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Owner Antoinette Balzano with electrician Jimmy Kruger and contractor Rocco Ranaudo. In her hand, a photograph of Lawrence, Louise, and Joel Cimineri. [Photograph: Chris Crowley]

Yesterday, Totonno's opened its doors to the public once again, and we couldn't be more excited to get our Coney Island pizza fix! The iconic pizzeria has been around since 1924, when Anthony "Totonno" Pero left Lombardi's* to open shop in Brooklyn.

*Possibly the only NYC pizzeria more legendary than Totonno's itself.

But lasting influence and loyal customer base aside, the last five years have not been especially kind to Totonno's. First, there was the horrible fire back in 2009, which destroyed the restaurant's back rooms. Mother-son team Lawrence and Louise "Cookie" Cimineri hardly missed a beat, working to repair the damage and re-opening just under a year later.

Then, last fall, their renovations were quite literally swept away when Hurricane Sandy battered and flooded massive swaths of coastal Brooklyn. Faced with upwards of $100,000 in damages, Totonno's teetered on the verge of collapse, before finally securing the funding required to rebuild.

It's not every restaurant—or family—that would display the kind of resilience that we've seen from Totonno's. It's a tireless perseverance that has earned them eager champions around the country.

Of course, it doesn't hurt that they make freaking amazing pizza...

We'll be swinging by any day now to get ourselves a bite of one of those luscious pies. Just look at this baby:

[Photograph: Lance Roberts]

About the author: Niki Achitoff-Gray is the editor of Slice and a part-time student at The Institute of Culinary Education. She's pretty big into pizza.

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