West Village takeout eatery Belle Isle Pizza, which began slinging its signature Detroit-style pies nearly eight years ago, is under new ownership. John Kwiatkowski, who is a partner with the Detroit Optimist Society and runs three of the group’s properties, tells Eater that he closed the deal with the outgoing ownership Leor Barak two weeks ago.
Kwiatkowski says that much of Belle Isle Pizza will remain the same, though he plans to do some light renovations and streamline the pizza-making process, and market the spot to attract a new wave of loyalists.
Belle Isle Pizza launched on the east side in 2015 in an 800-square-foot space formerly occupied by Garalino’s to the praise of locals for its fresh ingredients, high-quality crusts, and friendly, neighborhood vibes.
Barak initially approached Kwiatkowski about a year and a half ago about purchasing the business, but he initially declined. When Kwiatkowski was approached again more recently, he had had a change of heart. Barak will remain as the property owner.
“Every person that I’ve talked to in about a year and a half, two years about Belle Isle Pizza says, ‘Oh, my gosh, I love that pizza, but I haven’t been there in several years,’” says Kwiatkowski.
Kwiatkowski hopes to use his background in running a pizzeria — he operates Grandma Bob’s in Corktown, as well as Mutiny Bar in southwest Detroit, and Honest John’s in the Cass Corridor — to remind the neighborhood of the spot’s greatness. Aside from its signature pies like the Hog Island or BBQ Chicken, Kwiatkowski hopes to integrate some of the vegan and glutan-free options already available at Grandma Bob’s.