PIZZA TRUCK (MIDTOWN)
KEEP ON TRUCKIN' New York's Finest Pizza operates out of a custom-made pizza truck (top and above left) on the northeast corner of 51st Street and Park Avenue. We observed the truck, across from Saint Bartholomew's, around 1:30 p.m. yesterday; the truck was very popular, with no shortage of customers (above right).
By 1:20 p.m. yesterday, I had made a sizable dent in my inbox so I decided to take lunch a little farther afield than usual. Bored with the mediocre and overpriced options near the office, I walked about 10 blocks up and a couple east to New York's Finest Pizza, a.k.a. "The Midtown Pizza Truck."
New York's Finest was neither mediocre nor overpriced, leaving me pleasantly surprised. I mean, pizza from a truck? Come on.
Turns out that the crisp, thin-crust Sicilian squares (right) are tasty, topped with a generous portion of fresh sauce, a bit of fresh basil, and a sparse sprinkling of Parm. The crust was light and perfectly crisp toward what would have been the middle of the pie but was a bit too crunchy at the edges for my taste. Still, it's certainly better than many of the places I've tried in Midtown.
After finishing my slices (I ordered one slice but for some reason was given two at no extra charge), I asked the truck's operator, Chris Wandy, a few questions. New York's Finest, he said, has been open for about a year and a half. It operates year-roundeven though "it's murder in this heat," the oven, built into the back of the truck, keeps Mr. Wandy warm in winter. Crusts are prebaked at a kitchen beforehand, and the final bake is done in-truck. The sauce is also prepared in the off-truck kitchen but tastes none the worse for it.
The truck itself is a custom job. Mr. Wandy and his business partner, Douglas Spinosa, built it themselves after a catering-truck manufacturer quoted them a hefty delivery price of $100,000. "I'm buying a pizza truck, not a house," Mr. Wandy said. "Know what I mean?"
We at Slice do know what he means. And we also know that sticker shock won't be an issue at the pizza truck. The Sicilian-style slicesround pies are not an option herego for $2. Whole square pies are $15. There are other menu options, but I didn't try them (well, except for the Pepsi$1).
What we don't know, however, is where Mr. Wandy is finding houses for $100,000.
At right is the truck's menu; the pizza truck thread over on the Pizza Peel, Slice's bulletin board, has one patron saying, "I have tried the chicken parm and the rice balls, but both leave something to be desired. But the pizza is not bad, particularly for Midtown." Amazingly, the pizza truck has an oven built in; click the image at far right for a better view.
NEW YORK'S FINEST
Location: Northeast corner of 51st Street and Park Avenue
Prices: Plain slice, $2; whole plain pie, $15; all beverages $1