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May 20, 2024

Pizza Brain to close Fishtown shop and search for new home

The pizzeria's 12-year run on Frankford Avenue is coming to an end amid a lease disagreement, the owners say. Whether the restaurant reopens in the neighborhood remains to be seen.

Food & Drink Closures
Pizza Brain Fishtown @mypizzabrain/Instagram

Pizza Brain's Fishtown storefront at 2313 Frankford Ave. will close by early June after a 12-year run. Its owners say they intend to reopen at a new location, but a timeline has not been determined.

After more than a decade in Fishtown, Pizza Brain will soon close its shop on Frankford Avenue and begin the search for a new place to serve its gourmet, thin-crust pies.

In a newsletter to neighbors and friends, the pizzeria's owners said they plan to close up shop by early June and regroup to determine their future plans. They said the decision was driven by a protracted dispute with the shop's landlord at 2313 Frankford Ave., where a leaky roof and a disagreement over lease terms had negatively impacted day-to-day operations.

The owners said they had been trying to modify their prenegotiated lease and finally get the roof fixed, but couldn't reach a resolution that would have enabled them to stay.

"We'll always be proud of what Pizza Brain accomplished here — the community we've created together," owners Michael Carter, Joe Hunter and Ryan Anderson wrote in the newsletter. They founded Pizza Brain along with Brian Dwyer, who left the business in 2016 due to a dispute.

When Pizza Brain opened in 2012, Fishtown was just blossoming as one of Philly's clear-cut "destination neighborhoods" with a thriving business district and a rapid boom in residential construction that has continued unabated ever since.

The restaurant was a forerunner of local collaborations and pop-ups with other businesses, creating a funky neighborhood brand around the art of pizza making. The shop in Fishtown has doubled as "pizza museum" decked out with antiques and collectibles that celebrate the unity of sharing slices. It even earned a place in the Guinness Book of World Records as the world's largest collection of pizza memorabilia.

The owners haven't said whether they plan to remain in Fishtown or how soon they hope to reopen at a new location.

"The great news in all of this is that we are already dreaming, planning — working on what is next!" the newsletter said. "We're hopeful our goodbye from this location will lead to hellos from our next one."

In the meantime, Pizza Brain plans to seek pop-up opportunities with other businesses, sell pizza-themed gear on its website and provide updates on the next steps for the business.

"We love you, our neighbors and friends who have supported us throughout our 12 years here as an integral part of the wonderfully weird art and scrumptious food vibe that is Fishtown," the owners said.