Joe and Pat’s, a Staten Island pizza institution, opens Manhattan outpost on Lower East Side

Joe and Pat's opens on First Avenue in Manhattan on Monday.
Joe and Pat’s opens on First Avenue in Manhattan on Monday. Photo Credit: Meghan Giannotta

Manhattan gets its first taste of the extra-thin crust pies from Joe and Pat’s on Monday when the Staten Island pizza institution opens its second location.

The pizzeria founded by two Italian brothers from Naples in 1960 follows fellow “forgotten borough” native Denino’s across the New York Harbor, setting up a roughly 55-seat restaurant with a 14-foot bar in an East Village space previously home to the old-school Italian eatery Lanza’s.

Round and Sicilian-style pies will take their central place on a pared-down, slightly more expensive menu alongside pasta dishes, crowd-favorite Italian entrees and lunchtime heros and panini. Joe and Pat’s 2.0 will also serve wine and cocktails.

“With the more concise menu, it’s easier to decide,” says Casey Pappalardo, 26, who runs the original pizzeria with his father, Ciro, and his uncles, Jerry and John. (Pat has since retired.)

Casey Pappalardo, center, with uncle, John Piscopo, left, and father, Ciro, stand outside the new Joe & Pat's at 168 1st Ave.
Casey Pappalardo, center, with uncle, John Piscopo, left, and father, Ciro, stand outside the new Joe & Pat’s at 168 1st Ave. Photo Credit: Linda Rosier

New York pizza historian and tour guide Scott Wiener credits the decades-old Castleton Corners spot as having “arguably created a Staten-Island style, which has a flat edge and cubed — rather than shredded — low-moisture mozzarella” and spawning its share of imitators. Among a recent influx of Manhattan pizzerias from Italian-born pizza masters like Gino Sorbillo (Sorbillo in NoHo) and Angelo Iezzi (PQR on the Upper East Side), Wiener notes that Joe and Pat’s is “as much an expat.”

“I’ll bet more New Yorkers have been to Italy than Staten Island,” he says. “When Denino’s,” another longtime local pizza parlor esteemed for its thin-crust pies, “opened in the West Village a couple years ago, I think it was a reminder to Manhattanites that Staten Island exists. Now that Joe and Pat’s is coming to the East Village, the forgotten borough’s pizza is continuing its invasion.”

Staten Island Borough President James Oddo, for one, is happy to share Joe and Pat’s with Manhattan dwellers and tourists, he says.

“The pizza is too good for us to have a monopoly on it here in Staten Island,” says Oddo, who notes he visited the pizzeria for dinner with the mayor a few months ago.

Fans have been anticipating the restaurant’s Manhattan debut since the expansion was announced in January 2017, but Pappalardo says he has actually been scouting Manhattan locations since he graduated from college five years ago.

Jerry Torres makes pizza at the new Joe & Pat's at 168 1st Ave. on Sunday.
Jerry Torres makes pizza at the new Joe & Pat’s at 168 1st Ave. on Sunday. Photo Credit: Linda Rosier

“It’s been a while,” he says with a laugh, citing complications in construction as the cause for the most recent delay.

Another slight “bump” in the road: the arrival of his nephew just this past week.

The birth of Ciro Jr. “was kind of holding us up,” Pappalardo jokes. “They didn’t want that happening opening day.”

The eatery popping out pies Monday will channel the vibe of the original, with old photos of the Pappalardo family hanging around the pizza oven, but its owners have also preserved murals painted in the space in the 1920s, once on display at Lanza’s.

You may spot one “Top Chef” judge chowing down on a cracker-thin slice there this week (if she doesn’t order her pie as takeout). When Eater NY broke the news of Joe and Pat’s opening day on Twitter, Padma Lakshmi responded with a gif of Kate Hudson as Andie Anderson in “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days,” scarfing down a burger.

Joe and Pat’s is at 168 First Ave., between 10th and 11th streets. Tentative weekday hours are 11:30 a.m. to midnight, with hours extending to 1 a.m. on weekends.