NYC Pizzerias Face Crisis: Ban on Wood-Fire Ovens!

New York City Considers Regulations Impacting Pizzerias

New York City is considering new regulations that could have a significant impact on pizzerias across the city. The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has drafted rules that would require pizzerias with coal and wood-fire ovens installed prior to 2016 to cut carbon emissions by 75%. These rules would necessitate costly renovations, including the installation of filters and regular inspections, in an effort to improve air quality and reduce pollution. However, restaurant owners argue that these regulations may not only be an undue financial burden but also result in a decline in the taste and quality of their pizzas.

NYC Pizzerias Face Crisis: Ban on Wood-Fire Ovens
NYC Pizzerias Face Crisis: Ban on Wood-Fire Ovens

Concerns Over Air Quality

The DEP aims to address air quality concerns in areas with poor air quality. Coal and wood-fire ovens have been identified as significant sources of harmful pollutants, contributing to the poor air quality in certain neighborhoods. The proposed regulations would require pizzerias with these ovens to implement emission controls to reduce carbon emissions.

Financial Impact on Pizzerias

The new regulations would have financial implications for pizzeria owners. The cost of the required renovations, including the installation of filters and regular inspections by engineers, is expected to be substantial. Some pizzeria owners have already taken preemptive measures and spent significant amounts on emission-control air-filter devices in anticipation of these regulations. One owner revealed that he had already spent $20,000 on these devices, highlighting the financial burden these regulations may impose.

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Negotiations and Potential Impact

While the regulations would affect a relatively small number of pizzerias, negotiations are ongoing between pizzeria owners and city officials regarding the scope of the regulations. There is a question of whether the regulations would apply to all coal and wood-fire ovens or only those installed after the implementation of the rules. The outcome of these negotiations will determine the extent of the impact on pizzerias across New York City.

Concerns Over Taste and Quality

Aside from the financial implications, pizzeria owners express concerns over the potential impact of these regulations on the taste and quality of their pizzas. Pizzerias rely on the specific temperature and design of their ovens to create the perfect updraft and maintain the desired taste. Altering the temperature or adding filters could adversely affect the taste and overall appeal of the pizzas, according to owners. They argue that the unique combination of char and flavor imparted by these traditional ovens is part of what makes New York City pizza so beloved.

Expert Opinion

Ted Timbers, spokesperson for the DEP, emphasizes the importance of clean air for all New Yorkers. He emphasizes that wood and coal-fired stoves are significant contributors to harmful pollutants in neighborhoods with poor air quality. The proposed regulations are seen as a common-sense approach to addressing these concerns. Timbers highlights that the rules were developed in collaboration with restaurant and environmental justice groups and require a professional review to determine the feasibility of installing emission controls.


New York City may soon implement regulations that would require pizzerias with coal and wood-fire ovens to reduce carbon emissions by 75%. While aimed at improving air quality and reducing pollution, these regulations may have a substantial financial impact on pizzeria owners. Negotiations are ongoing to determine the scope of the regulations and their potential impact. However, some pizzeria owners express concerns that these changes could compromise the taste and quality of their pizzas. The outcome of these discussions will determine the future of New York City’s beloved pizzerias and the preservation of their iconic flavors.