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Rizzo’s Pizza: A Damn Fine Pie

If you’re a fan of thin crust pizza, Rizzo’s will be your Shangri-La.

Story by Matt Heidkamp - matt@citizenbrooklyn.com Photos and video by Raoul Beltrame

Round Personal Fantasia by Rizzo’s Fine Pizza from Citizen Brooklyn on Vimeo.
In a city oversaturated with pizza shops, it’s nearly impossible to make a New Yorker look twice at a new joint. That is, of course, until you stumble upon Rizzo’s Fine Pizza, who may be new to the LES, but are no strangers to the pizza game. The family-run joint has been crafting thin-crust pies since ’59, when the Rizzos first opened up shop in Astoria. Now, with Bugsy and Frank at the helm (non-Rizzos, but thin crust connoisseurs nonetheless), lower Manhattan can rejoice and get in on the crispy goodness.

Photo  © Raoul Beltrame

Photo © Raoul Beltrame

I arrived at Rizzo’s mid afternoon and Bugsy led me through the kitchen into their bar next door. The inside of the joint gave off a chic, industrial vibe—somewhere between Edison’s lab and converted loft, with rustic, homemade lamps and exposed brick to boot. Vintage tools of the trade lined the bar area, original cutlery from the OG Rizzo’s in Queens; a real home-y vibe all in all.

Photo  © Raoul Beltrame

Photo © Raoul Beltrame

Frank, whose been working with the Rizzo clan for nearly a decade, is head honcho in the kitchen. Instead of whippin’ up the classic Rizzo’s square pie, Frank crafted a Fantasia round pie—an airy, thin-crusted delight with ‘shrooms, olives, red peppers, pesto and a medley of cheeses. With the crispy aroma filling the air, waiting for this bad boy to cool down was a difficult task—I was ready to pounce.

Photo  © Raoul Beltrame

Photo © Raoul Beltrame

Now, let me school you about the Fantasia. First thing you should know: the toppings, Fresh to death. Like, just picked out of the garden and delivered straight to my mouth—fresh. And what better place for those fresh veggies and party of cheeses to rest than atop the thin, charred crust that Rizzo’s is known for. The crust is so thin, if you dropped it, it might take some time to hit the ground. I mean this as a good thing—it makes the pie what it is—a Mediterranean masterpiece.

Photo  © Raoul Beltrame

Photo © Raoul Beltrame

If you’re a fan of thin crust pizza, Rizzo’s will be your Shangri-La. If you fancy yourself more of a thick-crust guy, well, stop here for a pie and you may convert. Two days later and I’m still fantasizin’ about the Fantasia. Needless to say, I’ll be back. Oh, and they also make a Nutella pizza. So yeah, there’s that.

Photo  © Raoul Beltrame

Photo © Raoul Beltrame

Photo  © Raoul Beltrame

Photo © Raoul Beltrame

Photo  © Raoul Beltrame

Photo © Raoul Beltrame

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