If Rose & Joe's Italian Bakery wasn't already a fairly well-known quantity among pizza hounds in NYC, you could be excused for thinking you'd walked in on a sort of secret pizzeria there. Past the Italian bread in the window, past all the permutations of sprinkle-dipped cookies in the display cases, clear in the back is a small counter where you can get a slice or two of Italian bakery pizza.
Don't ask me how "Italian bakery pizza" is different from a Sicilian slice or a grandma slice. It's probably somewhere in between. Like both of those styles, it's cooked in a large rectangular pan and is cut into hearty, cheesy rectangles. Rose & Joe's square slices are hefty, with lots of sauce and cheese. Sauce first, cheese on top. Here, an abundant amount of melty low-moisture mozzarella blankets a thick, tangy sauce, with spots of cheese crisped ever so nicely into just-slightly-chewy territory.
There never seems to be a line for slices here, which is good and bad. They can sit for some time, which means you'll probably want a reheat, but it also means you can almost always get a coveted corner slice.
Plain pies are always available. I've almost always seen mushroom pies, too. Sometimes you'll see olive pies, broccoli rabe pies, and pepperoni pies. Just depends on when you go and what they have available. You can't go wrong with that plain slice, though.
Rose & Joe's Italian Bakery
22-40 31st Street, Astoria NY 11105 (near Ditmars Boulevard; map) 718-721-9422
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