How Much More Pizza Does the East Village Really Need?


Earlier today, word went round that L’asso, the Mott Street pizzeria that prides itself on serving D.O.C.-certified pies, will be opening a location on First Avenue this fall.

L’asso partner Greg Barris told DNAinfo that his new location is “definitely going to make people a little worried” — “people” meaning the proprietors of other East Village pizzerias. “There’s an endless amount of pizza in that neighborhood,” Barris said, “but there really isn’t anyone doing what we’re up to.”

But non-bromated flour and Italian governmental approval aside, that’s not really true. Because at this point, you can find pretty much any type of pizza you’d ever care to in the neighborhood, from the gloppy party-dip-on-a-crust served at Artichoke Basille’s to the extremely objectionable tofu pizza served at Viva Herbal Pizzeria.

Motorino, Veloce, Pulino’s, South Brooklyn Pizza, and Artichoke may be the best known of the lot, but they’re only the beginning: According to Menupages, there are 44 restaurants that serve pizza in the East Village. Forty-five, if you count the temporary Roberta’s outpost on East 1st Street.

And while we appreciate the plenitude and variety, the whole thing is getting a bit rote: Fancy pizzeria announces intentions to open/expand into the neighborhood; promises to forever alter the pizza landscape; opens; gets blogged about; and settles into comfortable mundanity. If you want to worry people, open a slaughterhouse.

Of course, asking if the East Village needs more pizza is like asking if the beach needs more sand. At this point, the East Village doesn’t really need anything except, as its older-school residents would argue, indie bookstores and a liquor-license moratorium. So will the neighborhood want what L’asso has to offer?

Personally, we’re underwhelmed by L’asso’s pizza, whose crust we’ve found to be simultaneously soggy and cracker-like, but judging by its chorus of enthusiastic Yelpers, we may be in the minority. Which points to the one thing that’s more predictable than more pizza in the East Village: the number of people eager to voice an opinion about it.