From Totonno’s limited roster of toppings, we ordered Italian sausage and garlic.
Coney Island’s ancient pizza parlor Totonno’s reopened recently after a five-month hiatus following Hurricane Sandy, which flooded the premises and did massive damage. Two years ago this month, the venerable pizzeria was nearly destroyed by fire. Could it completely recover following these two disasters?
FiTR waited a discreet two weeks after the reopening, then pedaled over there to see if it remained the best pizzeria in New York, and possibly the best in the world.
The interior has been faithfully restored. (Note the Voice cover displayed in the upper right-hand corner of the photo. We couldn’t be prouder.)
A crew was digging up the street in front, replacing damaged underground pipes, but the place was definitely open. Inside, devotees occupied a few of the tables, newly re-topped with dark red Formica. The stamped tin ceilings and walls had been newly repainted, which created a dazzling effect as the spring sunshine poured in the windows. The coal-burning oven had been shined to a high gloss, and all the framed accolades from around the world had been put back on the walls, seemingly in the same positions–though now not hung quite straight.
The good news is, the pizza remains fantastic. We ordered a small Italian sausage and fresh garlic pie, and the crust was crusty, with a deep brown “bone” and a few charred spots topside. Toward the center the crust became very thin, with the middle of the pie a bit soupy from the fresh mozzarella–the amazing cheese is one of the things that makes Totonno’s the best pizza parlor in town, bright white and clean-tasting, as if it were just minutes out of the dairy cow. The sauce is plainish crushed tomatoes, with the raw garlic giving it zing. As with pizzas in Naples itself, best to eat the pie with a knife and fork, rather than attempting the New York fold.
And as with Naples pizza parlors, there’s no expensive wine list. A beer or a Coke are the standard beverages.
Entirely satisfied, we hopped on our bikes and headed out to inspect the rest of the neighborhood, and pay a visit to Woody Guthrie’s former residence.
Totonno’s Pizzeria Napolitano
1524 Neptune Avenue
Coney Island, Brooklyn
Reopened, and as good as ever