People standing around, waiting for a door to open is not an unusual sight in Manhattan, but usually the door opens onto a sample sale or a chic nightclub – not a pizza parlor. So why are 32 people dawdling in front of Lombardi’s in NoLIta on a Sunday morning, some arriving as early as 9 a.m., when the doors don’t open until 11:30? Are they pizza addicts? Perhaps.
Ask any New York pizza aficionado to choose their favorite pizzeria and no doubt Di Fara will be mentioned at some point during the conversation.
The #1 Zagat rated pizzeria in New York – for the past 8 years – lies just a stone’s throw away from the Q train’s Avenue J stop in the heart of Brooklyn. Looks can be deceiving but despite it’s homely exterior and aging decor, Di Fara is not your typical $1 slice shack. Rather, a simple cheese slice will cost you $5.
Driven by health concerns, animal welfare and the environment, the vegan food movement has been growing exponentially in recent years. Seeing the gap in the market, more and more restaurants are now catering to vegan customers. Traditionally the antitheses of vegan friendly food, pizza has become increasingly diverse with many pizzerias now providing vegan pie options. From simple Margherita slices with daiya cheese to vegetable garden pies, the range of vegan options in some places can rival that of the traditional menu.
Here are five of New York City’s pizzerias serving excellent vegan alternatives.
1) Pala – Lower East Side
198 Allen Street, (between Houston St and Stanton St) New York, NY 10012
In less than half an hour, the lunchtime line for Pizza by Certé will snake out the door and down the block. In the kitchen, the team toils, heads down, brows furrowed, while pounds of fresh mozzarella are churned through the grater and a cauldron of organic passata sauce bubbles on the stove. There are many pizza joints dotting East 56th Street, but Pizza by Certé offers something different – a certified, 3-star green experience.
Chef Edward Sylvia opened the sustainable pizzeria – his second venture – in 2011. He began his career in catering in 1991 and his catering business, Certé, which feeds over 20,000 people a week and employees more than 100 staff is just a few blocks away.
Inside, the pizzeria resembles a tropical garden. Rows of fresh herbs line the recycled wheat board walls and dozens of environmental plaques guide customers through the restaurant’s accolades. As a dedicated proponent of green living, Chef Sylvia deploys sustainable policies wherever possible. A water catcher distributes rain for non-consumptive purposes, the cutlery is manufactured from recycled bamboo and all deliveries are made by foot or hybrid truck. Most of the organic produce is sourced from local mom-and-pop shops, “I like to be able to call someone up and ask, ‘how’s your father doing?'” he says.
Food was the linchpin of Sylvia’s Italian American upbringing. His mother ran a deli in their hometown, Valley Stream, N.Y. and he would cater on the weekends to make some pocket money. The chef spent a year in college on a football scholarship and a softer outline of his football physique remains in his thickset shoulders and wide gate. “I wasn’t going to the NFL and I wasn’t into school,” he says in a New York accent. He left school to pursue his passion for cooking and begin his own catering company. Continue reading
Check out Saturday’s episode of SNL, where Melissa McCarthy plays Barb Kelner, a woman trying to get a loan to begin a pizza eating business.The perfect watch for any pizza aficionado, this is pizza hilarity at its best.
The Bushwick Institution, Roberta’s Pizza, has come under fire recently for posting a notice for unpaid interns, who will tend the onsite garden which supplies the ingredients for the pizzas. The Craigslist add offered free lunch and “learning how to run an urban farm” as compensation. Internships are common in creative fields like publishing and journalism, where the prestige of working for a big company is supposed to be payment enough. Many locals are outraged by this manifestation of the recent gentrification of the area and a local Greenpoint Blog posted this flyers, to air its grievances. What do you think of this form of free labor? Share your opinions below.
You may have seen the Neapolitan Express pizza truck parked at Spring St. in Soho or in Midtown at 53rd and Park. While it may look like every other food truck that line the streets at lunch time, it promises something different – sustainable vehicles, powered by compressed natural gas and as well as traditional Neapolitan pies. The truck serves the quintessential Margherita, as well as a vegan marinara and dessert Nutella pies. Neapolitan Express espouses an eco-friendly ethos throughout the organization, the pizzas are made with organic ingredients and the organization supports sustainability projects like The Water Project and Thirst No More. You can follow them via Twitter to check their lunch locations throughout New York City.
With plenty of late night dining options in the East Village, it’s not difficult to grab a quick slice of pizza as you amble home in the wee hours with your friends. Yet, be it 4 p.m. or 4 a.m. there is always a young crowd gathered around the small facade of Artichoke pizza on 14th street between 1st and 2nd Avenue. Some wait patiently in the long line while others emerge gripping a plate with a slice of pie. After a stint in the bar, most people’s taste buds aren’t exactly attuned to gourmet tastes and at $4.50 it’s not quiet the bargain buy, yet so many take the time to queue. So what’s the big deal?
As the name implies, the signature flavor is a thick, white artichoke slice, heavy and comforting like your mom’s creamiest soup. They also offer a crab pie, as well as classic Margherita and Sicilian styles. Every slice is delicious and the range in density from super filling to the lighter Margherita, provides an option for diverging tastes. Artichoke is open from 10 a.m. until 5a.m. and they also offer beer on draft, so you can keep the late night party going.
Other locations include Chelsea at 114 Tenth Avenue New York and Greenwich Village at 111 MacDougal Street.
Traditionally a savory dish, pizza is now being featured on dessert menus throughout the city. Designed to satisfy those with a sweet tooth, here are some of the growing number of places that cater to the indulgent diner.
The Location: 19 1st Ave between 1st and 2nd Street.
The Atmosphere: Walking past the dark brown facade of Lil’ Frankie’s, one might easily miss this East Village pizza institution.
But once inside, the cozy kitchen resembles a quaint Italian living room. Vintage family portraits dangle from kitschy wallpaper and waiters bustle through the small dining rooms, juggling pizza pies and freshly made pasta.
The Pizza: Like the interior, the focacciano pizza is truly authentic. Made from a small lump of dough, the focaccino pie is raked thin and cooked briefly. For the dessert version, the base is sliced in half horizontally. Nutella and strawberries are sandwiched between the two pieces of crisp crust, drizzled with Grand Marnier, dusted with powdered sugar, and finished with a dollop of cream. Simple, but elegant—this pie is by far the most well crafted of the City’s dessert pizzas.
The Price: $12.95.
The Size: 7 Inches.