Monday, January 19, 2009

Pizza anyone? SINY Pizza Tour!

Photo by SIREN on Flickr.

Pizza, Pizza, Pizza…New York is known for having the best pizza. Well who would have thought that some of the best pizza places were in one of NYC’s boroughs, Staten Island? A new cultural initiative called SINY put together a Staten Island Pizza Tour and let me tell you, the pizza on Staten Island is out of this world. The tour had a very special friendly and knowledgeable tour guide; SINY Executive Director, Larry Ambrosino. Larry gave us tidbits as we traveled the Island that I never even knew about.

The tour started at Staten Island’s Hilton Garden Inn on South Avenue and then went to four pizzerias with a stop at the Staten Island Zoo for some breathing room between stops. We visited the famous Jimmy Max in Westerleigh, Joe & Pat’s in Castleton Corners, Deninos in Port Richmond and lastly but not least Lee’s Tavern in Dongan Hills. Although you may think who would want to keep eating pizza all day long, especially when you are stuffed, but these places have such phenomenal pizza you cannot help it but to eat another slice. The tour bus was lucky enough to have a couple from Roanoke Virginia join us and they were so excited to be eating at some of Staten Island’s finest pizzerias. We even had a pizza eating contest to see who was able to eat the most pizza. Lo and behold it was the tourist from Virginia, Jan Wright who won the contest by eating 7 3/4 slices of pizza. Poor guy was stuffed like a turkey by the end of the tour.

Photo by SIREN on Flickr: Pizza Eating Contest Winner, Jan Wright.

The pizza varies from place to place but they all have their own style which makes each place so unique. Jimmy Max served their very light and crispy margherita pizza with the freshest ingredients that are so light and tasty you can easily eat a whole pie yourself. Then the tour bus stopped at the Staten Island Zoo where the zookeepers gave us a behind the scenes look at the venomous snakes the zoo maintains. OK, I will get to more details about the zoo later but let’s continue on with the pizza places. So, the next place was Joe & Pat’s whose sauce was amazing. Also, the crispy crust added a great texture to Joe & Pat’s unique slice. Followed by Joe & Pat's was Deninos. Going to school a few blocks away, I was no stranger to this place and their pizza never disappointed me in the past. Well once again the pizzeria did not disappoint me. Here we were served a white pie, which is a pie with only onions, fresh garlic, a drizzle of olive and of course cheese but no sauce. At this point we were all just about stuffed but we finished every bit of pizza since it was so scrumptious. Next was Lee’s Tavern. This pizzeria is one of those local word of mouth places that it does not even need a sign on the front door, but somehow everyone knows what it is. At this charming place, we were served the pizzeria's fresh regular pie, but there was nothing regular about their slices. Oh and did I forget to mention that every single place we went to was packed from when we started at 11:30 in the morning till 3 in the afternoon.

Photo by SIREN on Flickr: SINY Pizza Tour Group Picture.

OK, so back to the zoo part. Our stop at the zoo was a good break in between pizzerias as we spoke with the snake handlers. The Staten Island Zoo does not remove the venom from some of their snakes for humane reasons. We also saw the zookeeper feed the alligators and watched them chomp away on their food (dead mice) just as we did at each pizzeria.

Photo by SIREN on Flickr.

What: SINY Pizza Tour
Where: Jimmy Max, Joe & Pat’s, Deninos and Lee’s Tavern - Tour meets at the SI Ferry Terminal or Hilton Garden Inn
When: Saturdays from 11am-4pm. To reserve a spot call SINY at 347-273-1257.
Cost: $40

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Anonymous January 19, 2009 at 11:04 PM  

Great choice of pizzerias...good idea and looks like a lot of fun. Maybe if I have time I'll try it out.

- CarFan