Calda Pizzeria & Restaurant’s extensive menu of pizzas, piles of pasta, and burgers parades past gleaming tables flaunting time-tested Italian flavors. Diners can share 18-inch chicken-club pizzas ($21.95) decorated with produce, bacon, and ranch dressing, or guard their own personal-size eggplant-and-ricotta pies ($9.95) from herbivorous velociraptors. The Pizzeria burger ($9.95) merges the best of both worlds by draping a half-pound slab of Angus beef in homemade tomato sauce and a mantle of melted mozzarella. Linguine fruti di mare ($17.95) lets a school of mussels, calamari, and shrimp play Marco Polo in a pool of marinara sauce, and california penne with sun-dried tomatoes, grilled chicken, and broccoli spears ($12.95) lobs crisp fistfuls of veggies like a farmer on a Carnival float. The Levittown eatery features soft lighting and a row of burnt-sienna stools, and windows at the Hicksville establishment admit cascades of natural light.
For almost half a century, Rose and Frank DiMartino and their equally able staff have been unfurling handrolled Neapolitan and Sicilian crusts, piled high with pizza-appropriate ingredients. Using family recipes brought over from Napoli, the brick oven torch is now carried stalwartly forward by their four children. Thin- and thick- rimmed crusts are laden with old standbys, including sausage, pepperoni, meatballs, anchovies, and peppers found on the Pappardelle’s supreme ($19.95/neopolitan) or more elaborate garnishments like fresh eggplant ($17.50/neopolitan). Beyond sauce-ensconced saucers, Pappardelle's invites diners to orally explore Italy with fresh salads ($6.25–$13.95), pasta al forno ($9.25–$14.95), and meaty entrees ($7.95–$20.75).
On the façade of Buongusto PieSanos hangs a neon-sculpted slice of pizza, its tip sagging under the weight of cheese, toppings, and the softness of hand-tossed dough. It's a fair of depiction of one of the restaurant's signature offerings—hearty Italian-style pies topped with ingredients including eggplant, baked ziti, or chicken parmigiana. Classic pastas and sandwiches join their circular brethren, and gluten-free and whole-wheat pasta options are available for diners with gluten sensitivity or investments tied up in wheat futures.
An uber-extensive menu of Italy’s favorite dishes are recreated day after day inside Papa Louie’s Pizzeria. Piles of penne and spaghetti pair with fresh italian bread ready to be dunked into a medley of sauces for their own Rorschach test. Chicken, eggplant, and veal change costumes with a marsala, parmigiana, and francaise dressing. The staff bakes 15 specialty pizzas that come in circles or squares, just like the schoolwork given to kindergartners and the most advanced babies. Heros sandwiches are chockfull of baked eggplant, buffalo chicken, and Nani’s famous meatballs. The catering leg of Papa Louie’s Pizzeria feeds partygoers at myriad celebrations: graduations, birthdays, and surprise spring-cleaning parties.
The sauce-slingers at Joanne’s Gourmet Pizza craft a menu of doughed delights and appetizing entrees made with fresh, homegrown ingredients. Start with an appetizer of sautéed mushrooms ($6.95) before hanging a fang on one of the many gourmet pies, such as the margarita pizza ($8 for a 9”), the lasagna pizza ($8 for a 9”), or the bacon cheeseburger pizza ($9 for a 9”). The baked clam pie quells seafood cravings ($10 for a 9"), and the pineapple-and-ham speckled Hawaiian pizza ($9 for a 9”) treats tongues to a taste of Island fare without having to lick a VHS copy of Cast Away. Alternatives to crusted concoctions include pasta noodles, which can flaunt a number of sauces ranging from garlic and oil ($7.95) to bolognese ($10.95) and a selection of hearty entrees that include chicken marsala ($13.95) and meatball parmigiana ($15.95). Or exercise mastication muscles gnawing on a savory sandwich, such as the chicken bruschetta hero ($7.95) or sharpen incisors on a Greek salad (8.95).
A display case of oven-fresh pizzas and savory side dishes greets diners when they approach the counter at Vincent's Pizzeria. The cooks bake dough in all shapes and sizes, selling slices or entire pies of Neapolitan, Sicilian-style, and deep-dish pizzas. Each cheesy canvas emerges from the oven with a layer of toppings from a selection of 12 meats and vegetables, which includes garlic, bacon, and spinach. Pizza eaters also have the option of customizing their pie-crusts with sesame, garlic, onion, poppy seeds, and salt, known as "The Edge." To lend a rustic touch to the pasta entrees, the cooks roll meatballs and simmer housemade tomato sauce over smoldering copies of Little House on the Prairie. Although the restaurant only holds a handful of tables in its dining area, it can also serve its customers by delivering orders to homes and catering special events.
Patsy Grimaldi wasn’t like other boys his age. While his friends busied themselves playing baseball and balancing checkbooks, Patsy studied pizza-making under the tutelage of his uncle Patsy Lancieri. By the time Grimaldi was old enough to open a pizzeria of his own, he had perfected a recipe for fragrant tomato sauce and mastered the art of baking ultra-crispy crusts. As word of his pizza-making talents spread across New York, Patsy’s pizzeria attracted long lines and a variety of celebrity devotees including Bill Cosby, Bob Costas, and Frank Sinatra. Allegedly, Sinatra was so impressed by Patsy’s brick-oven pies that he regularly called in orders from his place in Vegas.
Today, Grimaldi’s Pizzerias have sprouted up across the country and earned accolades from Time magazine and Lonely Planet. Chefs continue to shower thin crusts in Pasty’s secret sauce along with handmade mozzarella and fresh toppings. They bake the pizzas in coal-fired brick ovens, faithfully following the tradition started by uncle Lancieri more than 80 years ago. Diners enjoy pies and brews in casual dining rooms where red-checkered tablecloths cover tables and NYC-inspired artwork decorates walls.