A family's pizza recipe almost lead to gangland war, a court heard, after a new outlet opened that offered near identical food to another takeaway.
Francis Guerra, a Colombo mafia family associate in New York, is on trial for extortion after demanding payment from a rival pizzeria that he said had stolen a recipe from popular L&B in Brooklyn.
Anthony Russo, a former Colombo mafia boss, told a jury in Brooklyn that he became angry after learning that a member of the Bonanno crime family had taken one of his recipes.
It is alleged that Eugene Lombardo took the cooking method from L&B Spumoni Gardens then used it at his new restaurant, The Square, in Staten Island.
L&B is very protective over its products which are considered to be among the best in New York City, according to New York Daily News.
Russo said 'It's a famous pizzeria. Their pizza, their Spumoni, their ices.'
He added that 'they put the sauce on top of the cheese' when asked by Assistant Brooklyn U.S. attorney Nicole Argentieri asked what made them so special.
Brooklyn Federal Court heard that Guerra caught Lombardo, whose sons worked at L&B, in the basement of the pizzeria looking at flour supplies, according to the New York Daily News.
Russo said: 'He was angry, he wanted to hurt [Eu]gene.'
Russo went to Staten Island to confront Lombardo over the copying of the recipe.
When he arrived there with Guerra and Frank Iannaci they saw a sign that advertised their products as 'L&B style pizza'.
Russo told the court: 'Gene came out and (Guerra) started yelling at him. He told him he's "robbed my family, I’ll break your head",' Russo said.
There were fears that the confrontation could have turned nasty after Iannaci slapped Lombardo.
However, the rivals decided to sit down and discuss the problem at a Panera Bread in Staten Island.
The meeting was called by Bonanno soldier Anthony Calabrese and it was there that the Colombos demanded a share in the restaurant or a $75,000 payment for stealing the recipe.
Eventually Lombardo agreed to pay $4,000 - Guerra received $2,000, Calabrese got $1,500, and $500 went to their consigliere - to the Colombos after Calabrese pointed out that it would be impossible to try sauce from every pizzeria in New York.
'I told Frank to take the offer. It was ridiculous to go any further with it, just accept the money and move on, Rosso said.
Yelp.com has various recommendations for The Square which compare it to L&B.
One user wrote: 'Oh man, oh man is this pizza good! I've been to L&B's plenty of times and I can tell you that this pizza is better! I had a few slices left over from a box and popped it into the freezer. A week later and they tasted just as good!'
Another said: 'So obviously L&B still has the best square slice hands down, the place is a great alternative for those Staten Islanders who can't make it over the bridge.'