Mike Bergemann, the culinary maestro behind the operation and the chef who opened the iconic Ivan Ramen’s Slurp Shop at the food hall in 2013, is uprooting to his home turf in New Jersey, signaling an end of an era for the beloved Far West Side pizzeria.
Opened in 2017, Corner Slice quickly became a gastronomic beacon in New York City, earning accolades for its delicious slices. As Bergemann prepares for the pizzeria’s final bow in the city, he reflected on his journey and the decision to move.
“I think it’s what’s best,” Bergemann admitted with a hint of nostalgia. The move aligns with a personal homecoming; he relocated with his family and two dogs to Morris County in 2022. Eater first reported that Corner Slice’s next chapter will unfold at 419 Boyden Avenue in Maplewood, New Jersey. The new location promises a cozy 18-seat interior and a spacious outdoor garden, offering daily pizza specials and weekly sandwiches on freshly baked bread.
Bergemann’s New Jersey roots run deep, as he grew up in the northern part of the state, drawing culinary inspiration for Corner Slice from the local fare. “So kind of bringing it home in a way and coming back was never something I thought I would be doing, but I think it’s the best move for me and I’m really excited about it,” he said.
The choice of Maplewood was driven by the community’s momentum and the allure of a supportive environment fostered by the local business landscape, including a quality bakery becoming available thanks to the owner of local high-end pizzeria, Artie’s. “It’s a town with a lot of cool things going on,” added Bergemann.
Despite the excitement for the new venture, the departure is bittersweet. Bergemann reminisces about his storied history with Gotham West, dating back to its inception: “I was in there with hard hats when it was being built,” he said. Then, he was the chef for Slurp Shop, which garnered the food hall a New York Times two-star review. Establishing Corner Slice was his opportunity to step out from under another’s banner and craft his own culinary legacy.
Reflecting on the challenges faced during the pandemic, Bergemann mentions the ironic twist of receiving the lowest RRF payment in Hell’s Kitchen, due to keeping his doors open while others shuttered. Yet he remains proud of navigating those tough times: “We opened every day,” he recalled.
As for what he’ll miss most about Hell’s Kitchen, it’s the neighborhood’s dynamic mix of diversity and history. “When I started here, we had the Market Diner, a diner with a parking lot down the road. Across the street, a lumber yard, the home of the Nuts4Nuts carts and a strip club. It’s like this really cool, interesting mix of everything on top of each other,” he said. “We have Landmark Tavern, one of the oldest bars in New York that’s really unchanged and pours a nice Guinness.” Bergemann has cherished the community’s unique ability to display New York’s ever-changing yet storied landscape.
Bergemann’s fondness for the neighborhood is clear, with special mention to Jim Lahey and Sullivan Street Bakery, which has been a frequent stop for his bread cravings — and a place he will return to.
As he gears up for the transition, he remains connected to the community, planning to make the last two weeks at Corner Slice memorable. “We’ve got two weeks left from tomorrow, so let’s make it busy,” Bergemann said, optimistic about his new beginning in New Jersey. “I’ve been really happy to hear the reaction already before we even announced anything. There are rumors of a rent hike — and no, it’s not that story at all. Just for me, it’s what makes the most sense.”