Prince Street Pizza

Spicy Spring and Original Sicilian

I think I was about 7 or 8 years old. It was the end of the season and in one of my dance classes, tap I think, we were celebrating the last class. With a pizza party. But at this age, I didn’t eat pizza.

Up until this point, when my family would go out for pizza (Pizza Hut, most often), I would get the children’s spaghetti, eat a few slices of garlic bread, and beg my parents for their crusts. The crusts were just like bread, and I loved bread. I think that my fear of pizza was due to the fact that back then, I liked my food separate, no touching, no mixing. I could handle noodles and sauce, but no extra things. Pizza was a big mash-up of things. Like a sandwich, which I also didn’t eat and now am in love with. At birthday parties where the meal would be make-your-own personal pizzas, the pizza shell that went into the oven for Rhianna was simply topped with melted butter and maybe some Kraft parmesan cheese. When Little Caesars came to town and that became the new go-to, my meal consisted of crusts and crazy bread.

But there I was in tap class, faced with a bounty of Little Caesars pepperoni pizza. I didn’t have any friends in that class, and I was definitely one of the weaker dancers. I was smart enough to know that refusing the pizza would push me to the periphery even further. I took a slice and started to take small bites. The strange, new taste of the pepperoni was my first hurdle. Thankfully, I liked the texture and slight spicy sweetness. But the mash-up. Cheese and sauce and “bread” were all acceptable to me, so it was just a matter of ploughing through. It was also a matter of clueing into the fact that lo and behold, I liked pizza. Thirty years later, we say I love pizza.

Prince Street Pizza is a slice joint in Nolita that receives lots of love and has a heavy presence on Instagram. The pizza cognoscenti of the city recommend it, especially for the square slices. Pizza lord Paulie Gee himself declares the original square the city’s best. The pepperoni slice is more popular, however, and that was the slice I was most wanting to try given the origin of my pizza love. It had also been ages since I’d eaten pepperoni pizza. Ages. Especially since soppressata has a much bigger presence in the Neapolitan pizza world that I tend to prefer.

The slices were smaller than I was expecting, so I got an original for good measure. One slice would be a snack, two a small lunch. Because I’m not much of a snacker or a slice eater, I think I forget that a slice is more of a snack than a meal. The small pepperoni slices became shallow bowls from the heat of the oven, making for super crispy edges and leaving little pools of delicious spicy grease within. And as I find with most square pies I’ve tried, the crust is much lighter than it looks, spongy and foccacia-like instead of the dense crust of its guise. The sauce wasn’t all that spicy, but it was a great slice. The original one was as well, its sauce a bit sweeter.

I think I still would choose L&B, however, for square pizza and that might be purely for the atmosphere. But I’m glad that I finally tried Prince Street, and it’s handy to know its there. Especially to recommend to visitors who head to the area for shopping.

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