Last November, when Mario’s Pizza first opened at Houston and Allen streets, I was skeptical. Not because I thought the pizza would be bad — it was — but because I couldn’t figure out how they’d managed to rip off the Mario Bros. without having their pants sued off.
Another thing disturbed me. Anyone who spent hours per day playing Super Mario Bros. almost 20 years ago knows the occupation of the brothers. Fulfilling some frankly odd Japanese stereotype of what Italian-Americans should be, they were plumbers. And from time to time you’d see one of them wielding a wrench as he scampered around on impossibly stubby legs.
But on the very prominent sign on the south side of Houston Street — newsflash: Mario is now a pizza maker. I call Shenanigans!
New York is the media capital of the world. You’d think someone in the licensing business (or, alternately, some ambulance-chasing attorney) would have spotted the forgery and alerted Nintendo. (How do I know it’s a forgery? No “R” registered trademark logo.) If someone did, no one cared, because Mario’s Pizzeria has now been in operation over seven months, and the sign still shines. And, sad to say, the pizza still ain’t that great, with too much cheese that has a sourish flavor, undistinguished crust of the greasy sort, and little flavor in the thick tomato sauce. And (sigh!) no Princess Toadstool.
The lackluster slice.
Pretty cool, though, how they use a pizza slice for the apostrophe in “Mario’s.”
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on July 1, 2010