Scarr’s Pizza: Bad Old Days, Good Old Pizza
This is a devotional to pizza never before successfully sung
When I walked into Scarr’s Pizza, I wanted to yell “Do You Even Pizza?” like the millennial that appear to be. The space identically mirrors every single slice moment of my childhood growing up in the Tri-State Area. The taste blows all pizza in a one-mile radius off the map. No one’s going to even come close to this level of attention and care to what is typically either a $1 piece of shit that you covered in hot sauce and ate en route to the subway, or a $20 Opus Magnum covered in so much expensive charcuterie that it’s aspirational. But before you aspirate on a huge chunk of lardo from that DOC prosciutto, take a stroll down Orchard Street to sit in this time capsule for a moment.
Uniquely appointed in the classical New Jersey and Staten Island wood paneling style, with brick orange vinyl stools, you feel like maybe you just finished playing soccer or drove up with your friends for that (at the time)$.75 cent fix of perfect, actual Italian tasting excellence. At Scarr’s, the actual pizza is much more high-brow than that, but with good reason: quality is important here.
As a pizzeria, you can use suppliers that are of high quality or of no quality at all. However, at Scarr’s they don’t even use suppliers. Tomatoes are freshly processed into sauce, flour is milled in the basement, and the result is a rustic flavor to the dough. It still gets an excellent crust, whether Margherita or Sicilian. The prices are not exorbitant, nor are they cheap. I find them to be on-par with what you’re putting in your mouth. There’s no minimum card fees, which is a little thing that can be so convenient to the customer. Coffee, beer, and soda are the beverages, and it’s all so simple that it’s perfect.
The ultimate pizza test is not only having a slice from a slice joint at a slice joint, but taking one home to eat later.
Scarr’s passed this test with flying colors, the Sicilian held up in crunch-to-chew ratio and the cheese and sauce remained it’s perfect balance. The slice didn’t cause any late night agita like some neighborhood spots. The menu is very stripped down; just know that Scarr’s unique flavor of pizza is definitely going to become a trend.
Taking cue from Italian antipasti: Scarr’s offers a white pie with marinated mozzarella. Any human who has been to a gathering in New York has seen the delightful ovoline on appetizer table, smothered in olive oil and Italian herbs. This take on a white pie is flavorful and bright without being acidic or spicy, nothing other than savory goodness.
As the southern segment of Orchard Street experiences extreme gentrification – ceaseless for almost a decade – someplace like Scarr’s is refreshing. It’s an authentic nod to true, classic, New York Pizza. Not a made-up or campy imitation.
The goal is delicious pizza and nothing further, one of the purest pursuits a restaurateur can explore. Not pompous at all, it’s kitsch isn’t even trendy. It’s so spot-on for classic ‘70s decor that it’s alarming.
Do yourself a favor and go to Scarr’s, you won’t be disappointed in the quality of the pizza and the mood set by the surroundings. When walking toward the back room, I half-expected to see someone’s grumpy uncle watching a football game on the RAI, It’s that real.
Scarr’s Pizza is located at 22 Orchard Street ; its hours are Tuesday – Saturday: 11AM – 11 PM, Sunday: 11AM – 10PM, Closed Monday (212) 334-3481