Sinatra Knew Good Pizza
Reaching near 1,000°F, the coal oven at Patsy’s in New Rochelle is doing right by founder Pasquale “Patsy” Lanceri
Photos by John Bruno Turiano
A few weeks ago I wrote about the wood-fired pies at La Villa; now it’s time to give props to another worthy pie stop in the Queen City of the Sound, one with a heritage that goes way back to 1933 and where the pies are instead delicately charred to a honorable crisp in a coal-fired oven.
Frank Sinatra was perhaps the most ardent famous admirer of Patsy’s Pizzeria in East Harlem, but there were others too, like Joe DiMaggio, Dean Martin, and Rosemary Clooney, and it is credited with being one of the city’s earliest pizzerias.
The owner of the original location Frank Brija (who bought Patsy’s in 1991 after founder Pasquale “Patsy” Lanceri died) has franchised several Patsy’s out including the location in New Rochelle that opened in summer 2015.
The restaurant is along the Long Island Sound across from the Hudson Park & Beach (okay so there’s the New Rochelle Municipal Marina Lot between the restaurant and the water but close enough), which sets it apart from other locations.
The menu, outside of the pizza, is more expansive and has contemporary offerings (fried Kobe beef meatballs, kale Caesar salad) but the standout pies — true to the original thin crust, no slices concept — are the reason to come.
The classic pie with shredded mozzarella has a mildly sweet sauce and a crust that lends crunch with every bite. Even better is the exemplary Margherita, the modestly sauced fresh mozzarella and fresh basil classic.
The hands-down top tasting pie however was the white pie, perhaps the best sauce-free pie I’ve had. Often white pies are overloaded with cheese (perhaps the pie-maker supposing they have to make up for the lack of sauce) and the crust is lost. At Patsy’s, the white pie has a modest spread of shredded mozzarella but also restrained dollops the most delectable house-made ricotta with flecks of fresh parsley and dots of ground black pepper. I am sensing a future Best Of winner here perhaps…
The classic pies are $12 for a 12-inch and $15 for a 16-inch; the Margherita and white pies are each $14 for a 12-inch and $18 for a 16-inch.
2 Pelham Rd, New Rochelle
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