Sunday, October 31, 2010

Day 30, Pizza Month 2010 - Mario's (Arthur Avenue, Bronx)

DAY 30: OCTOBER 30th, 2010

LOCATION: Mario's (Arthur Avenue, Bronx)

ORDER: 4 slices of a personal appetizer pie, 4 slices of an entree pie

GUEST: Adam Kuban and his guest

Great pizza despite its own best interest.

Raising the price, hiding it on the menu, and being surrounding by pizzerias are three tactics used by Mario's Restaurant to hide the fact they make some pretty high quality pies. This Bronx Little Italy trattoria is an Italian restaurant first and foremost and has put forth a concerted effort to distance themselves from the word "pizzeria." But there's just one problem...Mario's serves delcious pizza!

Located at the bottom of the Appetizers section of the menu, "individual Pizza" is the only indicator Mario's even serves it. No where is there any mention of available toppings, pie sizes, or even that it is circular. Though not listed, there is an entree version of the "individual Pizza" as well. I know, because i ordered them both.

"i'll have the Individual pizza as an appetizer and then pizza for the main course," I explained to the waiter. I always wanted to say that.

When my appetizer arrived, many questions were answered. The "individual Pizza" is an eight inch wide Neopolitan (circular) thin crusted pie cooked in a gas-powered deck oven with low-moisture mozzarella cheese. Upon eating a slice, my pizza guest (SliceNY's Adam Kuban) and I deduced that it was a "cooked" red sauce beneath the herb and spice infused toppings. A lot of cooking expertise went into this under-appreciated appetizer. I surely appreciated it! The crust was cooked to perfection and the crushed red pepper and basil provided a nice one-two flavor combo that had me looking forward to the main course - which, thankfully, was larger.

Since Mario's is a fine-dining establishment more-so than a pizzeria, the price tag for my pair of pizzas was a bit on the steep side. Had I ordered just one I doubt my appetite would have been sated; also, the staff might not have been as friendly. As it was, the staff was extremely nice. Mario's has been family owned and operated since 1919.

If I find myself in the Arthur Avenue area of the Bronx, I would most certainly return to Mario's. Next time I may order a different entree but that pizza appetizer sure would be hard to pass up.


4.05 out of 5

  • VALUE:


  • TASTE:


17/21 = .810 x 5 = 4.05

1. Adam Kuban founded - the greatest pizza resource on the web! He also posted his review of our meal here:
2. Is it dorky to be happy to have gone to both Mario's and Luigi's in the same pizza month? Probably. But I did it! :)
3. I met the owners (the Migliucci's) who pronounce Mario like "Mare-ee-ohs" so, from now on, I will too!

Day 29, Pizza Month 2010 - Free NY Pizza Suprema @the Magnet (Chelsea, NYC)


DAY 29: OCTOBER 29th, 2010

LOCATION:Free NY Pizza Suprema @the Magnet Theater (Chelsea, NYC)

ORDER: 1 slice of cheese

GUEST: Binu Paulose, Molly Moran, Angela Demanti, Mark Lee, Kat Kiernan, Nina Klemow, Alexis Saarela, Nate Starkey, and everyone else at the Magnet Theater on October 29, 2010

Free GOOD pizza!

For nearly a year the Magnet Theater has been on the receiving end of countless slices from NY Pizza Suprema. What started as a promotion to encourage folks to come to the Magnet's Thursday Night Out has turned into an everyday occurrence. That's right, some time between 9 and 10pm, the house manager will open up pizza donated by NY Pizza Suprema for audience consumption. There may be as many as six large pies, or as few as one. So, there is no guarantee but it is a nice little bonus that you get, on top of inexpensive great comedy, FREE great pizza!

Even if it were not free, NY Pizza Suprema is a Slicey Award winning pizzeria that chooses to make quality pizza when they could easily get away with less. Situated at the base of Penn Station, NY Pizza Suprema is blessed and cursed with more foot traffic than most pizzerias even in Manhattan. Tourists and on-the-go locals don't necessarily know the difference between top quality ingredients and mediocrity...but Joe Riggio does. Joe, the current owner of NY Pizza Suprema embraced the opportunity to take over for his late father even though it meant walking away from his law practice. Why? Because he was raised on his father's pizza, loves his father's pizza, and owes everything to the loyal patrons that have been coming back since his father opened the doors in 1964.

The plain cheese slice, my favorite, combines plenty of tomato sauce, creamy grande mozzarella, and a sprinkling of Pecorino Romano that truly brings the whole slice together. Suprema makes the best street slice in Manhattan. Not only is it delicious but it's dependably delicious. The pizza chefs behind the counter know what they're doing and continue to do it pie after pie.

Go to the pizzeria and see what I mean. Otherwise, press your luck and come to the Magnet for a mixed bag of assorted pies the good people at NY Pizza Suprema donate on a nightly basis.


5 out of 5

1. I perform improv comedy at the Magnet Theater as part of Junior Varsity and Hell Buffalo. Please stop by if you get a chance.
2. Here is a review I did for NY Pizza Suprema on Day 31 of Pizza Month 2008:

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Day 28, Pizza Month 2010 - Mariella Pizza (Midtown West, NYC)

DAY 28: OCTOBER 28th, 2010

LOCATION: Mariella Pizza (Midtown West, NYC)

ORDER: 1 slice of cheese

GUEST: Jen MacNeil

Best in the whole wide vicinity.

Mariella Pizza is the place to go if you obey every bit of advice you get from Oprah. In a food segment with her friend Gayle, the show went in search of the best pizza. The search ended 40 feet away from the O Magazine headquarters. They got the right city, in my opinion, but the wrong pizzeria. To be fair, Mariella is an above average street slice; it may even be the best pizza within a 10 block radius, but Midtown West is a tough place to get a quality slice. Gayle, if you're reading this, let's you and I grab a New York slice that might make even Oprah question her allegiance to Chicago style pizza.

Without the expectation that this was New York's best pizza, Mariella is sure to impress. Having been around for nearly 35 years, Joe (Pino) Vicari runs a tight ship. Even between the rush times, there is a steady stream of patrons demanding this Sicilian native's pies. The slices are large with plenty of sauce, creamy mozzarella, and a sturdy crust. Offering a quality product at working man prices is the Vicari way. Considering the slice is up to $0.50 less than others in the area and the quality is better, Mariella Pizza is the place to go.

The word is out though so be prepared to jockey for seats in this remarkably clean pizzeria. Many patrons choose to use the condiments, such as crushed red pepper, oregano, and parmesan for a bit more zest. I prefer it the way it's served. Because I live in the area and like a good quick slice of quality pizza, i'll be back. I'll bring my own expectations, however, not my Oprah expectations.


3.47 out of 5

  • VALUE:


  • TASTE:

  • SERVICE: N/A 0/0

12.5/18 = .694 x 5 = 3.47

1. Jen MacNeil has been a maid of honor three times and is about to be a bride for the first (and only) time.
2. Jen MacNeil has been a part of every pizza month since 2003
3. I got a picture with Frank and Joe

4. From their website, here is a link to the video of Mariella Pizza on Oprah