Where once the traditional local pizza place was the center of teen social life, its popularity has waned a bit in recent years as other international cuisines — from açaí bowls to poke, to gyros and street corn — have supplanted it as the fast-casual meal of choice. Alessandro Crocco, who manages La Bocca Ristorante, thinks a reckoning is long time coming, especially in a city like White Plains. “Over the years at the more formal La Bocca, I rarely see younger people,” says the native of Calabria, Italy. “But I know the city is full of them. I wanted to open a place where they would be more likely to come.”
Enter Papi, a 70-seat counter-service eatery with an emphasis on classic Roman dishes, quality ingredients (including many from Italy and a preference for fresh over frozen or processed), quick in-house service and delivery, and eco-friendly serveware. There’s even an option to round up your bill and donate the remainder to Elmsford-based Feeding Westchester.
The name Papi is derived from two of the signature menu items: pasta and pinsa.
The pasta is homemade; customers chooses from seven types and then add one of twelve sauces.
The pinsa (a type of Roman pizza made with three types of flours – rice, soy, wheat) has a soft interior with a bit of crunch to the outside. One of two electric TurboChef ovens pump out selections such as the Calabrese (spicy salami, mozzarella, onion, tomato), cacio e pepe (pecorino, mozzarella, black pepper), and gricia e truffle (pecorino, mozzarella, black pepper, guanciale or pork cheek).
“It takes 70 seconds to cook,” says Crocco. “The fastest in world.”
The chef at Papi is Christiano Barraco, who hails from Rome.
There’s also lasagna, meatballs, salads, crispy zucchini flowers, and fries with optional sauces (cacio e pepe, arrabbiata, amatriciana, gricia, rosemary).
“I wanted to bring a bit of Roman street fare to White Plains,” says Crocco.
15 Bank St, White Plains
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