America's Classics: Totonno’s, Brooklyn, NY
June 01, 2010
A stone’s throw from the Cyclone, Totonno’s has been serving Neapolitan-style pies for more than 80 years, the sole hiatus beginning just before the restaurant’s owners accepted their 2009 America’s Classics award, when a fire forced Totonno’s to close for nearly a year. But it has finally reopened, much to the relief of Brooklyn regulars and pizza tourists, and early reports say the pies are better than ever. One of New York’s first pizzaiolos, Anthony “Totonno” Pero left his job making pizzas at Lombardi’s in 1924 to open a Coney Island pizzeria. His new enterprise, Totonno’s, has been in his family ever since. Lawrence Ciminieri, the fourth generation to be in charge, has stayed true to the original recipe. Each pizza is made with imported Italian tomatoes, locally made mozzarella, yeast, flour, salt, and not much else. The last—and arguably most important—component is the oven. Totonno’s original coal-fired oven creates a distinct and flavorful char on the crust that cult pizza lovers crave. Totonno’s 1524 Neptune Avenue Brooklyn, NY 718.373.8606 You can watch a video about Totonno's and learn more about America's Classics at jamesbeard.org/americasclassics.