The pizza craze continues to sweep New York, and though the puffy-rimmed, plate-shaped pizza napoletana seems to be the inspiration of most aspiring pie guys, there is a small contingent dedicated to something a bit less … circular. Call them what you will—Sicilian, grandma, old-fashioned—square slices have their devotees, and their places of worship: L&B Spumoni Gardens; Lazzara’s; and Rizzo’s of Astoria, which celebrates its 50th anniversary on May 30 with 50-cent slices. (Di Fara and Artichoke do well by the square, too, but they’re that rare thing, the ambidextrous pizzeria.) Even Roberta's, the Bushwick upstart, recently introduced a thick, square $3 “Working Man’s Slice.”
And thanks to two East Village gastropreneurs, the square-pie future is looking even brighter. This week, Frederick Twomey reopens his Solex space as Veloce Pizzeria, a Sicilian-inspired partnership with Porchetta’s Sara Jenkins—a fan, as is Twomey, of the versions served at Pinocchio’s in Harvard Square and Adrienne’s downtown. After a fact-finding mission to Palermo, and some dough experimentation, the pair unveil their collaboration: a pizza place, tables aptly outfitted with checked tablecloths, specializing in twelve-inch pan-baked pies. Jenkins is reluctant to call them Sicilian—a style that doesn’t really exist in Sicily, she says, except for the bread-crumb-and-anchovy-garnished sfincione (which she’ll be serving). Jenkins and chef de cuisine, Sebastian Jaramillo, make their dough with Caputo flour and—believe it or not—potatoes, and tops her pies with a drier, pizza-friendly mozzarella made by Lou DiPalo. In addition to pizza, there are meats, cheeses, fritti, salads, gelato, and panna cotta (enriched with ricotta). As at Twomey’s Bar Veloce, wine serves as drink and décor, and slants heavily toward Southern Italy.