June 9, 2020

20″ Of Truth: The Simple Pleasure Of Tony’s New York Pizza

by Joe Bonadio

It’s now been just over eleven weeks since the lockdown began in San Francisco, and things are beginning, albeit slowly, to return to normal. There has been a shift over the last week or so, and you can feel a renewed sense of promise in the air. People are coming out in greater numbers to enjoy the
warm weather, and our parks are full to brimming as the mercury continues to climb. And though we still have no clear indication of when in-house dining will come back, it’s safe to guess that it’s just around the corner.

Meanwhile, we’ve had a number of doors reopening for takeout business in the neighborhood, Original Joe’s and Caffe Trieste notable among them. It’s great to see our neighbors back, and it’s been fun checking out the new food and drink options as local spots tweak their offerings. For the time being though, one choice has become my hands-down favorite: Tony’s 20” New York pizza.

Another luminous evening in San Francisco’s North Beach, home of Tony’s Pizza Napoletana. | Photo: Joe Bonadio

Mind you, I’m not easily pleased. I was a Manhattanite for a long time, nearly eight years all told. And as an Italian-American and semi-professional glutton, I put in the legwork when I had the opportunity. I’ve eaten great pizza across all five boroughs, and I know more about New York pizza than I do about nearly anything. And no lie: this is exactly what a NY pizza is supposed to be.

First off, the thing is immense: twenty inches is a lot of pizza. I did the math, and it comes out to just over 314 square inches of pizza goodness. Think about it—that’s enough for eight slices, measuring an average of 39.25 square inches a piece! I’m sorry, it’s lunchtime and I got a bit distracted. What I’m trying to say is, this baby is a crowd-pleaser. The New York 20” easily feeds four people (or perhaps two or three of me).

Tony has nothing but love for his customers (note: heart-shaped pies available on Valentine’s Day only).

And while size matters, if the pizza’s not right it’s just more leftovers. Make no mistake, this pizza is right. The quality of these pies is obsessively consistent, and I would know. I’ve ordered five since the veil dropped, and they’ve all been superb. For you calorie counters, don’t worry, I’ve been sharing.

Here’s another pro tip: Tony makes his own sausage for all of his restaurants, if you didn’t already know that. It’s terrific. And if there is any way to turn this pizza up to eleven, that’s got to be it. The sweet flavor of the sausage is so perfect on this pizza, it just sets it off. I love my pepperoni, but nothing does it for me like this sausage pie.

Lastly, you may have noticed that Tony’s is now open 7 days a week. As a nod to Tuesdays (which used to be their only day off), they are only serving the 20” New York pie that day. Trust me, this hardly counts as a sacrifice— after all, it prompted me to reevaluate this phenomenal pizza. Hopefully it’ll do the same for you.


One last note: there are some big changes in the works over at Capo’s. We’ll be back soon with all the juicy details!