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Indulge in classic New York fare at Emily in Clinton Hill

Emily has become a household name in New York. The thin crust pies cooked in a wood-fired oven are absolutely mind-blowing (Colony and Emily pies are some of our favorites). Not to mention, they also have a phenomenal Emmy burger and housemade duck ragu pasta.

Co-founder Emily Hyland runs the show, and she sat down with us to tell us all about the business and her favorite parts about Clinton Hill, where Common Grand is located.

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We love Emily’s origins story (aka you and Matt’s story). Can you quickly explain it for those who don’t know?

We met in college at Roger Williams University in 2001 (I was Matt’s RA, lol), and we ate pizza from the local pizza shop on the floor of his dorm room the first night we hung out. We ate pizza together later that week, and then he took me for a fancy real first date at the beloved Al Forno restaurant (which our new spot Violet is an homage to) where we ate pizza together as well.

I guess it was in the stars to fall in love and dream of one day opening a pizza restaurant! I am honored that Matt decided to name the restaurant after me when we jumped into the original spot, the mom and pop in Clinton Hill when we opened in 2014.

What drew you to Clinton Hill? What’s something unique about the neighborhood?

Truth be told, we had not really explored Clinton Hill very much, and we were simply enjoying a day in that neighborhood when we discovered the shuttered storefront on Fulton where we stopped and said: “this is the spot.” We jumped in on gut instinct and never looked back!

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We love Clinton Hill; the charm of the mansions on Clinton and Waverly, the sprinkling of coffee shops down Fulton street, and the great local bars like Hanson Dry and Hops Hill that are neighborhood staples!

Pizza is such a big deal in New York. How does Emily pizza differ from all its competitors? Is it the flavors? The environment?

We respect the austerity of pizza as a NY archetype, and we have never tried to compete as much as dive into making high-quality food with simple, local, high-quality ingredients, and merge that with a really friendly, professional yet casual service experience. The restaurant was built to feel like an extension of our home, so it is an open kitchen as if our team was helping us host a big dinner party at our house for friends — to me, that is what makes the restaurant so special — delicious food paired with the warmth of our spirit!

What is your go-to pairing on the menu? Could be drinks and pizza, an appetizer and main dish, anything!

Come in with a group and share. The classic order for so many regulars is a salad (to cancel out the carbs of course; they don’t count if you eat a salad with them, that is a fact at Emily 😉 ) an Emily pie, Colony pie, some wings, of course the Emmy Burger, and some banana creme pudding for dessert!

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What’s the best thing about being a small business owner?

The best thing about running a small business that has grown into a big business is the personal growth I have experienced as a result of this huge thing that emerged in my life. I feel like I have learned invaluable lessons about being a human, building compassion, building resiliency, and adapting to change. This restaurant has proved to be one of the most influential teachers in my life!

It’s awesome to see that Emily works with other small business owners, craftsmen, and artisans. Can you talk about some of these partnerships?

We work with lots of local partners, but since this is a piece specifically for people coming to live in the Clinton Hill neighborhood, I would like to share my connection to a women’s yoga + healing arts center + spirit shop just down the street in Prospect Heights called Love is Juniper. I teach yoga to many a regular Emily diner there, and that is what I love about this part of Brooklyn — the chance to connect with neighbors in all different modalities — from touching their tables in the Emily dining rooms to touching their practice on the yoga mat just down the street!

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What are your other favorite spots in Clinton Hill that you would recommend to Common members?

Hanson Dry, Hops Hill, Sisters, Good Batch, and Otway are our nearest neighbors that serve great fare!

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Emily is open Monday through Thursday from 5:30 to 10:30 pm and Fridays from 5:30 to 11:30 pm. On the weekends, they’re open from noon to 3 p.m. and again from 5 to 11:30 pm (to 10:30 pm on Sundays).

Follow them on Instagram, and let them know we sent you. Emily is a quick 7-minute walk away from Common Grand, our newest coliving home in Clinton Hill.

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