By Gary Nager
Anyone who thinks we don’t have outstanding pizza in Wesley Chapel either isn’t from New ‘Yawk’ or has never tried any of our now-plentiful variety of real NY pizza places (see this issue’s Dining Survey & Contest on pages 31-32 for the complete list). So, as a former Yankee from “Lawn Guyland,” it’s hard for me to say there could ever be too much good pizza in our distribution areas.
On the other hand, however, it’s nice to see a new NY pizza place open that has more than just great pizza and the months-old Best New York Pizza (located on S.R. 54, west of I-75, in the Pinebrook at The Grove shopping center) has definitely brought some unique, truly “ristorante”-quality cuisine to Wesley Chapel in a clean, comfortable, well-air-conditioned sit-down environment that already is attracting plenty of local customers.
Yes, Best NY Pizza does have a more traditional pizza place area, where an incredible variety of whole pies — from margherita (shown in this page’s header) to BBQ to outstanding, authentic Sicilian-style ‘za — are always on display. You can walk up to the counter, order from Best NY’s full menu and have a seat while enjoying an ice cold Peroni or other draft or bottled beer or outstanding glass of wine. But, adjacent to that part of the restaurant is Best NY’s more elegant, ristorante-style seating, which also features a huge, 70-inch TV monitor that, instead of traditional channels, offers an ever-changing variety of visual internet entertainment, including everything from underwater scenes to futuristic cities. I promise the kids will be mesmerized by it.
But, Best NY Pizza is all about great food at very fair prices and everything I’ve sampled there so far has just been outstanding, especially anything served with a red sauce..
Owner Greg C says that’s no accident, because Best NY’s homemade pizza sauce recipe is a well-guarded secret that only two or three people know — and it intentionally isn’t written down anywhere.”
Greg says a lot of his Wesley Chapel customers already knew Best NY Pizza from it’s hugely successful location on N. Dale Mabry Hwy. in Carrollwood, which he says he opened for his son Peter in 2005, after the entire family relocated from Long Island, where Greg’s family owned a fine dining Italian restaurant in Lake Ronkonkoma.
“The Dale Mabry location wound up being wildly successful, growing (twice) from a 10-seat store to 140 seats three years ago, driven by demand,” he says. “We found this location by a fluke, really. We had been looking for a while when a ‘For Rent’ sign went up on what used to be Santo’s Pizza. After I checked the area and saw the growth potential of Wesley Chapel, I knew it was a great spot for us.”
And, Best NY’s 100-seat, 3,000-sq.-ft. Wesley Chapel location has been busy since Day One. “We taste test everything we buy and make,” Greg says. “Our recipes are truly unique twists on old family recipes.”
So, even though Peter left the pizza biz to open Hero Haven comics in the Citrus Park area, his long-time friend and manager Adam now manages the Carrollwood store, while Greg and his family are now running the Wesley Chapel location, with Greg’s son-in-law Patrick managing it.
But, Best NY Pizza is still about delicious food. My two favorite dishes so far are the sausage appetizer, which features about a dozen succulent bite-sized pieces of sweet Italian sausage in a thick red sauce perfect for dipping with an order of homemade garlic knots, and the chicken parmigiana, which includes two huge, tender chicken breasts that melt in your mouth with the taste of melted mozzarella and perfect red sauce over your choice of delicious pasta.
Our entire office also loves the fried calamari appetizer, the chicken marsala, meatball parmigiana heros and of course, the true NY-style pizza. And, from the crowds of people already coming to Best NY Pizza for lunch, dinner and takeout, this is one new pizza place that should be around for quite a while.
Need more convincing? With the coupons in the Best NY ad on page 30, you can get two FREE slices of pizza for lunch or a FREE personal pan pizza when you buy any 18-inch pizza (see ad for restrictions).
For more info, call Best New York Pizza (27429 S.R. 54) at 994-2200.