Pizza and ice cream is a perfect way to kick off a summer date night, especially in Greenwich Village where exceptional options abound on practically every corner. Luckily, I’ve taken the guess work out of it for you by crafting some terrific pairings. You may wish for a bit more of a walk in between courses, or slightly “healthier” options, so feel free to mix it up and create a combination of destinations that best suit your date’s taste. Be sure to print this list and the complete Eye For Style map before you head out so as to have all your options easily at hand. Trust me, she’ll admire your take-charge thoughtfulness, guys. Once you’re both stuffed to the gills, take a stroll mano a mano appreciating the uber-romantic vibe that is The Village, before you grab some libations at one of the many cool watering holes in the area. If you follow this plan (adding your own brand of charm and some witty reparte, of course), you should score that lengthy kiss on the stoop come evening’s end. And who knows what may follow. You can thank me later…
EAST VILLAGE DATES:
South Brooklyn Pizza & NYC Icy - 122 1st Ave ;
100 Ave A 171 Ave A (as of 6/2011)
SBP is the newbie in the ‘hood, having just opened 3 months ago, but it’s already garnered a well-deserved reputation. They only do one kind of pizza – margherita – which is frankly phenomenal. They occassionally have their “square” pizza with which they’ll experiment with a variety of ingredients, like mushroom or sausage, at their whim. I’d eat your first slice plain, so you can really taste the flavors of the basil, mozzarella, and tomato. The EVOO is so delicious you can actually taste the kalamata olive from whence it came. This is not a pizza where you want to sop up the oil with a napkin. Instead, have fun sexily licking it off your fingers (hey, it makes for some good foreplay). On your second slice, try the toppings they have mixed up fresh on the counter – a sick roasted garlic spread or marinated green peppers – for a completely different flavored slice. You might want to save the kissing for later, but it’s well worth it. Slices are $4 each, whole pies will run you $28.
NYC Icy is a relative newbie in the ‘hood, having just opened up their pop-up stand on Ave A @ E 7th a month ago (though they used to have a permanent location on Ave B). It’s a very no frills establishment, just a couple of big freezers and a cash register. Check the sandwich board for the day’s special samplings, a rotating array of over 200 flavors, most of which are more creamy than icy, with some dairy-free options as well. My favorites are Mexican hot cocoa (with a swift chili pepper kick), earl grey (with a hint of cream and lemon), and the ultimate: mango with fresh basil (which also pairs extremely well with spicy Thai food).
Artichoke Pizza & Sundaes and Cones – 328 E 14th St ; 95 E 10th St
Artichoke only fires up 4 types of pizza – classic margherita, artichoke (with a cheesy, creamy sauce), crab, and Sicilian – and they’re all freaking delicious. Don’t let the long line keep you away – spend the time getting to know each other better! Grab your $4 slice, cop a squat on a nearby stoop and enjoy the bustling scene on 14th Street, as seating at this joint is highly coveted and minimal at best. Better yet, call ahead and order a whole pie, then head southeast to nearby Tompkins Square Park for a pizza alfresco picnic in the very secluded section of the park bordering 10th Street where there’s tons of tables and virtually never any people. Take a stroll east and do some window shopping along 9th or 10th Street, two of the loveliest blocks in the EV, until you across 3rd Avenue and arrive at:
Sundaes & Cones has some of the most interesting, Asian-centric ice cream flavors around – wasabi, red bean, taro, green tea – to name a few. I personally adore the sesame and lychee in a big ol’ waffle cone. They have other traditionally American flavors as well, but why not try something new? Show off your adventurous, open-minded side. Chicks dig that.
Motorino & Momofuku Milk Bar – 349 E 12th St ; 207 2nd Ave
Motorino specializes in neopolitana style pizza – with a thin, but not too thin crust that bubbles around the outskirts. The ingredients are super fresh and flavorful, and the price is fairly reasonable at $18 a pie (no slices here). I could easily eat a whole one myself if I’m really hungry and wish they were a bit larger, but it’s no big deal. Gotta save room for ice cream! I’ve especially enjoyed the soppressata piccante, as well as the sweet sausage and cremini with kalamata olive, but I think the real draw here is the brussel sprout and pancetta pie.
I must confess that I’ve not actually had the soft serve with various whacky toppings to choose at Momofuku Milk Bar because every time I’ve gone, the line is so damn long that I’m just not in the mood and have opted to head elsewhere. The place has a long line and great reputation for a reason though, so if you’ve got some company to kill the time, I’d stick it out. If you don’t have the patience, Veniero’s Pasticceria is right around the corner, as is most of the selections on this list. Someday, Momofuku, someday!
Luzzo’s & Alphabet Scoop – 211 2nd Ave ; 543 E 11th St
This place is small and can sometimes be crowded, but it’s one of the best authentic neopolitian pizzas in Manhattan. It’s also one of the only places that still uses a coal-fired oven and you can taste the difference. The crust is thin and slightly charred, a bit soft, but not overly chewy. The pies are big, but once you get started, you don’t want to stop (which is hopefully the direction your date will be taking later in the evening.) Luzzo’s is by no means cheap, clocking in at around $23 – 28 a pie, but the basil and mozzarella are fresh and delicious to be sure, making it very worthy of experiencing.
Alphabet Scoop is actually a non-profit organization that “changes lives one scoop at a time”. They employ neighborhood kids in an effort to teach responsibility and keep them out of trouble on the streets, connecting the local youth with personal adult mentors off-site. This artisanal ice cream is homemade right on the premises with fresh ingredients. Portions are large and prices are fair. Your date will most definitely appreciate your thoughtful, civic-minded generosity, scoring you some brownie points. Remember, supporting important causes is hot!
Two Boots & Lula’s Sweet Apothecary – 42 Ave A ; 516 E 6th St
I love the classic Italian meets Louisana bayou flavor combinations that Two Boots employs here. I also love the clever way they name their pizzas after indie movie characters and trailblazing music icons. Cleopatra Jones (sweet sausage with tri-color peppers) and The Newman (of Seinfeld fame aka sopressata and sausage on a white pie) are my go-to favorites at this joint. When I’m feeling particularly spicy though, The Bird (as in local EV resident and saxophonist, Charlie Parker) – a white pie topped with spicy buffalo wings, bleu cheese, and jalapeno – is in a league of its own and hits the spot. So wrong, it’s right. This pizza will definitely generate a little heat and then you might just want to rent a movie, instead of go out on the town. Which is convenient because, in addition to the pizzeria, the location on Avenue A is also a super cheap video store with tons of great noir, classics, and cult flicks. Cuddle up and enjoy the film, but before you go home, head to:
Lula’s Sweet Apothecary – vegan ice cream never tasted so good! I dare to you try their dairy/gluten-free fare and tell me that it’s not equally as delicious as its sugar-filled counterparts. Lula’s flavors are truly unique and rotate daily. The staff is super friendly and they happily offer copious samples, which can be a double-edged sword because it tends to make the indecisive line move a bit slow. (It’s not a relationship, it’s ice cream, people. Make a commitment and move on). Lula’s has soft serve too, with a “twist” if you like the two flavors swirled, cake batter being a favorite. They make a killer banana split with an assortment of natural toppings to choose from as well. The ambience of the place is a throw back to the days of real ol’ fashioned ice cream parlors and can be quite a romantic scene if you nab stools in the bay window.
Want an even healthier option? Try opting for a smoothie at Liquiteria (@ 170 2nd Ave) or Juicy Lucy’s (@ 85 Ave A). These juice bars are equally as delicious as any other sweet treat you’ll find in the area. So, if you’re looking for something cold, utterly fresh and supremely yummy in the tummy, don’t hesitate to give these places a try. You won’t be disappointed. A wide variety of healthy and exotic flavors abound here!
Once you’ve worked your way through the EV, you and your sweetie will surely want to try these WEST VILLAGE DATES:
Numero 28 Carmine & Cones Ice Cream Artisans
Bleecker Street Pizza & L’Arte Del Gelato
John’s Pizzeria & Jacques Torres Chocolate Haven
Famous Joe’s & Grom
Two Boots To Go West & People’s Pops
Lombardi’s & Ciao Bella
With healthier option: Gusto Organics
Or go to Eye For Style maps for the complete list of Greenwich Village pizza & ice cream dates!
And how about a “make your own pizza” date? Pizza a Casa now has workshops & classes at their LES location. Now that’s amore!
Update as of 7/30/11:
There are 5 new cool treats vendors in the East Village that are definitely worth sampling this summer:
People’s Pops Pop Up – 118 E 7th St; serving: popsicles & shave ice, through October 15
Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream – 48 1/2 E 7th St
Goat Town – 511 E 5th St
Timi’s Gelateria Classica - 37 St. Mark’s Place; mobile cart @ 145 Ave A
Big Gay Ice Cream Shop – opening any day now, on E 7th St @ Ave A