NY Pizza Suprema was established in 1964 in this location by my father Salvatore Riggio, an Italian immigrant. This pizzeria was here before Madison Square Garden moved here. At that time the school around the corner currently named TCI was RCA. When Sal decided to raise the price from 5 cents a slice, the RCA students picketed in front of the pizzeria for several days, catching media attention. From 1964 and all the way up to 1988, Sal only served plain cheese slices. If you wanted anything extra on your slice, you had to buy the whole pie.
"PLAIN SLICES ONLY", was announced several times a day when customers would ask for toppings on their slice. But even though "NO" was often said to customers, these very same customers came back because that plain slice was so delicious. My father believed in keeping things simple. When customers asked for heroes, salads, hot dogs and other items, my father would often respond, "Oh, so you want us to specialize in everything!" Dad believed that if you wanted to be successful, he would say, "Do one thing and do it better than anyone else." He also believed in quality control.
"Make the sauce every morning and just enough for that day, keep your ingredients fresh, buy the best and don't cut corners on the ingredients." Oh, you'd find misprint pizza boxes and cups, but only the best ingredients went into the pizza. The final touch was cooking the pies well, in the old fashioned Italian tradition. The end result was an extremely flavorful slice that was well balanced - the right amount of cheese, the right amount of sauce and a crispy flavorful crust - absolutely nothing doughy. Speaking of the dough, he learned to make his own dough from an old Italian baker, neighbor of his in Brooklyn.
I was ten years old when I started working in this pizzeria, during summer, weekends and worked for free. Italians love having male children, free labor! As the years passed, I saw that people just enjoyed having toppings on their pizza. Dad kept saying, "We don't have to disguise our pizza with toppings!" Although I agreed the plain cheese pizza did stand up on its own, I told my dad that we needed to stop acting like a pizza school and give people pizza the way they wanted it. So in 1988, we introduced, "THE SHELF", where we kept our topping pizzas and related items, such as rolls and calzones. Yes, people liked it a bit more, but more than 90% of what we sold was still that plain cheese slice Dad never did stop rubbing in that fact.
Pizza here at NY Pizza Suprema is not just another item on a long Diner's style menu... it pretty much is our menu. We take pizza making very seriously here! We use three different sauces for our different pizzas. One for our regular cheese with their toppings, one for our Marinara, Sicilian/Up side down pizza and one for our Fresh Mozzarella with Basil pizza. Also, we make our very own fresh Mozzarella cheese.
1. The regular plain cheese pizza
2. The Up Side Down
3. The Fresh Mozzarella with Basil
"If your are from out of town, please try the real New York slice...Plain cheese. Good pizza doesn't need to be disguised."
-Joe, NY Pizza Suprema
Owned by the Same Italian Family for over 45 years!
413 8th Avenue (at St.) NYC, (212)594-8939