Posted by: lisetta | August 7, 2011

Denino’s Pizzeria on Staten Island

My sister tweets to virtual strangers all over the world. She posts a photo of the Florida sunrise each morning and receives thanks and greetings from folks as far away as Indonesia. She writes poetry and received encouragement about her “work”. She also has an entire group of “friends” in Staten Island. They argued amongst themselves about whether we should have lunch at Denino’s or Brother’s, two of Staten Island’s most revered pizzerias. Denino’s won out. I’m glad it did.

Denino’s is an Italian-American, family-run restaurant that’s been in business since 1937.

Though notably nicer than the other buildings in the neighborhood, it didn't look like much from the outside.

As you enter the building, eulogies for Carlo, the deceased patriarch of the tavern, display the love of a community.

Inside, its unpretentious dining room reveals a sense of pride and place. Here, a bit of Staten Island history.

And here, a few awards Denino's has received over the years.

And here, a blurry shot of history ...

The pies arrived without fanfare, appearing to be just like any other pizza you'd find around.

The flavors and textures of this simple slice of pizza margherita, however, were anything but typical.

The crust maintained its crisp, even beneath the weight of the mozzarella and sauce …. and even as the pie cooled. Neither the mozzarella nor the tomato overpowered the pie. It was perfect! If this is typical of the traditional Italian-American pizza pie, I now understand just why it is that native New Yorkers are dissatisfied with the pizza they find anywhere else.

I really love walking in to the Italian immigrant experience, and can’t help but wonder what my own life would be like if I’d been born in to an Italian family business … could women be shoemakers, I wonder? I’m sure the smell of polish and glue would be as sad to me as the fisherman’s nets from Il Postino. 🙂

Anyway, the trip to Denino’s took about 90-minutes from my place on the Upper West Side … the free ride on the Staten Island ferry was as enjoyable as the pizza and the company:

Leaving Staten Island ... Jersey on the left, Manhattan in the middle and Brooklyn on the right.

Getting closer ... Manhattan, with Governor's Island to the right.

Almost there ... taking the same picture many times, again in a feeble attempt to recall the splendor of the moment.

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