Lombardi's earns top title in NYC
Pizzeria defeats skepticism with traditional homemade recipes
As the first licensed and established pizzeria in the state of New York, Lombardi's Pizzeria has served Manhattan since its opening in 1897. In fact, Lombardi's has attracted customers with their traditional family recipes and well-known prestige.
In search to fulfill my hunger for pizza, and with the recommendation of a friend, Lombardi's Pizza was an option that could not be refused. As this restaurant was the first licensed and established pizzeria in the state of New York, it was impossible to dismiss this eatery during my week-long stay in Manhattan.
In the small cultural area of Little Italy, once a haven for Italian immigrants, and has been serving the New York metropolis since 1897. For over 100 years, Lombardi's has maintained traditional family recipes that consistently attracts customers.
Lombardi's is one of the few restaurants in the state of New York allowed to have a coal-powered oven to bake their food. In its early days, the pizzerias previous owner, Geraldo Lombardi, opened a grocery store, and in the back was a coal oven which Lombardi used to make tomato pies for the local factory workers to eat at lunch.
The General Manager, Yanni, whom I had met with, explained that, "... in 1905, Lombardi's gained popularity throughout the neighborhood and became the first licensed pizzeria in the United States." Lombardi abandoned the grocery store in pursuit of the idea of a restaurant, and that is how the original pizzeria (two blocks south of its current location) started.
I was very skeptical about the restaurant due to the fact that I had never heard of Lombardi's, which is considered "the best pizza in town." I love pizza, and it needs to be prepared a certain way in order for me to eat it; coming from a family that eats healthfully, I am taught to never eat anything greasy or extremely fattening. In this case, the most traditional food from most cultures are usually not the most healthful to eat.
"Lombardi's shot to first on my top 10 list of favorite restaurants after I experienced their fare. The service was impeccable, with attentive waiters and occasional visits from the general manager." --Stephan Melendez, '13
As I sat with a group of friends, we browsed through the menu and, with only a minuscule amount of options, we decided to order an 18-inch sweet Italian sausage pizza and a sauteed garlic spinach pizza, at the recommendation of our waiter. In record time, our food was served, even though Lombardi's was completely packed.
The aroma of the pizza filled our small room on the second floor with many Italian aromas such as baked, aged mozzarella cheese, fresh strips of basil and sweet Italian sausage. The pizza was phenomenal; all the fresh ingredients harmonized very well, creating one unforgettable experience.
The thickly-sliced sausage and peperoni were strew about the dish, leaving all the oils and fats mixing throughout the bread and sauce. One aspect of the pizza was different: only certain spots of the pie were covered with cheese. Later, I learned that the pizza we are accustomed to, covered in cheese, is Americanized. Traditional napoletano pizza is served with blobs of cheese.
I automatically knew the sauce was a homemade tradition, and has been in the family for quite some time. The sauce consisted of oregano, fresh tomatoes and various secret ingredients.
Our second pizza was different. I never thought that spinach would be considered a topping for a pizza, especially being sauteed with garlic. I was wrong. The dark green spinach made every bite delicious, and mixed well with garlic. Taking my first bite, every element complimented each other. That is very rare for a pizza; there is always one dominant additive ruining the dish.
Following his dinning experience at Lombardi's, junior Stephan Melendez agreed with the city of New York: it was the best pizza in town. The pizzeria is located 32 Spring St. New York, NY 10012-4173 and can be reached at 212.941.7994.
While ordering this, I learned that the reason why the pizza only consisted of red sauce, green basil and white cheese is to resemble the Italian flag. I thought this was creative, and I liked it. While eating the pizza, every bite made me think of Italian flag. Because of the lack of cheese corresponding with the idea of the flag, I was dissatisfied, because I love cheese.
The crust was baked to perfection, even though it was thin. It seemed that the dough was properly kneaded and given the perfect amount of yeast and water to form a golden brown, firm foundation. I was satisfied by the fact that the crust was not burned or over-baked.
Lombardi's shot to first on my top 10 list of favorite restaurants after I experienced their fare. The service was impeccable, with attentive waiters and occasional visits from the general manager. One attribute did disappoint me: the restaurant does not accept credit cards, only cash. Thankfully they had an ATM, or else I would have run into a complication with paying.
For those who want to enjoy themselves despite the price tag of $40.50 for the meal, Lombardi's is the place to go. The pizzeria is quite pricey, but the amount of food can feed three to four people, depending on the pizza's size.
Now I know why everyone loves Lombardi's pizza. They have earned the title to be "the best in town." Compared to every pizzeria I have eaten at, Lombardi's exceeded my expectation.
The next time I travel in New York I will definitely return to Lombardi's Pizzeria. All the ingredients were balanced and I could taste the cheese, meat and herbs blending well to create one incredible pizza. Next time you're in Little Italy, be sure to experience Lombardi's fabulous pizza.
Lombardi's Pizza is located 32 Spring St. New York, NY 10012-4173. To contact the restaurant, call 212.941.7994 or visit their website.