When a family instills entrepreneurship and a strong work ethic early on in their children’s lives, the results are bound to be successful. Daniel Sim took a New York staple — pizza — added a healthy twist, and now owns a popular spot where vegans, vegetarians and other foodies seeking delicious options can snag a slice, a salad, and more. We talked with Daniel about how he came to open Lean Crust Pizza in the neighborhood of his youth.
FAB: Where did you grow up?
Daniel Sim: I grew up in Queens and Fort Greene. My family is originally from South Korea.
FAB: You come from a family of business owners. How did you decide this is what you wanted to do?
Daniel: I’ve always had a desire to own my own business. My parents told me from a young age to try and have my own business. They prepared me for the long hours and the stress.
FAB: How long has Lean Crust been open?
Daniel: We started in 2013.
FAB: What do you like most about your Fort Greene location?
Daniel: I love the diversity of Fort Greene. Our neighborhood has so much history and character that it’s hard not to fall in love with [it]. It comes as no surprise that Fort Greene has become one of the most sought after neighborhoods to live in.
FAB: How have things changed since you first started?
Daniel: Growing up here, I was used to seeing the same faces and neighbors over the years. Recently, I noticed more and more new faces every year. With the increase in demand to be in the neighborhood, I’ve seen the housing market explode. I remember when the clock tower at 1 Hanson Place used to be the tallest building around.
FAB: What has been the most challenging aspect of owning a business?
Daniel: The stresses of business: the hours, the staffing, the scheduling, the taxes. The hardest is probably the time and mental commitment that’s needed. Just like a baby, it needs to be looked after, cared for, and nurtured to grow and thrive.
FAB: What’s next or new for you?
Daniel: We have new menu items that are delicious! And, we’re going into another year with our second location on the border of Bed Stuy and Bushwick.
FAB: In your opinion, what’s the best thing on the Lean Crust menu?
Daniel: My personal favorite is our pasta (penne ala vodka).
FAB: What’s your favorite FAB business (besides your own)?
Daniel: One of my favorite places is Academy Restaurant. I have been going there for over 20 years and just enjoy everything about it.
FAB: What do you want people to know about your business?
Daniel: We’ve become known for our gluten-free and vegan options. Not many people know that the flour we use is organic as well, and everything is made in-house, from scratch.
Lean Crust Pizza
737 Fulton St. (S. Elliott)
Fort Greene, Brooklyn, NY 11217