There is no question that if given all the time in the world, one could go on and on at infinitum about the wonders of Pizza. Though no one really knows the absolute origin of this yummy staple that dates back to antiquity, one thing is for sure - certain establishments create it better than others.
Take for instance, Louie and Ernie's Pizza in the Pelham Bay section of The Bronx. A pizzeria that has not only created a consistently superior pizza, but one that is recognized for doing so.
For the non-pizza connoisseur, it would appear that all that is required to make a tasty pie is dough, sauce, cheese and desired toppings. However, nothing could be further from the truth. High quality ingredients, the method in which they are combined and the ability to put it all together perfectly is how an exceptionally made pizza comes to be.
And Louie and Ernie's Pizza has perfected the art of old school pizza making.
You may be wondering what I mean by "Old School" pizza. I'm not going to lie, I was recently schooled on what this description meant by Bronx Historical Tours founder, Alexandra Maruri, who has been frequenting this independently owned eatery since she was a little girl. Simply put, "old school" refers to their dedication to making great pizza, which in a word, she describes as Dee-licious!
While many other pizzerias have evolved through the years in offering a wide array of menu items, as well as specialty pizzas, Louie and Ernie's keep it simple, with variations on two basic items, which include pizza and calzones. No fancy dishes or extensive options. Just the basics, which they have perfected, gaining a loyal following for remaining consistent for the past six decades, with a formula that works!
At its current location since 1959, when then-owners and founders, brothers Louie and Ernie's moved from Harlem, where they first opened twelve years earlier in 1947, this pizzeria has become a neighborhood staple.
In 1987, two young entrepreneurial brothers, John and Cosimo Tiso took over the Pelham Bay pizza shop. At just 17 and 20 years old respectively, they bought the shop from Louie and Ernie by borrowing money from their mom.
A wise investment for these two young siblings, as they have built their pizzeria into one of the most popular pizza shops in The Bronx. Celebrating its 60th Anniversary this year, Louie and Ernie's has served several generations of hungry pizza-loving patrons.
I decided to catch up with co-owner, John Tiso, to ask him what he believes is the secret to their shop's success. "We've become a generational tradition because of our hospitality to all and quality ingredients."
He went on to say, "We, as the owners are always here and through the years we have served children who become men and women and then bring their children, who then become new customers."
My curiosity got the best of me during our conversation, as I was so taken with how John and his brother Cosimo had the spirit to buy and run a business at such young ages and asked about the inspiration to do so.
John told me that they had been working at the shop when a great opportunity arose. He said between the help of his mother and money that the brothers had saved from cutting lawns, they managed to buy the business.
After my brief chat with John, it is clear how passionate these two Bronx business owners are about what they do and their value to the community.
It is also clear that their strict focus on an "old school" menu of pizza and calzones, they have maintained a formula for success. And by the way, they only take cash!
-Till next time,
For Your Reference:
Louie and Ernie's Pizza
1300 Crosby Ave,
Bronx, NY 10461
Monday- Sunday: 11am - 9:00-9:30pm
Elisa is a travel blogger and freelance writer. She is co-founder of TravelinCousins.com travel blog and writes a weekly column for ThisIsTheBronx.info.