By Lale Arikoglu. Photos: Alamy.
Every New Yorker on the move knows that the ideal snack is a thin, deftly folded slice of pizza, to be eaten while weaving through tourists. But what if it could be improved even further, by, say, frying it? Naturally, the Italians have already perfected this idea, and in Naples, the pizza fritta (or pizzaioli), a fried Neapolitan-style-dough stuffed with your choice of toppings, is a well-established street food. Luckily for us, the calzone-like treat will soon take over Manhattan, too.
Next week, Zia Etserina, arguably the most famous pizza fritta spot in Italy, with a base in Naples and sister location in Milan, will open its first U.S. brick-and-mortar location in New York’s Little Italy—and if Instagram accounts are anything to go by, expect frenzied lines out the door (and way down the street) for the chance to try it. According to Eater, the restaurant is the first of two set to open in Manhattan, with the second location said to be not too far away, on the Bowery. Owner and chef Gino Sorbillo has reached celebrity status in Italy for his lightweight pizza crusts and mouth-watering frittas (not to mention a run-in with the local Mafia a few years ago when it allegedly burnt his restaurant down), and travels the world to appear on cooking shows when his pizza isn't receiving a blessing from the Pope. When it comes to his pizzaiolis, Sorbillo hopes to make fried pizza dough a ubiquitous dish, the website reports.
Zia Etserina isn’t the only establishment to bring its Italian street food to the U.S. In 2012, the Roman trapizzino, a sort of “calzone on steroids”, temporarily arrived in New York thanks to its creator Stefano Callegari, and in January, a trapizzino outpost opened on the Lower East Side—the menu's extravagant fillings include eggplant parmigiana, braised pork, or tongue in salsa verde. In fact, this isn’t the first time the pizza fritta has crossed the Atlantic, either: It can already be found on the menu at Italian sit-down restaurant Don Antonio in the Theater District.
New York City is no stranger to overly-hyped food fads. There was the cupcake ATM?), a controversial ramen burger, and, of course, the cronut. But we suspect Sorbillo’s irresistibly rich Italian snack might be the one that sticks.
This story originally appeared on Conde Nast Traveler.
More from Conde Nast Traveler: