Made in New York Vs. Marinara Pizza – Tradition against Trend

The Upper West Side’s pizza presence has been growing recently, and has not gone unnoticed. In the past year or so, the local spots of Upper West Siders have attracted some serious media attention. Perhaps most notably by the New York Times’ Pete Wells, who drooled over the house slice at Mama’s Too, and pronounced the slice shop a “standout in the great slice revival”.

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Anyone who ventures to 106th and Broadway and tries a slice will agree. Indeed, the slice has been revived. And right here, on our very own familiar Upper West Side streets.

Mamas Too UWS

All Mama’s Too fanfare aside, in the last few months, the UWS pizza scene has fattened yet again. And this time with two new additions, with storefronts just a few blocks apart on Amsterdam Ave.

Upon a passing glance, Made in New York Pizza appears to be a slice shop tinged with trend. It is brightly lit. A traditional pizzeria sign with red and green logo is nowhere to be found. Made in New York Pizza simply bears a minimalist sign, in black and white. It seems to be the kind of place where one might find a horde of Instagrammers, and photogenic but mediocre slices. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the pizza is gimmick free.

Made in New York Pizza UWS

Made In New York Pizza’s slices are classic, and there are many to pick from. I went for the spicy pepperoni and vodka slices ($4.50 each). Cups overflow from a chewy, thick crust. The garlic knots (5 for $2.50) are only made better by the delicious sauce they come with. The vodka slice, although burnt, was crisp and fresh out of the oven. It was a pizza experience that, as aptly named, was made for New York. The manager helped his son, also working behind the counter, ring up customers and fill orders. The only thing that could have made my visit better, would have been a glass Coca-Cola bottle, just for fun.

Made In New York Pizza is located at 421 Amsterdam, between 80th and 81st Streets.

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Neighboring Marinara Pizza, a strong addition to the UWS pizza scene, caters to a less traditional crowd. The standouts of their menu stick out – both in ingredients and to the eye. Their vibrant and most popular slice, the MVP slice is a tie dyed looking concoction, made up of marinara sauce, vodka sauce, and pesto (m,v,p) all poured over a square pie and sold in slices too. The MVP is designed to be alluring and trendy – diners snap photos of their slices and hashtag away, and one can only ponder, is this flavor combination good, or is it just pretty?

Marinara Pizza MVP

photo via Marinara Pizza’s Facebook page

The regular slices at Marinara Pizza are good and will do the job, but for the health conscious, Marinara Pizza also features a cauliflower crust pie. Swapped for rice, buffalo wings, gnocchi, and now pizza crust, cauliflower has been given the ultimate test of taste and durability. A decent substitute for carb heavy pizza, I suppose, but the cauliflower lacks the support of dough, and it crumbles under the weight of sauce and cheese, unless consumed quickly. Marinara Pizza serves their cauliflower pies plain or with toppings.

Marinara Pizza is located at 483 Amsterdam, between 83rd and 84th Streets.

While Marinara serves a much needed dose of modernity to the UWS, Made in New York does traditional pies proud – to me, that’s what the art of pizza is really about.

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