August 5, 2005 12:50 AM | By Adam Roberts | 6 Comments

Oh Who Makes The Pizza in My Neighborhood? Waldy's Does!

As I flipped through New York Magazine's "Eat Cheap" issue (which you can read here) I was surprised--actually shocked--to see listed a pizza joint called Waldy's. Why was I shocked? Because the street address was right in my neighborhood and I'd never seen this place before. Waldy's? There's no such place! This is a lie!

I ran out my door, rode the elevator down, and up the street to "Waldy's" apparent location. We'll see if there's a pizza place here, I thought to myself. And there it was:


How had I missed this? Did my vision decide to block Waldy's out of my perception to protect me from something I didn't know about? Or was Waldy's like one of those secret places you had to know about, like the Forge in Miami that doesn't have a sign out front? (Theory two, obviously, has some holes. Hole #1: the picture above.)

I propositioned Lisa, who was at work, to join me for lunch at Waldy's. According to New York magazine, Waldy is Waldy Malouf who comes from Beacon. I'm not sure what Beacon is, but he's a "veteran chef" with "a confident hand" and he"tops his oval pizzas with ingredients a lesser pieman and teh VPN (Vera Pizza Napoletana) wouldn't dream of: luscious braised lamb with roasted lemon and oregano. Arugula, garlic, and sunny side up eggs. Or clams, bread crumbs, and ricotta."

Lisa and I ordered tamely partly because she's a vegg-o and partly because those fancy pizzas in the preceding paragraph only come in full-pie portions and the less interesting ones (the ones we ordered) come in smaller portions. We ordered two and shared them. There was the mushroom pizza:


That pizza's actually called "The Beacon" and according to the menu it was originally developed at Beacon Restaurant, 25 W. 56th St. (I guess that tells us what The Beacon is. Or at least where it is.) The other pizza we had was the classic Margherita: Mozzarella and Basil.


Both these pizzas were really enjoyable partly because of the toppings and more-than-partly because of the wood-burning oven. It gave a great woody flavor to the crust which was nice and crusty. The portion sizes were right and the price was reasonable too. Would I come from a far outer borough to sample this pizza? No. Would I go out my door and down the block to sample this pizza? Absolutely. And of course full judgment must be reserved until I taste one of their more unusual pizzas. I'm excited for the clam one and the lamb one. Report to follow.


Hmmmm.... I'm skeptical of all pizzas not made in Brooklyn....

Beacon is a fairly upscale restaurant on 56th between Fifth and Sixth. It's owners have also recented opened a pizza-by-the-slice shop downtown.

Al Pacino's Pizza in Baltimore made pizzas just like that and even more exotic - can you say hummus? Yummm. Love the wood-fired oven flavor.

I've been reading your site for a while now, and I must admit I'm addicted to it. There's just the right combination of reviews & photos. Well, I must say that those two pizzas up there look extremely delicious, and the eggs sunny side up one sounds very interesting.

I'm a big fan of Waldy. And I love Beacon. And I like the the cutesy wooden palette plates and clip-it-yourself herb graden at Waldy's. But, unfortunately, the sum is less than the total of the parts at Waldy's. The crust is a solid, contiguous mass. The magic of pizza, whether "authentic" or novelty, is the myriad textures that the crust can hold at once: from the crisp exterior kissed by the searing heat of the oven, to the soft middle, to the moist interior interacting with the sauce. None of this is in evidence at Waldy's. What we get is bread with toppings. To experience real pizza alchemy take a trip to DeMarco's on Houston carrying on the DiFaro tradition in Greenwich Village.

To the Amateur Gourmet and all of your readers, thank-you for the kind words and support. But to James Felder: So quick to judge and condemn!! Real Dough is a living thing that needs to aclimate to it's environment. Come try it now. The pizza has certaintly come into it's own. At least I and 99.9% of my customers think it has. As for pizza only in Brooklyn - Bea, PPleeease, where is that anyway? Phoenix - maybe! Naples - maybe! NYC is a big city!! It's just pizza - I never knew so many people had so much free time to analyze something so fun and easy. I thought the tradional slice joint should finally evolve into something more representative of 2005 than 1960. High quality ingredients cooked in traditional way ie:(wood burning oven). And it is working!! We are doing great, keep your eyes open for a couple more Waldy's in 2006!!!Just some of my thoughts. See you soon at Beacon or Waldy's. Waldy

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