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X-Planations: Yonkers' Chef Peter X. Kelly Shares His Pizza Picks

The clam pie at Frank Pepe Pizzeria in Yonkers is among Peter X. Kelly's favorite pizzas.
The clam pie at Frank Pepe Pizzeria in Yonkers is among Peter X. Kelly's favorite pizzas. Photo Credit: Jeanne Muchnick

YONKERS, N.Y. -- Who has the best pizza in Westchester?

Of course, this is a very subjective question with very personal opinions. (I know Daily Voice readers recently picked Johnny's in Mount Vernon in the DVlicious contest.)

From where I sit, it seems people often prefer the pizza they grew up with. Which means if you spent your childhood near Arthur Avenue in the Bronx yo'ure probably a fan of the beautiful pies that Full Moon offers every day.

Or, if you grew up in downtown Yonkers as I did, you're still looking for anyone that can reproduce the delicious charred pies that the long shuttered Sal’s on Yonkers Avenue produced back in the day.

In Westchester, where ranking pizzas can cause an all out fistfight from the faithful, I prefer to let folks know which pizzas I’m willing to travel for -- and often do.

In no particular order of preference:

  • The Parlor i n Dobbs Ferry serves beautiful pies straight out of their wood-burning oven. The pies are puffed, charred and tender and include terrific seasonal toppings such as housemade charcuterie, market vegetables and assorted cheeses. The Bone Marrow pizza with vincotto, rosemary and garlic is a particular favorite.
  • Fortina , in Armonk and Rye Brook, serves some of the best wood-oven pizza I've ever experienced. There is something about the dough which has a depth of flavor rarely achieved in pie-making. Pizza is religion here and my hands down favorite is the “Tenderoni." Topped with a fragrant tomato sauce, mozzarella, hot sopresata, chili oil and a tiny drizzle of honey, it's quite simply, irresistible.
  • Polpettina, with locations in Eastchester and Larchmont, proves what can be done in an old-fashioned stack pizza oven. The Neoplolitan Classic pizzas will remind you why you love pizza as does the Margarita Pizza with its sweet and aromatic tomato, creamy mozzarella and a thin burnished crust. Order a side of Polpettina (meatballs) to add your own topping.
  • Frank Pepe in Yonkers, an offshoot of the original in New Haven. Conn., is a great addition to Westchester. The pies come out of a coal-fired oven from a recipe developed 100 years ago, setting a very high bar for pizzeria’s to this day. My go-to pie is the clam pizza. Remember to order it with mozzarella as it is not usually prepared with cheese. The pie has an abundance of whole clams and garlic and the addition of soft mozzarella makes it the best white pizza I know of.

This column is a continuing series by Chef Peter X. Kelly of Xaviars Restaurant Group which runs every Thursda y.


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