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A slice of New York in Tacoma

This+pizza%2C+called+the+Spanish+Harlem%2C+has+jalape%C3%B1os%2C+pepperoni%2C+and+onions.+
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A slice of New York in Tacoma

This pizza, called the Spanish Harlem, has jalapeños, pepperoni, and onions.

This pizza, called the Spanish Harlem, has jalapeños, pepperoni, and onions.

This pizza, called the Spanish Harlem, has jalapeños, pepperoni, and onions.

This pizza, called the Spanish Harlem, has jalapeños, pepperoni, and onions.

Samantha Salamone

Growing up in New York, I have many fond memories of eating good food. Sometimes we made food at home, sometimes we went out, and on Fridays, we always either ordered pizza or got Chinese takeout. My dad loves to be in the kitchen cooking food; he always has. So many of my memories are of him making food, or coming home and smelling that distinct smell of rich sauces and boiling pasta that filled the house whenever he was cooking.

Going out to eat was great in New York too. Yorktown Heights, my hometown, was filled with many Italians and a lot of Italian restaurants. There were lots of places you could get high quality Italian food. And pizza was everywhere: Tony’s, Frankie’s, Peppinos…they were everywhere. And they were all delicious. New York style pizza, in my completely biased, personal opinion, is the best, probably because that’s what I grew up eating. It was our dinner every Friday night. It was just a normal part of my life in New York, although, I hadn’t exactly realized it until we moved to Washington.

Within the first few weeks of living here, we were wondering, where’s the pizza? Where are the restaurants? Where can we get Italian food? We searched and searched, and that was when I realized that Italian food was a part of New York culture. That was the culture that I grew up with, and it was completely different out here.

One night, we finally found a place that claimed they made Italian food, and my dad picked some up to take home. But it wasn’t really Italian food, at least not the kind I was used to. That’s when my dad decided that if there wasn’t any good Italian food, we were going to have to make our own. So that’s what he did. My dad dug up some recipes we have, and each week we made a new dish. It actually started to become a routine: every Sunday, we cooked something new. Eventually, I jumped in and helped cook too. It was something we did as a family.

When my siblings and I started at Annie Wright and became more involved with Tacoma the next year, my dad started to think of opening a pizza place. He brought up the idea and looked into it. To be quite honest, I thought it was more of a fantasy at first. I wasn’t completely positive he was actually going to open the New York style pizza place right here in Tacoma. But clearly, I was wrong.

He continued to talk about it and explained how great an authentic New York style pizza place by the slice would be in Tacoma, and it did make sense. Eventually, it became less of a fantasy and more of a reality, especially when he got the space and started working on it.

From that point on, the rest of my family went in every day to say hi to him in case he wouldn’t be home until later. And every day, we saw progress. It was quite a process, but eventually, it came to and end and what had been a construction site for basically the entire time, became a restaurant.

Every time I go in there, no matter how many times I’ve been in, the smell takes me back to New York. It truly is authentic, and I don’t think I speak just for myself when I say that. We’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback from people who had lived on the East Coast and tried our pizza. They’ve all said that the smell and the taste takes them right back, which was my dad’s goal.

My dad was always going to do something with his passion for food, and this gave him the perfect opportunity to pursue that. And this is only the beginning.

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A slice of New York in Tacoma