Ned’s Pizza NY – A Pizza Experience

The Team at Ned’s Pizza New York (The Owner, Daniel El-Beri is on the far right)

Ned’s Pizza New York has been a part of the Cayuga Heights offerings for many years. A popular place for both children from the neighborhood and local employees alike to pick up a few slices for lunch. The New York style pizza has a crispy crust and savory toppings. The ready-made options displayed on the counter are seemingly endless. For those wishing for something other than pizza there are calzones, wings, subs, and salads. Business runs smoothly and efficiently with Philipe Sabbagh as Operations and production manager and Gary working behind the counter as General Manager. The atmosphere is inviting and friendly.

As I sat in their dining area enjoying a slice of Chicken Bacon Ranch, on the house, I observed the easy friendly interactions with regular customers, and the appreciation of new customers for the level of service they found. The staff were busy bustling around filling orders for the upcoming lunch hour but were very gracious to me, an otherwise intruder in their everyday operations. Daniel El-Beri, the owner, joined me with a warm smile and handshake, eager to discover how he could help me that morning and even more eager to answer my questions about his business.

Daniel El-Beri has been the owner of Ned’s Pizza NY since 2019 when he took it over after his cousin Ned, the original owner, retired to North Carolina. Ned’s became part of his Company, Basil Berry Inc. Although Daniel is a busy businessman, he has a very personal attachment to Ned’s, spending part of everyday here. Originally from Lebanon, with plenty of experience running/ owning companies in other countries, including Dubai, Daniel is not new to hard work and good business practices. This is evident in how his company seems to be thriving.

Ned’s has adopted the slogan, which you can find on their website; “We’re not just a pizzeria… We’re a pizza experience”, and I would say this rings true after my conversation with Daniel. He explained to me that every ingredient used in making their pizza is made from scratch each day. Every morning the fresh vegetables are cut, the meat is cooked, and the dough is stretched and proofed by hand. They operate a deck oven instead of a conveyor oven which ensures the New York style crust is cooked to perfection. But maybe the most impressive is where the cheese comes from. Everyone knows when making pizza the cheese is the star of the show.  Ned’s orders it’s cheese from the Wisconsin company Grän’de Cheese Company. Grän’de (“greatness” in Italian) specializes in making the finest Italian cheeses and is an advocate for independent pizzerias across the country. When describing this attention to detail, Daniel called it the 2nd day cheese due to the fact that when Ned’s pizza is reheated the cheese will warm to its original creamy consistency, exactly as if it had just been removed from the oven.   In a world where speed and convenience seem to take the lead everywhere, it is refreshing to learn that there are still businesses that value quality. I was impressed to discover that you can rely on a true homemade slice of pizza at Ned’s!

Community is also important to Daniel and his team. He expressed his desire to help with local fundraisers and community activities. Daniel understands the benefit of giving back to your community, after all, they are the reason you succeed at what you do. He took this opportunity to express gratitude for his customers here in Cayuga Heights, stating that they are both unique and loyal. He credits this solid local clientele for bringing him through the difficult period of isolation due to COVID. He relayed to me that on many nights the customers would line up in their cars waiting to pick up orders. A difficult time to get through for all business owners, Daniel made it through by pivoting their service to pick up only. Even going as far as setting up a table outside the front door to receive customers. Also, something special to come from this time was a new business venture.  What the Falafel or WTF was first started as a “Ghost Kitchen”, using the pizzerias already operational kitchen to prepare the food and taking orders solely online. Now with three brick and mortar locations, including College Town and Sag Harbor, The Hamptons, Daniel is now focusing his energies in making WTF a franchise. For those who haven’t yet heard of this new restaurant taking Ithaca by storm, WTF is “an authentic street food falafel experience, with a twist”, as its website boasts. It brings Mediterranean cuisine alive using fresh ingredients and homemade recipes. Check out the website at wtfalafel.co. Clearly a business entrepreneur at heart, Daniel is also a caring community member. He wishes to express to his customers that he is dedicated to not only maintaining his presence here in Cayuga Heights but also increasing his relationship here in this important community. He hopes to do that not just through his delicious pizza but also by offering his space and food to individual groups whatever their reason to gather may be. I enjoyed my time with Daniel El-Beri and wish him well in his future endeavors and I encourage you to check out Ned’s and WTF if you haven’t already!

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