The Rocco boys' love for pizza started in the Bronx, where they worked at their father’s pizzerias from a young age. Now, brothers Joe, Mike, and Frank are continuing their family's tradition at 10 locations of their own invention—all flaunting the Planet Pizza name tag.
A man can't build such a pizza universe without some serious pies. But inspiration isn't a problem for the Planet Pizza culinary team, who've molded more than 30 toppings into about 25 specialty circles, all available on gluten-free and whole-wheat crusts. In addition to specialty pizzas, the cooks concoct other menu choices such the compo salad with baby field greens, grape tomatoes, candied walnuts, gorgonzola, and dried cranberries or the buffalo chicken wrap loaded with strips of crispy chicken, lettuce, tomato, spicy wing sauce, and chunky blue cheese dressing are more convincing than Pluto as a mature planet.
Ferraro’s multifaceted menu meanders from classic pizza offerings to traditional pasta dishes and ends face down in a fully loaded line-up of italian heroes. Gnocchi bolognese ($9.50 small, $12.50 large) tempts diners with handmade memory foam pillows of potato pasta, while the chicken scarpara showcases a saucy soirée of chicken, sausage, and hot cherry peppers ($14.50). A side of pasta, a small salad, and a stern home economics teacher chaperone each entree. Lunchers can commandeer pizza by the slice ($2.35–$3.25), such at the Grandma Pizza, a thin and crispy Sicilian-style square crust loaded with plum tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and a sprinkling of garlic ($3.25 per slice or $16.99 for a pie). Chivalrously delicious heroes include the Ferraro Special, a vodka-sauce-drizzled, golden-haloed chicken cutlet bedecked in melted mozzarella and prosciutto ($8.99).
The big draw at JT Straw’s Bar & Grill is the wood-fired brick oven, which crisps the edges of pizzas day and night. Housemade meatballs, smoked mozzarella, and sliced rib eye steak all sink into sauce before pies emerge from the oven ready to be gobbled down or used as a bargaining tool in divorce court. Aside from the pizza, JT Straw's also doles out draft brews, burgers, salads, and wings doused in more than 60 sauces, including spicy mexican, mango chipotle barbecue, and garlic sesame.
Harrison Pizza and Pasta’s chefs use old-fashioned recipes to prepare classic Italian eats and old-fashioned hospitality to treat customers as family members. The kitchen staff’s expansive menu details hot garlic knots, pasta fagioli, and eggplant heroes. The main attractions, however, are the eatery's specialty pizzas, which arrive on focaccia or Sicilian-style thick crust and, like its catered dinners, are designed to please large groups or solitary guests with multiple mouths.
The menu at Frankie & Fanucci's Wood Oven Pizzeria is dominated by the offerings from the authentic 800-degree wood-burning oven, which chars the tasty toppings melting against thin crust dough and crispy panini rolls. The simple margherita pizza consists of fresh mozzarella from Brooklyn, imported italian plum tomatoes, and fresh basil (16", $16.95). Personal pizzas measuring 10 inches entice eaters with a smaller-sized saucer, a whole-wheat crust option, and more table room to build napkin skyscrapers reinforced with forks ($9.95-$12.95). The wood oven also blisters hot-pressed chicken provolone panini and its mix of provolone cheese, tomatoes, caramelized onions, and sweet roasted-garlic dressing ($8.95). Opposing cool textures of the pear and gorgonzola salad allot a small forest of mixed greens topped with roasted walnuts and pear dressing to prepizza palettes ($8.50). Pasta, available at the Mamaroneck location, teams with the scratch-made Grandma's Sunday Sauce to create flavor-saturated entrees such as cheese ravioli ($13.95). The Hartsdale Village location, mentioned in a New York Times article, imparts passionate discussions of sweets through the nutella pizzetta, where the delicious chocolate-hazelnut spread smoothes over pizza crust before being struck with a vanilla ice-cream meteor ($7.50).
Being a native of Italy, chef Enzo Roppo knows his way around the key ingredients that earned his country’s cuisine its international renown. At Bella Nonna Restaurant and Pizzeria, Roppo puts this knowledge to work, creating a wide range of traditional dishes and homemade desserts. After a successful 15-year stint at its first location, the restaurant now welcomes hungry crowds at its new digs on Railroad Ave. There, co-owners Tony Crudele and Joe Sandolo have re-created the warm, welcoming vibe of a family dining room, complete with regulars gathering over bowls of steaming pasta, crisp pizzas, and glasses of wine.