Capizzi Pizzeria brings la Nonna’s Sicily to Hell’s Kitchen

Pizza at Capizzi with San Marzano tomatoes

When I was a little girl, my parents would take us out to eat pizza, usually after school functions, to celebrate birthdays or early  Sunday nights. We would go to Pizzarelli, the quintessential Dominican pizzeria, or Pala Pizza, another chain run by Italian family friends. All the pies were wonderful, sweet and tangy, perked up with enough extra local oregano and albahaca needed to satisfy the Dominican palate. The taste and smell of these Dominican pizzas has been forever embedded in my senses, yet it was the way they were created that gave me the most pleasure. I would watch the pizza maker pull and stretch the dough until it was pliable enough to toss in the air, and wouldn’t take my eyes off the flying disk. For a 7-year-old, the process was hypnotic and as cool as the most dazzling magic trick.

I give you this background because walking home today, my memories of pizza pie were stirred up like the particles inside a snow globe. I discovered a new pizza joint in my neighborhood. Even though there is tough competition–a few blocks away  pizza is sold by the slice for 99 cents–this place is unique. Capizzi Pizzeria is warm and inviting, with wooden tables, a vintage fridge,  and assorted knickknacks on the walls. The restaurant specializes in Sicilian-style pies and features four kinds on the menu plus a list of toppings that includes caramelized onions, sausage, roasted peppers and garlic. Joe, the owner, is a friendly guy, and according to one of the servers, opened the restaurant in honor of his Grandmother. I wanted to stay, but in my haste to finally make it home after a long, strange week, I waited for my pie at one of the tables while I sipped some water. I looked at the chef preparing my pie, happily flinging the dough high into the air and dressing it with the San Marzano tomatoes and parmeggiano before sticking it into the brick oven. Even though I couldn’t hear him, I could swear that he was whistling.

I raced home, hugging the pizza box, in order to keep the pie warm on this nippy night. I bolted through the door and laid the box on the kitchen table. After settling in, I picked up a slice and carried it with me to the couch. With the first bite vibrant red tomatoes popped on my tongue. The cheese was sparse, yet full of flavor. The dough was light and fluffy. As I polished 1, 2, 3, 4 slices, the flavors reminded me of a bowl of spaguetti. It tasted like something Grandma would have made–it was sweet, bright and made with love.

One Response to Capizzi Pizzeria brings la Nonna’s Sicily to Hell’s Kitchen

  1. jessica says:

    Que delicia. Me lo imaginé perfecto. De hecho hoy le eché un ojo a las pizzas congeladas del Whole Foods pero no vi peor manera de gastar mi budget calórico.
    Y si, el cierre perfecto para una semana no-tan-perfecta. Que bueno que ya llegó el fin de semana. Have fun!

    Atte.
    A tomato junkie.

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