You know you're on to something when your community votes to put you at the top. In Mineola Patch's 2012 Reader's Choice contest, fans selected Carlino's Restaurant as the best place to get Italian food in the area. As if that wasn't enough of an honor, the restaurant also won for Best Pizza. Hailing from a small town outside of Naples, Italy, the owner transported his native country's hospitality and love of food to New York City. Diners are treated like family as they indulge in authentic southern-Italian meals such as the spaghetti puttanesca with saut?ed plum tomatoes, gaeta olives, garlic, anchovies, and capers, or the Sicilian Special pizza with sausage, peppers, onions, mushrooms, and pepperoni.
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.
Gallery Pizza serves pizza dough two ways: in the traditional flat crust manner and by rolling it. Depending on whether you like to see your ingredients or have them hidden, both options are bedecked with anything from saut?ed spinach to chicken cutlets and ricotta cheese. And when it comes to building pasta dishes, chefs stick to classic recipes found all over Italy. They saut? chicken in a marsala wine sauce and tuck veal under a blanket of tomato sauce and melted mozzarella cheese. Shrimp scampi and sausage and peppers are also on the menu, as well as homemade meatballs with tomato sauce. If people don?t feel like making the drive to the eatery, the staff will happily deliver pizza and pastas to customers? front stoop or treehouse.
Established in 1965 by Italian brothers lured westward by the American dream, Umberto's Restaurant & Pizzeria is less of a eatery and more of an institution. The award-winning pizza has lured the likes of Mayor Giuliani to the original location, which has since spawned several more. No matter the locale, a Tuscan-style ambiance is permeated with the scents of seafood marinara, veal parmigiana, and pizzas that come in Sicilian and Neapolitan styles, among others.
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.
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.