The Village Pizzeria is under new ownership. After 25 years, Village Pizzeria founder and owner Steve Cohen sold the popular neighborhood restaurant to new owners, Jeff Bowler and Frank Gillo, local residents who have been customers for years and always wanted to own a pizzeria. Bowler and Grillo make their living in the entertainment industry, so they tapped a friend, Bobby Banhart, to run the business on a daily basis. Banhart grew up in his family’s pizzeria in New York. He had a career in reality TV, on both sides of the camera, and was riding out the pandemic with family when Bowler and Grillo contacted him.
We sat down with Barnhart last week to talk about what’s in store for the neighborhood under the new owners.
“I have always wanted to open a pizzeria; I grew up making pizzas in my uncle’s pizzeria in Long Island,” said Banhart, who can swirl the dough like a seasoned pizzaiolo (he started making pizzas at the age of 12, coming into his uncle’s restaurant to help out after school). “Making pizza is how I express my creativity. I was amazed to to find that so many of my family recipes are very similar to the ones we use at Village Pizzeria,” added Banhart.
Longtime patrons will still find all the same items on the menu, but there are already some new items like garlic knots, and more are coming, such as buffalo wings, according Banhart.
The restaurant will be open longer hours Tuesday through Sunday from 12 noon to 9 p.m. Take out orders are now processed on Door Dash, so the restaurant can expand its delivery options for customers.
The interior of the restaurant looks the same, filled with memorabilia collected by Cohen over the years, which was a subject of much contention between the new owners and Cohen as reported in the Larchmont Chronicle last month. Banhart said he wasn’t involved in that, but he’s been taking care to clean, repair and replace lights in some of the signs that needed repair. Banhart said he hopes Village Pizzeria will continue to be a great place to come for a fun date night for great pizza, good wine and your choice of more than six beers on tap, in addition to a wide assortment of bottled beers. He’s got plans for improving the outdoor dining experience, so stay tuned.
About Patricia Lombard
Patricia Lombard is the co-editor and publisher of the Larchmont Buzz. Patty lives with her family in Fremont Place. She has been active in neighborhood issues since moving here in 1989. Her pictorial history, "Larchmont" for Arcadia Press is available at Chevalier's Books.
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4 thoughts on “Village Pizzeria Under New Ownership”
I love everything about this except their orders being processed through DoorDash. I appreciated that they had local free delivery and I tipped well.
No more delivery for me!
Oh man — what a surprise! Village is one of my happiest of happy places in LA and whatever the new owners add (who doesn’t love a buffalo wing?), I hope they don’t take anything away, especially the staff, who are absolutely wonderful. Wishing the best for Steve and his family — you will be missed!
Village Pizzeria is dead. Long live Village Pizzeria!
It’s really sad that they are taking advantage of Steve. As a longtime customer, everyone knows how much Steve values his memorabilia, collected for decades, and displayed at multiple places over the years. Everyone who knows him was well aware that despite the desire to retire, and sell the pizza business… exacerbated by the pandemic, that he wouldn’t part with the decorations that he treasured. I also know that this piece of the puzzle was fully documented by the Chronicle. And these guys say that they don’t know anything about that? That is the kind of dishonesty that I would never support with future business. They need to do the right thing, and return his prized possessions before we would consider what kind of pizza place they want to run in the location that Steve and his family built. Sad.
Village Pizzeria was the greatest. New York style pizza with a New York style attitude. And the person who made it all happen was Steve Cohen. I hope that the new owners will respect the business that Steve built and honor their commitments to him for the sake of Village Pizzeria and the many customers who love it. Give Steve back his memories