Photograph by Thomas McGovern photography
What do you prefer?
Thick or thin? New York or Neapolitan? Round or square? Red or white? Sausage — crumbled or sliced? And how about the dreaded “morning after” — cold or reheated?
Never has a food brought us together with its sheer simplicity, only to divide us with its plethora of permutations, as pizza.
We New Yorkers take our pizza very seriously. Remember the media maelstrom dubbed “Pizzagate,” which rocked Bill de Blasio’s nascent administration after the newly minted mayor dared to down a slice with a knife and fork during a disastrous photo op? Or the mounting anticipation after legendary Connecticut pizzeria Frank Pepe announced it would open its first Westchester outpost on Central Avenue in Yonkers? Local residents practically lined up for Pepe’s iconic coal-fired white clam pies (above) before their first mound of dough was kneaded. And most recently, more than a thousand (!) of you responded to our online pizza poll.
Not surprisingly, Pepe’s is among the top pies presented in this month’s cover story, which celebrates the county’s finest pizza offerings in all of their diverse, hot, gooey goodness. Whether you’re just looking for a new neighborhood slice shop or whole pies worthy of a rush-hour trip across I-287, we have you covered. “There’s pretty much a pizza for every occasion and appetite, from greasy bar-style pies loaded with toppings to simple thin-crust slices to ritzy toppings like truffles,” notes assistant editor Samantha Garbarini, who co-produced the pizza story package with senior editor John Bruno Turiano. “The Bronx is considered a great pizza scene, and Westchester for many years was a few steps behind,” adds John. “But now, with the variety of high-level old-school/new-school choices; various coal, wood, and even grilled options in the county; and even nicer sit-down restaurants offering on-point pizza, Westchester may have finally passed the Bronx in pizza cred.”
If this had been 1873, that compliment wouldn’t have meant much, since the Bronx was part of Westchester (who knew?) until someone in Albany got the bright idea to annex it to New York City the following year. That’s just one of many fun and interesting tidbits about our fair county to be gleaned from writer David Levine’s history piece, “21 Days That Changed Westchester” (page 136).
Even without the Bronx, there are still hundreds of pizzerias throughout Westchester, so there are bound to be some “slices of heaven” we’ve overlooked. Email your favorites to email@example.com, subject line: Pizza.
Enjoy the issue and a slice (or two) — just leave your knife and fork on the table.