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For Pizza From My Family’s Heartland: “Corato Pizza”

Upon a recent trip to Ridgewood, Queens I followed in my family’s past footsteps. I drove around passing houses, churches, schools, and other significant sites for relatives I have known all of my life.

Sightseeing all day made this girl incredibly hungry. So hungry I didn’t care where I ate or what was offered. It was the kind of hungry that leads you to order one of everything, and not just because it smells so darn good.

Lunch turned out to be at Corato Pizza, another hot spot for those who lived in the area. It might have looked a little different but parking under the train tracks in the made shift parking lot looked like one of the seven wonders of the world to me at that point. That’s how hungry I was.

As soon as I got out of the car and made the twenty-foot walk to the entrance, I was consumed by the aroma of garlic, olive oil, and carbohydrates coming towards me. I got there literally as fast as I could.

The place had a pretty consistent consumers walking in and out. There were plenty of seats and tables for those diners like us who were not leaving until we were completely full.

Upon entering I had to pause to see if what I was looking at was real. It sure was. There was a glass case filled with every kind of roll you can think of and some I didn’t have the imagination to think of. Instead of just the standard spinach, pepperoni, or chicken roll served at pizza parlors everywhere, here there were hot dog rolls, spinach parmesan rolls, buffalo chicken rolls, and even Philly cheese steak rolls, just to name a few.

I quickly got a table, took a few photos, and then tried to keep my blood pressure down. I was so beyond hungry I would have eaten a chair and that would have tasted good to me. But what I had was so much better.

I tried a rice ball (a staple of mine) that was GIANTIC, a Chicken Cesar salad slice, an Upside Down Sicilian slice, and a Chicken Bacon Ranch slice. For dessert (but eaten as the same time as the main course) were the Zeppoles. These bad boys were so pretty and piping hot out of the oven. My God the cross between the crunchy outside and sweetness of the powered sugar on top made me feel like I had been saved.

The rice ball was dry for something filled with two kinds of cheese as well as ground beef. It wasn’t bad just a different flavor than I was use to. I still can’t believe that for as many rice balls ( as I’ve tried there are as many different flavor combos especially when they look identical.

The slices were also good but different than I imagined. For instance, on the Chicken Bacon Ranch, the ranch dressing was better on this slice than the one I had at Vinnie’s (see below) but Vinnie’s version had a better tasting chicken. The Caesar salad piece was a little too peppery for me but the Upside Down pizza proved to be just right.

By the end of this meal I was undoubtedly full although still thinking about what I would eat next time. I know I will have just as much trouble deciding then as I did on this day.

It appears this year is most definitely going to be my pizza year. I have already tried Vinnie’s Pizza ( and Artichoke Basille’s Pizza ( Those are the first two that popped into my mind. That’s not to say that I forget that there are at least three remaining pizza places in Brooklyn alone, on my current to do list (

Try as I might to cross off eateries on this list, it is spontaneous places and days like this that make that goal harder to complete. However I am not complaining.

Apparently pizza is in my blood, it is my legacy.

After all how many places have a Blessed Mother statute in the window, bidding you adieu?

For me it’s a sign I am home.
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