Gems off the light rail: Make a stop in New York at Uncle Tony's

Uncover hidden gems all over the city with reporter Nicole Dusanek as she gets off at a different light rail stop each week to explore.

Uncle Tony’s New York Pizza off the 19th Avenue and Northern Avenue stop has done the impossible — brought genuine New York pizza more than 2,000 miles to Arizona.

Anyone who has been to New York knows there is something special about the pizza. These pizzas may contain all the same ingredients, but New York flavor stands out from the all rest with its fresh Italian roots. For some reason it is different, and emulating that same taste in an Arizona-made pizza is near impossible.

Uncle Tony’s looks like any other restaurant from the outside. The building is decorated with typical advertisements and a red and blue flashing "open" sign that welcomes in passersby.

However, the atmosphere really changes on the inside. The pictures placed around the room are a salute to New York, from a The Godfather poster to an old image of the New York skyline. Sitting at Uncle Tony's is almost like sitting at a table in a restaurant on a New York corner.

While New Yorkers may have a reputation for not always being the friendliest, the staff at Uncle Tony’s was nicer than any I have ever encountered at a restaurant. They went beyond taking my order and started a conversation that made me feel warm and welcome.

When the pizza arrived, its aroma made my stomach growl. One way to know a pizza is made to perfection is when the cheese pulls away in strings as a slice is removed. It was love at first bite — gooey cheese and a perfect amount of sauce. The dough came out hot and fresh, with the crust risen to perfection.

Pizza may be in the restaurant's title, that is not everything it has on the menu. From warm and cold sandwiches to pastas, Uncle Tony’s has something to offer everyone.

The pizza selection is not limited either. Uncle Tony's has classics such as cheese and pepperoni, but it also offers buffalo spicy and eggplant pizza, as well as gluten free pizza options. Come in for lunch for one of its lunch specials, or order a slice for only $2.25 plus $.50 cents per topping.

Uncle Tony's also has two classic dessert options, a cannoli or NY Cheesecake. I managed to make just enough space in my stomach for the cannoli.  

It was delicious, with a perfect ratio of chocolate chips to filling and coated in a thin layer of powdered sugar. The sweet filling always satisfies my craving for treats and while one was enough, I would not have minded another to go.

Uncle Tony’s New York Pizza is a great escape from the familiar desert background, and a better taste than the usual Domino's slices. It is a bit of trip down the light rail from both campuses, but it is closer than New York to get a taste of what real pizza is made of.

Next time the pizza craving hits, try something new and delicious. Domino's may deliver to the dorm, but Uncle Tony’s delivers on taste.

Reach the reporter at or follow @  NikkiDusanek on Twitter

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