Bonafide Williamsburg Tested, Westchester Approved Pizza
A native, a CIA grad, and a nearly century-old pizza oven are mixing old school and new school in New Rochelle.
Photos by Doug Schneider
There’s something special about the white pie at Pizzeria La Rosa. The dough, made with all-organic flour and fermented for 24-36 hours, is crisp and light. Milky house-made mozzarella melts evenly under smooth dollops of ricotta. Almost-jammy caramelized onions and shards of tangy pecorino liven things up, while sesame seeds, toasted from the heat of the wood-burning pizza oven, add a nutty crunch to those last few bites of crust.
Westchester native Matt DiGesu and Frank Pinello, a CIA grad who slung pies at Roberta’s before opening Best Pizza in Williamsburg, opened La Rosa (named for DiGesu’s grandmother) in October. Inspired by the old-school vibes — and nearly century-old oven — of the former Modern Restaurant space, La Rosa has a distinctly retro vibe. “I spent time traveling and seeing these old ovens and old establishments,” says Pinello. “I knew how rare it was. I couldn’t build this if I tried.”
The four pies on the menu are what Pinello calls “New York-meets-Neapolitan,” a crispy classic-NY-style crust topped simply with high-quality ingredients. Vegetable dishes — a stellar arugula salad with plumped raisins, pickled fennel, and lemon-confit vinaigrette; roasted carrots with carrot-top pesto, and broccoli with garlic-salami breadcrumbs — are equally compelling.
“We’re getting a good response, but I feel like there’s so much more to do,” says Pinello. “What are we doing to do to keep making the experience better?”
Pizzeria La Rosa
12 Russell Ave, New Rochelle