If you’re in NYC, where are you going to go when you on a hot, sunny Saturday summer afternoon when you have car access? You’re going to Coney Island; that’s where. I’ve never been, my dad had never been, so we were going to see what the cyclone, this pizza, and these hot dogs were all about. All in all, I was really surprised about how excellent this place was. I was expecting the same old uninspired, fried, bullshit carnival food (like the kind you get from the Coney Island of Maine, Old Orchard Beach), but not so. Nathans is awesome. Totonno’s was a great pie. The cyclone was certainly a highlight of the trip as well. I don’t know if we could of had a better time there…
OK, maybe if we shot the freak, but other than that, I think we nailed it.
We walked into Totonno’s around 1:00 and sat right down. I went around snapping photos, but they don’t care who you are if you don’t have a food show, they get people like me chronicling their pizza pilgrimages twenty times a Saturday.
The only things you need for existence: Mutz, Dough, Tomato Sauce. The Italians know this well. There’s one guy making pizzas here – tremendously ineffective, but that’s how these old places do it. I don’t know why one guy can’t teach someone else how to do it. There’s a certain amount of skill involved, but nothing that would take more than a year to train someone willing.
That being said, this guy makes an amazing pie.
We got a Red Pepper & Sausage Pizza. My dad’s favorite pizza is a sausage, green pepper, and onion pizza. It’s a pretty good combo, but our man making the pizza chose the toppings for us today, so we went onionless. I am writing about Totonno’s and thinking about Al Forno in Providence, one of my top ten pizza experiences of my life, and trying to see where this fits in. I think it actually might be top five… Let’s see.
Below are the top ten pizza experiences of my life:
1. Chicken Marsala at I Love New York Pizza in Troy, NY
2. White Pie with Sun-Dried Tomatoes at Grimaldi’s in Brooklyn, NY
3. Pepperoni and Garlic at Di Fara Pizza in Brooklyn, NY
4. Sausage from Santarpio’s Pizza in Boston, MA
5. Pumpkin Margherita from Al Forno Pizza in Providence, RI
6. Cheese from Romeo’s Pizza (now closed) in Yarmouth, ME (this one could be a strict nostalgia pick)
7. Mushroom from Donatelli’s Pizza (now closed) in Yarmouth, ME (this one, too)
8. Pepperoni from Antonio’s Pizza (now closed) in Utica, NY (and this one)
9. Margherita from Roberta’s, Brooklyn, NY
10. Meaty Legend from Geno’s East in Chicago, IL
Totonno’s might be #11. Quality ingredients, careful preparation, great taste, interesting atmosphere. A total experience matched by none I’ve had in NYC, but the pie is just not there with the big guns of the NYC pizza scene. Worth the trip to check it out, but not worth a second like Di Fara or Grimaldi’s.
1524 Neptune Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11224