10 Great Pizza Places in NYC
by Katherine Faw Morris, New York Observer contributor, 01/16/2009
2. Totonno's Pizzeria Napolitano
1524 Neptune Ave. • 718-372-8606
Just up from the boardwalk, on a stretch of Neptune Avenue overrun by auto body shops, Coney Island's Totonno's has for some 90 years stubbornly turned out the city's finest coal oven pizza. Anthony "Totonno" Pero, a student of Gennaro Lombardi, served the storefront's first sturdy, fragrant, Neapolitan-New York pies in 1924. He was succeeded by son Jerry Pero, the temperamental "Pizza Nazi" who only kept the place open Friday through Sunday, 4:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Today the hours are less erratic, but the ramshackle, knickknack-laden room and primeval recipe remain unchanged. Small, slightly salty, and not quite able to shake off the old country, the pies are served on tin platters. Fresh, handmade mozzarella and San Marzano tomato sauce simmers atop a unique, inimitable crust, which despite its thickness has a definitive snap. A short list of toppings is displayed in movable letters on a bulletin board above the hulking oven, and glass bottle Cokes, Brooklyn Lagers and twist-top wines huddle in a cooler. That, however, is the extent of extras and luxuries. The handful of tables and booths (the queue is outside, extending down the block) are aged and tattered, set with Styrofoam plates and paper cups.
Browse a lifetime's worth of drinking and dining reviews at Observer.com.