Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Quest For Pizza
During my visit to Grimaldi's on February 9, 2011, with friend and photographer Bill Shatto, a couple was seated next to us. I began chatting with the man. We spoke on many subjects, and when I learned that he came from Staten Island, I discussed this photoblog, my exploration of Staten Island, and the numerous places I had visited, many virtually unknown to the outsider. I mentioned the enigmatic Kirschner Mansion, and in another occurrence of Only in New York, I learned that this man was involved in real estate and had previously OWNED it. Amazing.
Conversation turned to pizza, and of course anyone seated in a place like Grimaldi's, where the privilege of eating is paid for by waiting in extraordinarily long lines, will typically have substantial experience in the Quest for Pizza. My new acquaintance informed me that in his opinion, the best pizza in New York, and in his opinion the best he had anywhere, was from Denino's in Staten Island. If you're looking for good pizza, one should never dismiss the opinion of a Brooklyn-born Italian, so I filed Denino in my mind for future reference.
On Saturday, October 1, I decided to pay Denino's a visit. Located at 524 Port Richmond, the place is a landmark, established in 1937. As would be expected, the walls were covered with articles and awards. I understand that Denino's is typically packed on weekends, but on my visit, it was a case of walking in and seating oneself. Service was perfunctory and a bit uneven. The crowd appeared to be very local, dominated by Italian-Americans who have a large presence on Staten Island (37% of the borough claims Italian-American ancestry, the highest percentage of any county in the nation).
The pizza arrived, and I must say, the crust is one of the finest I have ever eaten. The brick oven pie is different, but on a par with legendary New York City icons like Di Fara, Totonno's and Grimaldi's - the kinds of places that one patron referred to as "Cappelas di caminetto capolavoro" (chapels of fireplace masterpieces).
Getting to their location on Staten Island is far from the other boroughs of New York City and is not accessible by subway, so for most, traveling there by bus, car, or ferry will be a deal breaker. Unless, of course, you're a New Yorker on a Quest for Pizza :)
Related Posts: Best Pizza in New York, No Folding Required