Looking for an under-5-dollar meal I went to Vinny Vella's Pizza on Metropolitan, which was opened in 2007 by the eponymous actor, technical consultant, and mafiosesque pal to the stars best known for his roles in Casino and The Sopranos.
This guy is all over the walls and tables, posing in snapshots with celebrities and politicians: over here he is patting Gary Oldman's face like a beloved nephew, over there, mean-mugging along with Nas.
I ordered (not from Vinny himself) what I thought was a Sicilian slice, but was corrected "You mean the Grandma slice?".
"Guy!", I thought, "I don't care who made it! Gimme what I'm pointing at and I'll hand you money."
As it turns out the "Grandma Slice" is a hot Pizza trend in NYC, which means New Yorkers assume everyone must know about it, like how Midwesterners think the whole country is crazy for "Taco Pizza" (it involves corn chips and lettuce on the pizza). Originating in Long Island, this is basically a thinner version of a Sicilian, baked on a oiled sheetpan, which makes it crispier. I noticed that this version was also pronouncedly more garlicy than regular pizza and had the cheese and sauce separated into swaths, but those might just be Vinny's personal touches. It was very good- and that Cherry Doctor Pepper? A surprisingly enjoyable lark.
Interestingly, I've heard that the best Grandma pizza in Williamsburg is not at Vinny Vella's, but at Driggs Pizza, which is about 3 blocks away. That means that including Ana Maria's in my living room and Fornino down Bedford, there are at least four places that are making not just good, but very good pizza within 5 minutes of my doorstep. That's is more very good Pizza then can be found in most U.S. states!
BTW, I usually leave the Pizza coverage to Nick Sherman's Pizza Rules! Blog. I can't match his monomaniacal focus on the stuff, what with my interest in other kinds of "food".