New Kid on the Block: Girello

Girello—Italian for “walker”*—looks pretty much like you’d expect from a pizzeria spin-off of Walker’s next door: brick wall, tile floor, wainscoting, wood bar, framed Italian travel posters, space for a TV up by the ceiling, and pendant lights that look like they came from Schoolhouse Electric. The place isn’t big—tables seat around 30, with room for 10 more at the bar—but it feels open, thanks to the wall of windows and the lack of banquettes (which might have been welcome, given the potential noise factor). The tablecloths and napkins are both paper; wine is served in juice glasses. Girello has an easygoing sort of atmosphere, one that will no doubt gain patina as time and children take their toll.

The menu is admirably small, with four appetizers, four salads, five sandwiches, and pizza with your choice of standard toppings. To start, you’re given toasted bread cubes that I liked more than my partner, along with some olives and a dish of red-pepper-infused olive oil. He ordered the arugula-and-prosciutto salad to start, while I chose the roasted vegetables. And we shared a large pizza with broccoli rabe, olives, and onions (which turned out to be caramelized). It was all fine, if light on salt; people who order meat on their pizzas may feel differently. That probably reads like I’m damning Girello with faint praise. On one hand, yes, I’m frustrated that the pizza revolution of recent years continues to pass Tribeca by. On the other, if you walk in expecting the kind of food and experience you’d get at Walker’s, you’ll most likely leave pleased.

Note: I believe that the idea had initially been for the two restaurants to share bathrooms, but they don’t, as you can see from the photo of the sign at the end of this post.

* Upon reading this, my partner emailed me: “Which meaning of the word is girello?  Someone strolling, a old person’s tool, or an escort? TC readers need to know.” Girello appears to mean the kind of walker a toddler might use and a cut of meat (known as “top round” here).

Girello is on Varick between N. Moore and Franklin.

P.S. Please add your own impressions in the comments!

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  1. “On the other, if you walk in expecting the kind of food and experience you’d get at Walker’s, you’ll most likely leave pleased.” What does this mean? Another damning with faint praise? Walkers is one of the few reasonably priced restaurants in Tribeca, though the wine is too expensive like every NYC restaurant. And their food is always good. And good is good. Not genius, not cutting edge, turning watermelons into turnip shaped martini glasses that cost thirty dollars. Does it have a bathroom or doesn’t it? You never say. Everything is unsalted these days…well… just salt it yourself or ask for some. This was like reading an Anthony Lane movie review in the New Yorker. Did you like the pizza (movie) or didn’t you? I guess you left that part of the review in the maybe or maybe not bathroom?

  2. @Brent: Sorry for the ambiguity. Yes, Girello has a restroom. As for the rest, these articles aren’t meant to be reviews as much as descriptions, but I also know that it’s weird not to give some sense of what the food is like. As much as you (or I) may not want to eat/drink a watermelon-turnip martini, it’s a lot easier to write about than a place like Girello. I probably should’ve have written this: Like Walker’s, Girello is a friendly, good-value neighborhood restaurant. If you look at it against the broader scale of where pizza is in the city these days, should you rush over to try it? I’d say no: Girello’s pizza is not good compared to good pizza the way that Walker’s burger is good compared to good burgers. But I’d also like to hear your (and everyone else’s) opinion.

  3. I too was frozen with indecision by Erik’s damning ambiguity. Should I try Girello or not? If I am usually pleased with Walker’s, will I be pleased with Girello? Can I use the transitive property in this instance? What if new restaurant was really allowed to open without a bathroom? WIll I have to hold my bladder thru dessert or do without? Will the chef allow me to use the salt shakers? Was there a sign insuring that employees wash their hands before returning to work or not? Does Erik even read the New Yorker? No need to think for yourself, Brent’s palate & life experiences should not be questioned. “Good is good.” Case closed.

  4. I miss Magoo’s,Mickey’s, Ocean Club,111s.,thai house,and Towers Cafeteria .These poor snooks never tasted brunch from Washington Market Cafe ,or breakfast at Canadian Pancake House or hot dogs on Canal st. at 3am.I am glad I am in Tribeca now only to collect the rents!LoL

  5. Hey Dennis, you forgot to say that you missed Riverrun & Cafe Lispenard!

  6. I’ve been to Girello twice now and it was a great experience both times. The service is great, especially for New York’s standards, and the food was delicious. The margherita and bacon/basil pizzas were amazing. The wood burning ovens give the crust the perfect crunch. Prices are very reasonable and the atmosphere is nice, with good acoustics. I highly recommend this joint for a night out with your partner or a group dinner with friends. I hope to see Girello become a Tribeca staple just as its big brother Walker’s has become.

  7. Jim Smithers you are a card!