Klein slices red (sauce) tape for new pizzeria

Senator Jeff Klein worked the phones to speed up Country Bay Pizzeria’s opening. He shares a moment with owner George Mujica, deliverman Joseph, fellow regular Lorraine Nugent and owner Mary Nolan.
Photo courtesy of Sen. Jeff Klein’s Office

Working through a bureaucratic maze wasn’t as easy as pie, as Mary Nolan of Country Club can tell you.

It’s been several weeks since Nolan, the newest pizza shop owner of Country Bay Pizzeria, had to deal with a slow process that would’ve delayed the opening of her shop, previously known as Casablanca at 3233 Ampere Ave.

But it took some political juice from a local senator to unspool the red tape often linked to Albany and city government.

Before Nolan could open she needed a food handling permit from the city Dept. of Consumer Affairs. But she first needed a Certificate of Authority from the state Dept. of Financial Services.

The two-step process would take three weeks too long for Nolan, who tried faxing her Certificate of Authority permit to DCA. No slice.

“The Department of Finance faxed it,” said Nolan. “But DCA didn’t accept a fax.”

Remaining closed was not an option for Nolan, realizing it could hurt her bottom line.

“I couldn’t stay closed,” said Nolan, having poured her live savings into the shop. “If I stayed closed I would’ve went out of business.”

The burden was also felt by her business partner and head chef George Mujica.

“To be turned down and go through so much trouble is really frustrating,” said Mujica. “But I guess there’s a reward at the end.”

There was.

In came Lorraine Nugent, head of the AARP of Morris Park, and Nolan’s regular customer who saw the new pizza store open but unable to operate.

“I said the best thing to do is call Sen. Jeff Klein,” said Nugent. “I knew she would be okay with him.”

“I didn’t even think of going that route,” admitted Nolan, later placing a call to Klein’s office.

A few phone calls later, and Klein’s office was able to convince DCA to accept the COA in the form of a fax, cutting Nolan’s waiting time significantly.

“In helping Ms. Nolan navigate the daunting process of permitting, we were able to ensure a successful opening,” said Klein, who recently stopped by Country Bay to have a slice.

With Nolan’s problem fixed, she can now focus on making some dough.

David Cruz can be reach via e-mail at DCruz@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 742-3383

More from Around NYC