Mamaroneck Diner and Pizza
405 East Boston Post Road, Mamaroneck NY 10543 (map); 914-698-3564; mdiner.com
Pizza Style: New England Greek
Oven Type: Gas
Price: Plain cheese: small $7.10 large $12.10, Mamaroneck Special: small $12.10 large $17.10.
Notes: Open 24/7
One of the more esoteric pizza styles is the New England "Greek" style of pie, so called not because it contains feta cheese on a pita but because it gained currency by being served out of Greek diners. The pie is largely confined to New England, although I was lucky to find a fine example of the breed just north of New York City in Mamaroneck, New York.
Mamaroneck is renowned in the world of pizza because of Sal's Pizza which serves one of the finest Sicilian slices around. But it should also become a destination to anyone interested in sampling a unique and delicious regional variation of pizza. For homesick New Englanders it's one of southernmost points where the pizza is served. I don't know of any other diners serving the pizza style in Westchester County, although I do remember that the now-closed Cosmo Diner in Rye, New York, used to serve it. (Additionally, Slice'r "samm" reports that you can find it in NYC proper at Astoria's Gyro Uno.)
The rather awkwardly (and perhaps grammatically incorrectly) named Mamaroneck Diner and Pizza appropriately sits on the Boston Post Road. The menu and the decor are a pretty standard example of a diner except for the inclusion of pizza on the menu.
The pies are cooked in heavily oiled pans in a gas oven. The dough is allowed to rise in the pan before baking before being topped with sauce and cheese.
The crust is deeply burnished, not to the point of blackening, rather it attains the color of mahogany with a correspondingly pleasing crunch. But it also has a pliancy and tenderness at the point where the crust and toppings meet that becomes delectably creamy and amorphous. Because the dough is allowed to rise before baking, the structure is lighter and airier than a flat pie, with larger pockets of air in the inner structure.
The sauce is more flavorful than that of a typical New York–style or Neapolitan pizza—it is heavily seasoned with oregano and adds a spicy, herbaceous element to the pie beyond the standard basil. It is pH neutral, far more savory than sweet, and works well with the molten blanket of cheese that tops the pie.
The cheese is a mixture of low-moisture mozzarella and a mild cheddar. The latter contributes a sharpness not normally found on pizza as well as a yellow hue and an oiliness that is not altogether unwelcome. The cheese is burnished on the top, pockmarked with fingernail sized blisters.
The combination is simply delicious.
The Mamaroneck Special comes with portobello mushrooms, olives, Italian sausage, pepperoni, onions, and green peppers.
Loading a pie with toppings works great since the crust is robust enough to handle them, but I actually preferred the plain pie—the basic elements are compelling enough.
If you have never had a New England Greek–style pizza, I encourage you to seek out the form if it is geographically feasible. You will be rewarded with a delicious and unique pie that falls somewhere between Chicago and NYC. You could do far worse than the pie at Mamaroneck Diner and Pizza, even though it falls outside of New England.
Great Slices and Pies in the Area
- Yonkers Frank Pepe's vs. New Haven Pepe's »
- Sal's: Great Sicilian Slices in Mamaroneck »
- Mount Vernon NY: Johnny's Pizza »
- Port Chester NY: Tarry Lodge Road Trip »
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