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.
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).
As its name suggests, Three Brothers Pizzeria and Restaurant is a family affair. In addition to the titular owners—Frank, Freddy, and Alfredo—the siblings' mother often graces the pizzeria's kitchen to make sure that no one has any schmutz on their cheeks and that everything runs smoothly. That means overseeing the meticulous assemblage of more than 15 specialty pizzas, which emerge from the oven topped with everything from baked ziti to the fixings for chicken masala. The team also crafts customizable neapolitan and sicilian pies for more traditionally minded pizza connoisseurs. The rest of the massive menu encompasses housemade Italian classics such as linguine with mussels, baked cheese ravioli, and veal piccata, all of which are available for takeout, delivery, or feasts inside the dining room.
At Villa Maria Pizzeria and Restaurant, the chefs prepare far more than just pizza. They also make street foods, such as hero sandwiches and calzones, as well as more elegant eats, such as Prince Edward Island mussels steamed in white wine and paired with marinara. They round out the menu with veal, chicken, and eggplant entrees and tortellini made by hand.
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.