"We figured, if we just stay open all night, all the drunk people would come. And that's what they did," Francis Garcia told In The Know.
Garcia and Sal Basille are cousins and the co-founders of Artichoke Pizza, which started out as a standalone restaurant in the East Village in 2008 and now has 12 successful locations across the country.
Garcia and Basille are fourth-generation restaurateurs who grew up watching their family members cook before they started to get involved in the kitchen themselves. Their grandfather taught them how to make pizza and that — along with their love of stuffed artichokes — was how Artichoke Pizza began.
What set them apart was their authentic Italian ingredients and their idea to keep the place open late.
"We slept in the pizzeria underneath the oven," Basille said. "And then I'd get up and make pizza all night long. All different walks of life coming in."
The artichoke pie sauce is handmade by their mothers, who come in every other week. Then it's topped off with pecorino, mozzarella and artichoke hearts. "It just all comes together like a beautiful song," said Garcia.
Artichoke Pizza has thousands of positive reviews online and has truly become a New York staple. For Garcia and Basille: it's not work, it's a passion project. They love to see returning customers and also love to see a first-time guest come in and take a bite of their famous artichoke slice — just to see their eyes light up.
"Our pizza is part of the fabric of this city," Garcia said. "People come from all over the world and they love Artichoke."
Watch the In The Know segment on Artichoke Pizza above to learn more secrets behind the New York establishment.