Streets of New York has feet planted in Arizona
By Eric Newman
When Streets of New York President and CEO Lorrie Glaeser walks into any of her restaurants, she gives several hugs and calls her staff by name.
After all, she wants her restaurants to have that family atmosphere, including the store at 15560 N. Frank Lloyd Wright Boulevard, Scottsdale.
The Streets of New York has strong family ties. Hailing from New Jersey, the Glaesers followed relatives to Arizona, where they were ultimately dissatisfied with the Italian food options in Phoenix. They just weren’t like home.
Her husband, Bernd, owned German bakeries and was familiar with the restaurant business. In 1976, they bought an Italian spot at 32nd Street and Cactus Road.
“We had to create a whole new menu, new ingredients,” Glaeser says. “It was a lot of work at first, but we have loved all of it.”
Menu items include standard appetizers like baked New York chicken wings ($13.50) and Italian sausage with mozzarella and marinara ($9.50).
But, Streets of New York is best known for its variety of pizza options. “Create-your-own” New York pizzas start at 10 inches and range in price from $11.30 to $21.25 depending on size, with options for additional toppings for an extra price. There are also specialty pizzas like the New York combo with pepperoni, sausage, meatballs, mixed bell peppers, mushrooms, onions and black olives (starting at $14) or the Mediterranean pizza with spinach, tomatoes, red onions, sun-dried tomatoes, artichokes, olives and feta (starting at $14).
A 10-inch cauliflower crust is available as well for $13.50.
“It’s hard to find a good gluten free pizza,” says Jaime Pinette, general manager of the Frank Lloyd Wright Boulevard location. “We get compliments on it all the time. People say it’s one of the best they’ve had.
“I’m not a gluten-free eater, but the cauliflower pizza is amazing and I would order it every day.”
Salads are aplenty, with antipasto, Greek, garden, Cobb, spinach, gorgonzola pear and Caesar salads on the menu for $7.50 to $11.90. The antipasto salad has Italian meats and cheeses and is topped with house Italian dressing that is made in-house, Pinette says.
“Our salads are off the chart,” Pinette says. “I’m not the sort to go to a restaurant and order a salad. But we have a Cobb salad that has breaded chicken and hard-boiled egg. It’s a traditional Cobb salad and very good.”
Pinette is just as passionate about the restaurant as Glaesar.
“I’ve been here a long time and both of my brothers worked here when we were teenagers,” Pinette says. “Now I’m running one.”
This Airpark location is bustling with business lunches and catering preparation.
“We love our neighbors in the Airpark,” Pinette says. “We can cater, too, for any event. If you want it, we will make it bigger. A lot of our pastas, salads and pizzas are perfect for catering. Those are the most popular.”
Based in Paradise Valley, Streets of New York has spread into venues like Chase Field and Talking Stick Resort and Gila River arenas as the official pizza of several of Arizona’s biggest sports teams. She has also partnered with Grand Canyon University. She’s hoping to work with ASU to offer pizza to college students.
For over 40 years, the Glaeser family has run the successful chain, and even though “New York” is in the title, they have ingratiated themselves into Arizona. By hosting blood drives and fundraisers, The Streets of New York has become an undeniable part of the Valley.
“Lorrie is a wonderful person to work for and we truly are just a big family,” Pinette says. “We always talk about the passion of the pizza and our garlic knots are actually called passion bread. We all get excited about coming to work. It’s not like I have to go to work.”
Glaeser’s passion rubs off on the staff, and she is adamant about having her hand in the business.
“All this time, I’m still going out to the restaurants, and I’m still wearing my high heels,” Glaeser says. “And I am not going to stop any time soon.”
–Christina Fuoco-Karasinski contributed to this story.