By Tes Silverman
The coal-fired, brick-oven-made pizza at Massa’s Pizzeria is just as rich as the history that inspired it.
The 345 Main St., Huntington pizzeria was opened on Jan. 1, 2014 by Bill Massa, who works off a deep family history of pizza-making. Massa’s great uncle, Patsy Lancieri, was the mind behind Patsy’s in East Harlem, which opened in 1933. That inspired Massa’s uncle, Pat Grimaldi, who worked at Patsy’s from age 10, to late open is own pizza joint under the Brooklyn Bridge, Grimaldi’s, which he later sold to open Juliana’s in Brooklyn. The latter was recognized by Tripadvisor for having the best pizza in the country.
That dedication to working in the pizza industry from a young age extended to Massa, who was trained by his uncle, and trying his hand at the family business.
When asked about Massa’s commitment to his diners, “I tell my staff to treat every diner like family. We try to make sure that everyone has a wonderful experience from start to finish because I want them to keep coming back.”
“I want everyone to experience old world pizza made with all natural ingredients and in an authentic coal fired oven with temperatures exceeding 1000 degrees, like they still make in Italy,” Massa said.
Massa’s diners are greeted by a cozy interior filled with wooden tables and chairs, a long booth on the far side of the room to accommodate more diners, bottles of red and white wine on the tables and earthy colors on the walls that easily invite further exploration of the not-so-ordinary pizzeria.
The entry to Massa’s approach starts with appetizers like the coal oven cooked pepperoni chips ($7.50). The pepperoni chips are crunchy and crispy, not oily, so diners might find it difficult to stop eating them.
Also to start, Massa’s Caesar salad ($7.50/$10.50 with chicken) is crafted with a homemade dressing that is light and that doesn’t hinder the crunchiness of the croutons. The crunchiness of both the croutons and the romaine lettuce, topped with the dressing results in a healthy and delicious side dish, or entree.
Some pizza lovers may be surprised to find that “slices” are absent from the menu at Massa’s. Instead, the pizzeria offers different sizes of standard pies (personal $7.50, medium $16 and large $18.50) and specialty pies (medium $20-$24, large $22-$28).
Diners with discerning tastes can’t go wrong with the white pizza, which sports fresh mozzarella, scallions, pancetta, scamorza cheese and truffle oil. The saltiness of the pancetta, combined with the earthiness of truffle oil, elevates the creaminess of the scamorza and mozzarella cheeses creating a very distinct dish.
For diners in the mood for a more traditional pizza, but with a little bit of something extra, the caramelized onion marinara pie is the one to choose. The marinara sauce is creamy, but not thick, so the combination of the onions and the sauce create a delicious and traditional pizza.
Standard dishes are also served up at Massa’s, including the eggplant parmigiana ($13.75), which is lightly breaded and thinly-sliced so it’s easy to cut and taste the creaminess of the eggplant.
For dessert, Massa’s offers tartufo with vanilla and chocolate ($6.50) and cannoli ($6.50), but the one to have is the Nutella pizza ($8.50). The Nutella pizza consists of a whole pie topped with Nutella and drizzled with chocolate sauce or powdered sugar. The hazelnut taste of Nutella combined with the powdered sugar or chocolate sauce on top results in a decadent dessert fit for the diner with a sweet tooth.
Hours: Monday-Thursday 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m.; Friday-Saturday 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m.; Sunday 11:30 a.m-10 p.m.
345 Main St., Huntington