Legal battle heats up between NYC pizza shops over recipe

NEW YORK (WABC) -- A pizza shop owner on the Upper West Side is using an interesting recipe for one of his pies he calls the "spicy pepperoni."

There's only one problem: A pizza joint in SoHo says that's actually their recipe, and they're taking legal action.

Prince Street Pizza has a following, thanks to its "Spicy Spring" pizza.

Owner Dominic Morano said fra diavolo sauce and fresh cut pepperoni make for a proprietary recipe, though he says others try to copy it.

"The more the merrier," he said. "Why can't everybody enjoy fra diavolo sauce and spicy pepperoni? It's a great thing to have, and I wish everybody the best of luck with it."

And yet his family says it is taking legal action against Frank Badali, who left Prince Street Pizza about a year ago and is now at the newly opened Made in New York Pizza on the Upper West Side.

"Frank Badali, my pizzaiola absolutely created this particular method of doing it, and we're very proud of that," said Eytan Sugarman of Made in New York Pizza, who said that's why he hired Frank.

But he added the "spicy pepperoni" pie in his shop is different than the one at Prince Street.

Side by side they look pretty similar. As for taste, there are some subtle differences, but both are delicious.

And that begs the question: Is this really worth a legal battle?

"It's pizza, you go to one spot, a cheese slice, pepperoni slice, no one has the rights in my opinion to a certain slice," said one customer.

Eytan says neither he nor his pizzaiola has been hit with a lawsuit yet and hopes Prince Street stands down.

"I think there's enough room for all of us, I mean it's pizza, this is happy stuff. We should all be happy," said Sugarman.

At least all the customers are happy, with the plethora of pepperoni.

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