A promising pizza-maker is the latest restaurateur to enter Long Island City’s dining scene, following the footsteps of other notable names like chef Dan Kluger of Loring Place and Roni Mazumdar of Rahi, who have either opened or plotted new restaurants there within the past year.
Bill Massa — who says he learned the art of pizza-making from his uncle Patsy Grimaldi, the original founder of NYC’s famous Grimaldi’s pizzeria — has brought his own coal-fired pizza to the neighborhood. Dubbed Massa’s Coal Fired Pizzeria & Bar, the restaurant is located on the ground floor of one of the many high-rise apartment buildings that dot LIC at 42-12 28th St., near Queens Boulevard.
Massa’s opened January 1 with a menu centered on pizzas cooked in a coal-fired oven, such as a classic margherita, a pancetta pie with truffle oil, and the Violetta, a pie that comes layered with ricotta, mozzarella, garlic, mushrooms, scallions, and olive oil. Some more eclectic options include a brunch pie with pancetta and sunny-side-up eggs and the salad pie topped with romaine lettuce and Caesar dressing. They come in three sizes, 10, 14, or 18 inches, and prices range from $10 to $36.
Appetizers like meatballs and pepperoni chips are also available, plus salads, heroes, strombolis, and a calzone. The pizzas are accompanied by a varied cocktail list and beers. See the food and drink menus below.
Massa’s pies pay tribute to the old-school New York pies his family lineage is known for, he says: His great-uncle Patsy Lancieri is the man behind the original Patsy’s, and his uncle, Patsy Grimaldi, is responsible for Grimaldi’s — which is now under different ownership. (Grimaldi now runs Juliana’s in Dumbo, right next to a Grimaldi’s outpost.)
The chef first opened his own pizzeria on Long Island in 2004, also called Massa’s, and sold it in 2009. He later opened another outpost in Huntington but sold that spot to his partner last year to focus on this new LIC venture, he says.
The pizza shop is aiming to grab a lunch crowd from the city’s Health and Mental Hygiene department across the street and the JetBlue headquarters a block away, plus people from the 56-story tower above the restaurant.
But Massa is not the first restaurant owner top hop over to Long Island City in recent months. Roni Mazumdar of Indian restaurants Rahi and Masalawala in Manhattan opened Adda near Laguardia Community College in September. And famed vegetable master Dan Kluger of Loring Place in Greenwich Village is plotting a new restaurant within that big real estate project called the Jacx. Meanwhile, restaurateurs already in the neighborhood are planning for increased sales once Amazon’s new headquarters move in.
Though Massa signed his lease before Amazon announced its move-in, he says: “That’s extremely exciting. They are going to be opening up not too far from where we are.”
Massa’s is a 70-seat space with a big dining room and bar, open daily from 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m., with late-night hours Thursday through Saturday.