New York has long been regarded as a, if not the, pizza Mecca. But these days, many of our city's most highly publicized pizzerias share increasingly less with the slice joints and classic pie shops that engendered that reputation in the first place. Whether you're a native New Yorker or a first-time visitor, here are 12 old-school pizzerias you should definitely know.
'totonnos/' on Serious Eats
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We set out for Coney Island last weekend for a long overdue taste of Totonno's. The pizzeria has only been open for a matter of weeks, since completing post-Sandy repairs, but they haven't skipped a beat. The pies? Better than ever.
Contrary to recent news coverage, Totonno's did not have to replace their oven following last fall's hurricane damages. Read what co-owner Antoinette Balazano has to say on the matter.
A look at what's dominating the pizza headlines of late...
Letters to Totonno's: Pete Wells, Allison Robicelli, Cookie Cimineri, and Others on America's Church of Pizza
On Monday, we reported the much-anticipated news that Totonno's was finally back in business, nearly five months after Sandy sent flood waters surging through their front doors. In honor of their reopening, we've collected testimonies and love letters to Totonno's from Louise "Cookie" Cimineri, Pete Wells, Dick Zigun, Adam Kuban, and more.
Yesterday, Totonno's opened its doors once again. It's not every restaurant—or family—that would display the kind of resilience that we've seen from this iconic Coney Island pizzeria. And we cannot wait to get our fix.
Back in early December, chef Daniel Patterson organized a fundraising dinner at Coi, one of his San Francisco restaurants, to benefit victims of Hurricane Sandy. A portion of the proceeds were to be reserved for the acclaimed Brooklyn restaurant Governor. Last week, Governor's owners announced that it will not be reopening. Now Patterson will be rerouting the $5,000 raised for Governor to another New York food business in need: Brooklyn institution Totonno's.
For so many of New York's food businesses that were the worst hit by the hurricane, the initial losses have been amplified by a prolonged struggle to move forward. The song remains the same at Totonno's.
The addition of a new Grimaldi's outlet to Coney Island offered the perfect excuse to assess the pizza landscape, find the best non-pizza alternative, and check in with longstanding pizza heavyweight Totonno's.
Most great pizzerias are the product of one compulsive, obsessive person who lives and dies with every pie. Is it possible for a pizzeria to expand beyond two locations and maintain the quality that makes them great? It's like pizza-obsessed folks have decided that their collective ovens get too hot for them to consider adding a third pizzeria.
Here's the tweet that inspired this post:
Yes, @alexandrak, such a post does exist, and if your boyfriend finds what I'm about to write all TL;DR, he can check it out: The 10 Best Pizzas in NYC » That's a solid list, no doubt. And if his NYC pizza research stops there, I'm sure he'd be happy. But I think simply dropping a best-of list on a New York newbie does him a bit of a disservice. After all, he's moving to a pizza mecca. I think a little context is in order.
When deciding on this list, certainly history, setting, and pedigree had an impact, but in the end, it was all about the flavor. We didn't care whether the joint was 80 years old, or 8 months old, as long as they served a tasty pie. And here they are. Our favorite pizzas in the city. A mix of the old, a mix of the new, a representation of most of the boroughs, a bit of something delicious for everyone.
Sad news for coal oven–pizza lovers: Totonno's is closing both its Manhattan locations. The notice above is from the Second Avenue & 81st Street location, which will morph into a restaurant called Toscano's. (Text of notice, after the jump.) No word on what, if anything, will replace the 26th & Second Avenue location. The original Coney Island location remains open.
In the Village Voice's Best of 2010 issue, the alt-weekly's three food writers, Robert Sietsema, Sarah DiGregorio, and Rebecca Marx, name-check their top pizza picks of the year. Interesting to note is that Ms. Marx's is not necessarily a pizzeria...
Reaching in to the Slice mailbag, we've got ... Hey, Adam!I was a royal escort at Saturday's Mermaid Parade on Coney Island, where the king and queen were Lou Reed and Laurie Anderson (omg!). Lou didn't get as into the costumed spirit as some of us—I was a BP pirate, complete with oil-slicked bird on my shoulder—but he WAS wearing a Totonno's hat, and that's pretty damn Coney of him.Attached is a pic of me with Lou and Laurie, doing my best "arrrrrrrrrrrr" (but instead freaking out in a total fangirl moment). And if you look here, in the...
[Photographs: Adam Kuban] They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Totonno's is back, and this photo says it all. I was going to leave you with just this one image, but I couldn't resist throwing a gallery together. Peep it, if you'd like....
I am now at Totonno's, and IT IS OPEN. Lawrence Ciminieri is making pies, and his mom, Cookie, is looking rested but is as irrascible as ever. Videographic evidence, after the jump....
[Photograph: Adam Kuban] So, yeah. The Wednesday reopening? Didn't happen. Totonno's owner Lawrence Ciminieri says the weather KO'd him. But the latest bit of news we have to report in the anticipated Totonno's reopening is that the Coney Island pizzeria will be firing up tomorrow (Friday, February 12). All the items are in place, Ciminieri told Ed Levine by phone last night, and, Ciminieri says, someone from the mayor's office is going to be there at the reopening ceremony. As promised before, Ciminieri will be making the pies tomorrow....