Dear Slice: My Pelham Bay Rundown
I was recently turned on to your website and really enjoyed it. I see that you did a decent job mentioning some good Bronx places we frequent, like Louie & Ernie's, Coals, and Tosca. We live in Pelham Bay, and I am happy to report that we still have a ton of great pizza parlors in our neighborhood. I'm almost afraid to mention this, as I don't want too many tourists to come and the prices to go up. But really isn't it a crime not to share the news on great pizza?
My belief as to why the pizza is almost universally great here is that Pelham Bay is where Italians still live and make the pizza. You will often hear Italian spoken on the street (the main drag is Crosby Avenue between Buhre and Middletown) and in the pizza parlors. Of course Arthur Avenue has the great markets and excellent restaurants, but it's really not an Italian neighborhood. Pelham Bay is, which is why the pizza is so great--because it's made by Italians and the locals are very discerning.
Here's a rundown of some of our favorite places. In general, the crust in this neighborhood is on the thin side (not all ultra-thin like Louie's), the sauce is homemade (of course) and the quality of the cheese and other ingredients is very good.
Louie & Ernie's: Of course. Great thin crust with excellent flavor. This is where we go for a thin crust. Believe it or not, their clams casino pizza is awesome, too. It's always a crowd-pleaser. You taste the clams, but the pizza's not too salty--a nice taste of garlic, and still with the same thin crust. And Louie & Ernie's family-style prositinni calzone is full of creamy ricotta and tasty mozzarella and a delicious Italian-style ham. 1300 Crosby Avenue, Bronx NY 10461; 718-829-6230
Joe's Pizza: A real Italian (as in from Italy) style pizzeria. Either the Italian league futbol games or the Italian soaps are always on. They make a great big rectangular pizza that has a buttery focaccia-style crust and Italian ingredients, such as zucchini, eggplant, arugula, or a tapanade. And their normal cheese slice is good, too. Not thin crust but certainly not thick, with good cheese (not too much) and tasty sauce. This place tastes like Italy. And if you want the best cappuccino this side of Roma, stop next door when you're done. 3009A Middletown Road, Bronx NY 10461 (next to Café d' Italia); 718-931-3145
Frank's Pizza: Again, run by Italians where the accent is still heard. They may have the best tasting sauce in the neighborhood. A regular style crispy crust (not too thin, not too thick) w/ plenty of their delicious sauce and lots of cheese. They also do some real Italian pizzas, like their "Grandma" slice that is on a square thin foccacia like crust w/ chunky sauce and pesto, no cheese w/ lots of taste of fresh oil and garlic. It's delicious. This is where we usually go for a normal cheese slice. 2823 Middletown Road, Bronx NY 10461 (at Mulford); 718-597-3333
Crosby Pizza: Tasty pizza with a good regular cheese slice, but this is where we go for Sicilian. Crosby is actually the home of the round Sicilian, which it bakes in a deep round dish. The thing that makes this slice stand out is both how light and airy the crust is for its thickness as well as the amount and quality of the cheese Crosby uses. It's a bite of mozzarella heaven with a flavor that lasts a long time. 1731 Crosby Avenue, Bronx NY 10461 (across from the Blockbuster); 718-823-8980
Family Pizza: Their pizza is very good and their slices are tasty. However, for a thin slice we go to Louie's, for a normal cheese slice we go to either Frank's or Joe's and for a Sicilian we cross the street. The real reason to go to Family is actually not for pizza but for their homemade ices. Other places are more known (Theresa's next to Louie's or Egidio's on Arthur Ave), but I believe Family's Italian Ices are the best. Not too many flavors so they do them all right. And not many places still make old fashioned stallworths like cream nut, cream chip and cappuccino. A nice way to cap off a slice, especially in the summer heat. 1760 Crosby Avenue, Bronx NY 10461 (b/n Citibank and HSBC and across from Crosby Pizza); 718-824-4700
Of course the above is not an inclusive list of the nabe, but enough to wet the appetite. Hopefully this made you a little hungry and has you thinking about a return trip to Pelham Bay. I do believe that pizza parlor for pizza parlor we are as good as anywhere in the city. Let me know if you plan on taking a ride up and I'll be glad to give you the personal pizza tour.
Thanks, Robert! Those pizzerias are a welcome addition to the pizza intel here on Slice.