Famous Roio’s Carries Forth Famous Ray’s Legacy


On the left, the Canadian-bacon-and-pineapple slice; on the right, the standard cheese slice. Note how the cheese pulls up from the tip in a dense indigestible mass.

A gastronomic miracle occurred today when Ray’s Famous Pizza reopened at the corner of Sixth Avenue and West 11th Street in Greenwich Village as Roio’s Famous Pizza, as Alexia Nader reported in this morning’s Fork in the Road. But the miracle is not that the place reopened, but that it managed to make the pizza taste exactly the same after a hiatus of more than seven months and a name change.

Remember when we declared this vegetable slice the worst in the city?

Amazingly, Famous Roio’s managed to perfectly re-create Famous Ray’s pizza, which is doubtlessly the neighborhood’s–and possibly the entire island’s–worst pizza. (Indeed, last year, Fork in the Road declared the vegetable permutation of that slice the most awful in Gotham in NYC’s 5 Worst Pizza Slices.)

Yes, generations of kids disembarking in the Village from Westchester, Long Island, Jersey, and points beyond, yearning to experience the Bohemian lifestyle firsthand, have made Ray’s their first stop, ever since it opened in 1973 and became a prototype for dozens of other uber-cheesy corner pizzerias across the city. (All neighborhood pizzerias are not awful, of course. Many are wonderful, such as Di Fara’s, Krispy Pizzeria, and Koronet.)

But like newly hatched chicks imprinting on the warm body of their duck mother, these kids learned to love the quasi-cheesy excesses of the slice and its ability to make you not need (or maybe want) to eat more pizza after that for a good long time.

These characteristics were admirably in evidence as I sampled two of the place’s iconic slices: one a standard cheese slice, freighted with so much of the white stuff that your eyes nearly pop out when you see it. The other features the anomalous combo of decent Canadian bacon and supremely bad canned pineapple, like a rat making love to a zebra.

The biggest problem of both slices is the cheese. It’s like white polyethylene flavored with smegma and totally smothers what is actually a decent crust. If it weren’t so thick.

The toppings are invariably disappointing. (With the exception of the Canadian bacon, that is.) Who wants a slice topped with cooked red and green bell peppers? Blurp!

But this place has its usages, one of which is to divert newcomers from the fabulous pizza parlors in the neighborhood, of which John’s, Keste, and Lievito are but three.

And what’s the second worst slice in the neighborhood? I’m not going to give out the name, but it’s at the corner of Perry Street and Seventh Avenue South. 🙂

The interior of Roio’s has been spruced up. Oh, boyo!