March 23, 2016
Patsy’s pizza is ranked pretty high on the list, and we do love a good NY slice, so we headed up to Harlem one day after work, and ordered this plain cheese pie.
We ALMOST went to the wrong restaurant, and finding the “original” Patsy’s took a little bit of digging. The problem is that there is a sort-of-related chain of Patsy’s Pizzerias around NYC, and several are in locations closer to our office. The original Patsy’s opened in Harlem in 1933. The original Patsy learned the ropes making pizza downtown at Lombardi’s (another example of how all the great NYC pizzerias are connected). When he died (in the 90’s), the restaurant was sold to a franchiser and a new chain of Patsy’s was started. We haven’t been to any of those, so we can’t say how they compare to the original.
After some online searching and reading too much about the feud over the name “Patsy’s”, we figured out that we had to head up to Harlem to the original location, which was exciting because we had never had an excuse to go to that area of the city before. We got a table and ordered our pizza, which came out hot and bubbling. The crust was thin and crispy and held up to the sauce and cheese perfectly, just as it should. We know that we usually try interesting topping combinations on our pizzas, but sometimes you just need to go with a traditional cheese slice.
Patsy’s is one of the few remaining coal oven pizzerias still operating in Manhattan (I talked a bit about this here), so for that reason alone, it is worth the trip uptown. The slices reminded us a bit of Joe’s, which makes sense since they are ranked near each other on the list. We probably liked these slices a bit better, but they are both as true to New York slices as you can get.
Fun fact: Patsy’s claims to have originated the idea of “selling by the slice”. Although in all our online searching, we weren’t able to verify that this is actually true.
2287 First Avenue
New York NY