This isn’t your fancy wood-fired pizza, or pizza with four kinds of Brie. This is Friday night Pizza in Sonoma County. The ooey-gooey stuff you pull out of a box and eat with a paper towel. here are a handful of our favorite mom-and-pop spots for the Best Friday Night Pizza in Sonoma County. All of these were submitted by Biteclubbers.
1. NY Pie
Mike Petterssen has a favorite quote that pretty much sums up Americans’ universal love of pizza. “You can’t make everyone happy. You aren’t pizza,” says Petterssen, who owns NY Pie in downtown Santa Rosa. Pizza is the Friday night family dinner, with more than $38 billion in annual sales , primarily at mom and pop stores like Petterssen’s. It’s also the late night nosh, the quick lunchtime slice and the after-game fuel-up we all love.
“When kids get together, they don’t have hamburger parties,” Petterssen says.
And while fancy wood-fired, knife-and-fork style pizzas have their place, old school spots like NY Pie serve up thin-crust, tomato sauce and mozzarella pies meant to be shared. They require the Manhattan-style fold to cram a slice into your face, and they’re uniquely Italian-American.
“There should be a little grease running down your hands when you eat it,” adds Petterssen.
He and his wife, Kristina, recently renovated the small pizzeria at the corner of Brookwood Avenue and Fourth Street, expanding the footprint of the original restaurant once owned by New Yorkers RJ and Camille Iervolino. Although the couple retired to Southern California, Petterssen says he frequently talks to them and continues to use the original recipes developed by Camille.
“The sauce is an old Italian recipe, and we fresh slice blocks of whole milk mozzarella. The real secret to a great New York style pizza is the recipe and ingredients.”
The Minnesota native, who has owned NY Pie for two years, says he loved being able to order pizza at 2 a.m. on Christmas morning — or pretty much any day — and having it arrive hot at his home, which is why he continues to provide daily delivery until 3 a.m. His busiest time? “Anytime after midnight.”
The pizzeria (65 Brookwood Ave., Santa Rosa, 526-9743) hasw 20 beers on tap, slices and an expanded menu including calzones and sandwiches. But Friday night pies will always be the heart and soul of his business, ranging from simple cheese to his best seller, the Godfather (with pepperoni, sausage, artichoke hearts and garlic).
“It’s just the funnest thing in the whole world to sell,” he says. “And we’ll always stay true to our New York roots,” he adds, which means that your pie will come with red pepper flakes and cheap Parmesan in a packet.
Here are some more local NY(ish)-style pies from pizzerias that offer late night delivery or pick-up, and the thin-crust, giant slices you can pick up, fold and share this weekend, with a smile on your face and just a little grease running down your fingers.
(Note: Call for delivery areas and hours, as they may vary.)
2. Gio’s Pizza: This New York style pizzeria also was once owned by the Iervolinos and has stayed true to the founders’ vision. Friends say it’s the best slice in Sonoma County. Delivery 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. weekdays. 2700 Yulupa Ave., #5, Santa Rosa, 542-2797.
3. Mombo’s: There’s a reason the Santa Rosa outpost of this classic pizzeria is standing room only all weekend. It’s just darn good pizza. It’s our go-to on Friday nights, and we’re willing to wait the hour or two it takes for delivery during peak hours. Delivery available until 10 p.m. in Santa Rosa. Also, a selection of pizzas now available frozen. 1880B Mendocino Ave., Santa Rosa, 528-3278. Sebastopol location open until 9 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday, until 10 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, 560 Gravenstein Highway North, Sebastopol, 823-7492.
4. Joey’s: Another neighborhood favorite, Joey’s has one of the largest pizza menus, including clam with garlic sauce and a cheeseburger pizza with mustard sauce and plenty of veggie options. Plus, you can get a slice of homemade cheesecake or Scooby Snacks (fried doughballs with cinnamon) added to your order. Late night weekend delivery until 1 a.m., 727 Mendocino Ave., Santa Rosa, 595-5639.
5. La Vera: More than just a sit-down Italian restaurant, La Vera does a great take-out pizza. After 30 years in business, they know how to do pizza right. Slices available at lunch. Open until 9 p.m. daily, delivery via foodtoyou.com. 629 Fourth St., Santa Rosa, 575-1113.
6. Simply Delicious: This West Santa Rosa pizzeria always gets big props for its family-friendly pizzas, which range from simple cheese to fancier versions with grilled eggplant and roasted red peppers. The crust is a little thicker than traditional NY style, but just as tasty. Open until 9 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Dine in or pick up only. 2780 Stony Point, Santa Rosa, 579-2083.
7. Red Grape Pizza: Though this dine-in restaurant’s pizzas only come in one size (12 inch) and are a little fancier than the usual New York style slices, it is definitely where Sonoma residents go for their Friday night pizzas. Pizzas come in white (olive oil and garlic) or red (tomato sauce), and even the cheese version is special, with aged Parmesan and gouda. A personal favorite is pear and gorgonzola. Dine in or pick up only, 529 First St., West, Sonoma, 996-4103.
8. Sal’s New Yorker Pizza: This 2014 newcomer to the pizza game is a favorite pizzeria of SSU students. Open until 9 p.m. daily, delivery available. 8270 Old Redwood Highway, Cotati, 664-8460.
9. Rafy’s Pizzeria: A New Yorker who’s spent the year tossing pies in the Big Apple serves up authentic slices big as your head. Petalumans give it a big thumbs-up. Open daily until 9 p.m., delivery available, 615 E. Washington, Petaluma, 559-5735.
10. Forestville Pizza: A local winemaker took over the former Andorno’s several years ago, preserving as one of the few pizza spots in West County. A;though this definitely isn’t a late-night location, locals say it’s their favorite take-out spot, with delivery available daily from 5 p.m. 6490 Mirabel Road, Forestville, 887-9574.
Have a favorite we missed? Let us know in the comments below.