Cinelli's its menu of traditional Italian eats with an assortment of locally and organically grown ingredients. Broccoli rabe and melted fontina cheese ornament an appetizer of grilled beefsteak tomatoes ($7), piquing appetites and inspiring innovative Christmas-tree-decoration ideas. Chefs cover a plethora of 12-inch piada flatbreads with grilled chicken and fresh mozzarella ($8) or breaded and fried eggplant ($8). Black-tiger shrimp, string beans and sun-dried tomatoes tossed in garlic and oil brodetto slumber on a vegetable-infused risotto bed ($16), and 12-inch thin-crusted artisan pizzas topped with a variety of meats, cheeses, and veggies ($10+) nourish feasters in groups of two or three.
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.
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.
Despite the promise of pizza implicit in its name, mr.Pies' hidden gem—at least according to customers—actually lies in the menu's appetizer section. Doused in fiery buffalo sauce, served with blue cheese for dipping, and offset by crunchy celery, the buffalo wings draw a comparable amount of eaters as the pizza. Don't fret if you can't choose between the two—you can get buffalo chicken scattered right across your pie. Or skip wings and pizza all together, and dig into a traditional Italian pasta dish instead.
Some of New York's most familiar faces have been spotted enjoying Umberto's award-winning pizza. Rudy Giuliani. Eli Manning. Victor Cruz. The Statue of Liberty whenever a lightning storm reanimates her. There are more complex entrees as well—including seafood marinara with clams, scungilli, mussels, lobster, and calamari—but the crown jewel of the menu remains the specialty pizzas strewn with authentically Italian toppings such as meatballs and broccoli rabe.