When our May 2017 issue dropped — focusing on everything to do with pizza in the county — it was inevitable that we’d miss more than a few subjects. Forgive us: Pizza in Westchester is a big deal, especially when we’re talking about neighborhood slice joints. Technically, “Slice Slice Baby” could have been a book, I’m certain of that. One spot that slipped past us, and caught our attention after the fact, is Villaggio Ristorante & Pizzeria in Pelham.
Villaggio has been a town mainstay for almost 30 years, and it has two parts. One side is a sit-down Italian restaurant, the other is a quintessential New York-style slice shop. It’s clearly a neighborhood favorite around lunchtime. I showed up just before their 11 am opening time, and by 11:05 there were already 10 people — mostly area high school kids and a few early office lunch takers — grabbing a quick bite.
In the pizza case at any given time you’ll see what’s expected; plain, red sauce with mozzarella and some type of pork topping, Margherita, and a few Sicilian options (one with cheese, the other without). Less than typical are baked ziti pizza, sauce-less chicken and broccoli, a few different salad pizzas, and other flavor combos that they rotate in and out.
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Each slice I tried was a winner in its own way: cooked through, not chewy or doughy, and crispy underneath. The teenagers on lunch break seemed to favor the big plain slices, or added pepperoni, but for me, their big, cheesy, plentifully sauced Sicilian slices were especially stellar, and were a combination of crunchy golden brown on the bottom, and airy in the middle.
If you like olives, there’s a square slice basically covered in green and Kalamata olives, capers, and a few cherry pepper slices that’ll give you a strong vinegary pop and a decent amount of heat from the chilis. A big surprise for me — especially since I’m a meat toppings guy through and through — were the two salad slices that use pizza dough as a vehicle. One was a Caprese salad (tomato slices, fresh mozzarella, basil, pesto); the other was topped with arugula, tomatoes, fresh shaved Parmesan, and chunks of blue cheese. Pro tips: For either of these, you’ll need utensils, and they’re even tastier when you drizzle on some extra virgin olive oil and balsamic.
Slice shops are a dime a dozen in Westchester, but Villaggio is a damn good one that shouldn’t be overlooked.
Villaggio Ristorante & Pizzeria
229 Wolfs Ln, Pelham
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