New York has rarely seen a pizzeria that looks anything like Dean’s Pizza, which opened four weeks ago on the Upper West Side. Built into the refurbished grand ballroom of an old hotel, it has high ceilings and ornate moldings that elevate the act of ingesting cheese and sausage. But the pizza itself is no surprise: Co-owned by Mirene Angelis and Nick Tsoulos, the place is the latest effort from the city’s most productive pizza-making family, the extended Angelis-Tsoulos clan.
It all started with a marriage made in pizza heaven: Mirene Angelis, sister to Nick, the thin-crust expert from Queens, married Nick Tsoulos, the coal-oven magnate behind Angelo’s and Patsy’s, creating a loose pizza consensus that informs Nick’s, in Forest Hills and the Upper East Side, Adrienne’s Pizza Bar in the financial district, six Patsy’s locations around town, another Dean’s in Turtle Bay, three Angelo’s — and now, of course, the new Dean’s.
We spoke to Nick Angelis, who served as a “free consultant” to his sister and brother-in-law. “The recipes are basically the same [between my places and Dean’s],” he tells us. “It varies according to who’s making it, what the dough is like that day, how the wind is blowing … each place has its own slightly different spin.” All the restaurants use a similar cheese mix, the same basic sauce, and a crisp crust that holds up under the toppings. Is there a general family order that goes out to the pizza guys in all the restaurants?, we asked. “Nah,” Angelis says. “It’s pizza. If you just make it the way you like to eat it, you’ll care about it, and that will make it good.”
Dean’s Pizza, 215 W. 85th Street, nr. Broadway; 212-875-1100.