Sixty-four years have passed since the pizza oven was first ignited at E 138th and Brook Avenue, and today, the pizza produced in that oven lives up to its name: Golden Pizza.
Purchased in 1989 by the current owner and operator, Max Singh, Golden Pizza has unquestionably become a community mainstay due to its affordable prices and unwavering commitment to the neighborhood.
The pizza window offers a plain cheese slice for a reasonable $1.99, with additional toppings available for a small extra fee. The uncomplicated menu has endured time, and Singh has no immediate plans for alterations.
The oven remains unchanged, as does the dough mixer, the signs, the walls – everything has retained its original form. Singh acknowledges that the modestly sized shop once had a few seats, but that space had to be taken over to store mountains of pizza boxes.
This oven has been cooking pizzas for 65 years. Photo by Max Vessies.
Mike, 41, has been a patron of Golden for the past decade, even making the trip from Brooklyn. “I used to live down the block, at 141 and Willis. I tried other pizzas, but they all tasted like cardboard. This one is fresh all the time. It’s just a great New York pizza,” he enthused.
Levi Floyd, 27, confirmed the pizza always hits the spot. “They’ve been well-established, they’re really quick, really easy, friendly,” he said. ‘They use good ingredients – you can tell when you eat it.”
Golden Pizza has a well-established presence. Singh has been at its helm for 35 years and has witnessed up to three generations of families savoring his pizza. The average Mott Haven business stays open 11 years, according to a city survey. This one has made it to 64.
“Businesses may open and close, but we’re still here,” said the beaming owner.
Walk up at any point during regular business hours, you are sure to be welcomed by warm smiles and surrounded by a crowd of customers craving a slice, especially immediately after school dismisses.
“I love this place, and even when I go home, I think about it, said Singh. “I love serving the community.”
Owner Max Singh talking with a community member. Photo by Max Vessies.