When COVID began to close down the town final March, Gabriele Lamonaca, a local of Rome and a restaurant employee in NYC for the previous 10 years, used his sudden downtime to make pizza. Tons and plenty of pizza. A lot pizza that, even after consistently gifting away pies to all his mates, there was all the time nonetheless extra pizza.
Then Lamonaca’s girlfriend and fellow Roman native Paola Sinisgalli had an thought: arrange a barter-only takeout operation buying and selling pies for absolutely anything, doc the entire thing on Instagram, construct a neighborhood, make individuals completely happy, experiment with all kinds of toppings, all people wins. And so Unregular Pizza, “pizza for irregular occasions” was born.
“I mentioned to individuals, ‘Simply give me one thing that you simply make at residence, I do not need cash,'” Lamonaca instructed Gothamist on opening day at his new store close to Union Sq.. “So the primary barter was for do-it-yourself cocktails, then do-it-yourself lasagna, and plenty of pasta… however then it obtained crazier and crazier, with gives that weren’t meals, like work, items of artwork, lessons… I did a horseback driving class for pizza! It actually advanced into an alternate of abilities and passions.”
And although Lamonaca is now a full time brick-and-mortar man, he nonetheless welcomes bartering, as soon as a day at 4 p.m. “Somebody involves the shop, we do the barter within the retailer,” he says. Simply contact the crew along with your supply on the Unregular Pizza web site.
The pizza right here, made beneath the supervision of government chef Salvatore Gagliardo, late of Sicily, is that comparatively uncommon Roman-style, with sq. pies constructed from dough leavened for 72-hours. Slices are medium-thick, crisp however not crackery, chewy however not gooey, and so they boast a positive stability between and amongst crust and toppings.
“I needed to convey the fashion of pizza that I grew up with to New York,” mentioned Lamonaca. “However I put my very own contact to it. I made it ‘unregular.'”
I attempted six totally different Unregular Pizza varieties on opening day, and so they have been all scrumptious. Probably the most photogenic alternative listed here are any of Lamonaca’s “Burrapizza” slices, which characteristic a complete housemade burrata on high of no matter else is happening. I had the Burrapizza Cafonata, with pepperoni, sizzling honey, and each tomato and ‘nduja sauce, and it labored brilliantly.
The sleeper hit was most likely the UnMushrooms slice, with its trio of fungi (shimaji, cremini, and oyster) including earthiness to the salty mozzarella and creamy cacio e pepe sauce, the latter a superb slice store innovation. The UnVegan–which is, actually, vegan–tasted like summer time, with its asparagus ideas, asparagus cream, cherry tomato confit, and tomato sauce. And essentially the most meaty slices completely happy too, particularly the Bufala Hen, that includes fats slices of fried chicken, and the Polpetta, with its huge pork and beef meatballs.
Unregular Pizza additionally gives a number of entree-type dishes, together with thick slabs of Lasagna Bolognese, Lasagna Pistachio, and Involtini (Eggplant) Parmigiana. These appeared like strong take-home-and-reheat-another-day choices. If normal smooth drinks aren’t your factor, strive one in all Lamanoca’s do-it-yourself “seasonal drinks,” in flavors similar to Lemon Basil, Orange Turmeric, and Peach Ginger.
The store itself is enjoyable and energetic, with a number of Nineties nostalgia labored into the vibe, from the set of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles up close to the ordering counter to the continuous mixture of ’90s hits blasting from a boombox. The colour palette is daring and brilliant, and artist Iena Cruz provides to the power along with his geometric, squiggly designs. There is no seating of any kind–a slender leaning counter is your solely dine-in option–but Union Sq. Park is only a block away.
Unregular Pizza is situated at 135 Fourth Avenue, between thirteenth and 14th Streets, and is presently open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. each day (646-609-4699; unregularpizza.com)