It’s Summer All Year At The Upper East Side’s Pizza Beach
Ah, summer! No, not outside–not yet–but INSIDE the recently-opened Pizza Beach, it sure feels as if the season has arrived a few months early to the Upper East Side. The creation of the Martignetti brothers, who know how to throw a party (the hopping Brinkley's, in Soho/Nolita), and help us stay healthy (the veggie-centric East Pole), Pizza Beach feels both bizarrely out of place on the corner of 81st and Third, and seems exactly right, packed nightly with a Hamptons-starved crowd. Throw in downtown-ish bit of street art by Nick Walker on the exterior wall, another 18 tables slated for the sidewalk once the weather actually does warm up, an interesting, reasonably-priced menu of crowd-pleasers (though often with a twist), and fun cocktails, and there's no reason not to think this place won't be year-round hit.
The Scene at Pizza Beach
I went to Pizza Beach for a super-early dinner last week, well before the crowds of local scensters showed up, and just as the families-with-little-kids hour was kicking in. And, really, the place works equally well for both types. The decor is tasteful, bright, and cheery, with those lovely over-sized over-exposed beach photos, hanging surfboards, and festive strings of lights, and the pastel-clad servers are as sunny and warm as they look. The whole venture could have been a ridiculously theme park-ish, but the Martignettis really pulled it off. This is a comfortable restaurant, emanating good vibrations.
The Food at Pizza Beach
The Pizza Beach menu is basically pizzas (obviously), pastas, and salads, with a few random snacks-for-the-table type things thrown in for good measure. I had a pizza and pasta, and both were solidly in B+ territory, which is all you can ask of a neighborhood hang. For my pie I went for the LEAST light and vegetable-laden option, and was rewarded with a funky, meaty delight, the Lamb Merguez and Oaxaca Cheese, brightened by cilantro and shishito peppers. This may have had nothing to do with the beach, but it was a good pizza. And my pasta–also not-light–was maybe even better, a ocean-evoking Squid Ink Linguini generously studded with sweet rock shrimp, cherry tomatoes for a hit of acid, and some genuine heat from the Calabrian chili. If these two dishes are any indication what the kitchen can do on the regular, Pizza Beach could easily become a part of my Upper East Side restaurant rotation.
For Menu and More Information on Pizza Beach
Pizza Beach is located at 1426 Third Avenue, on the corner of 81st Street, and is open daily from 4:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m., with lunch and brunch "coming soon". More info check out tthe complete Pizza Beach menu.