Op-Ed: Of Pizza and the LES, or How I Spend My $2.50
3 o’clock: Via Tribunali 122 Ludlow St (Between Delancey St and Rivington St)
Vera Pizza Napoletana. Those three words are like Volare to my Italian ears. Having been to the region of Italy known for its brick oven pizzerias of epic quality and taste, the Margherita and Margherita D.O.C. at Via Tribunali is like a seaside cobblestone ass-crack sized alley to delicious. I have been eating here since it opened. Staff is always bend-over-backwards hospitable and the wine selection is top notch. Do NOT be afraid to venture in for a date, even just with yourself. The humongous brick oven is open late on weeknights and even later on weekdays, and the ingredients are among the finest to be found this far east of DiPaolo. The insalate are all fresh as can be, and I never feel bad about spending my money on such quality imported product. The prices are typical if not a few dollars less than some similar establishments for greatness, and the house infused chili oil will make you savor every bit of crust.
Via will now be open for lunch, and in the summer the huge windows are open, making it a great mid-day siesta post up. I love thin, knife and fork pizza as much as I love crusty, doughy pies, as long as the trifecta of dough, sauce, cheese is of good caliber. Not soggy and thoroughly addictive, get this pizza in your belly, and make it a habit.
7 o’clock: Williamsburg Pizza 277 Broome St (Corner of Broome St and Allen St)
All I can say is WOW. I am 100% into this pizza. Another great option for delivery or take out, a slice or a pie is always on point. This is another high quality establishment. Slices aren’t cheap, but they are not overpriced either. You are paying for purity here. Before a Hakki Pizza on Hester Street popped up, the only other pizza of any kind below Delancey St was Vic’s. I ate so much Vic’s pizza when slinging pina coladas at PKNY that I can barely stand to walk by it. So. Much. I am over the moon for Williamsburg Pizza. This shit is to die for delicious. Far from healthy but miles better than anyone this far south, I STRONGLY recommend getting a Grandma pie. at 19.95, this pie feeds my two ravenous flatmates and myself with 4 slices a piece. With a generous tip for the stairs at our spot, that is still a decent price. The slices are doughy but crunchy, with generous sauce to fill in all of dough’s terrain, and not only fresh mozzarella, but a shower of tangy parmigianno-reggiano cheese. Also, anyone smart enough to stock Boylan’s Birch Beer is A-OK in my book.
10 o’clock or later: (Honorable Mention) Douma Pizza 11 Stanton St (Between Chrystie St and Bowery)
OK NEWSFLASH, this place has Fat Sandwiches. And is 24/7. I cannot think of a better asset to the neighborhood cheap food epidemic. The pizza is frankly mediocre, but if you have even been starving at 5am after work and gotten food-poisoned by the other available options at that hour, this is a vital option for your menu arsenal. And I must repeat: FAT SANDWICHES. If you don’t know what they are, just know there is one for everyone. Fat Darrell, Fat Moon, Fat Knight, all the favorites. This cannot be stated with enough enthusiasm. Key points for review: Douma Pizza is 24/7 and has Fat Sandwiches. Keep that one on file.
If you are against pizza, especially in the Lower East Side, you really might consider moving just about anywhere outside an 80 mile radius of New York City. You might even consider not referring to yourself as a New Yorker. Being against pizza is a blaspheme that my City of New York birth certificate bearing ass will not endure. True, there are many pizzerias in this neighborhood, but this neighborhood is diverse as the winter is long, and everyone deserves to walk no more than a few blocks to get a slice.
Dollar pizza is also not the worst thing in the world. I don’t know anything else that is that good that costs ONE dollar. Even the dumpling spots are inflating prices these days, and some of us need these cheaper options to make ends meet. And some of us want to save a few pennies to afford a gourmet treat later in the week.
–Writeup and photos by Danielle Guercio