Pies baked in homemade sauce bake to a crisp, golden finish over hot embers inside ovens at Giovanni's Coal Fire Pizza. 15 homemade Italian dinners, authentic pastas, chicken dishes, sandwiches, and salads top tables inside both locations, which each sport exposed-brick walls and a bevy of flat-screen televisions.
The ambrosial aroma of Italian spices fills the air inside Pizza Time Caffé, which dishes up an extensive menu of pizza and traditional Italian favorites. The thin-and-crispy Grandma pizza with fresh mozzarella and marinara sauce ($21.99) and the pizza caprese with fresh plum tomatoes, garlic, and olive oil ($15.99) are Italian-style pies that transport diners to the old country. Meanwhile, a 16-inch New York–style hand-tossed crust topped with mozzarella ($14.99), and additional toppings such as pepperoni or ricotta ($1.50 each), brings tears of joy to Empire State eyes faster than Derek Jeter turning a double play before saving twin babies from a burning building. Adventurous appetites can try a specialty pie such as the mashed-potato pizza with bacon and three cheeses ($26.95) to rebel against the traditional rules of pizza creation. For those seeking a less disk-based cheese-and-sauce infusion, Pizza Time Caffé offers an astounding variety of Italian classics such as lasagna ($12.99) and eggplant rollatini twisted up with ricotta cheese and prosciutto and served with tomato sauce and pasta ($14.99). A wide selection of subs suits hands-on diners in a hurry while cappuccinos ($4 each) and espressos ($2.50 each) keep their engines running.
For owners Joe Arato and Joe Gonnelly, Rosedale Brick Oven Pizzeria is a physical piece of nostalgia. The restaurant's name references the neighborhood in Queens where the two became childhood friends, bonding over a mutual passion for eating and evaluating Italian food. Having finally opened their own venue, they've inundated the setting with vintage charm. Exposed brick and wood surround the authentic wood-fired oven, accented by monitors that silently broadcast black-and-white movie classics, and the music of Frank Sinatra and Frankie Valli drifts throughout the dining room.
As they immerse themselves in the warmth of the rustic interior, diners peruse a menu built from imported ingredients. San marzano tomatoes flavor some of the 11 specialty pizzas crafted from housemade dough, including the margherita, which Kelly Merritt of the Daily News calls "impossibly fresh." The same review also praises the pasta-ordering system, which has patrons choose their favorite sauces and pasta types, a departure from the traditional method of blindfolding them as they pick noodles from a steaming colander. Diners might elect to mix the house-specialty alla vodka sauce with ridged rigatoni, a combination that Merritt deems "chief among the best."
Andrew Garavuso occasionally leaves his post as chef at Sicilian Oven to display his culinary abilities. In one appearance on NBC 6's morning show, he passed out samples of his eatery’s wood-fired pizzas and cooked mussels in white wine sauce. Back on the home turf of his kitchen, chef Garavuso stands over steaming pots of house-made sauces and cuts from-scratch pasta dough into strips of linguine or sheets to write lasagna recipes on. Around him, wood-fired pizzas emerge from ovens, steam pouring from fresh-made dough in golden circles or the square shape that is traditional for Sicilian pies. Tomatoes imported from Italy support toppings, such as olives, fresh basil, steak, sopressata, and gorgonzola.
The chefs at Crazy Tomato Pizza and Wings bake traditional and creative pies to serve crowds both large and small. Their wings make for savory finger food for groups gathered around the big game, with each batch coming out piping hot and made to order.