Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Carroll Gardens, The Home Of The $1 Tap Water?

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Pardon me for asking, but since when do eateries charge for tap water? Is this a new thing that somehow we missed?
One of PMFA's reader brought to our attention the fact that Sal's Pizzeria at 305  Court Street has been displaying a sign for a while now indicating that it charges $1.00 for water from the faucet. (In smaller print, the sign also shows the price at $1.20)
We know that many businesses here in the neighborhood have struggled to stay open of late, but is this really necessary?

Does anyone else know of a pizzeria/restaurant/coffee place in Carroll Gardens or surrounding that charges for a glass of tap water? Has anyone actually paid $1.00?


35 comments:

Anonymous said...

When you're kid needs water and you've in Sal's for a cheap slice, what else are you going to do? What's the difference between that and a bottle of water? You're probably getting better water out of the faucet.

Anonymous said...


I never ever heard of this..he has got to be kidding , either that or he is crazy?

Anonymous said...

Never liked Sal's. The pizza is mediocre. The attitude is unfriendly. And the space is hot, dark, and cramped.

Anonymous said...

They also won't give you Parmesan for your pizza.

Anonymous said...

Neither water nor the cup it is served in are free....but 25 cents would be more reasonable.

Anonymous said...

Sal's pizza is a bunch of jerks. The won't give you grated cheese if you buy a slice of pizza or a sandwich. You can only use the grated cheese if you buy a pasta. Really, for 5 cents worth of grated cheese? They even have a sign...no grated cheese for slices.

This is not surprising... and btb...their pizza stinks... much better off walking to Giardini or if you have time...House of pizza.

Katia...that would be a good survey for you blog. Who has the best pizza in the neighborhood.
For home delivery? By the slice? By the pie.

Anonymous said...

It's not for want of money. He owns three buildings on Court Street.

Anonymous said...

He also owns a brownstone on Union St, near Hoyt. I live across the street. Its rented out and he sends the pizza delivery guys over to shovel the snow.

Sounds like he's sitting on more than $10 million in real estate assets....plus $1 for water.

Anonymous said...

Should we leave out the 'NRA' sign that he had (has?) in the shop window?

Anonymous said...

It's odd to hear but I would not be surprised if this starts happening around the neighborhood. I haven't purchased ANYTHING from Sal's since the owner appeared on Kitchen Nightmares with their restaurant Mama Maria's. So if he was having a fit from how Gordon was changing things from how he was taught, i'm pretty sure no one is going to win the argument regarding cheese. Whether it be 5cents or not. Also, I wouldn't mind seeing a series based on pizza.

Anonymous said...

As they say in Brooklyn, what a friggin' douche bag!

Anonymous said...

Sal has the worst pizza around. I grew up in the neighborhood and he was never a nice person. He's just taking advantage of the people that now live there. He would never have been able to do that when Carroll Gardens was an Italian neighborhood, a real Brookyn neighborhood. I don't know what you'd call it now? Generic?

Emma said...

Ooh I agree, I would love a neighborhood pizza roundup!

Anonymous said...

"No grated cheese for slices"...maybe he's a purist. You ordinarily don't get grated cheese on pizza in Italy. They look at you like you've got two heads, just like the time I asked for ice in my "caffe freddo" ("iced" coffee) during my first visit to Italy. Some things are just not done, and I never did it again...lol. Of course, he could also be cheap. Parmesan is expensive, but then again, he might be using domestic Parmesan instead which is cheaper. Not defending, just sayin'.

Anonymous said...

You have obviously never been in business. Everything has a cost. Why don't you go write a positive article about the neighborhood and leave Sal's alone. Bringy our own water or buy some.

Anonymous said...

To anon at 4:41....I am the original grated cheese poster....

If his mozzarella wasn't devoid of taste and he used a tomato sauce that had a bit of oomph, grated cheese would be unnecessary. Its more of a bread, tomato and cheese product and is very unlike the pizza you've eaten in Italy.

I haven't eaten his pizza in about 10 years...so I could be mistaken, but my assumption is that the taste of the pizza has not improved over the years.

Anonymous said...

and his father left him everything he has


Samuel Tan said...

Sals to me is the worst Pizzeria in the neighborhood and now he's going over the top by charging $1 for tap water which is so stupid

Anonymous said...

Making pizza, even in a family run and owned joint, isn't exactly a high margin business. Perhaps complainers in the neighborhood would prefer an urgent care facility or bank in these spots instead.

Anonymous said...

Actually, I find his pizza very good; definitely my fav in the neighborhood, and I've spent plenty of time in Italy.

So you wanna go in there and get a slice for $2.50 and also squeeze some free water? Where else can you get a decent lunch in the neighborhood for that (or $5 if you want to fill up on two slices), water or no water. The pizza is old school NY, not overdone, and has quality ingredients, unlike the sugar filled soggy dough stuff at the other neighborhood slice places. (or for that matter, the wall to wall cheese one gets at that fancy neighborhood spot on Henry. Who wants all that grease?)

Anonymous said...

Is it legal to charge for tap water?

Anonymous said...

Sal's pizza is almost consistently pizza soup. As someone who grew up in Sheepshead Bay and now living for almost 20 years in Carroll Gardens, his pizza really is not very good. It's a wet, soggy mess most times. We used to go in the past only for the magnets and convenience but stopped when we couldn't justify paying higher prices for crap pizza.

Anonymous said...

Sal's would be the last spot in the neighborhood I'd go for pizza. There are better choices all around and they all charge
$2.50 for a plain slice. Sal's upped their price to $3. years ago during the "mozzarella shortage" but never lowered it as far as I know
but it has been years since I've checked. Can anyone else confirm this ?
Regarding the cost of pizza, it is quite low, perhaps $1. in materials to make a pie and there are lots of places in Manhattan selling slices for $1. but those are pizza in name only and not what most of us would expect or hope for in a slice. I think that the expensive slice and water charge and skimping on parmesan shows a lack of respect for customers and the neighborhood and I hope that they correct this since they don't pay any rent for the store.

Anonymous said...

Now that I'm thinking about it, I can't think of a worse neighborhood slice than Sal's.

@anon 955, I make pizza at home a lot. Using mostly organic ingredients, I make a whole pie for about $4-5 ($.50/slice)...and that's paying retail for the ingredients. Margins on pizza are high. It's flour, yeast, olive oil, canned tomato and cheese. Those first 4 cost pennies per pie. Of course if Sal's is paying $1 per 8 ounces of tap water that could be impacting their pizza margins.

bored at work said...

Please

How anyone can defend this conduct is beyond me. Providing tap water to customers is part of the cost of doing business as a restaurant. Of course its not "free" but its built in to the cost of the pizza, pasta, beer, etc you sell.

For the 25 years I have lived in the neighborhood, all I have ever heard John do is complain. If you can afford to keep Mama Maria's open with essentially no business, then this is not about the money but based on some "principle" he is trying to uphold.

Trumbull Bully said...

Bully here...

Sal's slices are quite good, and I think the price is either $2.50 or $2.75, not out of line with what other places charge. A cup of water is $1. Does he make you buy water, no, but maybe he was being hounded by kids after school who stopped by for a slice and some free water and he made it worth his time. This is just speculation, but what does it matter? Bring your own water. Buy a soda. Geez. And there are plenty of pizzerias in the area and in general that do not provide free grated cheese for slices.

The hatred and jealousy in these comments are sickening. If he closed shop, you'd all be crying about another mom-and-pop closing. I'm sure glad I moved out of the neighborhood. It's so over.

Unknown said...

Providing water to customers is just good marketing. But what would he know about marketing, he's a pizza maker. The neighborhood residents should stop buying from this establishment. Maybe he'll get the hint! BTW, House of Pizza is better. Just saying...

Timothy Reed said...

Sal's Pizza is amongst the oldest and last family owned businesses in the neighborhood. Contrary to the comments here from those who don't appear to be its customers, their classic pizza slice is made from quality ingredients, and the dinner served next door is all house-made, reasonably priced, and delicious. The personalities at the old neighborhood shops, whether at Sal's, Esposito's, Sam's, and few remaining places, are part of what made and kept the neighborhood appealing to those of us who've been here a long time.

If spending your lunch money at local, owner-operated, family-run neighborhood shops offends you, by all means direct your lunch money to one of the newer, perhaps more service oriented, and way more expensive Italian places like Brucie (closed), Red Gravy (closed), or that weird Ravioli place on Smith (closed).

Gina "Ginny" Rebozo said...

Worry not, Sal's was dogshit 25 years ago also! Ask any long-time resident with an actual interest in food and they'll tell you the same. Even teenagers back then knew better and would mock (if cruelly) Sal's stupid golf buggy delivery trucks. Along with the California Burrito chumps and that horrible fake Mexican place on Court near the school (I've supressed their name they suck so badly), Sal's is proof that not everything that lasts is deserving of longevity.

Anonymous said...

Back in the early 90s John would get in his moped an deliver the pies himself, then wait practically with his hand out for a top. It was hysterical. Then years ago my kid asked for parmesan for her slice, and the response from John was, "There's cheese in the sauce."

It became a running joke in the family, we never went back.

abe vigoda said...


What's funny is now that I think about it, I can't remember ever asking for tap water at a pizzeria. Can you? I just grab a bottle. Unnecessary sign. Sal's just can't get out of its own way. And yes, their pizza is garbage. Old School in age only.

Mike said...

I'm with Ginny, the pizza is just plain terrible. I've had it maybe twice in the 10+ years I've lived in the neighborhood, the second time just to confirm it wasn't an off day. ANY of the other places makes a better slice. Any comparison to Italian pizza is not valid - it is not the same thing.

As for the "You have obviously never been in business. Everything has a cost." idea - a good business would build that cost into the base price of a slice. You cover your costs, AND you don't alienate your customers by seeming greedy. Win-win. Not to mention the fact that we're probably talking about 5 cents or less per cup...

Anonymous said...

What a knucklehead!

Anonymous said...

Maybe the pizza is not much to talk about but he has a lovely family!!

Anonymous said...

Anybody saying Giardini's is a better slice has no clue. Sal's is significantly better, arguably better than any other neighborhood spots that are not Lucali. I think the people there are friendly, and its great pizza with a real crust baked in a wood/brick oven. for a ny-style pizza, its up there.