Andrew Bellucci passed away while doing what he loved most—crafting his famous clam pizza at his very own restaurant, Andrew Bellucci’s Pizzeria in New York. He died on Thursday, June 1, 2023. Andrew was a real pioneer in the pizza world. The cause of his death is currently unknown.
His legendary presence and unwavering dedication to excellence cemented his place in the profession as a legendary figure. The lives of all those who were fortunate enough to come into contact with Andrew were impacted by Andrew in ways that went far beyond his delectable creations.
Jersey City-born Andrew Bellucci, the owner of Andrew Bellucci’s Pizzeria, grew up in a household where every meal was a special occasion. The goal of Andrew Bellucci was not to become a pizza maker. In the early 1990s, he began his culinary career in France by working in not one, but two “3-star” Michelin establishments.
In the 1980s, he worked at a few upscale restaurants after moving back to New York City. But it wasn’t until he added pizzas to a restaurant’s late-night menu in SoHo that it dawned on him: make pizza as if it were being prepared at a Michelin-starred establishment, and people would notice. Since the dough is where pizza starts and where it ends, Andrew’s attention has been on it ever since.
Lombardi’s on Spring Street, which had closed in 1984, was reopened by Andrew, Gennaro Lombardi the third, a descendant of the original Lombardi, and John Brescio in 1994. The pizza was an instant hit, and the dough in the nearly 100-year-old coal oven browned beautifully.
But Andrew’s lifelong love affair with pizza didn’t end there. Since the Lombardi era, Andrew has provided consulting services in Asia, Europe, and of course the US. On his 30-plus year career, he lists positions as executive chef at Rubirosa and consultant at all of Joe’s Pizzerias, including Shanghai and Ann Arbor. He is well liked by his coworkers, always willing to share advise, and continually picks up new skills.
In 2020, after returning from his consulting assignments abroad, he settled in Astoria, Queens, and launched Bellucci Pizza on 30th Avenue. His companion wanted to scrimp and forgo the premium components he selected to cook his pizza, so he left that place. As fate would have it, Bellucci had grabbed the notice of another restaurateur Matthew Katakis in Astoria, and only 5 months later, they built Andrew Bellucci’s Pizzeria, at 37-08 30th Avenue, just 9 blocks apart (and on the same avenue) as Bellucci Pizza. His previous partner maintained his name, but as chance would have it, Bellucci had kept his name.
The pleasure of speaking with Andrew Bellucci about his career and pizzeria for Broadwayworld.
Friends, loved ones, and business partners have paid tributes to Andrew Bellucci across social media.
Mikey’s New York Pizza released a statement on its Facebook page on Thursday, “Today, we bid farewell to a true culinary legend, Andrew Bellucci, the founding chef behind Mikey’s New York Pizza. Andrew passed away while doing what he loved most—crafting his famous clam pizza at his very own restaurant, Andrew Bellucci’s Pizzeria in New York. His larger-than-life presence, paired with an unwavering commitment to perfection, made him an unforgettable figure in the industry. Andrew’s impact extended far beyond his delicious creations; he touched the lives of all those fortunate enough to cross paths with him. As we honor his memory, let us raise a slice in tribute to Andrew—remembered not only for his incredible pizzas but also for his genuine kindness and warmth.”
Mikes Pizza wrote, “The pizza world has lost an incredible talent and an icon today. Andrew Bellucci. It is never easy to say goodbye to a great friend someone we care about, especially when they have touched our lives in such a significant way his legacy will continue to inspire many. Rest easy my friend.”