1817 Victory Boulevard
Staten Island, NY 10314
(718) 815-8500

Staten Island, "The Borough of Parks" according to the sign by the Verrazano Narrows Bridge. Staying here until relatively late the other day meant needing to find a place for dinner. The thing about dining in Staten Island is that it lacks... what's the word I'm looking for? Ah, yes, "variety". Let's put it this way, you'd better like Italian food. If not, you just might starve. In fact, a quick drive down Victory Boulevard might lend one to think that there's some sort of odd zoning rule requiring every restaurant to serve pizza or pasta. And Goodfella's, the place Dudeman and I chose to sample the fare of this particular evening, is no exception. Indeed, it's name alone conjures up a handful of stereotypes reminiscent of Fat Tony making marinara sauce in a federal prison.

The unfortunate name aside, Goodfella's is everything a family-friendly pizza place could possibly ever be. There are no groups of college kids lined up down the block the way Grimaldi's has them. There's a bar, but no loner drunks. There's an Olive Garden feel to the place, but with a brick oven and no guys in suits (yes, dear urbanites, people DO wear suits to Olive Garden).

Though there is a regular menu, Goodfella's is known mostly for its pizza, since they occasionally win the "best pizza in the world" award. Naturally, as the first Staten Island restaurant that I've written about, trying some of this award winning pizza was on the top of my list of things to do, though I was sorely tempted by their brick-oven wood-fired porterhouse.

Dudeman ordered the a large Old World Style Pizza with Extra Cheese. A good starting point for pretty much any pizza place, let alone one with a reputation, is whether they can make a normal plain pie. The what you might order when you have your friends over and no one can agree on the toppings so you get none pie. What differentiates Old World style from the regular pie is that the mozzarella is laid on in slabs instead of being shredded. This means that there are some places where the cheese is a rarity and places where it's the defining power of the slice. I prefer it. I adds depth to an otherwise regular plain of cheese and sauce. And it was good. No one won't enjoy this pie.

My pick was a specialty pie, the Sally Pie, which they claim won the award for best pizza in the country in 2001. This non-traditional pizza comes topped with lemon-garlic chicken, rosemark potatoes, mozzarella, cheddar, mushrooms, caramelized onion, and a cheddar scallion sauce. And it's a good pizza. Would I give it the best in America prize? And would I make it my go-to pie for when a pizza craving comes along? Probably not. But damn if it isn't different and certainly worth trying. I can see myself returning the next time I'm around and trying some of their other creations, that's for sure.

Large standard pies are $15 plus toppings. Large specialty pies cost $22.

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