Taking full advantage of “The City That Never Sleeps,” I continued my evening’s adventure for what would be my third and final pizza stop of the day. On the advice of house-concert impresario Drew, I hoofed it in the winter’s cold over to Artichoke Pizza in the heart of Greenwich Village.
I must admit I am not at all fond of artichokes. In fact, I believe they are on a list of things (e.g. cucumbers, pickles, Brussels sprouts) that make God laugh because we think they are food! Their website revealed, however, that I would be able to avoid eating their namesake, that dreadful edible flower.
Artichoke was started in 2008 by two pizza-making cousins from Staten Island. There are currently two other locations in Lower Manhattan—one in the East Village and another in Chelsea. In addition, there’s an Artichoke at LaGuardia Airport. The location I visited opened in November 2010 as a “slice shop.” These guys are really on the move and now also distribute frozen pies (both Artichoke and Margherita) to several local supermarket chains. Artichoke has become “the buzz” garnering great press and spawning celebrity sightings. They also have become known for long lines and 20-30 minutes waits.
I arrived just after 11:00 p.m. finding a small line creeping out the front door. Under the glass I noticed four styles: the signature Artichoke; a classic Margherita; a square Sicilian and one I would never even think about–a Crab. Another reason this place is popular is that besides pizza and soft drinks, the only other thing they sell is beer!
I ordered the safe, but pricy $4.75 Margherita slice which I got rather quickly. I watched the prep process which involved small cubes of fresh mozzarella instead of the usual grated. Their signature slice, I noticed, looked like spinach and artichoke dip spread on crust. Tasty perhaps, but not what this Snob was looking for. My slice turned out to be slightly oversized and was good, hot, and sturdy—a nice feature since most of their slices get eaten by folk standing up outside the front door.
I grabbed a scarce counter spot in the close quarters inside, and it was love at first bite—or crunch I should say. I instantly gave this slice a triple C-rating: crispy, crunchy and chewy! While thoroughly enjoying my slice, I felt guilty that the Snob was developing a love of these “Brooklyn-style” crunchy Margherita slices, a deviation from my classic NY-style roots. Like the others I have had, this one was light on the cheese and tomato sauce and was sprinkled with basil leaves. It had a tasty touch of some hard cheese slivers (possibly parm) that wonderfully amped up the taste. This really was a fabulous slice—well worth the price and the wait. It is a must for any pizza-lover visiting New York City.
A few days later, on my way back to Tennessee, I thought I would close things out pizza-wise by grabbing another Artichoke slice at the airport. Foolishly not asking first, I wasted my time with a long, cold walk from the American to Delta terminal only to find the food court behind security. I couldn’t get through with my American ticket. Might be a good enough reason to change airlines next trip!
PIZZA SNOB RATING ****1/2 Nearer Perfection
111 MacDougal Street
New York, New York 10012