For 30 years, Pizzeria Diamici has tossed its piping-hot pies and sauced its flavorful Italian fare from the same spot on Hackensack Street. The mouthwatering menu ushers its pleasing pizzas into being the moment they’re ordered, saving them from the complexion-mottling scourge of heat lamps. Gourmet and specialty pies—such as the sun-dried tomato, mushrooms, basil, and mozzarella pie or the spicy, meat-strewn four-alarm ($13.95–$15.95)—arrive loaded with ingredients fresh enough to garner a four-scold rating from the U.S. Department of Schoolmarms. The pizzeria also stuffs its calzones to the seams with savory cheeses, rendering them hefty enough to ensure that any food fight ends in mutually assured destruction.
Drivers leaving Famous Pizza Express wait for their cars to fill with aromatic steam that hints at the contents of warm boxes. The vapors suggest pastas, calzones, and pizzas crowned with toppings including breaded chicken, meatballs, broccoli, and fresh garlic. Massive trays of chicken parmigiana and gnocchi are ideal for feeding partygoers or convincing an IRS auditor that you really do have 11 dependent Italian grandmothers.
For more than two decades, the mom-and-pop operation at Bella Pizza has fed passersby with handmade Italian pies, sub sandwiches, fresh salads, and saucy pastas. The smells of fresh stuffed and Sicilian-style pizzas waft through the cozy space, which evokes the homey, casual ambience of a neighborhood eatery. And Italian cheeses run a thread through the extensive menu of hearty Italian-American fare, from casseroles of baked chicken parmigiana to lunches of meatball heroes and golden-brown calzones.
The secret that has brought the Centrella family its restaurant success is an easy one to remember: keep things simple. In 1958, Vincenzo and Barbara Centrella left Naples for New York and opened Presto's as a way to introduce their community to the fresh, simple, stripped-down cooking style of their Italian ancestors. Today, the couple's son John and his childhood friends carry out the family mission and welcome patrons to Presto's with a menu heavily populated by the eatery's two namesakes—including a baked-ziti pizza, which marries the two dishes in a state-sanctioned ceremony involving a flaky pie, saucy penne, and two kinds of cheese.