“When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that’s amore.” – Dean Martin
The relationship between pizza and love in New York City goes back to the first pizzeria in the United States, which was founded by Gennaro Lombardi in New York City’s Little Italy in 1905. Lombardi, like many New York pizzerias of today, makes each pizza by hand and a whole lot of love.
No food item is more symbolic of the NYC food experience than pizza. Pizza is the go-to easy date meal: it’s inexpensive, low maintenance, easy to find, portable (perfect for long walks through Central Park) and it’s downright delicious. Your relationship may have started with “let’s get a pizza,” or maybe you’ve spent many evenings chowing down on the Italian-by-way-of-New-York delicacy.
If you’re reading this right now, you’re probably getting ready to take the next step in your relationship (or maybe you just really love pizza). Proposing marriage is one of the most exciting moments in life, but it’s possible that a grand romantic gesture isn’t really your style. Many men opt for proposing on the top of the Empire State Building, or having a surprise picnic in Central Park — but if you’re a more low-key romantic, I have a proposition for you:
Have you considered proposing marriage by means of pizza?
Picture this romantic scene: you’re roaming around the great city of New York and stop by a local pizza joint to pick up a slice. Your GF is super stoked, because she loves pizza too. Order a slice, and when it arrives, get down on one knee with your Ritani engagement ring.
In this edition of our New York City Proposal guides (we know this is cheesy), we’re focusing on the best pizza joints in our favorite city. If pizza is your second greatest love–first being your GF, of course–browse through our six favorite places to get a slice of ‘za in NYC.
1. John’s of Times Square
The history behind John’s of Times Square is a story of love at first sight: original owner Madeline Castellotti instantly saw beauty in the dilapidated Gospel Tabernacle Church — and it was the stained glass ceiling that most caught her attention. Perfectly intact despite its surroundings, the stained glass was made of 8 parts, all equal in size, just like a pizza pie. If you’re visiting NYC and need a slice of the pie NYC is known for, John’s Pizza is the place to go. Located in the heart of the theater district, you could go to a show and finish the evening with a pie at John’s Pizza. Though they don’t serve slices (their menu clearing states NO SLICES), the ambiance at this joint is irreplaceable. The stained glass ceiling will catch her eye, but you’ll take her breath away as you get down on one knee with your Ritani engagement ring.
2. Emily in Brooklyn or West Village
This husband-and-wife owned pizza restaurant is a must for pizza lovers and sweethearts alike. Matt and Emily Hyland’s love story started with pizza: “our first shared meal was a pizza. It was pepperoni and olive – while sitting on the floor of Matt’s dorm room at school in Rhode Island. I have a distinct memory that as I was biting into my second slice that night, I looked across the pie and knew this was the man I would love for the rest of my life.” That’s a pizza love story if I’ve ever heard one. After Matt attended culinary school, they opened a pizza restaurant named after Emily. Pizza has been a recurring theme in the history of this foodie couple, and if it’s the same for you, then Emily is the perfect spot to grab a piece of pie on your way to Engagement Town.
Bonus points: this restaurant takes reservations, which means you can plan your cheesy proposal in advanced. Tell the hostess you’re planning on proposing at dinner and they may be able to spell a message in pepperoni for your #1 slice.
3. Rubirosa in Nolita
Rubirosa is a family-run Italian-American restaurant and pizzeria with a paper thin crust pizza recipe that has been winning over locals for the past 56 years. Located in Nolita, this spot often has wait times between 1-2 hours to get a taste of their prized Vodka Pizza. This quaint spot is the perfect place for an intimate proposal between you and your amore. While you can’t get just a slice at Rubirosa, take a seat and enjoy a whole pie from this New York Magazine and The Thrillist favorite.
4. Joe’s Pizza in the West Village
Owned and operated by Joe Pozzuoli, who opened the original West Village location in 1975, Joe’s Pizza is known for being the go-to for a quick slice. It’s said to be the quintessential pizza slice in New York. Now a must-visit for tourists, it’s hard to find a regular cheese slice that compares. Grab a slice and go for a romantic walk down the streets of the West Village until you find the perfect proposal spot (perhaps at the nearby Washington Square Park or along the Hudson River).
5. Di Fara Pizza in Midwood
Dom DeMarco has been making almost every single pizza by hand since 1964. If that’s not love, I don’t know what is. Made with San Marzano tomatoes and topped with a blend of Grana Padano, mozzarella, and parmesan, plus a touch of basil, Di Fara’s pizza is rumored to be the best in the city. This family-owned business makes their simple pies with imported ingredients and a whole lot of love.
6. Roberta’s in Bushwick, Brooklyn
Roberta’s is known for their approachable, hipster-approved pizza, which comes with a caveat: you’ll have to wait a long line to try the Brooklyn-Neapolitan-style pies. In true Brooklyn-chef style, almost everything is house-made, cured, or grown in the garden. Once you’ve waited (usually at least two hours), snag a table at a wooden picnic bench, a drink in the backyard Tiki bar, then propose to one who has a “pizza your heart” over Roberto’s crown jewel: the Speckenwolf, made with house-made mozzarella, thin slices of salty speck, and mushrooms. As one of New York’s most influential restaurants, it’s so popular that regular diners Jay-Z and Beyonce might be there to witness your patio proposal.
Now that you’re envisioning proposing over a slice of pepperoni pie, it’s time to find her an engagement ring. As a company founded in the great city of New York, we’re happy to help you find the engagement ring of her dreams at one of our New York City jewelers.