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Nicole Russell

Local Rockstars

Nicole Russell

Nicole Russell is a local graphic designer, who always cooked for family and friends. A few years back she decided to kick her pizza making into high gear with an underground takeout service called Last Dragon Pizza, inspired by the classic, New York City-based kung fu flick "The Last Dragon."

Russell is a super-fan of the cult classic film who slings her pies like blue arrows at her home in Arverne. She takes the name, and much of her inspiration, from the 1985 film that follows aspiring master Leroy Green (Bruce Leroy) as he travels around New York City trying to achieve the highest level of his kung fu training. Pizza figures prominently in the movie, with Green's family owning "Daddy Green's Pizza."

"It's so hard to get food in Rockaway — and so my neighbors, they started coming to me," she said.

The pies, which range from $10 to $20, are named for characters and places from the flick.

The "Sho'nuff," named for the film's main villain, is a Philly cheese steak pizza, covered in three cheeses, steak and peppers.

The "Kiss Mi Converse," after a famous line that Sho'Nuff says to Green, is inspired by Russell's Jamaican heritage and is covered in jerk chicken, peppers and olives.

And the "Sukiyaki Hot Suki Sue"— with a "You Sock It To Me, I Sock It To You" tagline — is covered with sweet Asian barbecue chicken, mushrooms and onions.

Russel said she remembers walking the nearly 2 miles with her older sister to the peninsula's now-shuttered independent movie theater, Surfside Cinema, to watch it on the big screen.

"On the way home were were hopping around thinking we were the Last Dragon," she said. "It's something that's very nostalgic to us." When she started discussing the possibility of selling food, her sister jokingly suggested making pizza inspired by the film.

Customers can order online or by phone and pay with credit cards for the pies, either the day before or up to two hours before pickup. For more information, visit her website at: