2848 Broadway, New York NY 10025 (110th Street; map); 212-222-1566
Getting there: 1 train to 110th-Cathedral Parkway
Pizza style: Jumbo New York–style
Oven type: Gas
The skinny: Most places that do jumbo slices are all about the size. But Koronet's pizza is actually decent AND GIGANTOR. And if you're ordering a small slice there, you obviously don't like to save money
Price: $3.75 jumbo plain slice; $2.75 "small" plain slice
Koronet Pizza's jumbo slices are the size of your head. Seriously. Check me out above. But if you live in Morningside Heights or attend(ed) Columbia University, you already knew this. The pizzeria is locally famous among hungry bargain-hunters looking to fill up on the cheap and, because it's open late, among sloshed students hoping to soak up some of the night's alcohol.
Koronet has been serving jumbo pies since first opening in 1981, says Nick Manikis, who owns the pizzeria along with his brother and mother. Why? "I don't know," Manikis says. "It was my father who started it."
Back in those days the original jumbo pizza was "only" 25 inches across. But in 1990, Manikis said, they supersized the pies to the current 30-inch diameter. Koronet also sells "small" pies and slices. Small being relative — at 16 inches across, they'd be larges anywhere else.
But it's the jumbo people come here for. Lean over the counter to catch a glimpse of a jumbo slice pie or watch one of the guys make one, and it's almost comical. The thing is huge. So big, in fact, that Manikis says they have to deliver it in two pizza boxes. (I have to admit, I was a little disappointed they didn't have a custom-made jumbo box for delivery.)
Watching one of the skilled pizzamen make one is interesting, too. The dough portion is enormous, and as the pizzamaker opens it up, you'll see him using "the Egyptian move" (letting the edge of the circle droop over the prep table), as much out of necessity as for the convenience of letting gravity help stretch the pie. After it's too big to work on the table, the pizzamaker does a bit of a hand-to-hand spin to bring the dough out to its full 30-inch diameter.
By day the place is busy even at off hours, with the No. 1 train just outside the door disgorging a crowd of patrons into the place each time it stops. At night it's mobbed with Columbia kids. No matter the hour, though, you're likely to see something like this:
"Kids like to split a jumbo slice," Manikis says. "Or if it's a parent with a child, they'll ask for it cut so they can share it."
And by my math, there's plenty to share here. A jumbo slice is equal to 3.5 "small" slices. Check it ...
The Koronet Jumbo Slice Price Breakdown
Employing some fancy 7th Grade math, you get the above results. Jumbo slices ($3.75 each) are cut from a 30-inch pie. That's 88 square inches of pizza per slice.
Small slices clock in at 25 square inches and cost $2.75.
Twenty-five goes into 88 just over 3.5 times. So for $1 more, you're getting 2.5 extra slices.
Have you ever had a telemarketer try to goad you into buying something using the line, "But don't you want to save money?" That's pretty much what's going on here. If you're are eating a small slice, you're sort of throwing money away.
But of course, the question becomes whether you can finish a whole jumbo slice. I'm afraid to say that I can only get about two-thirds of the way through. And, as you know, it's quick work at the pointy end of the piece but slow going once you get to the wider rear of the slice. What about you, Koronet fans (and I know you're out there), can you finish a whole jumbo slice?
The other obvious question is whether you're eating Koronet only for the bargain, quality be damned. And I'd say that it's actually pretty good. I think that Colin the Slice Harvester nails it in his review:
The size forces it to go into a Dough-Thickness Bracket higher than I generally prefer, for the sake of maintaining structural integrity. Aside from that, the dough is good quality, the cheese is good, ample but not overabundant, and the sauce, although on the sweetish side, is not so bad. Overall the slice is on the above-average side of plain old "good," but the amount of food you get for your money makes it kind of a spectacular bargain.
And as I'm typing this here, Girl Slice, a Columbia alumna herself, who is looking over my shoulder as I type this, would like you to know that, "I think the sauce is really good! It's sweet, which I like. I think it's the best in that neighborhood."
Here's the upskirt. Not too bad looking. I don't know if they do this on purpose, but there are sort of little oyster cracker–size nugs of dough on the underside of the jumbo pies. They were there all three days I visited.
And here's the hole structure:
Koronet, as far as I know, is the only place in NYC doing jumbo slices. Correct me if I'm wrong.