Photos by Billy Siegrist
A quick piece of pizza may be one of the easiest ways to quiet the growl of an empty stomach, but there’s nothing quick or easy about the way the new Utica Pie Co. makes its slices. “From mixer to oven, it takes about 24 hours to create the crust,” says owner Salvatore Torchia, who was born and raised in Utica, but moved to White Plains a decade ago.
A cross between traditional New York pizza and Detroit style (which is similar to Chicago deep dish only darker and a touch thinner), the pies served in Utica are born from a crust that has undergone a multi-step proofing process, akin to making bread, which involves alternating periods of working and resting the dough. “It’s a labor love,” says Torchia.
The dough is baked a bit longer, too, but when all is said and done, it’s been transformed into a thick yet airy and crispy crust that is then topped with ultra-slow-cooked San Marzano tomatoes imported from Italy and a houses-blend of fresh, grated cheese.
This so-called tomato pie is served room temperature or even cold in Utica, but piping hot is an option in White Plains. And, although the pie is round, pieces are cut into squares. “I had no idea pizza was triangle shaped until high school when I went to NYC on a class trip,” laughs Torchia.
He returned to the city to work in advertising after graduating from Syracuse University, but the pizzeria he had helped his brother-in-law open in Utica kept invading his thoughts. “I was always into cooking growing up in an Italian family, but I discovered I had a passion for pizza making.”
Utica Pie Co.’s menu also includes slices that New Yorkers are more accustomed to with mozzarella, all the typical toppings, and a variety of fresh sauces, as well as salads and hero sandwiches with house-made meatballs.
Weekend specials feature hometown favorites like Utica Greens (sautéed escarole with hot and sweet peppers) and Chicken Riggies, a pasta dish of rigatoni, chicken, and hot and/or sweet peppers in a spicy cream and tomato sauce. Most offerings are named after streets in Utica, which Torchia says is very similar to White Plains. “It’s not too crowded, but you get a real sense of city life, too.”
Curbside pickup and contact-less delivery are available, as Torchia works on a beer and wine license in hopes of serving Utica Club, the first beer sold in the U.S. after prohibition.
Utica Pie Co.
594 Mamaroneck Ave, White Plains; 914.948.5600