Sally’s Apizza constitutes half of one of the nation’s fiercest restaurant rivalries. Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana, the other half, sits two blocks away. In April 1938, thirteen years after Uncle Frank opened his Pizzeria Napoletana, Salvatore “Sally” Consiglio opened down Wooster Street. He owned and operated Sally’s until he passed away in 1989. His wife Flora, their daughter and two sons now preside over Sally’s pizza kingdom.
It was painful to look past the neon American flag into the dining room and see customers without pizzas. Since Sally’s pizzaiolos are perfectionists, it takes awhile for each pizza to arrive. After an hour-and-a-half in line, we debated whether it was worth the excruciating wait.
A matching Miller Lite clock hangs in the dining room. At Sally’s, it’s always Miller Time.
Wood walls are jammed with framed write-ups, an obligatory painting of Frank Sinatra, and a platinum record (and cassette) from Michael Bolton of all people.
When I ordered the “Italian bomb,” I was surprised when Sal’s son said, “What’s that?” I recited the ingredients from memory: mozzarella, sausage, pepperoni, bacon and onion. He said they should call it the “cardiac pizza.” After my first bite of the apocryphal “Italian bomb,” I was actually convinced the two hour wait may have been worth it. It was that good. The sauce was tangy, the meats top-shelf, and the crust remained crisp without being dry. Since the pies cooked in a coal oven, my fingers turned black from holding the crust.
I’m as big a believer in bacon and sausage as anybody, but sometimes pure is better.
It’s been about 10 years since I tried Pepe’s, so my memory is a little fuzzy, but it’s hard to imagine a pizza being better than at Sally’s. Next time, I’d arrive at 4:30 to ensure being part of the first seating. And yes, there will be a next time.