SIMÒ PIZZA: Transporting New Yorkers to Naples in 90 seconds

SIMÒ PIZZA recently opened its second location in Greenwich Village. The pizzeria offers New Yorkers Neapolitan-style pies at affordable prices.

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SIMÒ PIZZA opened their second location in Greenwich Village on Tuesday. Simone Falco, the founder of the restaurant, came to New York from Naples, Italy with the goal of bringing people together with classic Neapolitan pizza. (Image courtesy of Francesco Sapienza)

By Gabby Lozano, Dining Editor

Move over, Joe’s: a new pizza shop just opened in the Village, and they’re promising to sling classic Neapolitan pizzas at $10 a pie. 

SIMÒ PIZZA opened its second location in the heart of Greenwich Village on Aug. 31. The restaurant was founded by Simone Falco, who came to New York from Naples, Italy, in pursuit of uniting the world through pizza. 

Before opening SIMÒ PIZZA, Falco worked at Rossopomodoro Cucina Napoletana in Eataly and the West Village. He worried that restaurants like Rossopomodoro had a high price tag while deviating from the Neapolitan tradition of simple, quality ingredients.

“Some pizzerias started getting expensive … but pizza can be affordable,” Falco said. 

As a frequent visitor of Joe’s Pizza, I know there is pizza for every budget. But let’s be clear: Joe’s Pizza is not Neapolitan. Real Neapolitan pizza — the kind topped with canned tomatoes from San Marzano, which derive their flavor from volcanic ash, and with fresh mozzarella di bufala, from the water buffalos in Campania — is hard to come by in the United States. 

Yeah, imports cost bank. 

Luckily, I was able to try the renowned pie during my childhood when I lived in Vicenza and when I studied at NYU Florence. I don’t recall much from my childhood, but I do remember the feeling of bliss when I ate the pizza. It was simple, but it didn’t need anything beyond the cheese, dough and tomatoes. Just by looking at a Neapolitan pizza, you can tell that each ingredient is crafted with perfection in mind. 

Eager to get another taste, I ventured to SIMÒ PIZZA’s new location on 75 University Pl., between 10th and 11th streets. As a reporter, I try to remain unbiased and have no expectations for the restaurants I review. But the truth is, I went to SIMÒ PIZZA hoping to find a slice of my childhood. 

Which I did. 

The restaurant offers both indoor and outdoor seating. While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends outdoor dining, don’t ignore the interior design. 

Falco explained to me that part of bringing New Yorkers the classic style of Neapolitan pizza lies with the ambiance. Rather than creating a restaurant filled with tables and chairs, Falco worked with an architect to design a space that resembled a Neapolitan kiosk, which allows diners to quickly order their food and eat on the go — perfect for a student running late to class.

The sand-colored walls with steps that walk across the room were designed to mirror the physical space of the kiosk; the Caputo 00 flour bags provide a sky-blue backdrop. To the left lies the real show stopper: a see-through glass exhibit that allows you to witness the magic of making pizza.

I ordered my childhood favorite, pizza diavola, which consists of milled tomatoes, mozzarella di bufala, pecorino romano, thinly sliced spicy Italian sausage, olive oil and basil.

Through the clear glass, I watched my pizza come together as the staff rolled the dough, sprinkled the cheese and ladled the tomatoes.

Once assembled, the pizza slid into a brick oven, imported from Italy and heated to 850 degrees Fahrenheit. From there, it only took 90 seconds — I timed it myself — for the pizza to fully cook. 

The staff sprinkled on a few basil leaves and it was ready.

Much to my delight, my pizza diavola tasted as I remembered when I first had it over a decade ago. The crust was soft yet slightly chewy. The sauce brought a refreshing combination of acidity and sweetness to complement the creaminess of the mozzarella di bufala. And just when I thought the melody was over, the heat from the diavola kicked in to finish the concerto on a high note. 

In addition to diavola, the restaurant features other Italian specialties such as the classic Margherita pizza, house-made meatballs and gnocchi in a San Marzano tomato sauce. The restaurant also features a few adult beverage options, but Falco intends for people to partake in the traditional Neapolitan experience of pizza by keeping it casual. 

“The experience of [our] kind of pizza can be fast — not fast food — without compromising quality,” Falco said. “We are a classic Neapolitan pizza shop grounded in the root of Napoli, and pizza in Napoli is going to be done with few ingredients but great ingredients.” 

If you’re hungry for an authentic Neapolitan pie, make sure to swing by. Show them your NYU ID card for a 10% discount — remember, great pizza can be affordable!

Contact Gabby Lozano at [email protected].