New York Times Reviewer Drools All Over Upper West Side Pizza Joint; ‘The Great Reawakening of Slice Culture’


The pepperoni pie at Mama’s Too.

The New York Times often criticizes the Upper West Side as a food desert. But the newspaper’s top reviewer struggled through the hot dry sand of the local food scene to find a pizzeria that he thinks is part of a “reawakening” of New York’s pizza scene.

Mama’s Too Pizzeria at 2750 Broadway between 105th and 106th Street opened late last year. We’ve been hearing lots of good things since. The secret to the pizza comes in how owner Frank Tuttolomondo lays down the cheese and sauce, according to Times reviewer Pete Wells.

“As they do at Totonno’s and some other brick-oven pizzerias, Mr. Tuttolomondo lays the cheese down before the sauce. Rather than drippy, milky discs of fresh mozzarella, though, he covers the raw dough (after priming it with olive oil) in shreds of a slice-friendly variety that is known in the trade as low-moisture mozzarella and that the rest of us call pizza cheese. Over this, he ladles a few blots of tomato pulp. This helps the crust to bake through without getting soggy, keeps the cheese from sliding off the crust, and most of all lets you taste the tomatoes, which are very good. You could, I suppose, think of the house slice as a white pizza with tomato-sauce topping.”

After it comes out of the oven, he sprinkles basil and Parmigiano-Reggiano onto the pie. The combination is so good, Wells says he “ripped into it like a pack of hyenas.” He likes the pepperoni slice in particular.

“Those bloodhounds who follow the city’s melted-mozzarella trail will recognize that Mama’s Too is part of a great reawakening of slice culture,” he writes.

Read the whole review here. And yes, it made us hungry too.

FOOD, NEWS | 25 comments | permalink
    1. wombatNYC says:

      NYT’s !The secret is now out . They actually have been open since mid-2017. Yummy

    2. dannyboy says:

      WSR had it first!

      UWSHebrew and I have been recommending Mama’s Too since it opened.

      It is the only thing we seem to agree on.

      Maybe pizza is the secret to world peace.

    3. Izzy says:

      So deserved!!! Mama Too’s is AWESOME!!

    4. Miranda Smith says:

      The food desert is in the 70’s and 80’s where I unfortunately live . All the great places are opening and/or moving above 90th St to escape exorbitant rents

      • Juan says:

        There are plenty of perfectly fine restaurants in the 70s and 80s. This is a residential neighborhood, and most of the restaurants cater to that concept. There aren’t a lot of “destination restaurants” here but I am OK with that.

      • jules says:

        Really? Could you name some great restaurants above 90th.
        Pizza, cakes and hamburgers seem to be all that exists here these days!

        • Izzy says:

          Agreed. I think there are pretty sad options up here. I’m thinking of launching an internet campaign to get Westville to take over the Macchina/Gato Nero spot. That would really jazz up the neighborhood.

        • tailfins says:

          While I’m not a huge fan of dining in the neighborhood, you’ve got:

          80s:
          Mermaid Inn
          Sirinetta
          Han Dynasty
          Celeste
          Jin Ramen
          Gazala’s
          Bustan
          Cibo e Vino

          90s (none of these are destinations)
          Gennaros
          Boru Boru
          Pio Pio
          Buceo

          100s
          Xian Famous Foods
          108 Hot Pot
          Mamas Too
          Koko Wings
          Arco
          Osteria 106
          Marlow Bistro

      • Cyrus says:

        Sounds like Miranda needs to get out and explore the neighborhood a bit more.

    5. steve says:

      the best pizza on the uws comes out of my oven.

    6. UWSHebrew says:

      Mama’s Too! is what I call “beyond pizza”. This may sound dramatic, but their “house slice” is a work of art. It is perfection. I am so glad that Frank is finally getting the recognition and attention he deserves, especially after a certain internet “personality” from Boston (yech!) gave him a bad review. The ingredients Frank uses are very expensive. It is the most delicious and satisfying piece of pizza I’ve ever had.

    7. DK says:

      I like to blow past my stop on the subway home after work, grab a few square slices, glass of wine then walk home. Owner seems like a good guy too.

    8. RK says:

      If you’re interested in the slice culture thing, here’s a good article about it by a bunch of pizza fanatics, which mentions Mamas Too:

      https://www.seriouseats.com/2018/10/best-ny-pizza-slices-2018.html

      In particular, here’s the origin story:

      “Mama’s Too opened on Broadway and West 105th Street in late 2017, having spun off of longtime Upper West Side pizzeria Mama’s, just around the corner. Too often, the story of decades-old mom-and-pop restaurants ends with the youngest generation “moving up” in the world and out of the business. But there’s a great counter-narrative to that, and it’s one where fresh blood pulls the business into the present while honoring the past. We’ve seen it here in NYC with Wilson Tang at Nom Wah Tea Parlor, Niki Russ Federman at Russ & Daughters, and Jason Wang of Xi’an Famous Foods.

      “For Mama’s Too, owner/operator Frank Tuttolomondo built on foundations established at Mama’s, where the pizza is standard slice-joint fare. “I knew I couldn’t change the pizza there, or regulars would be upset,” Frank said. “So I opened this place.”

      • dannyboy says:

        Great article!

        Noticed Mama’s Too and Sal & Carmines were included. We are a lucky bunch living in such a pizza-rich neighborhood.

        You can’t eat money, but you can pizza.

      • geoff says:

        Good one, RK. I’ve been into pizza in the past—hunting and so forth—and the article you linked to is a useful update. I feel re-stimulated.

        I’ve been eating a lot of Patsy’s East Harlem lately. I CitiBike over there, and sit in the nice community garden around the corner on 118th street which has really nice fruit trees.

        locally, Traviata (67th street?) meets my needs. Any useful recommendations?

    9. BillyNYC says:

      Pizza pizza pizza everywhere and another new pizza joint will be opening up at Amsterdam Avenue and 80th St. Where Moniko was.

    10. Sarah says:

      It’s good, but a little heavy. A small pie could feed an army. But good.

    11. Bryce says:

      Bad customer service though :/

    12. Juan says:

      I know it is a different type of pizza than this (I prefer very simple pizza by the slice), but I am very excited that the little pizza place on the east side of Amsterdam between 79 and 80 has reopened – I think it changed its name. They have one of the best slices in the city.

    13. NevadaUWS says:

      I’m very happy to see the place doing so well and Frank getting recognized for being a truly special pizzaiolo. it’s pretty clear that his attention to good ingredients and patience in his process make these pies so amazing.

    14. grandmasterbeta says:

      OK, I’ll try Mamma 2. I’ve had Mamma 1’s many times and it was fairly generic ny pizza. I like Sal and Carmine’s and I love some of the Two Boots pie’s so I rarely bother trying the various new slice places. Although I also like a lot of the (overpriced) restaurant style pizza around the neighb. For me, the best of the lot is the place on the corner of 110 and Amsterdam.

    15. jimbo says:

      I always stick with Sacco–55 & 9th.