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Jul 7, 2002 10:24 PM

NYC Pizza in Daytona

  • t

Having read the pinings below for a reasonable facsimile of a genuine outer borough pizza (we ain't talkin' Ray's here) in this culinary wasteland known as Volusia County, I humbly recommend a trip to Pete's Pizza in the WinnDixie center at the NE corner of Beville Rd and Nova Rd.
Before escaping to this no-collar Riviera, Pete made pies in Brooklyn for many, many years. He knows the value of a very HOT oven.

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  1. This is a very "interesting" post. For more than a year, we have searched this horrendous culinary county for any decent restaurants from Chinese to Italian. We have found a decent Chinese place which we've posted on before - LeAnns on Beville Road directly across from the golf course. Certain things are very, very good.

    As far as pizza, we have not found anything remotely resembling NY pizza. The doughs are horrendous, the sauces terrible, and yes, the ovens are definitely not hot enough. So many of these operators refuse to accept a custopmer's direction. When you ask for a thin, well done pizza, you don't get either. It's unbelievable!

    And, to compound the well done problem, when you ask for your pie that way, they refuse to keep the pies in long enough! Why? Well one reason is they places try to save money on their electric/propane expenses. So, instead of firing up both decks, they'll limit the number of decks they heat up and create a situation where they have no room to leave your pizza in long enough. This is especially true on weekends.

    Many of us former NY'ers have posted here and nobody has ever been able to come up with a good pizza place except for Bizzarro's and that's simply too far from us. We've tried them all - Pagano's, Manny's, Stevaros, etc. Forget them all.

    But now, amazingly, this Hound brings up a place than nobody has mentioned before. Of all the NY'ers here in our 800 home community and friends in Palm Coast absolutely nobody has ever touted Pete's. It kind of makes you wonder.....How is this possible?

    I'm trying to keep an open mind, but one must view this post with some slight suspicion. Let's hope its not a lame self-serving promotional attempt by some family member or friend of Pete's.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Chuck

      Chuck, next time you're in town go by and try a slice or two. Maybe you'll get lucky and the old man will be making zeppole that day.

      P.S. If you want real Chinese around here go to Hull's for some clams, the Chinese grocery on 92 for some salted black beans and go back home and cook it yourself. While you're at the grocery get some of those wide rice stick noodles for some Chow Fun later in the week.

      1. re: Blue

        I feel better about your post and am really hoping Pete's is as good as you say it is. It would be a wonderful surprise. I intend to go either this week or next week. I am glad you did not get offended by my post - its just that we've been disappointed so many times in Central Florida before.

        Anyway, have you ever tried LeAnns on Beville in Daytona? If not, let me tell you a little about it. Its run by Vietnamese, not Chinese people. The owner is the chef (woman) and here's what is good:

        The table noodles are homemade and are excellent (I know its not a menu item, but it still is the first thing you experience when you sit down and it matters)

        The duck sauce is just like in Brooklyn - garlic, applesauce and duck sauce - really good

        The won ton and egg drop soups are excellent - the egg roll (ask for them well done) is not bad

        I never had the ribs or dumplings yet

        The egg foo youngs are very good

        The chicken and broccoli is also good - mild, but good seasoning and good quality

        Shrimp with lobster sauce is not bad - not great, but not bad. The Orange Beef was not bad either - they will make it hot if you want, too.

        The cook will make you anything you want - they try very hard - the place is clean and very reasonable - tehy are closed on Sundays

        For Volusia, its really not bad - try it once and see if you agree. Hey, I'm going to Pete's on your recommendation so perhaps you'll check me out on this one.

        1. re: Chuck

          LeAnns sounds like the same owners of the Omei Inn that used to be in the same center. I may be wrong though. It was a better than average place to eat. I will check out some take out.
          Later, gotta go look again at that Wo Hop menu on Amazon.

      2. re: Chuck

        It might be unlikely, but now and then someone springs a place previously undiscovered . . . MANY, MANY people just follow the recommends and don't do a lot of their own exploration. Also, some NYers are accustomed to having so many options relatively close-by that the notion of driving to outlying or unfamilar areas to check on hearsay referrals just isn't that appealing to them. Anyway, I hope Pete's has what you're looking for, or that you find the time to try it at least. Then post your results, good or bad . . . because we can't score if we don't shoot.

      3. Yo: Blue Hand

        There is no NY Pizza in Daytona. It's the national capitol of the WWF on wheels for Pete's sake. Last time I was there, a reasonable facsimille of Chicago pizza was available, but New York, forgetaboudit.

        When you have been in Florida so long as I, you may share my conclusion. Three or four times a year you journey to your culinary Mecca for a week or two and EAT! My thing is Paris and Lyon, but for a little more you can do New York. Put your dining out dollars in a fund, cook great for yourself at home, and you'll be amazed at how fast your travel fund grows.

        As to the local cusine, it's not New York. However, a new level of understanding may be gained if you can find a copy of WHITE TRASH COOKING by Ernest Matthew Mickler (ISBN 0-89815-189-9). It includes timeless recipes such as Irma Lee Stratton's Chocolate Dump Cake and Aunt Rosie Deaton's All-American Slum-Gullion(Cook plenty of elbow macaroni). Dana Pullen's Chicken Feet and Rice would seem to be a particular treat. This by way of saying if you know where this area came from....

        The final solution, of course, is a bumper sticker that used to be popular here in Jacksonville - "If you (heart symbol) NY, Take I-95 North".

        2 Replies
        1. re: Al Weigand

          I could not have said it any better! I am going to try Pete's with my fingers crossed. The Hound's recommendation deserves my respect, but I know in my heart its a real long shot.

          I am lamenting my last trip down to South Florida from this horrendous wasteland of fast food and chains that is DAYTONA REEKS. I am going to cram five meals into a matter of 30 or so hours. After which, I won't be back for sometime. The thought of having to eat out in Volusia just makes me sick! And, I agree its almost not even worth it.

          But, your idea of saving up one's Volusia Dining Dollars, in my case Ormond Beach, is somewhat unrealistic - Flying up to the homeland, the cost of the hotels, etc. is pretty steep in this economy.

          For us, a more likely possibility will be a 3-1/2 hour trip back to South Florida where we do have some really good restaurants. Or, perhaps I, too, have lost my sense of taste? I've lived in Florida for more than 20 years now, but I honestly believe I still retain my sense of good taste - I do try to get to NYC, Vegas, etc. to keep it "tuned up."

          For those of us who have made the decision, rightly or wrongly, to seek a different or perhaps better lifestyle by moving to Florida, I think we basically knew going in that we'd be giving up some things we love like a good bagel, great pizza, Chinese, etc.

          But, that doesn't mean we cannot still complain about our self inflicted loss. Fortunately, we have to vent our frustrations.

          1. re: Al Weigand

            Jeez, you guys are brutal. I've been down here for over 22 years. Long enough to remember the Volusia Diner on 92. We use to affectionately refer to it as the VD. Its now a Marine Surplus Store and no doubt the food there is greatly improved.

          2. Sorry Blue Hand Luke, but Pete's is just like all the rest of the inferior pizza places in this pizza deprived section of Central Florida.

            Finally made it to Pete's today for lunch - 15 miles for more of the same. Hey, I appreciated the try, but Pete's is plagued with the same problem all pizza joints have here in the Daytona Beach area - terrible crust.

            One possible reason? This big dude at Pete's was beating the hell out of the dough with his fists! Seriously, I have never seen anybody do that to the extent this guy does. Its no wonder the dough is so tough. Its also tasteless and sadly very similiar to the Greek pizza doughs we have in Daytona -Ugh.

            You know, perhaps there is something to the water issue? Pete claims to be from Brooklyn. Blue Hand, if he made pizza like that in Greenpoint, Park Slope and Flatbush, its no wonder he's now in Florida!

            You know, you might want to try the place we find least offensive. It's in the Publix shopping center off Exit 88 and 1-95 on West Granada. If you insist that they make it paper thin and tell them to burn it, it comes out fairly good. Seriously. Anyway, this will give you a chance to complain about my very "iffy" recommendation.

            5 Replies
            1. re: Chuck

              The "big guy" is Pete's son. I've been in there more than once at lunchtime when he's getting slammed and losing control. The old man's pies are much better. One thing I like about the place is that in about the five years of its existance I've never seen anyone handling the dough except the old man and his son.
              Remember, I said "reasonable facsimile".

              Crust & water? The water down here sucks. It comes out of the ground and it is acidic. I've forgotten what a real bagel tastes like.

              I shop at that Publix on Granada. I never noticed a pizza place there. I will check it out. BTW there is a chinese restaurant in that center that is worth a look. Family op transplanted from NH. The rice noodle take-out I had from there was better than average. The WHITE rice that came with it was exceptional.

              1. re: Blue

                Blue, you are a good man. I felt bad about my post, but what could I say. I had been hoping that it would be great. I almost introduced myself and asked if anybody knew you - I thought better of it for fear that he'd ask me how I liked the pizza. Hey, they do a good business and that's the bottom line for them.

                The name of the pizza place in the Publix shopping center is Delcato's. You absolutely have to insist on "paper thin and burn it" before I'll accept responsibility for my recommendation as "not bad." Otherwise, all bets are off.

                As far as the Chinese place goes in the same shopping center, LeAnns, across from the golf course on Beville is much better. I know I told you about that one. It really is pretty good. Give them a shot.

                Another place that I can tell you to go with confidence is Betty's AIA. We have been there twice and both times the fried shrimp, scallops, and fish were absolutely terrific. Not a fancy place and very, very reasonable. I think you will like it. Just take AIA north - its just past the Tomoka Nat'l Park.

                There is also an Italian place on AIA up in Flagler that is fairly good. Tommasso's (?) - its right on the corner of Rt 100 and AIA. Not bad, but only if you are already heading in that direction.

                What do you think of Marios on US 1 in Holly Hill? Billy's? There are so few places to even ask you about - its really terrible.

                Incidently, I live in Breakaway Trails and some of the recommendations I've been given since moving here were not great. Tried the Chinese buffet in the K-Mart center on Speedway - ng. Carrabas Grill is not bad in spite of it being a chain. We love the hot bread and olive oil dip. So little makes us happy up here.

                Later Hound

                1. re: Chuck

                  Mario's is a popular and good Italian-American place. It's been here longer than I have. We've used them to cater family events more than once. Just remember going in: It ain't regional, roll your eyes stuff. Its just honest, well-done Italian-American.
                  Billy's has been here forever also. Changed ownership ten or so years ago. If you were craving what I like to call American Bistro I'd send you there.

                  I'm surprised you haven't been to either yet.

                  PS You know about the French Bakery next to that horrible WinnDixie? The Napoleons are killer.

                  1. re: Blue

                    Blue, I have been to Mario's and Billy's. Both pretty good as you agree. Don't forget to try LeAnn's and let me know what you think.

                    Went to a great BBQ in Sanford on Rt 92 - Going back again next week. BBQ Rib Ranch.

                    Whats the skinny on Marko's Chick Fill A in Port Orange - Confused re this - can you explain and tell me how food is.

                    1. re: Chuck

                      Marko's Heritage Inn went through some internal implosions/reorganizations a few years ago which led to its current incarnation.

                      Famous restaurant + famous fast food joint (throw in a souvenir shop for added revenue) = stay away.



              1. OK, I know this post is really old, but I went to Pete's for lunch yesterday and must speak in their defense.

                First: They are from Staten Island, not Brooklyn (signs in the store talk about their original shop on Hylan Blvd.)

                Second: The old man makes the pizza on the weekends. During the week at night I usually have a chicken parm sub -- a half will feed me for two days. Cannoli are fresh-filled and awesome, too.

                Third: Chuckie boy, I know you're not on this board anymore and I hope you come back, but coming from the person who steered you to Bizzarro's, this is just about as good, and not nearly as far.

                As I've said many times before, it's not the water, it's the people. (Water from where? Water's controlled on a municipal level. Is SI's water better than Bayonne's which is better than Manhattan's?) Pete's is still there, and still in fine form.

                To kind of reiterate, in a more polite way, what Al Weigand said, there are fewer NY transplants in Daytona as opposed to other parts of Florida -- most here seem to be from Pittsburgh/Ohio/elsewhere in the Midwest. That most definitely affects the quality of the pizza and Chinese, as opposed to more NYer-friendly towns like, say, Miami. (Or even Brevard County, where Bizzarro's is.) But Pete's is the best you'll find around here, and good enough that my SI-born, Jersey-bred tummy is happy to go there twice a week (much to the detriment of the size of said tummy).