ITHACA, N.Y. — Walking into Thompson and Bleecker, a new pizza spot on the Ithaca Commons, you can smell the fresh pizza coming out of the tiled brick oven that spells, “Ithaca.”
“It’s a different style pizza. We are offering a different service. The other pizzerias down here don’t have an all-organic wine list or craft beer. In business, just because someone is doing something, and a lot of people are doing it, doesn’t mean you can’t necessarily do it better,” said George Papachryssanthou, the co-owner of Thompson and Bleecker.
Thompson and Bleecker, a Neapolitan-inspired pizzeria and wine tavern, saw crowds of pizza lovers last week when they first opened their doors at 220 E. State St. on the Ithaca Commons.
George and his wife, Milany, who own Ithaca Wine & Spirits as well as Chatty Cathy Cafe, are the co-owners of the new pizzeria. Their meals include Neapolitan-style pizzas, mozzarella made in house, salads and tiramisu, which pairs with their list of organic wine and craft beer.
The name of the restaurant comes from the intersection of George and Milany’s first apartment in New York City.
Milany said Thompson and Bleecker uses San Marzano tomatoes, a tradition for Neapolitan pizzas, but they substitute Greek olive oil for Italian olive oil as tribute to George’s Greek heritage, which is why Thompson and Bleecker cannot be considered a full Neapolitan restaurant.
The couple stressed that eating healthy can often be time consuming, and that they attempt to take the thought process out of it with every business they open.
“We made the fresh mozzarella in-house, and we know what’s going into the ingredients,” Milany said. “We’re not buying store bought sauces and store bought mozzarella that’s probably loaded with salt just to preserve it. Because we’re making everything out of scratch you know the quality is high and the ingredients are fresh.”
The ingredients are so fresh, you won’t find a freezer or microwave in their kitchen. George acknowledged that while that creates some challenges, he said, “we will not cut corners and will always do more so I can make sure it’s health and more enjoyable.
Additionally, Thompson and Bleecker is unique because their customers are able to watch their food being prepared from their table.
“This layout is great because I know what people are ordering and how long every table has been waiting,” George explained. “It’s very important for me to see what’s going on. This way I can see if you have water in your glass, if the servers are being attentive, if the floor is clean, and if guests are being greeted at the door.”
George said that they start preparing the food at 8 a.m. everyday and don’t open until 4:30 p.m. to ensure they’re providing the best quality food for the short time they’re open, rather than opening earlier and having mediocre dishes ready. He added that they will slowly add hours as the new business settles in.
George said running a business as a couple has helped Thompson and Bleecker with its early success. They described the turnout thus far as “absolute madness” and have already seated Mayor Svante Myrick and Sam Harris of the X Ambassadors. So far, the few reviews that have trickled in on social media have been positive.
“We hold each other accountable, we don’t cut corners, we’re very honest with one another, and that’s a great recipe for success,” George said. “You marry someone that will hold you accountable, not someone who’ll just enable you to do things just to make it easy.”
Thompson and Bleecker is currently open from 4:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. on weekdays, 4:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. on the weekend and closed Mondays.
For their menu and more information, visit thompsonandbleeckerpizza.com.