For the Super Bowl, I like to celebrate the culinary traditions of cities represented on Super Sunday. For Super Bowl XLVI, I suggest New York-style pizza for the Giants and Boston cream pie for the Patriots.
Pizza is a football natural, Giants or not. But this is a great excuse to treat yourself and partygoers to an authentic New York-style pizza. There are several local pizzerias that serve New York-style pizza, and some of them are actually owned by people from New York such as Danny Falcone, whom I wrote about in December. But Falcone isn't the only New Yorker in the metro area handing out authentic New York-style pies.
An Empire-size pie from Papa Angelo's, 3921 N College Ave. in Bethany, is as New York as it gets. Your party will pop with these massive slices so weighted with premium ingredients that folding is a necessity, and don't forget garlic knots, which are sort of the pizza equivalent to doughnut holes. The pizza is just like New York: big, brash and not afraid to let you know it's there. Not unlike the restaurant's namesake, Papa Angelo DiGiantomasso, 82. Don't ask Papa Angelo how he's doing or what he knows unless you're prepared for an answer like, “Why, you writin' a book!?!” When asked how a kid from Queens ended up in Oklahoma, Papa Angelo says without hesitation, “I ran out of gas.”
But the first DiGiantomasso to make it from Central Islip, N.Y., to Oklahoma was Angelo's son Joseph, who brought his family to Bethany 16 years ago with no job, few prospects but an overwhelming desire to raise his young family in a better place.
“I love New York. I love any team anything as long as it's New York, but I'll never move back there,” DiGiantomasso said. “I love Oklahoma; I love Bethany. People here don't realize what they've got.”
What we do have is phenomenal New York pizza thanks to these Long Islanders who make pride a primary ingredient in every pie. And on Sunday there's no doubt about which team they'll be rooting for. At the counter you'll find a football autographed by the 1991 Giants thanks to former offensive lineman Clarence Jones, who was coached as a child by Papa Angelo.
If you want to take the party to Papa Angelo's, you might consider taking the Empire challenge, which entails eating the 20-inch Empire with double the three toppings of your choice. If you can take down this 6-pound pie in 45 minutes, the pizza is free and so is the T-shirt you'll get. On the north wall of the restaurant is a picture of the single brave soul that succeeded. On the south wall you'll find a wall full of those who've failed. Papa Angelo's does sell pizza by the slice during weekday lunch service.