The New York-style pizza is one of the most popular and loved types of pie, especially in Staten Island. And as the culinary scene in NY grows and changes, the boroughs' local restaurants are on the forefront.
In fact, there's a reason why New York is known as the home of American Pizza – the local pizza joints that continue to innovate. From 1937 when Denino's Pizzeria & Tavern opened on Port Richmond Avenue, Staten Island is the synonym for a good pizza crust!
Thus, crossing the river for Staten Island's delicious cuisine is a must. And if you have pizza on your mind, Staten Island will deliver!
Staten Island's pizza tradition started developing years ago when thriving Italians populated the island and New York City in general.
As the legend goes, an exiled Italian general and patriot Giuseppe Garibaldi lived there in the 1850s, and he brought his ways and passions with him. A century later, in 1964, Verrazano-Narrows Bridge opened, and many Italian Americans moved from Brooklyn to Staten Island.
And of course, they brought their passion for pizza eating and making with them.
The result of this passion was a flavorful pie – a mixture of the traditional Italian pizza recipe with a local American twist.
The Staten Island signature thin crust pizza withstood the test of time.
The tradition for pizza making was passed to the new generations of pizzaiolos, who preserved the traditional recipes and techniques. Today, you can delight in the same high-quality super-tasty pies as our grandpas and grandmas did more than 80 years ago.
Staten Island's pizza is a New York-style pizza with a thin, crisp crust at the edges and a light, soft coating at the center. It's covered with different savory toppings, including seafood like calamari or clam pie, Staten Island's trademarks.
That's why Staten Island is a gastronomic destination for foodies.
Hence, let's pin some of the best local spots on the Staten Island pizza map.
Brother's pizza is the perfect example of the Italo – American link. This story starts when one of the pizzerias founders, Bart Giove, set foot in the US and tried to achieve the American dream. And after working in the landscaping industry for years, he got back to his roots and started working with pizza.
He and his two brothers Filippo and Pietro, first opened Gino's in Borough Park. However, when they moved to Staten Island, the pizzeria needed a new name (a better name), and that's how Brother's Pizzeria was born.
The original menu went through some slight changes over the years.
However, the modern menu features 10 different pizza variations, calzones, meat and vegetable rolls, side orders, antipasto, and an assortment of hot entrees pasta dishes.
Their Grandma pie has a thinner crust than the famed Sicilian square pie. The latter is a must-try at Brother's pizzeria.
The perfect ratio of sauce and cheese on a thick slice is a dish you won't forget anytime soon!
Near Brother's Pizzeria, down to Port Richmond Avenue, you'll get to another local pizza legend – Denino's Pizzeria. With more than 8 decades of history and tradition, you can easily say that Denino's Pizzeria & Tavern is part of the local folklore.
Although Denino's was opened for business back in 1937, it was only in 1951 when pizza was first introduced in the restaurant.
Since then, the restaurant became famous for its delicious, freshly prepared pie, made from scratch with some high-quality ingredients like fresh mozzarella, tasty sausages, juicy tomatoes, and extra virgin olive oil.
The pizza chef preserves their secret, family recipes for chicken parmigiana, meatballs, and sausage. And the menu was enriched with tavern flavor like wings, scungilli, and hero sandwiches throughout the years.
In fact, pizza legacy is shaped and baked in the form of a Cheesy pie at Denino's. And in the words of the owners, "… is the one thing New Yorkers want to eat when they are back home."
Three Italian brothers founded the Panini grill, an Italian family-style restaurant in the US. And when you walk through their doors, you'll find a traditional family atmosphere reminiscent of an Italian Trattoria or a neighborhood place.
Panini grill's menu offers large portions and various homemade specialties, or as they say it: just like mamma used to make. You can choose from different types of traditional and specialty pizzas, pizzettes, appetizers, salads and side dishes, specialty paninis, focaccia sandwiches, and some entrees or pasta.
Make sure to try some of their specialty pizzas with unique names:
Bravo Pizza is a premier pizzeria and a sports bar in SI. This family-owned pizza spot is on a location with a rich pizza history, starting with Pizza clown in the 1960s, through Pizza town and Genaro's pizzeria in the 1980s, to what is today Bravo Pizza.
However, Bravo Pizza preserved many of Genaro's recognizable features and, more importantly, one of Genaro's pizzaiolos, Billy Elliott.
As Mike Libretta would say, "… Bravo Pizza is imagined as a neighborhood pizzeria with classic Italian food, delivery and takeout, and some cocktails."
You can try pies, calzones, heroes, salads, sandwiches, and pasta. And you can see your pizza being prepared by savvy pizza chefs in the front part of the restaurant. The dough, the creamy, melty fresh mozzarella cheese, the delicious toppings, and the perfectly baked crust will satisfy even the pickiest pizza snobs.
> Covid-19 update: Due to the pandemic, Bravo Pizza has temporarily closed its sports bar and walk-in dining.
The Towne Deli & Pizzeria story started back in 1971 when John and Phyllis Catania, at the age of 21, took over the General Store from an elderly man. What began as a tiny store became a renowned restaurant. And their origin story seems legendary.
Phyllis was preparing meatballs, and John gave one meatball sub to a neighbor attracted by the aroma. He came back, asking for two more, and all of a sudden, the restaurant became well-known in the neighborhood.
THE pizza was introduced in the family business in 1991 when John and Phyllis's future-son-in-law took over the mom and pop restaurant. The name was changed to Towne Deli & Pizzeria – a classic pizza spot with tasty pizzas and signature sandwiches, pasta, subs, salads, and other specialties.
If you're ordering from Towne deli, you should try the classic Margherita, Pepperoni, Cheese, or White pizza, deep dish or Sicilian pizza, or something slightly different like clam pizza, Stromboli, or Nutella pie.
The Pizza Parlor is a modern version of the old-fashioned NY Style Pizzeria. They are an Italian American Restaurant & Pizzeria with a fresh, creative twist.
Therefore, the menu is stimulating and modish and comes with dishes like Italian egg rolls, chicken parm, drunken clams, mac and cheese, burgers made with never-frozen grade A Angus beef, and some savory pies.
The thin and crispy pizzas covered with the right amount of fresh mozzarella are baked to perfection.
You can choose from an extensive menu of specialty pizzas, famous thin crust square pies, pan pies, white pies, Uncle Mike's famous stuffed pies, and traditional NY style pizzas.
Metro Pizza is a family-owned restaurant. And almost all family members have been part of the food industry for more than 20 years. Hence, Metro pizza is the result of their experiences, practices, and dishes.
The family serves lip-smacking pies in many varieties like deep-dish pies, classic pizza, and specialty pies, as well as calzones & rolls, heroes, paninis, burgers and wraps, sandwiches, meat dishes, and desserts if you have a sweet tooth.
If you're not sure what to order, choose a Margherita with their signature sweet and delicious sauce, juicy deep-pan Buffalo Chicken, or a delectable Grandma pie.
Mr. Pizza's pasta house is a family-owned Italian joint that serves pizzas, veal & chicken dishes, heroes, seafood & pasta entrees, and lunch specials.
They have a long menu with different dishes, but their pizzas stand out. You can choose between cheese pizzas, designer round pies, designer thin-crust Sicilian, and traditional specialty Sicilian pies.
Thus, their slogan is making pizza fun again, like their one-of-a-kind garlic knot pie. You simply choose one of the round pies and upgrade it with some garlic knot crusts on top.
Make sure to check out their football package available every Monday, Tuesday, and Sunday when games are played.
Goodfellas is a pizza spot in Staten Island with a long history. The founder, Scot Cosentino, built the whole restaurant upon his admiration and passion for pizza. Growing up in Brooklyn on amazing pizza pies inspired him to create the best pie he can.
And part of that came true only one year after he founded Goodfellas in 1992. He invented today's well-established vodka pizza, a gourmet pie that won America's best pizza award.
He and his pizza chefs got that award several times, making the spot popular for pizza lovers, celebrities, politicians, and local fans.
Tucked in Dongan Hills, a few blocks from the Atlantic Ocean, Goodfellas is still open for business and going strong decades later.
The artisan pies are covered with fresh mozzarella, imported San Marzano tomatoes, extra virgin olive oil, fresh garlic and herbs, and savory sauces made by pizzaiolos from scratch. And the pies are baked to perfection in a real wood-fired brick oven to get that unforgettable taste.
Just a few blocks uphill from Goodfellas pizzeria, you'll get to Lee's Tavern. The brick building across Staten Island Railway Station hides a warming pizza spot and a bar that has been there for 80 years.
Lee's Tavern officially opened in 1940. And the owner Lee Moresco ran the place until 1969 when one of his friends, Dicky Palemine, bought it for 1 dollar. None of Moresco's kids wanted the tavern. So today, Lee's Tavern is in the hands of Michele and Diego, Dicky's daughter and son.
Their thin, crispy pies come in personal and large sizes. You should order one topped with artichokes or Italian shredded pork, clam, or calamari.
Jimmy Max pizzeria's story has a sentimental touch, similar to almost every independent, mom and pop pizzeria. When he was only 27 years, he invested all of his savings in the restaurant. And every family member helped! James McBratney was ready to get into the restaurant business.
Four generations of the family worked to create the menu and the dishes. Family recipes were used and preserved to make tasty pies, pasta, seafood and chicken entrees, sandwiches, salads, and soups.
Plus, Jimmy Max is a celiac-friendly restaurant. It offers a gluten-free menu with food prepared by individual needs, so you can enjoy a good slice without the risk of gluten cross-contamination.
One of the most iconic Staten Island pizza spots is Joe & Pat's Pizzeria. Founded in 1960 by Joe and Pat Pappalardo, it's one of the best pizzerias in "The Forgotten Borough."
This pizza spot is tucked away in the middle of the island, and they serve an incredibly thin, crispy slice covered with juicy tomato sauce and fresh, high-quality mozzarella cheese. The thin crust is never soggy, no matter the toppings.
You can order anything from Pepperoni to Margherita, but the specialty pizzas like the Vodka Pie or the refreshing Tri Pie with tomato, pesto, and vodka sauce with mozzarella are a must-try.
As they say, "… their freshly made pizza rivals the best pies not only in SI but in all five boroughs." You can find pasta and fresh seafood dishes, calzones, wraps, sandwiches, salads, and desserts on the menu.
Joe & Pat's Pizzeria and Restaurant opened another pizza spot in East Village, Manhattan. So New Yorkers can get their hands on this legendary slice without crossing the river.
The founding story of Giacomo's pizzeria is quite impressive. The owner and chef, Giacomo Santangelo, started working at Scotti's - one of the most popular Brooklyn pizza spots. After he mastered pizza making, he decided it is time for his own restaurant.
He started with a linen cloth Italian restaurant in Brooklyn, then he was involved in the cleaning business and tried acting as well. He even appeared in different seasons of the Sopranos, and unsurprisingly, his role was the pizza man.
However, after some time, he felt it was time to make a change. That is when the Staten island spot with his name was born.
Giacomo collected all the awards - best pizza, best specialty pizza, best meatball, and best dessert, and he and his family are known for making their own tomato sauce and wine.
They serve wood-fired oven pies, pasta, entrees, salads, and desserts. Make sure to try Giacomo's Grandma pie, the juicy Vodka pie, or a refreshing Vegetariana, but save some room for their delicious desserts as well.