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.
Location: 841 Broadway between 13th and 14th Street.
The Atmosphere: While advertised as an artesian chocolate boutique, Max Brenner’s feels more like the Ghiradelli Chocolate Factory. The aroma of fresh cocoa seeps through the doors as tourists flock in and out laden with backpacks, cameras and shopping bags from Union Square. Massive vats stir chocolate in liquid circles, while packs of customers wait in line for a slice of the large chocolate pie incubating under a bright yellow food lamp.
The Pizza: “Max’s Signature Chocolate Chunks Pizza” has been a tourist favorite since 2006. The crust is crunchy and slathered with a generous amount of milk chocolate. To further dress up the decadence, you can select from four toppings: bananas, marshmallows, hazelnuts and peanut butter.
Price: $6.50 per slice or $27.99 per pie.
Size: 18-Inch Pie.
Merilu Pizza al Metro
The Location: 791 9th Ave between 52nd and 53rd Street.
The Atmosphere: Luciano Granato, 25, opened this small Hell’s Kitchen pizzeria after quitting his job in construction. “My father told me that the world is always going to need lawyers, doctors and restaurants,” he recalls. “I’m not a doctor and I’m not a lawyer, so this was the only choice I had.” Pooling his resources with his parents, brother and sister, together they opened Merilu Pizza Al Metro. The restaurant maintains a traditional Italian ethos, so even the tourists are treated like honored guests at a family cena.
The Pizza: Merilu boasts the most extensive list of dessert pies with seven variations. There’s Nutella, banana, strawberry, walnut, coconut, marshmallow and the Maggie pie. “Maggie is my sister and she has quite a sweet tooth,” he says. Lavished with Nutella, Kit Kat chunks, chocolate chips, Reeses Pieces and powdered sugar, Maggie’s dessert pizza is one of the most popular dishes (and a guaranteed sugar coma.)
The Price: $11- $14.
The Size: 10 Inches.
Rizzo’s Fine Pizza
The Location: 1426 Lexington Ave between 93rd and 94th Street.
The Atmosphere: Italian music hums in the background as co-owner Josephine Giglo paces between the large metal oven and the counter, handing out hot slices. Every few minutes, the deliveryman pops in and out like a jack in the box, quickly replenishing his empty bag. The second restaurant in the Rizzo’s chain, this Lexington Avenue venue opened only three years ago. The original Astoria location was established in 1959.
The Pizza: Rizzo’s wafer-thin dessert pie is a feat of layers: chocolate hazelnut cream is sprinkled with chocolate chips, chocolate syrup and powdered sugar. While many of the savory pizzas are available by the slice, the dessert pie is made to order. With plans to open a third location in the Lower East Side this May, downtown dessert fans will soon be able to enjoy Rizzo’s signature pie.
The Price: $7.50.
Size: 12 Inches.