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Pizza Wars: Owner of famous Joe’s Pizza sues former employee for opening own shop with same name

PARK SLOPE, Brooklyn — In the latest installment of New York's pizza wars, the owner of a famous West Village pizza spot is suing a former employee for opening his own shop and calling it by the same name.

The original Joe's Pizza on Carmine Street is suing Victor Zarco, who owns Joe's Pizza of the Village on 5th Avenue in Park Slope.

"If I was Joe I'd be very upset," said one customer we found eating a slice on Carmine Street this evening.

Here's how this slice of pizza drama began. Zarco worked at the original Joe's for 17 years. In 2004, he branched out and opened his own pizza joint. On his website he begins by saying "My name is Victor Zarco, but you can call me Joe."

He goes on to explain he named his place Joe's to give thanks and pay homage to the place that taught him everything he knows about the pizza business.

For over a decade, there was no issue. Then, recently, Joe's in Park Slope changed its signage and now it resembles the signage at the original Joe's.

"Everyone has the right to sue but the trick is to win, and I don't think he's got too much of a case," said Eric Waldman of Brooklyn.

"If I was a lawyer the first thing I'd ask is did he sign a non-compete or trade secret agreement and then you go from there," adds Waldman.

There have been similar sauce simmering pizza feuds in New York history. For instance, over the years, there have been many claims to the Ray's throne.

Customers of both Joes' don't seem to mind. To them all that matters is the taste of that slice.

"I've eaten there before it's the same pizza, it's good pizza," said another customer.

PIX11 reached out to the owner of Joe's in Park Slope. He was not available, we left a message and we are waiting to hear back.