Bronx Pizza and Subs in Arlington
By Nevin Martell
Wednesday, October 3, 2012
When I lived in Manhattan, the late-night pizza run was a near-sacred pilgrimage. Arlington residents looking to experience this New York tradition can now make a midnight pit stop at Bronx Pizza and Subs, which fired up its ovens in late August.
The self-proclaimed “Best Piece You Ever Had” is the brainchild of Michael Cordero, a Bronx native. When he was 13, he began working at a pizzeria called Italian Delight, which was just a home run away from Yankee Stadium.
Both places inspired him.
“I sleep, eat and breathe pizza and baseball,” says the 53-year-old Arlingtonian restaurateur, who owns several area eateries, including Primetime Sports Bar & Grille in Fairfax and AguaViva in Alexandria. Long before he committed to the restaurant business, Cordero played centerfield in 1978-79 for an international-league team associated with the Seattle Mariners.
Cordero created the recipes for the pizzeria, with input from his partner in this venture, Jeffrey Smith, 27, of Centreville. The main attraction is the cheese pizza (jumbo slice, $2.75; 16-inch pie, $14.95; 20-inch, $17.95). Crackly at the edges, the crust is soft enough at the center that you can fold it in half for NYC-style consumption.
Even better is the pepperoni (jumbo slice, $3.25; 16-inch, $17.95; 20-inch, $21.95), which has just the right ratio of sauce to cheese and meat and grease. Daily slice specials have included a cheesy, decadent carbonara ($3.25) dotted with generous squares of bacon and chunks of chicken.
Slices are ready in a couple of minutes if they’re simply being reheated; you’ll have to wait 10 minutes or more if your pie is being made from scratch.
Seven cold hoagies are made with soft sub rolls from Cardinal Bakery of Sterling. Top choice is the Italian Bambino ($7.95), packed with capicola, fat-flecked mortadella, pepper-crusted prosciuttini (prosciutto that’s cured off the bone) and generous cuts of sharp provolone. Ribbons of onion and tomato slices are doused with liberal amounts of oil and vinegar and speckled with Italian spices.
The five hot subs are supposed to come on Italian hard rolls, though the by-the-numbers Jerome Ave. Meatballs Sub ($7.95) I tried was delivered in the same soft trencher as the hoagie. A selection of calzones ($6.95 to $7.95), chicken or sausage rolls ($7.95), and pastas served with garlic bread ($7.95 to $9.95) fill out the menu.
If you’re eating in or waiting for a while, three draft beers are available ($3 to $4), as well as Chianti and pinot grigio ($7.50 each). Not that you really need another drink if you’ve come here after a long night of revelry.