What in the crusty cassock of Pope Boniface IX is going on? Just saw Gothamist’s Top 18 Pizza Restaurants in New York and three of the eighteen are within skipping distance of Bell End’s stable doors. And a fourth gets an honorable mention – our belovéd Franny’s. What has the world come to when Franny’s is reduced to an also-ran and Saraghina doesn’t get even a squeak? Is Clinton Hill the new Napoli? I hope not, because a rat once ran over my shoe outside the front door of Brandi, the putative birthplace of pizza margherita. Apparently when people arrive in New York the second thing they want to do (after exposing themselves on the C train) is eat pizza. Well, Bell End facilitates both. The Clinton-Washington stop is just round the corner; then zip up, light a cigarette, you’ll be stubbing it out just as you add your name to the interminable waiting-list at any of the following (words courtesy of Gothamist):
Newcomer Emily opened in Clinton Hill just this past January, but it’s already more than earned a place on this list. Chef Matt Hyland – who runs the restaurant with wife Emily (get it?) – whips up spectacular thin-crust pies in a wood-fired oven, with outstanding offerings including the $19 namesake pizza made with mozzarella, pistachios, truffle sottocenere and honey. The Colony ($17) is another worthy pie—made with red sauce and mozzarella and topped with pepperoni, pickled chili and honey—as is the carnivore-friendly pepperoni, sausage and ham-topped RM3! ($19). Prices are steep here if you go beyond the basics (some of the plainer pies run $14-and-under), but the pizza’s made so lovingly you can taste it. Save room for dessert—the Hylands make a killer marshmallow and chocolate S’Mores calzone ($10).
Emily is located at 919 Fulton Street between Waverly and Clinton Avenues in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn (347-844-9588, pizzalovesemily.com)
It’s hard to award points to a pizza style from a flyover state, but fine, we’ll give Speedy Romeo’s delectable Saint Louie ($16) its due. The St. Louis-style pie comes on a cracker-thin, yeast-free crust, topped with Italian sausage, pepperoni and picked chilis, along with Provel cheese sourced straight from Missouri. Speedy Romeo has non-Midwestern pizza types on tap too, of course, (The Kind Brother is a must-have) but this pie is so good it may settle the “NYC Pizza Is The Only Pizza” debate once and for all. Don’t worry, pizza still sucks in Los Angeles.
Speedy Romeo is located at 376 Classon Ave between Greene and Lafayette Ave in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn (718-230-0061, speedyromeo.com).
Pizza expert Adam Kuban has set out to bring the bar pie into the pantheon of NYC’s great pizza varieties with his pop-up pie shop Margot. Like Lee’s Tavern, Kuban bakes up crisp crusted pies unadorned with toppings beyond sauce and cheese or fully loaded like his Love Supreme, with chunks of seasoned sausage, thinly shaved red onion and finely chopped bits of bell pepper. Shroomheads should absolutely seek out the Funghitown, with a scattering of mushrooms and some truffled sottoecenere cheese. Kuban operates his pop-up inside Clinton Hill’s Emily for now; catch him while you can. (Nell Casey)
Margot is a pop-up held intermittently at Emily: 919 Fulton Street between Waverly and Clinton Avenues in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn (347-844-9588, pizzalovesemily.com).