Is Lombardi's worth it for the history?
Hello all. Yes, yes...I know if I searched I would find an endless list of pizza's in Manhattan to try. However, this summer, my dad and I are heading to NYC before our trip to Greece (think of it...as a warm up :P ). We already plan on making reservations at Babbo when the 30-day-in-advance mark hits, but we really want to try some NYC pizza - which neither of us has had before. Of course, Lombardi's was the first that came to mind with the obvious nod to history and such. Taking into account the quality of food and the fact that this is the one time me or my dad might ever eat a pizza in NYC (ok, maybe a tad overdramatic, but worst case scenerio), is Lombardi's a good choice?
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The history of Lombardi's is a fiction. The original Lombardi's was opened across the street and down the block at 23 1/2 Spring Street. It closed in the 60's or 70's and then the name was purchased from the family and a pizzaria was opened at the present location in what had been a bakery with an existing coal oven. The most important "fact" however is that the pizza is consistently average. It is usually undercooked and little effort appears to be made by the staff concearning anything other then turning tables. If it is history and great pizza you seek there are to places turning out such pizza in the same location sinse the the 1920's, Totonno's in Coney Island and Patsy's in East Harlem.
While I would agree with Stuart that Lombardi's isn't necessarily worth it for the history since it is not in the original location anymore, it it worth it for the pizza. Especially if you're in the neighborhood. Be forewarned, however, that the lines can get a bit nutty to get a table.
The truth is, there's truly great pizza all over NYC! And lots of variation on what constitutes great pizza as well. You can find lots about NYC pizza on the pizza blogs, e.g., slice.seriouseats.com/. I will note that few bloggers seem to mention Angelo's Coal Oven Pizza on 57th Street (http://www.angelospizzany.com/) which I enjoy a lot.
agreed with everybody above.......when people say "ohhh lombardi's was the first pizzeria in nyc: opened back in the early 1900's"........yes that is true...........but the one that is around now is not "that pizzeria"........so the "history" has been altered slightly......... there's really no love gone into the pizza making craft at lombardi's (unlike in the olden days when gennaro was slinging pies).........for the best pizza in nyc.......i'd recommend hitting up una pizza napoletana on the lower east side!
you can be a part of this generations history..... this pizza is made from the "present day's" gennaro lombardi, anthony mangieri