Openings & Closings: Hello Marinara Pizza and its MVP Pie, Goodbye Amir’s Grill After 47 Years

Marinara Pizza is opening in the former home of Polpette on Amsterdam between 83rd and 84th Streets. “Marinara pizza is a classic NYC style pizzeria with a modern twist,” the owners tell us. “Our restaurants are designed like a pizzeria you grew up going to however with a clean and updated feel and vibe.” Among the modern twists is a special cauliflower crust on some pies, and the MVP pie with Marinara, Vodka, and Pesto sauce. They hope to open in January and play to give away free slices on opening day. Marinara has other locations on the Upper East Side and in midtown. Thanks to Shaun for the photo.

Amir’s Grill at 2911 Broadway between 113th and 114th Street closed last week after 47 years. The restaurant’s website says it opened in 1971. Amir’s served Middle Eastern food with a vegetarian emphasis, though there some meat dishes like a Shawarma beef bowl. The owners hope to “pop up” with a new restaurant soon, they said in a sign on the window.

FOOD, NEWS, OPEN/CLOSED | 14 comments | permalink
    1. Joan says:

      Amir’s had the BEST schwarma ever.

    2. Chris says:

      Amir’s had no gas for many months. They had been cooking with electric devices. Not sure whether that was a landlord issue, trying to clear that row of storefronts, or whether something else was happening. After 25 years of quality cheap eats, I am really going to miss that place.

    3. Various Artist says:

      Sorry to hear about Amir’s I had many a meal there while a student at Columbia, and it was one of the few affordable places left in that area.

    4. UWSHebrew says:

      Amir’s Grill is not surprising to me, as the dishes that I ordered five years ago that were excellent, had gone downhill drastically in the last two years. As for Marinara, I had their regular slice at their UES location a few weeks ago and was very disappointed. Sorry to be a sad sack but hey, at least we have the best pizza in all five boroughs: Mama’s Too!

    5. Mary says:

      I may be wrong, but I believe Amir’s was owned by the same folks who own Samad’s, the small grocery/deli on the west side of Broadway, between 111th and 112th. I hope they’re not going anywhere!

      • Tom D. says:

        Not that I know, but if I had to put money down, I’d bet that Samad’s owns their building.

        Anyway, just walked by Amir’s 15 minutes ago and saw the sign in the window. Seeing it had closed made me feel old.

        • Christina says:

          I’m surprised about Amir’s. Their landlord was Columbia, and Columbia had prized itself on filling its Broadway retail spaces with non-chains like Junzi Kitchen.

    6. Slappy McFinklestein says:

      Marinara Pizza was named by the same pizza wizards who brought us Made in New York Pizza and Little Italy. It took all of 2 min for the epiphany and another 5 to write it on a napkin with a crayon.

    7. chris woo says:

      so sorry to hear about Amir’s. Brings back memories. I had my coffee grounds read by one of the guys who worked there decades ago.

    8. Iz says:

      Don’t get me wrong, pizza is my favorite food and Marinara sounds pretty good, but WHY ANOTHER PIZZA PLACE? The market on the UWS is totally saturated; from Sirenetta to Motorino to Mama’s Too, why can’t we get something like Westville?! Please please plesae!

      • MQue says:

        The 2 new pizza spots offer slices which Sirenetta to Motorino do not offer. Since loosing Caesars it’s nice to gain back some new options

      • sheena says:

        marinara isn’t good, though. the pizza lacks structural integrity. besides there’s already koronet and sal & carmines isn’t so far

    9. Bruce E. Bernstein says:

      when attending Columbia in the early 70s, Amir’s was a tiny hole in the wall… it had a counter alongside the grill but i don’t think it had space for more than 1 or 2 tiny tables. But i will never forget the falafels and the shish-kabab, both awesome and affordable for a hungry 18 year old.

    10. sheena says:

      oh great another shitty restaurant near columbia really makes you think. they’re just going to capitalize off of students from the midwest not knowing what pizza is anyway. why do you think nussbaum survived a day?