The Pizza Snob is always looking for direction in his never-ending search for great pizza. Last year, I found a great source hanging on the wall at the famous Patsy’s in Harlem. It was a New York Times article by noted food critic Ed Levine listing six great pizza slices in the five boroughs of New York City. In addition to Patsy’s, Levine picked three others that I had already visited: Di Fara Pizza in Brooklyn, Joe & Pats in Staten Island and Joe’s Pizza in Manhattan. The two I had yet to visit were Louie and Ernie’s in the Bronx and Nunzio’s in Staten Island which I decided to check out on my last trip home.
Travelling into Brooklyn for some musical entertainment, I detoured off the Staten Island Expressway to find Nunzio’s sitting in a lone brick building on the busy corner of Hylan Boulevard and Midland Avenue. Navigating the turning city buses, I parked in their small lot on the side. There I noticed the irony of such a notable pizza joint situated next to a strip center housing a Papa John’s. Why?
Though there was a dining entrance on the Midland Avenue side, I entered instead through the front door finding Nunzio’s pizza control center. In this small room was a long tall marble counter where you could stand and scarf a slice while watching the crew at work.
Nunzio’s is family-run and has served pies on the Island since 1947. Pizza-centric for sure, they do offer an assortment of other Italian dishes. They are also the first pizza joint that I have ever seen mention in their menu the type of cheese that they use. Nunzio’s features Polly-O Fresh Mozzarella, a consumer product with roots in Coney Island.
I ordered a plain cheese slice for $2.00 noticing that they also do a Sicilian slice for $2.50. While I waited, I watched pies got out the door as fast as they could make them! After all, it was late Friday afternoon, and many dinner time phone orders were being filled for customer pickup.
Watching them at work, I saw that they used small cubes of mozzarella which when melted, resulted in small circles of cheese on the thin layer of tomato sauce. It now struck me that this was how Joe and Pat’s made their pizza. This led me to think “Was this a Staten Island pie?”
The vibe at Nunzio’s had me on edge knowing I was about to taste something special. I found it to be about as crisp as could be. It was firm and blackened on both top and bottom. Reheated for a good five minutes, it was hot and it burned the already pizza-worn roof of my mouth. The tomato sauce was dark, rich and zesty, and the Polly-O mootz was delish. There was a tasty layer of olive oil that also graced the end crust making it wonderfully shiny. Overall, this was a chewy, crispy, crunchy delight. My drive on to Brooklyn was blessed with the delightful garlic aftertaste and the memory of a fabulous slice of pizza.
Nunzio’s has created a unique slice of pizza through its crispiness and the lightness of cheese and sauce. It is a classic unto itself and is one that I definitely will return for. It was delicious, delicious, delicious! Get yourself over to Nunzio’s.
PIZZA SNOB RATING ***** Sets the Standard
2155 Hylan Blvd.
Staten Island, NY 10306