New York City is no stranger to pizza wars. While we can save the details of every spat for another time (i.e. Grimaldi’s versus Juliana’s, price wars over the $1 slice, and the fight for the use of the Ray’s and Joe’s names), it’s worth noting that battle of epic pizza proportions recently took place in Queens. While the details may evolve over time, here are the basics:
It all centered around a man named Andrew Bellucci, who has worked at many of New York’s most famous pizza institutions. In 2020, Bellucci partnered with a man named Leo Dakmak to open a pizzeria in Astoria. A decision was made to name it Bellucci Pizza. Soon after it opened, the relationship between Bellucci and Dakmak began to sour. Bellucci left and decided to open his own place down the block. He called it Bellucci’s Pizzeria and a lawsuit ensued (as part of a recent settlement the name was changed to: Andrew Bellucci’s Pizzeria). So there you go.
What’s Unique: There is a lot to love about Andrew Bellucci’s Pizzeria. For starters, make sure you’re visiting the right location. There are 10 pies on the menu + a Fresh Shucked Claim Pie special (which I have not tried) that will run you $40 for a round pie of $59 for a square gluten free pie. But here’s the catch — it’s available by RSVP only (and can’t be ordered to-go). It features fresh hand-shucked cherry stones, oregano, parsley, garlic, lemon, pecorino romano, olive oil and black pepper. Regardless of what pie you order, if Andrew Bellucci is there, as he often is, he will come over to your table and grate some cheese on your pie by hand. It’s a nice touch.
What To Eat: All of thee pies at Andrew Bellucci’s Pizzeria can be made as either a) Small round pie; b) Large round pie; c) Rectangle pie; d) Gluten free rectangle pie. Both the round and rectangle pies are both delicious, so get (at least) one of each. Every ingredient truly contributes to the deliciousness of each pie at Bellucci’s. For example, the combination of post-oven burrata, parm, fresh basil and extra virgin olive oil, adds a burst of flavor to the B.I.G. BURRATA pie that elevates it to the next level. The best pie I’ve had is the VODKA-RONI (fresh mozz, pepperoni, vodka sauce, parm and black pepper). Add pesto for additional greatness.
What To Know Before You Go: There is a small seating area up front. But head to the back of the restaurant for an enclosed, under utilized patio area. In addition to pizza, you should try and save room for the only pasta on their menu: rigatoni vodka. It’s topped with burrata and is amazing.