You may walk by Francesco’s Pizzeria and think it’s just another NYC pizza joint. But don’t be fooled. It is so much more….
The owner Vito Rappa is Sicilian and comes from a long line of Italian chefs, who are passionate about cooking. Most items on the menu are prepared from recipes that have been handed down from generation to generation. Vito started working in his Uncle’s pizzeria in New Jersey when he was twelve and has carried the tradition ever since. He takes great pride in the restaurant, treats his employees well and is a “mayor” figure on the block (Columbus Ave, between 68th and 69th).
Now, let’s get to the food. First, it’s known for its pizza. The crust is made fresh daily with Italian virgin olive oil, imported from Italy. You will find everything from the traditional cheese to pepperoni to veggie options with and without cheese. And, of course, you can custom order. But as I mentioned, Francesco’s offers much more than pizza. Fresh salads, soups, pasta, heros, fish/seafood and meat. Everything is fresh, nothing is frozen. In fact, I walk by most mornings when the delivery of fresh ingredients arrives. Each day, the chef prepares specials, including soups, salad, seafood and meat dishes. And they offer whole wheat pasta as an option. My favorite dishes (besides the pizza) include:
– Spaghetti Mare Monte: Mushroom, Shrimp, Calamari & Garlic in a Plum tomato sauce. (I add spinach and substitute whole wheat spaghetti)
– Whole Wheat spaghetti with garlic and olive oil Mushroom Sauce, add broccoli
– Minestrone soup
– Chicken Soup
– House Salad
– Grilled Calamari
– Arugula and shrimp salad
I tend to be a creature of habit, so I recommend you check out the full menu. There are options for every palette.
What’s great is that all types of people seem to like eating at Francesco’s (or ordering in). From families to those who work in the neighborhood to the late night crowd hungry for a slice on the way home from a night out. Also, many celebrities frequent the restaurant, as evidenced by the photos on the wall. Some of the neighborhood favorites are Steve Guttenberg, Regis Philbin and Harry Belafonte.
Francesco’s is a personal favorite of mine in my five blocks. I also order in frequently. I love the food, but it has also become like “family” for me. I know most everyone who works there and am treated like a celebrity…or should I say a member of the Francesco family.
Free Delivery (Minimum Order $15.00)
Additional locations: Greenwich Village and Burlington, NJ