There are few things in life that spark more pleasure, greater comfort, and fiery debate than pizza; especially in Westchester, where just about every municipality plays host to multiple spots to sink your teeth into a solid, satisfying slice. From thick but airy Sicilian hunks, charred and toasty wood-fire rounds, crispy bar pies, and traditional triangular New-York-style slices, these are the pies to try in Westchester.
The big brother to the traditional triangle, the star of this carb show is the thick springy crust, as toppings take less of a stage. Derived from sfinciune, which loosely translates as “thick sponge,” Sicilian was introduced in the US by the first Italian (Sicilian) immigrants. A street food synonymous with Palermo, sfinciune is topped with tomato sauce made with anchovies and onions, and sprinkled with breadcrumbs and caciocavallo (a Sicilian sheep’s milk cheese).
No breadcrumbs or anchovy sauce for the Sicilian slice we know but some resemblances remain: the cooking in a square pan, the dough allowed to rise before being topped, a focaccia-like texture. Looking for the uber 914 Sicilian slice? These seven pizzerias have mastered the art.
Amore Pizzeria & Italian Kitchen
Billowing to as high as 1¼ inches thick in spots, plus a bit more height from the soft, beneath-the-sauce layer, there are no polite bites here — spring open your maw and gear up for an all-in chomp. And what a chomp it is, with a crust that boasts a satisfying crunch and a balanced sauce that lands somewhere in the middle between sweet and acid.
Dunwoodie Pizzeria & Restaurant
The cash-only Dunwoodie produces a slightly more compact but nonetheless delicious Sicilian with a bottom full of character showing brown-black char pockets. There’s a nice contrast between the crisp base and the soft airy interior. And it’s freakishly consistent; nary a bad one in the batch since opening day 1970.
New Rochelle; ordersacconespizzeria.com
The crunchy bottom, the focaccia-like interior, the crust’s subtle olive-oil flavor, all contribute to the richness of Saccone’s Sicilian. A generous heap of mozz cascades wholly, hiding the flavorful sauce that leans sweet beneath. Saying the digs are modest is being kind, but when you’ve served righteous slices like these since 1994, the setting isn’t so important.
Giuseppe “Joe” Porco started at age 7 working for his father (who bought this South Broadway spot in 1975), so he learned the tricks of the trade at an early age. For starters, the rising stage: Place trays of Sicilian dough atop the hot pizza oven. Second, don’t put the cheese on until after the pie is almost done baking. The hefty Sicilian slice has a fluffy spongy interior, a larger than usual tender, beneath-the-sauce layer, and a creamy mouthful of cheese with each bite. Since 2000, it’s Joe’s pizzeria, and his father visits on occasion since retiring to Italy to make sure his son is doing things right. He is.
Before you try any of World Pizza Champion John Gristina’s non-traditional pies (e.g., pepperoni, ricotta, and hot honey; the triple grandma with pesto, vodka sauce, and marinara), settle into a first-rate Sicilian with a bottom full of craggs and crooks, balanced sauce, and gooey and stretchy cheese with bits of edge char.
The most memorable aspect to a Sicilian at Sal’s is that crust…with its golden hue, boasting a combo of a marginally chewy yeasty inner core and exterior crunch. Beneath a liberal blanket of mild mozzarella, the sauce is faintly sweet and embellished with touches of basil and oregano. Choose a corner slice for extra crunch. The gooey cheese and vibrant sauce complement the crust’s snap, and the irresistible allure of this pizza typically leads to consuming more than one’s standard.
Sofia’s Pizzeria & Restaurant
For almost 30 years (starting in 1989), Claudia Tonioli was a cook at this pizzeria; in 2018, she became the owner, redoing the interior to transfer the counter-service pie joint into a full-service, 42-seat restaurant. But pizza remains a core offering and the hunky Sicilian sports a sweet, bright, fresh tomato sauce and a crust that’s a satisfying combination of chewiness and crispiness.
Out of the ashes like a beautiful lactose-laden phoenix, these wood-fire visions are cooked at upwards of 800°F for just under two minutes. Puffy, slightly chewy, and rooted in simplicity, the classic wood-fired pie (or Neapolitan, if the tomatoes are San Marzano and the cheese is mozzarella di bufala) is impossible to share.
Pizzeria La Rosa
New Rochelle; pizzerialarosa.com
Tucked off the beaten path in New Rochelle’s industrial downtown is a handful of seating options and a roaring century-old pizza oven. Self-proclaimed as classic Neapolitan meets New York style, the smokey saucy near melt-in-your-mouth slice is transportive to the Amalfi Coast. Owner and pie slinger Matt DiGesu is also adding Italian comfort foods to top his ‘za — and you’d be remise not to order the crispy eggplant, homemade mozzarella, red sauce, ricotta, and basil iteration.
901 Wood Burning Kitchen
Shrub Oak; 901woodburningkitchenbar.com
Long-time friends Vincent Gaudio and Barbara Degaltini had a crazy idea: What if they brought classic Italian-American fare to the county’s north country? With a wood-fire oven and a whim, they did just that. Now, you don’t have to be anywhere near Yonkers to have a clam pizza to write home about. 901 makes their own extra-cheesy version of the famous saucer: chopped Little Neck clams, creamy burrata, garlic, mozzarella, and roasted extra-virgin olive oil.
New Rochelle; mammafrancesca.com
You’ll smell the red and black pizza oven’s contents before you see it, but the striking behemoth is hard to ignore. A native of the Italian island Ischia, chef and owner Nick Di Costanzo is bringing the simplicity of the cooking he was raised on to a new coastline. The artisan pies are echoes of classic Amalfi provisions. Opt for the allo scoglio, a standard pizza but topped with a seaside twist: shrimp, calamari, bay scallops, and mussels.
Wood & Fire
Scarsdale and Pleasantville; woodandfirepizza.com
You know it, we know it, everybody knows it: There is something so special about Wood & Fire that goes beyond the bites. Maybe it’s the extra char on the crust, maybe it’s the joy you feel when a giant hollowed-out tomato can is placed on your table, poised for a pizza to rest atop it; it’s hard to say. What’s not hard to say? We’ll take a Brook Street: A Sicilian pie coated in what feels like a double layer of crispy pepperoni, marinara, mozzarella, garlic oil, and dusted with Parmigiano.
Dobbs Ferry; theparlordf.com
Chef Dave DiBari is not known for playing within the culinary rules — and his pizza offerings are no exception. Amid graffiti-tagged walls, a roaring pizza oven beckons diners to walk on the wild side. One such straying stroll is the lemonator: a white pizza decorated with cured lemon, provolone, garlic, chili, basil, and a sprinkle of Parm.
The signature char-dusted fingertips left behind by a Burrata pie are a calling card of authenticity. Be a scooch daring and reach for the goat cheese pie, speckled with walnuts, balsamic red onions, baby arugula, and truffle honey for a kiss of sweetness.
Arthur Ave Wood Fired Pizza
Glistening like a lighthouse on the horizon, these pizzas are so close to Napoli that you might as well be going through customs. Bronx native Brian Peroni knows that simple ingredients are superior to bells and whistles, which is why he uses true-to-style San Marzano tomatoes and dough straight from Arthur Ave. And don’t go in asking for a slice — this joint is pies only.
Blink and you might miss this sleeper pizza spot along Pelham’s bustling 5th Ave. Saunter into one of the booths set against rustic brick walls and prepare yourself for pizza right out of the fire. Our recommendation? The burrata pie: Mortadella and silky burrata are topped with basil pesto and finished with a drizzle of olive oil. Now that’s amore.
As the name suggests, cheese is not the focus of this pizza, which both Philadelphia and Utica claim to have originated. It’s all about that saucy red fruit. Tomato pies are usually shaped in a rectangle, have a thick, Sicilian-like crust, and are served at room temperature or cold, as they’re meant to be left out at parties and gatherings. There’s no melty mozz here, just grated hard, aged cheese, such as Parm.
Utica Pie Co.
White Plains; uticapieco.com
Bursting with sweet tomato flavor from the chunky saucy San Marzano tomatoes stewed for six hours, this recipe originated in 1914 in upstate New York, says Utica Pie Co. owner Salvatore Torchia, who was born and raised in Utica before moving to White Plains 13 years ago. Torchia’s pie is a mix among Chicago, Detroit, and New York styles: “It’s not as thick as Chicago, it’s darker like Detroit, but definitely thicker than New York,” Torchia says. “It’s a very versatile pie.” The dough-proofing process takes 24 to 36 hours. While small and large pies are round, the large is square cut.
Featuring a crisp yet cloudlike crust, pinsa is a Roman flatbread typically stretched into oblong, lengthened ovals made from a mix of wheat, soy, and rice flours. Pinsa’s name comes from pinsere, meaning “to press,” describing the practice of hand-pressing pinsa dough to preserve the gases created during fermentation, which last longer than traditional pizza dough. It also creates the dough’s supple airy structure.
TVB by: Pax Romana
White Plains; paxromanany.com
Pax is only one of two restaurants in the US certified by the distributor in Rome as an authentic pinseria. Demonstrating how versatile the toppings can be, the six pinsas on the menu pack porcini cream, truffle oil, avocado, chicken, and potatoes.
Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana
Founded in 1925 in Connecticut, this pizzeria flings New-Haven-style coal-fired. Born in Naples, Italy, Frank started by hawking his “apizza” (pronounced a-beets) perched on his noggin, then a wagon. The white clam or meatball and ricotta are two stellar choices among 20 or so specialty pies.
The Lure of the Tuna Slice
A neck jerker in the US but commonplace in Europe (pizza tonno, if you’re ordering in Italy), the tuna slice is served warm and treated more as a topping than the slice’s base. North White Plains pizza joint Gianfranco Pizzeria & Restaurant (gianfrancopizzeriarestaurant.com) has taken that concept and combined it with one of our biggest deli go-tos. The slice is served cold, with its bottom layer comprising tuna salad. From there, finely chopped lettuce is added, then thinly sliced tomatoes. It’s simply seasoned with salt and pepper. The light crust holds up to the fish’s flavors, careful not to overpower, but offers an ideal vehicle to stuff your face with. The end product bites like a salad, chews like a pizza, and banishes the notion of sauce making or breaking a pie. So, do we truly know how the tuna slice came to be? It’s hazy, but with something this good, it’s best not to look for the man behind the curtain.
If you’re scratching your head saying, “I didn’t even know Detroit had a style of pizza,” you’re in good company. With those thick irresistible corners topped to the edges with caramelized mozzarella or Wisconsin-style cheese, Detroit-style pizza’s origin reaches back to the city’s fabled past; it’s baked in rectangular steel trays designed for use as automotive drip pans or to hold small industrial parts in factories.
Billy & Pete’s Social
Offering corners you could cozy your protractor perfectly against, Billy & Pete’s Social takes the basis of the Detroit pie and gives you elevated ‘za. Playful and curated, the flavor combinations will throw your taste buds for fun-filled loops. Opt for the choripan: pomodoro sauce and chorizo slices, finished off with authentic Argentinian chimichurri for a streak of brightness.
The airy dough of these pies is like a magic trick — how can a pizza so thick be so light on the lips? Easy (well, depending on who you ask): The crust is a 78-percent-hydration sourdough that’s fermented for a whopping 72 hours. For bites worthy of unhinging your jaw, reach for the spicy roni, a flash mob of crunchy pepperoni cups and hot honey that appeals to all of the senses.
Paper thin and snaps instead of folds, a bar pie skirts the line of traditional pizza and unique invention. Made smaller to be eaten in one sitting (but truly, any pizza is a personal pizza if you have the vision), and perfectly paired with a frosty beer, belly up to the bar and dive in face first.
Port Chester; michaelspizzarestaurant.com
A beloved staple in Port Chester, Michael’s has been dishing the bar pie since before it was cool. Not to be slept on is the light and fresh salad pizza, tossed in a creamy balsamic for a tangy touch. The Sweet Woodsy is exactly what it sounds like: sweet sausage and peppers (just like nonna used to make), mushrooms, and mozz. Cauliflower and gluten-free crust options are available for our flour-challenged friends.
Beekman Ale House
Sleepy Hollow; beekmanalehouse.com
Brothers Patrick and Luke Sheeran have set Beekman’s calling card as simple bar pies, done well. Cheese pulled up to the crust like your favorite flannel comforter, even the plain pie shines — but why stop there? With offerings like hot oil infused with Fresno chilis and buffalo chicken, it’s more dangerous than fiscally responsible that the pies are the size they are.
Port Chester; colonygrill.com/port-chester-menu
This semi-local chain with Connecticut roots is known for its charred ends and classic toppings. Balance out the crust’s levity with sweet sausage and the infamous stingers — long spicy peppers that offer the perfect amount of kick on a pizza. If that kick turns out to be too much, Colony has a rotating menu of seasonal and staple beers on tap.
Pizza purists, clutch your Italian grandmother’s pearls: The content below will trigger outbursts of indignation. But for those with a gluten sensitivity or dietary restrictions, these pies are for you.
The cruciferous crust at Capriccio (capricciopizza.com) in Croton-on-Hudson is thin yet sturdy enough to bear an arugula salad with ribbons of prosciutto, shaved Parmigiano, cherry tomatoes, and balsamic drizzle. The lightness means savoring several slices in a single sitting, and the miniscule edge has a satisfying crunch. The cauli crust at Hartsdale House of Pizza (hartsdalehouseofpizza.com) includes rice flour, ideal for the Blanco pie’s whipped ricotta and Grana Padano.
Via Forno (viafornopizza.com) of Scarsdale’s gluten-free wood-fired Neapolitan pizza is baked in a completely separate oven so that whatever toppings you choose, it will be framed by those beautifully browned bubbles. Gluten-free crust swaps are also welcome under toppings such as capers, eggs, and truffle moliterano at Larchmont’s Alondra’s Pizza (alondraslarchmontny.com), which opened early last year in Gusto’s old spot.
Expect no hot-honey drizzles, pork-sausage crumbles, or gooey cow cheese, but try a pizza with sunflower-seed cheese or tofu crumbles atop a thin, crispy buckwheat crust slathered with sweet marinara or piquant pesto at Pleasantville’s Root2Rise New York (root2riseny.com). The 100-percent plant-based café is gluten-free, dairy-free, refined-sugar-free, and plastic-free with ethically sourced and mostly local offerings. Or taste the vegan organic truffled-mushroom pizza with house-made gluten-free crust at Pureganic Café (pureganic-cafe.com) in Harrison, which crafts its own cashew-almond cheese.
Whole Wheat Crust
Mr. Nick’s Restaurant (mrnicksbrickovenpizza.com) in Tarrytown is one of the few pizzerias in the county to offer unstripped grain, which packs a full-fiber experience.
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Westchester’s OG Pizzeria
On any given day, visitors can see Michael Tavolilla’s hands toss rounds of dough in the air at his pizza station inside Roma Restaurant (romarestaurant1931.com) nestled in the heart of Tuckahoe.
His grandfather’s hands crafted pizza dough the same way in the same restaurant on the same block more than 93 years ago. We make Italian hot pies daily from noon to 3 a.m., an early advertisement reads.
Founded by George Tavolilla (photo below) in 1931, the Italian-American eatery, which originally had a jukebox and dance floor, is still known for its thin-crust brick-oven pies. It’s considered Westchester’s oldest pizzeria. “We’re up there,” says Michael Tavolilla, who runs Roma today with his brother, John. “Actually, my grandfather started it in 1929 but didn’t call it ‘Roma’ until 1931.”
Michael still doesn’t know why his grandfather named his pizzeria “Roma” after he emigrated from Sicily and settled in Tuckahoe via Ellis Island. And now Michael’s 17-year-old son, John, represents the fourth generation in the family business.
“A lot of people here knew him since he was a little kid. It’s a family place, always was and will be. My father worked in the kitchen until he was 80,” Michael says. Regulars share they met at Roma for their first date in the 1950s.
The Tavolillas did hire a traditionally trained chef, but Michael and John still make the staples, like the popular lasagna, and of course, pizza. The sauce is made with five varieties of tomato and a proprietary spice blend, and the crust is so crispy that it has an audible crunch.
This pizza institution’s walls are covered in dark earth-toned tiles, mirrors, and an oak parquet floor from a 1970s renovation. “Myself, I’d call it The Brady Bunch interior,” Michael says.
Some of the menu has changed over the decades — but not that pizza, which stays in the family.
“We’re consistent. That’s the key. When the owners are hands-on, those are the type of places that last. Some tastes and food change, but the core remains consistent,” he says. “We change a little with the times, but if it’s not broke, don’t fix it.”
Top Spots for a Whole Pie (no slices!)
1. Johnny’s Pizzeria
3. La Lanterna
5. Paradise Restaurant
Top Spots for a Slice
For a traditional triangular slice of New-York-style pizza, we ranked our top picks.
2. Gino’s Pizzeria
3. 4 Bros Pizza
5. Cosmo & Johnny’s
6. Pelham Pizza
7. Pizza Center
8. Sam’s Italian Ristorante
9. Joe’s Fleetwood Pizza
10. Carlo’s Italian Restaurant
12. House of Pizza
13. Donato’s Trattoria
14. Trattoria 632
The Most Popular Pizzeria Names in Westchester
Tony (Anthony, Antonio): 6
Frank (Franco, Frankie): 6
Angelo (Angela, Angelina): 3