Why Patsy’s Pizza in Harlem Is John Stage’s Best $5 Spent


Pitmaster John Stage of Dinosaur Bar-B-Que (604 Union Street, Brooklyn; 700 West 125th Street) has watched Harlem change over the decade he’s been in business. His 125th Street location gives him a great view of the Hudson River and enough space for his smokers. It also gives him easy access to old-school heavy-hitting restaurants, like Patsy’s Pizza (2287 First Avenue at 117th Street; 212-534-9783), which serves classic slices of mozzarella pie that Stage says are the best thing he ate this month.


“I’ve been going to Patsy’s for years,” he says. “I’m talking about the original Patsy’s on 117th and First. It’s my favorite go-to pizza, but I hadn’t been there in a year or so. One afternoon, I was going across town — I live in Washington Heights — to put up my bike at the Harley-Davidson in Queens. I was hungry as hell when I was nearing the Triboro, and realized where I was.

“I parked the bike, got a couple of slices, and was instantly reminded just how good this hole-in-the-wall is. The pizza is so good — it’s light, crispy, chewy, and just so old-school up there. Two slices of plain mozzarella did it for me. It’s still the best $5 you can spend.”

Where do chefs go to eat on their nights off? We’re asking them — and they’re divulging the best things they’ve eaten in the last month in this weekly column.