Umberto’s of New Hyde Park is a New York legend. Started by Umberto Corteo in 1965, he was the original creator of the now famous “Grandma Pie”.
Umberto, now well into his 70’s is still at the restaurant every single day. Every aspect of the restaurant is overseen by him and nothing matters to him more than the quality of ingredients used and food served.
It’s not unusual to find Umberto weighing and sizing up the fermented dough for the pizzas himself – which was what I walked into the very first time I visited him at his eatery.
He proudly showed us his little herb and vegetable garden that he takes care off himself which is right on site. This is a little haven he has created where he is happy to water the plants and prune his own garden.
On two occasions that I had the privilege of eating a casual lunch with our common friend Peter Paniccia and Umberto himself – I feasted on dishes where the beauty lay in its simplicity.
You have to try the pizzas there – I ask for them to be made a little extra crispy with a blackened crust.
We had some outstanding pasta – perfectly al dente, tossed in garlic and olive oil. If its in season, you must try their frisee and homemade sausages.
There’s so much to love about Umberto’s – in these parts it is an institution.