Above: Meatless Meatballs perform double-duty at Zazzy's Pizza, functioning as a side order or a pizza topping.
Zazzy’s Pizza, with locations in Manhattan's West Village and Lower East Side, sets itself apart in New York’s crowded pizza landscape by mixing street culture and comfort food in a casual, retro-inspired environment. But the pizzeria offers up another unexpected point of difference: Alongside omnivore-friendly options, a significant part of the menu—its list of seemingly typical indulgent snacks—is totally plant-based.
The snacks menu at Zazzy’s includes an array of fan favorites, powered by plants: Vegan Mozzarella Sticks, served with marinara; Hearts of Palm “Calamari,” with a lemon aioli sauce; and Pepperoncini Poppers, fried pepperoncini stuffed with sun-dried tomato vegan cream cheese and housemade vegan ranch dressing. Meanwhile, the hearty Meatless Meatballs are available as a pizza topping, or served on their own with housemade tomato sauce, dressed with vegan Parmesan cheese and fresh basil.
“We set out to redefine the corner by-the-slice pizza concept,” explains owner Jonathan Gabel. “Aside from pizzas, most pizzerias have been carrying the same menu items for decades—mozzarella sticks, buffalo wings, and some sort of pasta. Neighbors are getting tired of the repetitive offerings, and we believe plant-based foods are the future. We essentially make similar items, but healthier.”
Gabel notes that the “approachable and comfort food-based” menu at Zazzy’s features top-quality vegan pizza, including Sicilian pies, on its permanent menu. With a hybrid crust that combines the best features of both New York and Neapolitan styles, the pizzeria also offers vegan specialty pies almost every week. And, from snacks to slices, the Zazzy’s team—including award-winning pizzaiolo Domenico Tolomeo—went through “a thousand variations for each dish,” incorporating only the highest-quality ingredients.
“Everything is made in-house, so there was more experimenting than sourcing,” Gabel says. “Our goal is for everyone, not just the vegan community, to eat plant-based food. By offering all things at the highest standard, whether it’s plant-based or not, we simply encourage customers to eat everything at Zazzy’s.”
However, Gabel has bigger plans specifically for the Zazzy’s plant-based snacks—his goal is to sell them in Whole Foods locations and other supermarkets. He’s also looking forward to further vegan-friendly growth for the brand, coming soon. “In summer 2021, we will be opening Zazzy’s on the Upper East Side, and it will have NYC’s first gourmet vegan deli,” Gabel reports. “We’re extremely excited. The menu will include arancini balls, lasagna, hot and cold sandwiches with plant-based meats, and much more.”
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