When Jonathan Greenberg decided to open his own pizza place on Franklin Avenue, he could have gone upscale, offering fig and gorgonzola pizza and Broccoli Rabe as a side.
But despite his Culinary Institute of America degree and ingredient roster that includes grass-fed beef and organic flour, the heart of Rosco’s Pizza’s menu is classic Brooklyn. There’s plain cheese or pepperoni slices and chicken Parm, meatball and cheesesteak heroes. There’s garlic knots, garlic bread and calzone. Only a few menu items might tip off the foodie-meter, such as the sopressata and roasted garlic toppings, the fried calamari, or the wine on tap.
“We didn’t want to reinvent the wheel. We wanted to do traditional … but put out a better product,” said Greenberg.
The prices are a little higher than your average pizza parlor, but not much. Plain slices are $2.50 and 16-inch pies start at $14. But calzones are $12 and toppings can cost as much as $3 (presumably for the sopressata, not the pepperoni).
“We try to use the best ingredients, while keeping the prices as low as we can,” said Greenberg.
The 40-year-old Cobble Hill native graduated with a degree in environmental conservation from the University of Colorado, and that passion is reflected in the shop, which has separate customer bins for composting, recycling and trash, uses ConEd's Green Energy Program and gives his used oil to Tri-State Biodiesel for re-use.
The airy corner spot also has a machine to play Pac-Man and other 80s arcade games, welcoming French doors and a custom black and white tile entryway bearing the shops name in cursive (see photo gallery).
Speaking of the name, like the up the street, where Greenberg used to work, the shop is named after the owner’s dog—in this case an elderly chihuahua-pug mix.
Greenberg, who lived on Franklin Avenue and Prospect Place for three years but now lives in Sunset Park comes to the food industry after more than a decade of working for non-profits and dot com start-ups. “I hated working in offices,” he said. “I worked my way though college in an Italian restaurant. I loved it and I just missed it.”
After graduating from cooking school in 2003, Greenberg worked in a series of foodie-frequented restaurants including and Greenpoint’s Paulie Gee. But then he joined forces with pool buddies Clay Mallow and Wade Hagenbart, restaurateurs who opened down the street last year.
But Greenberg is still getting used to the change of working in a restaurant to owning one.
“You know intellectually that it’s going to be exhausting,” said Greenberg, “and then you actually live it.”
Rosco’s, 685 Franklin Ave. at Prospect, 347-955-4881. Delivery available from Atlantic to Eastern Parkway, Vanderbilt to Nostrand (sorry Carlton Avenue, I pleaded your case). See their menu here.