Bonafide Williamsburg Tested, Westchester Approved Pizza

A native, a CIA grad, and a nearly century-old pizza oven are mixing old school and new school in New Rochelle.


There’s something special about the white pie at Pizzeria La Rosa. The dough, made with all-organic flour and fermented for 24-36 hours, is crisp and light. Milky house-made mozzarella melts evenly under smooth dollops of ricotta. Almost-jammy caramelized onions and shards of tangy pecorino liven things up, while sesame seeds, toasted from the heat of the wood-burning pizza oven, add a nutty crunch to those last few bites of crust.

Westchester native Matt DiGesu and Frank Pinello, a CIA grad who slung pies at Roberta’s before opening Best Pizza in Williamsburg, opened La Rosa (named for DiGesu’s grandmother) in October. Inspired by the old-school vibes — and nearly century-old oven — of the former Modern Restaurant space, La Rosa has a distinctly retro vibe. “I spent time traveling and seeing these old ovens and old establishments,” says Pinello. “I knew how rare it was. I couldn’t build this if I tried.”

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The four pies on the menu are what Pinello calls “New York-meets-Neapolitan,” a crispy classic-NY-style crust topped simply with high-quality ingredients. Vegetable dishes — a stellar arugula salad with plumped raisins, pickled fennel, and lemon-confit vinaigrette; roasted carrots with carrot-top pesto, and broccoli with garlic-salami breadcrumbs — are equally compelling.

“We’re getting a good response, but I feel like there’s so much more to do,” says Pinello. “What are we doing to do to keep making the experience better?”

Pizzeria La Rosa
12 Russell Ave, New Rochelle