Never being one for top 10’s or 5’s or what have you, this is a stretch for me but an article that nonetheless, I felt many would enjoy given the fact that there are way more than 5 places in the city of hills to grab a greasy slice, with just the perfect amount of sauce and mozzarella.
We probably all have our own top 5 when it comes to slices, places we duck into because we know no matter how much time passes that the pizza will taste the same and others that we have cemented into our minds from our childhood. One can only hope and pray that they stay permanently open, never close and always have the same guys in the back slapping and tossing the dough.
Such a place made my number 1 on this list without hesitation, but in true countdown form, we’ll start at #5 and work our way back. I give you, my Top 5 Pizza Places in Yonkers, comment as you see fit.
#5 – Catania’s Pizza – 2260 Central Park Ave.
Many people don’t think pizza slices when they think of Central Ave. They think shopping, The Wiz, Caldor’s, Nathan’s, name your other defunct business, and of course, the sea of now commercial establishments that dot the landscape and further erase the character and charm of the major thoroughfare that we all once knew existed there.
Still, since 1976, Catania’s has been doing what they do, greeting their customers by name and doling out the ever popular, undeniable New York charm of customer service by greeting a newbie or an old-timer to the place with a succinct and humble question, “Whatcha want?”
A little then and now for you…Catania’s 1976…
The place hasn’t changed all that much, more seating, more variety of pies, but even still, they have their loyal customers that will only go here and as one woman said to me, “the crust is better here than anywhere else.” Also, look at the size of this mountain of garlic knots!
Yes, Catania’s is a good way to polish off an afternoon on Central Ave. of shopping, just bring your appetite and your love affair of Garlic Knots with you.
#4 Michaelangelos Pizza – 1037 Yonkers Ave.
At first glance, the place is nothing to sneeze at.
No real history in the area although 20 plus years is something to definitely acknowledge. No really cool signage or guys behind the counter that you will remember for weeks or years to come. What it lacks in flair though it makes up in quality of ingredients and taste, by far, Michelangelo’s Pizza is that prototypical New York pizza joint, where the slices are thin, crispy, greasy and cheesy.
There are two qualities about the place however that do stand out to me since I’ve been riding my bike here since I was a kid. For one, there is always and I mean always a copy of the Daily News or New York Post around for you to read.
Call the owner a tabloid junkie but I love that he passes it on for his customers everyday and if you’re like me, reading a news paper and having a slice with a grape soda is as good as it gets for lunch in my opinion.
Second, there are a number of pizzerias in New York that make you “hunt” for the Parmesan cheese, because it’s not just sitting out on the counter, collecting dust and becoming stale all day, but it is kept in its native habitat, a cooler place where all cheese should be kept for the most part…the fridge!
So you have to almost be a “regular” to find the cheese and yes, I have walked into many pizzerias in my time and have had to “ask” where’s the cheese?” As if to say, “Hi, I’m new here, I would love some Parmesean Cheese to go with this slice…please…”
In most cases, the cheese is hidden amongst the sodas and at Michelangelo’s, it’s no different, so if you decide to come for a visit, don’t be a newbie, simply find the sodas to find your cheese.
I know this sounds trite but the view outside on Yonkers Ave is always equally entertaining here. You can see anything from one of Yonkers finest pulling over a speeding motorist racing down the hill from the Raceway, or the more frequent sight of a disgruntled patron, who let their meter expire and now instead of that extra 20 minutes costing a quarter, it will cost $50.
#3 Midland Pizzeria – 853 Midland Ave.
One word sums up this pizza joint that gives it the distinction of being on our list, ambiance.
I swear you will feel as if you are eating in a nice cozy restaurant versus a loud and crowded pizzeria. The place has drapes on the window, a totally quarantined section for dine in customers and just an overall feel that I have always loved that make this place an excellent spot for a mid-afternoon date to the old Pizza Parlor.
Check these accents out…
I don’t mean to get all Martha Stewart on here but these little things make a difference to me and it’s such a nice touch in my opinion. The Pizza, well what you see if what you get…
Pretty typical NY slice but good and the menu is stacked with your regular red sauce standbys so perhaps dinner is more appropriate here versus ducking in for a quick slice. But if you do have a hankering for a slice, they were voted best Pizza not too long ago…
Also, they are very smart about smart phones and using them for their business and customer service. You can place orders and do all sorts of stuff and even earn free pizza!
Midland Pizzeria is good, period. Lunch or Dinner, early or late, but now we are into the top 2 places in Yonkers, and these places have to be good 24/7 in order to be the best. Let’s begin with a place on the West side of Yonkers that has a long history in the neighborhood.
#2 – Silvio’s Italian Restaurant and Pizzeria – 351 S. Broadway
For nearly 30 years, this place has become a neighborhood icon, with a polarity all its own and a loyal clientele who would pass by 10 different pizzerias to get to Silvio’s.
When you walk into Silvio’s, you really are treated like family, since the owner calls everyone, well at least the guys, “my brother”.
When I came to visit, it was the week of Good Friday and apparently in the pizza business, it’s the closest thing to defcon 5, where they receive more orders that night than any other night of the year, minus New Years.
Banking on the fact that people are not as religious as they once were back in the old days of Silvio’s, they seem to manage but back in the 80’s and 90’s, the place really hopped on Good Friday, all four pizza ovens going and thousands of pies sold.
On this day, I went with the Chicken Parm slice which was so fresh and so tasty, that I almost embarrassingly ordered another one, but something tells me in this place, much more shameful things have been done for much less due to how good the menu is!
This is the Cheers of Pizza places, everyone does know everyone else’s name and even what they are going to order. I witnessed one such exchange from two guys who were on lunch break working for Verizon. Here is how it went and keep in mind, these are grown men…
Guy #1 -” What should I get, frigin hungry bro”
Guy#2 – “You’re not gettin’ Knots, I can tell you that.”
Guy#1- “Screw you dude, I’m gettin’ da knots”
Guy#2- “Bro, everytime you get doze knots from Silvio’s you end up burping them up in the truck for the rest of the day”
Guy#1- “So, I don’t give a S%#t, I’m gettin da Knots!”
Guy#2- “You’re not gettin’ Knots!!!”
This went on for about 5 minutes. Bottom line though is that Silvio’s has the magical ability to bring us all back to our childhood by providing great food and an environment where we feel welcome, safe, familiar and warm. Garlic Knots or not, Silvio’s is a place that deserves a permanent spot on South Broadway, institutionalized by the City as one of the treasures of Yonkers.
#1 – Angelo’s Pizzeria – 986 McLean Ave.
Since you only get one childhood, certain memories and association can only be made by so many people, places and things. In my case, it’s Angelo’s Pizzeria.
This is the place that has not changed. This is the place where I can still picture being 14, being 17, being home from College and going to grab a slice even before stopping at home, being 24 and bringing my wife to, because I wanted to give her one of the “biggest slices” so to speak of my childhood.
I can picture bringing my son here, my Dad, my friends, the lady of the night, who cares…anyone that would go with me I would drag to this place, it’s the way it’s always been and it will be that way until the final pie comes out of the oven and they turn the lights off.
What started in the summer of 1995, has now carved out a piece of my heart and in 18 years of coming here, I think I order up the same thing each and every time, a slice of regular and a Sicilian slice.
An electrical fire a few years ago on the floors above put a real scare into me, hearing on the news, “A Yonkers Pizzeria experienced a fire last night…” and then you say to yourself, pizzerias are a dime a dozen in Yonkers, it can’t be Angelo’s…but it was.
Sadly, they were forced to close for the better part of 2011, but reopened and are still going strong. Representing Italian American Pride along with Anna Artuso’s Pastry Shop just up the block, in a sea of Green, White and Orange, that dominates the rest of McLean Ave.
I cannot encourage you enough to stop by this place for a slice, especially on a Friday evening, my favorite time to go, when it seems as if everyone becomes Italian that evening and the whole neighborhood orders from Angelo’s. It’s something to marvel at really, the well oiled machine of the guys behind the counter, the delivery boys, phone ringing, lines 10 deep, tables full, yet everyone and I mean everyone is being serviced.
I came here on a Tuesday so the lines were tame but still the same service and quality of a Friday night. Friday nights though are special here…Just like I did with my friends, teenage boys still crowd around a table, having their slices and pre-gaming their evening of fun, girls and rabble rousing.
Parents bring their kids, old men dine alone, people order out, phones ring off the hook, it’s great and is, without a doubt, true New York, true Neighborhood and true Yonkers.
As with all of these places, they mean different things to different people, with some looking for something hot to eat, others looking to continue their unconditional law of patronage. Whatever the reason, Yonkers is better off for these places and businesses like these automatically increase the quality of life for the neighborhoods they serve, delivering on service, nostalgia, belonging and above all, pizza!