’s and Nick’s “nice” restaurant, Niko’s? Both now gone, and both now replaced — on the same block! — by pretentious chi-chi French-ish bakeries.

        I look back wistfully at the days where Vinnie’s and Nick’s were both available, not because I wanted to eat every single meal there but because there presence, their availability, said something about the neighborhood’s character. Now, it’s a mall for rich people.

        As they themselves might say, SAD!

        • Cato says:

          Sorry, “there” -> “their”.

        • geoff says:

          every time some one wants to set the pizza bar here, vinnie’s gets a mention. rightly so, and cato, i and a few others also rightly point out that that high bar was set pre-expansion. here we go again.

          for those who asked, and i think i’ve mentioned this before too: Traviata Pizza at 101 West 68 works for me nowadays. it ain’t vinnies, but it’s kind of a dump, it’s tiny, at the end of the day the tables shine, and they have their own groove. after all these years, they still don’t know me meaning to me that i’m not from ‘close enough’. it works for me.

          i don’t go to nick’s at 70 W 71, but i wonder why everyone who bemoans the loss of big nicks on broadway never even mention this one, because i THINK it’s related, though MapQuest says its run by a guy named Jimmy Galanopoulos since 1962. that’s not a bad track record. either way, he never gets a mention on this site.

      • fritz says:

        Vinnies one of the best pizza I ever had

    18. Judy B says:

      SO sad!!😪😪😪 we all loved Caesar’s so much
      that when my California grandsons came for a visit
      1st stop had to be Caesar’s. I hate that I have to be
      the bearer of such sad tidings.

    19. Juan says:

      Not my favorite pizza but it was fine. But I will really miss it. Pizza by the slice defines NYC, and these places are rapidly disappearing. And I’m sure the storefront will now sit empty for years.

      Mamma’s Famous on Broadway between 85 and 86 has very good slices but is tiny and draws a sketchy crowd so you can’t really eat there.

    20. Judith Davidsen says:

      Am I the only one who remembers all those years when the sign outside said “Ceaser’s?”

      • Cato says:

        No. Why are people suddenly assuming they are the only ones who remember things in this neighborhood? Just because everyone else doesn’t yammer the same memories you have doesn’t mean they don’t remember those things — only that they have something else to say.

    21. UWS83 says:

      I am utterly heartbroken! I grew up on 83rd street and have eaten pizza my whole life. When we found Cesar’s, it was the best! I don’t have pizza as regularly anymore but when I do, it’s from Cesar’s. The city has changed so much. Particularly the UWS. It’s heartbreaking. It’s becoming a town for the filthy rich. It was once a community and now it’s a place that the very wealthy have taken over. They work in the city and their kids go to private schools and then they leave on the weekends and in the summer. That’s when we can breathe again. The city calms down and it’s somewhat like what it used to be. I’m heartbroken by the changes and closings.

    22. Max G says:

      DAMN! And i didnt get to rate it on my Pizza Slice Instagram Account!

      https://www.instagram.com/thesliceizright/

    23. Donna says:

      This is terrible news! I’m so disappointed.
      Thanks for many great slices!

    24. Joe from Joe's Pizza says:

      This place had terrible pizza. Try Daniello’s on 95th.

    25. Abby Acosta says:

      To all my beautiful upper west siders, if it helps manas pizza on the corner of 106th and amsterdam is still one of the best places to get delicious pizza. Ive lived here all my life, and thats where my parents took me and now where i take my kids. STILL family owned and operated, the grandson Frankie is a great guy, and grandfather is STILL there everyday! They sre opening another location on broadway between 105th and 106th called mamas too! Call or stop bu, great great guys! My children adore them, and I can truly say I can call them family! So until we get someone to open up a pizza place in the eighties, hang tight, try mamas! I promise you won’t regret it! Love you all!

    26. Dan says:

      Saba Pizza is legitimately one of the best slices in manhattan. Only downside is it’s kosher so there is no meat. But great slice. Try the plain and Sicilian.

    27. Socimer says:

      I agree, this is sad. It was “Okay” Pizza. Mainly the nostalgia. I preferred Tom’s on Columbus (84th/85th). Nevertheless the neighborhood is getting worse, not better. Mom/Pop shops is what made the UWS, none of that pompous UES crap. Tom’s, Woolworth’s, Fayva, Wings, Litchtman’s Bakery, etc.

    28. Cyrus says:

      Meh. Mediocre pizza at best

    29. Scott says:

      While I like most on this board will be sad to see this place go, in truth it was really mediocre pizza and only great if you had it at the end of a night out. Overall the place was pretty dirty and run down as well – I recall sitting there sweating one particularly hot summer night. They also took their prices off the board at some point and seemed to fluctuate based on the person behind the counter.

      Sal and Carmines on 100th Bway (previously 94th Bway) has always been the top UWS slice in my book, although they didn’t deliver until recently.

      Famiglia on 96th and Amsterdam is very reliable and consistent for delivery.

      Pizza Petes on 86/85th and Columbus is pretty terrible and has been for years – rude, pizza always cold, looks like it has been sitting for days. Surprised they are still around.

      • Lou says:

        Another vote for Saba’s. Only downside is not open on Friday night or Saturday’s in summer.

      • UWSHebrew says:

        Sal + Carmines is the most overrated pizza in Manhattan. Lopsided, stingy, oversalted blech. And the service is beyond rude.

    30. Lmn says:

      This is a bummer! It may not be the best pizza ever but it’s definitely the best I’ve found in the 80s. Many of you mention “better” ones in the 90s or 100s but part of the appeal of getting a slice of pizza is just dropping in on your way home; not making it a destination. I’ll totally miss Caesers and am now stuck with the mediocre options on Columbus.

    31. Carolyn says:

      Oh, no! I was one of their first customers! What a huge disappointment for our neighborhood. They were great…! Whoever rents that space now will never have my business…..I don’t even care if it’s a new pizza place. They had the best pizza in NYC!

    32. UWSguy says:

      This is a tragedy. Yet another good biz on the UWS closing because they have no rights in the lease renewal process. And where is Councilmember Helen Rosenthal on this issue? The only thing she has done to “help Mom & Pop” was co sponsor a bill that would eliminate the Commercial Rent Tax that was written by the real estate lobby. How would a tax cut help Caesar’s Palace? Please remember this when you go to the polls September 12. http://bit.ly/2rRS8DN

    33. Cindy says:

      I am so SAD. My friend JImmy and the best Pizza, burgers, salads . Everything was Delish.Landlords don’t care about Jobs, neighborhood vitality that keep
      This city vibrant. RENTS ARE INSANE!!!It’ll never be the same without CAESARS & JIMMY- and his amazing staff.
      We lost Silk Road palace Chinese on 81st- and I’m still not over that. Now this. 🍕😭

    34. Dr. Cary Goodman says:

      Their eggplant pizza was divine. Too bad; they are another casualty of the incumbent Council member’s failed attempts to protect community commerce. If elected, I will introduce Legacy Stores legislation that will protect community commerce and keep businesses like Caesar’s in the neighborhood.

      • GG says:

        Personally I blame the new museum expansion plan for the escalating rents that forced this shop out of business. That and the skyrocketing costs of mozzarella due to the melting polar ice caps.:)

        Just kidding Doc. Good luck with the campaign.

      • UWSmaven says:

        We love Pizza Pete’s on Columbus at 85/86. Great pizza, friendly guys, delicious…

        • Glen says:

          I liked Pete’s also, but my last two pickups from there were FAR below what I was used to. They get one more shot until I strike them from my speed dial. (I am wondering if they are on the chopping block as well.)

          I think for great NY pizza now you have to head to Brooklyn or Arthur Ave.

      • EricaC says:

        How will you achieve that? I mean, what concrete steps will you use to protect legacy stores?

      • Paul RL says:

        Excellent. Now drop your loony opposition to the Gilder Center and you might get a vote.

    35. Just saying says:

      Another case of what exactly does NYC Small Business Services do. Maybe somebody can explain to their so-called Chamber on the Go that they are not doing anything to help the small business community. But, what do you expect when all the staff at SBS have never worked for a small business or owned one. Maybe, somebody can explain what the local Business Improvement District is doing since we see no businesses improving.

    36. Say what says:

      Does anyone know what the local Business Improvement District is doing about all the empty store fronts. Bill Deblasio needs to clean house at NYC SBS since that agency seems to be a dumping ground for patronage jobs, and not one employee has owned their own business.