Black-owned Brooklyn pizzeria owes its success to eclectic toppings – New York Daily News

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In an apartment building in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, a nondescript restaurant is causing a stir by putting an inventive spin on a New York staple.

The black-owned Cuts & Slices on Howard Ave. attracts celebrities and regular crowds with its unusual pizza toppings: oxtail, jerk chicken, jerk shrimp, chicken and waffles, and black truffle shrimp Alfredo. White and red pies sell for $21 to $100.

Opened in 2018 by Randy Mclaren, a former high-end sneaker “concierge”, the store has more than 100,000 followers on social media platforms including Instagram, Facebook, TikTok and Twitter, and has hosted celebrities such as the model Chanel Iman, hip hoppers Pharrell Williams, Lil Yachty, The Lox and Jim Jones, as well as professional soccer stars Victor Cruz and Sterling Shepard.

The VH1 reality show “Black Ink Crew” has scheduled an on-location taping this week.

But McIaren particularly enjoys nurturing and satisfying his local clientele.

“I’m here for the community, and this community has no such thing,” Mclaren told the Daily News. “All these kids are rushing into the Chinese restaurant, which is kind of what I grew up in… We don’t get to try new things. We fail to develop our taste buds. Then you must be thinking of those people who are in Bed-Stuy. Ninety percent of my clients didn’t even know what a truffle was. I want to change that.”

An average of 100 pies are sold per day, and on weekends cars are double-parked from one end of the street to the other. About 90% of his customers are New Yorkers, mostly from Brooklyn, but he recalls a group of Brazilians coming in every day for the past week and trying different slices.

Originally from East Flatbush, Mclaren runs the shop with his wife, Ashlee. He learned the restaurant trade working at a local pizzeria as a teenager, then working for national chains such as IHOP, TGI Fridays, Friendly’s, Red Lobster and even Brooklyn favorite Junior’s.

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Mclaren then launched a successful sneaker resale business that flourished on social media, attracting clientele like British Formula 1 superstar Lewis Hamilton and music stars Rihanna, Cardi B and Offset. But when the business started to decline, a friend approached him about opening a pizzeria.

“If I put my name on it, we have to use the best of the best ingredients and we have to come up with something different because we’re in New York and we’re off the beaten path,” he said. . “So I started thinking outside the box.”

He first hit the ground running by making 20 pizzas filled with lobster and shrimp and selling them for $100 each. It sold out in four hours.

The oxtail pizza quickly became a menu favorite. “It took about two or three times to get it to where I thought it would be perfect,” he shared. It takes two employees up to two hours to debone 30 to 40 pounds of juicy meat a day, he said.

While his knowledge of social media has helped his business grow, Mclaren credits his clients for being willing to try something “new and different.”

“I think it’s because it’s something so unique. Nobody else actually has oxtail pizza or put lobster, shrimp and black truffle alfredo on a pizza.

“It’s something different that draws people from all over the country,” he said. “And once they try it for the first time and are blown away, they fall in love with the pizza. And they keep coming back and telling all their friends about it.

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