The Search for the Perfect Piece of Paltz Pizza

If there’s one thing New Paltz isn’t lacking in, it’s pizzerias. There are six to be exact, and we at The New Paltz Oracle have got them all covered.

On Monday, Oct. 16, Rob Piersall, Anthony Orza and Matt Ferremi went on a quest in the name of journalism to try each pizzeria in town and let you know which is the best to satiate your appetite. 

Inspired by a public access show called Eye on New Paltz from the late 1980s, as well as Barstool Sports and Buzzfeed, we decided to put our own twist on a pizza crawl. 

Each rating is graded on a scale of one to 10, with taste, texture, amount of cheese and sauce (or lack thereof) taken into consideration. Additionally, we tried only classic, cheese slices.

 Village Pizza 

Our first stop was Village Pizza on N. Chestnut Road, a hidden gem of New Paltz. Located next to the Salvation Army where you can find all your hip clothing needs, Village Pizza is seldom jam-packed with college students like Gourmet Pizza, but you can still have a great slice. 

Only $2.25 for a cheese slice is just the tip of the iceberg. Village Pizza even has a drive-thru which adds to the experience (I mean seriously, a pizza drive thru? Next level). It also offers a wide array of kegs and ice cream; you can kill two birds with one stone for a fun, 21 and older Friday night party. Matt sat this one out, having had Village Pizza the night before.

The beauty and the downfall of this slice was that it was light. It was light on our stomachs, making the rest of the adventure easier, but you will need a few slices to fill your stomach. It’s almost like ordering a pie from Domino’s, Papa Johns, or any preferred destination in the sense that most (probably all) of a pie can be taken down by one person. 

Pros: Affordable, relaxed atmosphere, thin crust, solid cheese to sauce ratio.

Cons: Crust was a little floppy and greasy, one slice won’t satisfy your hunger. 

Overall rating: Rob- 8.5, Anthony- 8

Gourmet Pizza 

Next on our stop was the aforementioned Gourmet Pizza. A staple of late night eating (open until 4 a.m. most nights), there is sure to be a line out the door after college students hit the bars during the weekend. We had to try it sober to see if the taste test held up during a regular pizza excursion. Again, we couldn’t go wrong with a regular cheese slice. 

The way Rob described it, Gourmet is kind of like pretzels. Even if you’re really in the mood for chips and all you have at home is pretzels, you eat them and realize they’re pretty good. It’s the epitome of college pizza and a place that will always be successful while pumping out pizza that’s pretty good. 

Its location, right on Main Street, gives it prime real estate for anyone whether they live on or off campus. Unlike Village Pizza, the crust was more substantial and dense, compared to the light and airy texture of the former. You can’t beat the $2.25 price tag for a regular slice, intoxicated or not. 

Pros: Late hours, more substantial slice, consistently decent, location

Cons: A tad greasy, hectic weekends

Overall rating: Rob- 7, Anthony- 7

La Bella Pizza Bistro

Still hungry, we took a trip up to the Convenient Deli plaza to try La Bella Pizza Bistro. Having worked at Moxie Cup, Rob used to order La Bella often because it was close and quick. Their vegan pizza is to die for (with whole grain crust, it’s out of this world), but none of us had ever tried the standard cheese slice. However, we were thoroughly impressed. 

Having been ranked among the top pizza joints in the Hudson Valley in 2010, we knew we were in for a good review. 

The price was a quarter higher than the previous two stops, but at $2.48, you are still getting a solid slice on the cheap. At the counter, they had homemade crushed red pepper which gave the pizza a nice little kick. The slice itself was not greasy, had delicious sauce and just the right amount of cheese. The crust was doughy and firm and not floppy when picked up. It was rated the best pizza in the Hudson Valley in 2010 and for good reason. This was Matt’s first time trying La Bella and being from Long Island, Matt was a harsh critic in this review of La Bella hence his rating of 7.5 compared to Rob and Anthony’s matching nine ratings. He should’ve left his Long Island bias back home for this review. 

Pros: Hearty slice overall, good size, sauce to cheese ratio was perfect.

Cons: Hours and location. 

Overall rating: Rob- 9, Anthony- 9, Matt- 7.5 

Pasquale’s Ristorante 

Did we mention we did this all in one night? By this point, our stomachs were starting to fill up but by god, we were not about to quit right then and there! A journalist must get the story! Pasquale’s, you are next on the list. 

Located closer to the New York State Thruway and adjacent to Dunkin Donuts across from the Tops Plaza, Anthony raved of their specialty slices, but this one flew under for Matt and Rob, neither having stepped inside. 

Overall, the pizza was OK. The people were nice, you can get a whole range of food and the restaurant itself was comfy. However, it didn’t quite topple the previous pizza we had tried, especially La Bella. 

Pros: Tasty crust between thick and thin, good cheese

Cons: A bit greasy, mediocre sauce, good but something missing to make it great, need a car to get to.

Overall rating: Rob- 7.5, Anthony- 7.2

Rino’s Pizzeria  

Is it getting hot in here? What, you’re not sweating too? Either way, all we can think about is pizza, which has now consumed our entire beings. But it’s the homestretch. Just two more places to try. Thankfully, we didn’t have to walk far as Rino’s lies a parking lot distance away from Pasquale’s. 

Matt was happy because the Yankees game was on, but that didn’t do much to boost the experience for a pair of Mets fans like Rob and Anthony. 

The authentic Italian feel of the restaurant with sauces and assorted pastas on sale in the front was a comforting feeling, but the pizza itself left something to be desired. 

The slices were big and pretty moist, but didn’t blow us out of the water. The $2.65 price tag isn’t bad, but it doesn’t deserve a special pilgrimage. 

Pros: Size of the slice, friendly staff, overall pretty average pizza 

Cons: Location is out of the way, overall pretty average pizza

Overall rating: Rob- 6.5, Matt- 6.5

Rocco’s Pizzeria

I don’t want pizza anymore. I don’t want pizza anymore. I don’t want pizza anymore. Oh, hey. A slice of pizza. Why not! Rocco’s Pizzeria in the Tops Plaza was the final stop and I’ll tell you what, we’ve never had more fun writing a story. Those pizza experts have the best job in the world. Second to us, of course. 

Matt swore by this place until making the jump to Village Pizza as his regular stop. He said it was pretty good and he was right. They overload you with cheese on a regular slice and yes, it is glorious. While there could have been a bit more sauce, it’s still delicious. 

Pros: Cheese, tasty sauce, soft crust and overall really solid slice, other unique food options

Cons: Tucked away, not a great area for a pizzeria

Overall rating: Rob- 7, Anthony- 8

Overall, there wasn’t really a bad spot in town. I mean, really, how bad can pizza be? Even when it’s not the best it’s still pretty good. There were some surprises in our quest. Without further ado, here are our votes from favorite to least favorite pizza places in New Paltz. 

Rob: La Bella, Village Pizza, Gourmet, Rocco’s, Pasquale’s, Rino’s 

Anthony: La Bella, Rocco’s, Gourmet, Village Pizza, Pasquale’s and Rino’s

Matt: La Bella, Rocco’s, Village Pizza, Pasquale’s, Gourmet, Rino’s