That ’70s Pizza: The Best Slices Of Central Avenue

Discovering, ranking—and eating—Westchester pizza, one slice at a time.



Gennaro’s plain slice hasn't changed in 33 years. If it ain't broke...

Photos by Leslie-Anne Brill

After we ate our way through Mamaroneck Avenue's best pizza, we wondered: How do the old hangouts on Central Avenue hold up? We braved the traffic lights and slinked in for slices to find out.

Star ratings are out of five 

Gennaro’s Pizza & Pasta

Gennaro's Pizza & Pasta in Scarsdale opened 33 years ago in what was once Delisi's, the dark-paneled pizza den of my childhood (and before that, a dress factory). The paneling's gone, but the pizza (pictured above) hasn’t changed—satisfyingly crisp crust, good sauce and cheese, and dripping a small pool of orange oil. The guys there still know people who lived on your street.

Plain Slice: ★★★

759 Central Park Ave
Scarsdale
(914) 472-6329

Venetian Delight

You can't get much more generic-looking than Venetian Delight in Hartsdale, which opened in 1973. Counter area on one side, dining room on the other, paper placemats with pictures of Italy—you get the picture. The slice is solid but unexceptional; the reason for going was always the eggplant Parmesan wedge (or hero, for you newbies). Was that just some obsession of my mom's?

I cautiously order a small, not expecting a choice of size, surprised again that it arrives open-faced. I close the halves of the toasted roll and bite in. No fooling: this is the best eggplant Parm wedge around (but if you get it to go, don't put off eating it or you’ll be left with soggy mush).

Plain Slice: ★★★

257 Central Ave
Hartsdale
(914) 761-3133; venetiandelight.com

Pizza & Brew

The biggest news about Pizza & Brew in Scarsdale is that it is once again called Pizza & Brew. It's been owned by the Racanelli Family since 1974, but after a gut redo a few years ago that wrenched a few hearts, it became Racanelli's New York Italian—in other words, something else. I was going to skip it until I saw they'd grandly reopened as Pizza & Brew. Heck, they even got the old font back.

The slice hasn’t changed a bit, but now you can have it with Angry Orchard cider. The room may have gotten an Edgemont 2.0 upgrade, but the bar is where the bar was, and there are still booths, all looking familiar enough to tug at these nostalgic heartstrings.

Plain Slice: ★★★½

851 Central Park Ave
Scarsdale
(914) 472-1032; pizzaandbrewscarsdale.com

Pizza Beat

An honorable mention to Pizza Beat in Yonkers, which just changed hands but has been around since 1977 (“I was a boy, ma’am,” says Manager Max Scarogni). They’ve kept the menu entirely the same, and it ranges from pizza—blander but cheesier than Pizza & Brew’s—to surprisingly popular steak.

Plain Slice: ★★★

2575 Central Park Ave
Yonkers
(914) 961-4456; facebook.com/pages/Pizza-Beat-Italian-Restaurant/241669705843999

Catania’s Pizza

Too bad I didn't know about Catania's Pizza in Yonkers back then. They moved here from Arthur Avenue in the ’70s; a photo by the counter shows the family at the old location in 1955.

The pizza is good enough, but the calzones! Made throughout the day in sheets of 12 steeply billowing squares, they come in three varieties: spongy ricotta that tastes like it was made minutes ago; meatball, which looks solid from the outside but is more of a sloppy Joe; and veal and peppers.

Plain Slice: ★★★

2260 Central Ave
Yonkers
(914) 779-5105


Want to explore Central Avenue's other offerings? Read our Central Avenue Food Guide

 

 

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