You are reading

‘Don of Dough’ Andrew Bellucci dies after heart attack in Astoria pizza shop

 

Pizza legend Andrew Bellucci died Wednesday, May 31, in his beloved Astoria pizza shop. (Photo via Andrew Bellucci’s Pizza Instagram page)

June 1, 2023 By Julia Moro 

Andrew Bellucci, New York City’s beloved pizza legend and owner of Andrew Bellucci’s Pizzeria in Astoria, died from a heart attack late Wednesday, May 31, in his Astoria shop.

While making a pie, Bellucci collapsed at around 7:30 p.m., according to his business partner Matthew Katakis, who said he performed CPR until EMS arrived. Bellucci was transported to an area hospital, where he was pronounced dead shortly after.

Bellucci, the “Don of Dough,” as Katakis crowned him, was obsessed with his craft. Katakis said that Bellucci would work tirelessly to achieve the perfect crust, experimenting with fermentation and various flours.

“He was family; I believed in him,” Katakis said. “I believed in him because I loved the pizza. I gained 15 pounds from working with him. I would tell him, ‘If I pick up a second slice, everything’s great.'”

Andrew Bellucci (middle) amongst friends. (Photo via Andrew Bellucci’s Pizzeria Instagram page)

Bellucci opened Bellucci Pizza in December of 2020 with former business partner, Leo Dakmak. However, Bellucci and Katakis revamped his pizzeria in 2021, renaming it Andrew Bellucci’s Pizzeria after a bitter feud with Dakmak.

Katakis, the former owner of Slice and owner of Blend Astoria, Pita Pan and Butcher Bar, financially backed Andrew Bellucci’s Pizzeria since 2021.

“He basically wanted to work seven days a week,” Katakis said. “I told him to do what makes him happy. I was proud to give him these two years of total freedom to create whatever he wanted.”

Photo via Andrew Bellucci’s Pizzeria Facebook page

Bellucci made a name for himself in the early ’90s by reviving Lombardi’s on Spring Street in Manhattan, which had closed in the ’80s. But as his career took off, he was arrested for a former crime of embezzling from a law firm where he previously worked.

Bellucci spent time behind bars, where he was the cellmate of infamous Colombo underboss John “Sonny” Franzese. One of Bellucci’s specialty pies, the pepperoni-loaded “Sonny Supreme” was named in his honor.

Bellucci’s ultimate dream was to own and operate a Michelin-star pizzeria.

“I have only one goal,” he previously told The New York Post, “and it’s to become the first slice shop with a Michelin star.”

Bellucci also wanted to make sure his pizza was accessible. Katakis, in support, offered a $3 slice.

“I fell in love with his desire to be accessible and it made me happy to walk in and see all types of people coming in for a slice,” Katakis said.

On Friday, June 2, Bellucci’s will be open, and all proceeds will be donated to Slice Out Hunger.

“The plan is to keep his memory alive,” Katakis said. “Hopefully I can keep producing the high-standard pizza that we were serving thus far.”

email the author: news@queenspost.com
No comments yet

Leave a Comment
Reply to this Comment

All comments are subject to moderation before being posted.


The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Recent News

Long Islander gets 3-9 years for stealing homes across Queens belonging to elderly or disabled owners: AG

New York Attorney General Letitia James and Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz announced that a Long Island man was sentenced to three to nine years in prison Friday for leading a deed theft ring that resulted in five homes being stolen from vulnerable Queens residents and saw them earn more $1 million in ill-gotten gains.

Marcus Wilcher, 48, of Carll Drive in Bay Shore, pleaded guilty in May to grand larceny in the second degree in Queens Supreme Court for his role in leading the crew following an investigation by the Attorney General’s office.