The Many Pizzas of Sal’s

11 Nov

Here in New York there was an overblown controversy about who retained the rights to be known as Ray’s Pizza. The original Ray’s, at least I think it was original, was in Greenwich Village on 11th Street and wildly popular for the excessive amounts of cheese piled onto each slice rather than for its overall quality. So says I, the pizza snob.

Ray’s popularity spurred a flurry of Ray’s imitators, or so “Original Ray” claimed. Lawsuits were threatened and to avoid them, the numerous Ray’s throughout the city slightly tweaked their names.  “Famous Ray’s,” “World Famous Ray’s,” “Original Ray’s” “Ray Bari” were some of them. There was even one called “Not Ray’s Pizza.” Soon the controversy fizzled and recently the Original Ray’s closed ending “Ray’s” pizza(name) dominance in the city.

You know it’s over for Ray’s when the name is blocked out and no longer “of Greenwich Village.”

On a smaller scale, but higher in the pizza royalty chain, was the battle over the use of Patsy’s in connection to pizza. There was the original Patsy’s on First Avenue in East Harlem that still remains. And then there was Patsy Grimaldi’s in Brooklyn, just over the Brooklyn Bridge who was legally forced to drop the “Patsy’s” part of his actual name and became known as Grimaldi’s.  Patsy’s revival and the ensuing controversy led to a chain of Patsy’s designed to emulate the original, but none had that pizzeria’s magical ancient coal oven and, as a result, the pizza just wasn’t of the same quality.

The original Patsy’s.

It is now my pleasure to report that probably the most prolific pizza name of all has not sparked any controversy or legal action that I know of. That name is Sal’s.

Still, though, many Sal’s have found it necessary to inject something else to their name to differentiate themselves from the other Sal’s out there instead of just relying on their location and the distinction of their pizza.

There are many Sal’s in New York, but obviously only one New York Sal’s.

If Sal were to have a pizza making partner, Carmine is a natural.

Sal’s of Little Italy is no ordinary pizzeria, it’s a cafe.

Now why did they have to go and make Sal fat?

I’ve often wondered why a man named Sal would allow himself to be known as Sally.

Sal’s even made it into the movies.


I make no judgement on any of the other Sal’s pizzerias, but for me, there is only one Sal’s Pizzeria.

2 Responses to “The Many Pizzas of Sal’s”

  1. James Lax November 17, 2011 at 4:33 pm #

    The one review I have been looking for all these years !!! Yes, a pilgrimage (sic) to Sals of Mamaroneck is most certainly in order…
    Good food evokes memories of good times and good friends… A college chum of mine who was a frequent patron of this legendary pizzeria always referred to Sals as “a slice of the good life.” Funny how some 38 years later and I still remember his joyful description of the Sals’ experience ! Proof positive that dining experiences ARE in fact one of lifes’ great joys… As the infamous Al Goldstein once so eloquently stated, “when everything else is gone, WE CAN STILL EAT !!!
    Mangia to you and your crew! LAX


  1. Today’s Slice: Artichoke (and Spinach) Pizza | Fried Neck Bones...and some home fries - April 12, 2013

    […] the man in chef whites, who said his name was Sal (of course it had to be, see The Many Pizzas of Sal’s), I asked what went into the artichoke and spinach […]

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