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Coal oven pizza near Penn Station

melbedewy Feb 4, 2010 03:56 PM

I have a 3 hour layover at Penn station and would like to get some good, sooty coal fired burnt crust pizza.
I have recomendations of Patsy's in East Harlem and John's on Bleecker.
Any comments on these or others are welcome.
Manhattan only please.

  1. g
    gutsofsteel Feb 4, 2010 04:09 PM

    I would recommend Co. - 9th Ave/24th St.


    John's is nothing special, and Patsy's is quite erratic.

    1 Reply
    1. re: gutsofsteel
      KTinNYC Feb 4, 2010 04:41 PM

      Co has a wood fired oven.

    2. k
      KTinNYC Feb 4, 2010 04:32 PM

      There are very few coal ovens left in the city much less near Penn Station. Totonno's, Lombardi's, Artutro's are coal ovens but most of the new pizzerias are wood fired.

      3 Replies
      1. re: KTinNYC
        gutsofsteel Feb 4, 2010 04:42 PM

        I think Angelo's on 57th St. has a coal oven.

        Co has a gas-fired stone oven into which they put wood also. Gets a nice char. But it's not coal, if that's the most important thing.

        1. re: gutsofsteel
          KTinNYC Feb 4, 2010 04:48 PM

          I read in Slice that Co now exclusively uses wood.


          1. re: KTinNYC
            gutsofsteel Feb 4, 2010 05:05 PM

            Ah, good to know. The pizza there is really good.

      2. j
        JMJD Feb 4, 2010 06:15 PM

        Would say that Co is excellent, though not coal fired. Another good option that's close is Lazzarra's on 37th or 38th just off 7th. Close to Penn Station and a sort of "only in NY" place. It's also not coal-fired, but the square pizza there is quite good.

        1. b
          boccalupo Feb 4, 2010 07:17 PM

          John's of Bleecker St. makes an excellent old-school New York coal oven pizza. It is the oldest continually operating pizzeria in NYC and the pizza is still quite good. The new wave of pizzerias in NYC like Co., Keste, Motorino are all wood-fired, and make pizza that is probably technically "better" than John's. But they are not old-school New York coal oven joints, which seems to be what you are looking for.

          John's is a just 10 minute subway ride from Penn Station on the 1 or A,C,E trains, so no problem getting there and back on your layover. Peak times will have a bit of a wait for a table at John's though.

          7 Replies
          1. re: boccalupo
            gutsofsteel Feb 4, 2010 07:21 PM

            Lombardi's and Totonno's are both older.

            1. re: gutsofsteel
              KTinNYC Feb 4, 2010 07:40 PM

              Lombardi's opened in 1994. I think Totonno's is the oldest but they've been closed for a long time since the fire so I don't know if you can claim they are the longest continuous running pizzeria in NYC.

              1. re: KTinNYC
                gutsofsteel Feb 4, 2010 07:52 PM

                Lombardi's opened in 1905, closed in 84 re-opened in 94. Totonno's opened in 1924. John's opened in 1929.

                I'm sure John's for example closed for renovations at some point in its history. i don't think temporary closings like that, or like a fire, change the fact that its as old as it is and still operating. Now if Totonno's never re-opens, that's another story.

                Personally I think Lombardi's is lousy. When did Patsy's open?

                1. re: gutsofsteel
                  MacTAC Feb 4, 2010 08:11 PM

                  "When did Patsy's open?"


                  1. re: gutsofsteel
                    boccalupo Feb 5, 2010 12:39 AM

                    Should have added "oldest that is open at the moment." Totonno's is older, but it isn't open now. (BTW - Slice has the owner saying he will reopen on Feb. 10th).

                    Lombardi's is a different entity from the original. The current Lombardi's opened one block down and across the street from the place that closed in 1984. The original Lombardi's had morphed into a restaurant and had long since ceased to be a pizzeria by the time of its closing in 1984.

                    1. re: gutsofsteel
                      KTinNYC Feb 5, 2010 03:01 AM

                      This iteration of Lombardi's has no association with the original except the name. Different location, different owner, different oven. I do not consider Lombardi's a 100 year old business, it's a 16 year old one.

                2. re: boccalupo
                  melbedewy Feb 5, 2010 06:55 AM

                  "But they are not old-school New York coal oven joints, which seems to be what you are looking for."

                  Yes, that's right. I am from Providence and we have NO shortage of good pizza. I am looking for coal-fired only.

                3. o
                  orthorunner Feb 4, 2010 07:58 PM

                  If you specifically want coal oven pizza and are willing to travel for it, in the East Village there is Luzzo's Pizza (it's on 1st ave, I think somewhere around 10th st) They have traditional pies (ie with basil, bufalo) as well as others with more creative toppings. I have always enjoyed the pies there. They have one of the oldest ovens in the city.

                  1. m
                    MahatmaKanejeeves Feb 5, 2010 06:40 AM

                    Arturo's on Houston St is traditional coal oven pizza. Expensive. I think that it would be closer to burned and sooty than John's. The tourist traps would get complaints if they burned. John's is good, but look how big it is. Lombardi's is too big also. Arturo's may still be small enough.

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