Gennaro Lombardi and (I believe) Antonio Totonno Pero with a dog who must have been fed very well. You’ll notice that Lombardi’s is still a grocery store in this picture. Some bananas with your pizza? Although Gennaro is credited with opening New York’s first pizzeria, it may have been Antonio who came up with the pizzas.
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New Yorkers are serious about their pizza, and it all started with a tiny grocery store in today’s Little Italy and a group of young men who became the masters of pizza making. In this podcast, you’ll find out all about the city’s oldest and most revered pizzerias — Lombardi’s, Totonno’s, John’s, Grimaldi’s and Patsy’s, in all its variations.
But if those are the greatest names in New York-style pizza, then who the heck is Ray — Original, Famous or otherwise?
New York-style pizza, in its purest form. Lombardi’s pizza was also sold by the slice back in the day, though today its strictly whole pies. And they no longer don’t wrap them up in paper and tie them with string like they used to!
Pictures from Totonno’s official website of its creator Antonio ‘Totonno’ Pero, who opened his first pizza restaurant in Coney Island in 1924. The original location was gutted in a fire just this year, but they should be reopening anytime.
Although John Sasso had the great misfortune of opening his small pizzeria just as the Great Depression was getting started, it managed to survive through hard times to become the West Village’s go-to destination for classic slices.
Patsy Lancieri opened his great East Harlem pizzeria in East Harlem in 1933. They’ll be celebrating their 76th anniversary next month with some truly retro prices. Get there early this time — let this be a warning.
NOT to be confused with this place — the venerable Patsy’s Italian Restaurant in midtown. This Patsy’s does not sell pizza.
To make sure you don’t confuse the two, why don’t you read a U.S. District Court document ‘Patsy’s Italian Restaurant v Patsy’s Pizzeria‘. The words ‘Sauce Litigation’ are actually used.
Grimaldi’s “under the Brooklyn Bridge” used to also be a Patsy’s. Today it’s your surest bet for a long line, reportedly still worth the wait.