Life in the big city, and everything in between.

Patsy’s Pizzeria in East Harlem

In Food on October 21, 2010 at 10:28 pm

Patsy’s Pizzeria, founded in 1933, was one of New York’s early pizzerias along with Lombardi’s and Grimaldi’s.  Located in Spanish Harlem, Patsy’s is among some of New York’s pizza dynasties that are now in their third and fourth generations. Patsy’s even claims to have invented the “thin crust” New York pizza. I wouldn’t find that hard to believe since Patsy’s still uses their coal-oven, which was among New York’s first restaurants to have one.

After Patsy’s was sold in the 1990’s, the new owner made an agreement with another pizza maker to use that name and opened four more locations in Manhattan.

Although the decor is old and bland, the pizza is far from it. The only thing you really need to get on the menu is Patsy’s Original Coal Oven Pizza. Paper thin crust, tomato sauce, and grated mozzarella is your base and delicious alone, but if you must add toppings there is an abundant amount to choose from.  I love anchovies with their salty and strong flavor, so I added those as a topping.

It seemed like the pizza looked and tasted the same as it probably did a couple of decades ago. The sweet, red sauce and the mozzarella cheese were applied evenly so that each slice had just the right amount. The slices themselves weren’t evenly cut, but who really cares about that. The crust was so thin, almost paper thin, that I felt like I could probably have finished the whole pie. The crust was soft on the inside, but still had that crunch.

Patsy’s is an unpretentious, legendary establishment that I hope stays around for decades to come. You can’t miss the neon sign in the window and celebrity pictures that line the walls of the interior, especially the huge painting of Frank Sinatra. It may be out of the way for a lot of people, but that can be a good thing. You may not have to fight for a seat nor wait in ridiculously long lines. Patsy’s pizzeria is worth the trip if you want an old New York dining experience.

2287 1st Ave
(between 117th St & 118th St)
New York, NY 10035
Neighborhood: East Harlem

(212) 534-9783

map it


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