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After getting lost buying sheets in the giant Bed Bath & Beyond on 6th Ave in Manhattan the other day, I stopped at Brick Oven Pizza 33, right outside the 6th Ave L train stop on the corner of 14th St.
This is another place that has a ton of slice pies on display to choose from. It’s quite appetizing actually.
I actually like this kind of set-up a lot because you don’t even have to know what the pizza is; you can just point and say “one of those”.
All of the outer walls open up to create this kinda patio-esque seating. I’m sure there’s a technical term for that, but I don’t know it. When I was there it got a little crowded, so I ended up sharing my table with some random thug dudes who were talking about their rap careers. It was pretty entertaining… I considered trying to get a photo of them, but decided against it (the photo below was before they joined me).
One of the things I thought was interesting was that they have both margherita slices (with fresh mozz’ and basil) AND lower quality “plain cheese” slices. Most places will have one or the other and, more often than not for a slice joint like this, it will just be the plain cheese. So that was impressive. I went for one of each.
The pizza itself was great. Not surprisingly, the margherita was preferable. It seemed a little salty for some reason, and still had a bit of the heaviness I usually associate with “plain cheese” slices more than margheritas; but tasty nonetheless.
The other slices they had all looked great too. The thugs I was sitting with were all eating some kind of fried chicken slices, which they said were super spicy but delicious. I’d put the plain cheese slice I got in a pretty typical category of quality (not amazingly memorable or anything), but generally speaking, this place goes a step beyond the expected quality of a quick slice shop. Be prepared to pay for it though; a plain cheese slice will set you back $2.75, and a margherita $3.75. Some of the other slices go up as high as $4.25.
Apparently there are a few other shops under this name, the original of which is on 33rd St (hence the 33 in the name).
Brick Oven Pizza 33
527 6th Ave (corner of 14th St), New York, NY
It being the first day of my summer in Brooklyn, I decided to check out the closest pizza shop to where I’m staying, as it’s quality has a major impact on my time here. That shop is Driggs Pizza & Italian Restaurant in Williamsburg.
I’m pleasant to report that it’s a good slice.
They have a pretty good selection of Italian-esque food on the menu but, despite the almost-fancy seating area and the “& Italian Restaurant” part of the name, this is definitely a slice shop. They have a ton of different slice pies waiting for you right when you walk in, including some sicilian slices. There’s also something on the menu called an “upside down pizza”; I have no idea what that is, but I’m sure I’ll check it out in due time.
The pie itself has a good balance between cheese, sauce, and crust, resulting in an ALMOST chewy chomp factor (though some of the chewiness from my slice might be related to the fact that it was reheated before they gave it to me). It’s not exactly a slice that will make you jump for, but it’s solid; I’m pretty happy to have it be the closest pie to me for the summer.
Not that I’ll ever need it, but they offer free delivery too. Only obvious downside is a lack of Coke (Pepsi products only).
Driggs Pizza & Italian Restaurant
558 Driggs Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11211
www.driggspizza.com (printed on their menu and in their window, but the site seems to be down)
Despite its name, my stop for day 10 of Pizza Month is located in Boston.
I’d file this pie under college pizza. It’s almost exactly what you’d expect from a pizza shop that’s right next to Emerson College. It’s quick and dirty, but fills the void; almost the exact opposite of Teatro, which is right up the street. It could definitely be waaaay worse and still stay in business, especially considering the relative lack of many competitors in the immediate area.
It’s a good slice if you’re hungry, and don’t have lofty expectations or mind dining in the company of Emerson students.
For day 9 of Pizza Month, I checked out Bostone Pizza on Newbury St in Boston. There are actually way less pizza spots on Newbury and the surrounding area than you might think, and Bostone is one of the few non-chain options.
One of the unique aspects here is that they’re one of only a few pie shops in Boston that I know of who offer sicilian slices all the time. That doesn’t really sway me one way or the other because I’m not too into sicilian, but I’m sure it’s a bonus for some people.
Another thing that stuck in my head about Bostone is that they are obviously huge Red Sox fans. There were Red Sox balloons outside, some other decorations inside, and they had multiple TVs playing the game that was on at the time.
The general decoration motif was slightly on the fancier side, but nothing crazy. I’m guessing nitty-gritty slice shop probably wouldn’t do too well on Newbury St.
The pizza itself wasn’t especially memorable. It wasn’t bad at all, but not worth really getting too excited about. The bottom crust was on the crispy side, but the slice wasn’t super light and thin the way it often is with a crispy crust.
Minus points for lack of Coke. Root beer available however.
The day after pizza month ended, I continued with my pizza eating out of pure habit. Stopped at Pinnochio’s in Harvard Square which has always been a solid pizza option in that area. There are a few good pie spots in that part of Cambridge, but Pinnochio’s probably holds claim to the best quick ’n’ dirty slice joint within a few miles.
Pinnochio’s is one of only several places I know in Boston that have sicilian slices available regularly. Subsequently, if you want non-sicilian slices you might want to specify as such when ordering (I was once handed a piece of sicilian after asking simply “Can I have a slice?”).
I’m not a huge sicilian pizza fan, so I won’t bother commenting on that. However, I will say the thin slices are super good though. Unlike so many slice-joint-esque pizzas out there (ie, not fancy schmancy sit-down restaurant pizza), this pizza has a sane amount of cheese on it, which prevents it from drooling all over your face and/or getting a wet soggy bottom crust.
The inside is pretty small, so it’s almost always packed around lunch time, but there’s a nice park across JFK Street that makes for a good pizza-scarfing area as well.
I wish I had remembered to take a photo of the outside; it’s in this old brick building, kinda hidden down a side street. The general small-ness and hidden-ness makes it seem all the more legit for some reason… like you’re in on some exclusive secret or something. I guess I’m compromising that by posting this online.
PS: No Cokes, but plenty of bottled root beer.
Day 8 of Pizza Month was a big one: I went above and beyond the requirements and ended up having pizza 3 times in one day.
I was awake around 2 AM in Manhattan and nowhere near tired, so I decided to ride my skateboard from East 82nd St & York Ave down to 1st & 1st (I always wanted to go there after seeing that episode of Seinfeld where Kramer gets lost and ends up at 1st & 1st). It was about a 5.5 mile skate, but skating late at night in Manhattan is so much fun, so it was awesome.
Anyway, when I got to 1st & 1st, I decided that before heading back I might as well grab some pie. I’d been to Famous Original Ray’s with my friend Shaun once before a show and figured I’d check it out again. I’d file their pie under “crappy but delicious”; it’s the kind of pizza drunk college kids like to eat on their way home from a party (a few of them came in when I was there).
Downside: When I paid for my slice and soda, the cashier took it upon himself to round the amount of my change down to the nearest dollar and preemptively award himself the extra 45 cents worth of coins as a tip. WTF? I probably would’ve given him the change anyway, but just because he took matters into his own hands, I’m paying with exact change next time.
Other downsides: No Coke, only Pepsi; the radio was set to some shitty top-40 station; when I was there, there seemed to be some kind of inspector that was disapproving of whatever it was he was inspecting; and the manager seemed like he constantly had to shoo off bums who would gather outside the door asking everyone for change on their way out (not like I had any change anyway, thanks to the dickhead at the register who thought he deserved it more).
The slices are good and they’re open 24 hours, so it’s too bad almost everything else about the place sucks.
Later in the day, after I finally had gotten to sleep, I took a trip to Williamsburg in Brooklyn. Not too far away from where you walk off the Williamsburg bridge is this pie shop called Vecino. I’ll be honest and admit that the main reason I stopped in for a slice was mostly because of their awesome hand-lettered sign (which, by the way, gives no indication of their name — only that they sell pizza).
Once inside, I felt as thought I were right at home in the part of Jamaica Plain where my apartment is (dubbed by Mayor Menino as “the Latin Quarter” of Boston). The reggaeton was blasting and there was a whole crew of older dudes with fresh haircuts just hanging around shooting the shit (in Spanish, of course).
The pie was mediocre. It’s on the hefty side, which isn’t so bad in itself, but it felt like a little too much dough for my taste. No Coke, but they at least had some bottled root beer.
I did like the setup with the metal-topped counter. That plus the sweet sign and generally friendly vibe inside make this place OK in my book.
Later on in the day my good friend Yvonne, knowing that I was doing pizza month, took me out to a spot called Grimaldi’s in an area known as DUMBO, (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass) in Brooklyn. We actually took one of these livery car service kinda things there, which was a first for me. They’re kinda like cabs but look way fancier. Actually, on the ride there, they took us in this beastly hideous SUV, which had some ridiculous bass sound system. Surprisingly enough, they don’t cost that much more than cabs though.
Anyway, Grimaldi’s… holy shit! I had heard of Gramaldi’s before, but I am forever indebted to Yvonne for taking me there. This was easily the best pie I’ve had so far for Pizza Month.
When we first got there, we had to wait outside for a bit. They definitely pack ‘em in here; most of the tables are touching, so you have to basically sit with other people and pretend that you can’t hear their conversation (the photo of the tables below was taken after we had eaten and most of the people who were there when we showed up had already left).
It’s not without good reason though: the pizza is fucking amazing and easily worth bumping elbows for. In fact, one of the things I like so much about Grimaldi’s is that there are no pretensions. They could easily charge way more money and make it seem super fancy, but that’s obviously not their deal. It’s clear that the pizza is what it’s all about, and basically if you’re too caught up in being fancy, then you can go somewhere else.
Fresh moz’, delicious sauce, perfectly cooked dough&hellip this is the kind of place you are lucky you don’t live across the street from, because if you did, you would become a fat-ass. I only wish we had gotten a large pie instead of a small.
To finish it off, we got this ice cream dessert that was like a weird Klondike bar-esque kind of thing with cherries in the middle. I forget what it was called, but that was really good as well.
Perfect ending to a long day of Pizza Month action.
Day 7 of Pizza Month was spent in the Upper East Side of Manhattan. I made a trip to a random spot called Delizia which is somewhere in between a quick & dirty slice joint and a sit-down restaurant. Now that I think of it, it had a kinda café feel to it.
The pie was pretty good; nothing to blow your socks off, but it had a tasty crust with a nice crisp to it.
For some reason, after I went here, I couldn’t helping say in a cliché Mario Brothers italian accent “De-leetzeeya peetzeeya”
Joseph’s (corner of Huntington and South Huntington in Boston) provided my dose of pie for day 5 of Pizza Month. Coincidentally, Joseph’s is where the whole the idea for Pizza Month was conceived last year.
This is one of my go-to spots for late night pizza; they’re open till 3 AM which is pretty rare for Boston. Consequently, making a trip to Jospeh’s in the wee hours can be a bit of an experience. Specifically, it seems to be a post-club hotspot for thugged out gangsters. I’ve definitely seen one drunken thug threaten to kill another drunken thug for cutting him in the line for slices.
But that was understandable, as Joseph makes a solid slice. It’s not good in the sense of cuisine or fine food, but more in the sense of “I’m hungry and I want to scarf some fucking pizza”. And it’s consistently good; I’ve never had a slice from Joseph’s that was questionable (even during the post-bar-closing rush).
As an extra bonus, there are some epic Native American themed posters all over the walls with airbrushed wolves, horses, etc. as well as some so-bad-they’re-good comedy posters, including one of a squirrel with gigantic balls which reads “Hello ladies”.