Village Pizzeria & Ristorante
Route 29, East Galway, 882-9431. Serving Mon 4-10, Wed-Sun
11:30-10. D, MC, V.
price range: $9 (pasta with marinara) to $27 (filet
rustic and cheerful
arrived in the midst of a party, a significant event for Village
Pizzeria. Along with being a Galway neighborhood mainstay
that serves loyal clientele with a surprising range of food
and drink, the restaurant actively supports breast cancer
causes—initiatives born of owner Sandy Guerrera’s own experience
with and triumph over the disease.
She’ll be joining other survivors at the Avon Walk for Breast
Cancer in Manhattan on Oct. 6, which explains the throng of
pink-clad women. The party was accordingly themed, with pink
decorations and pink-accented shirts for the servers.
Trays of delicious appetizers went by as guests tasted wine
from a variety of distributors, wandered from table to table
in the comfortable outdoor dining area, studied the items
available for silent auction and generally celebrated the
camaraderie such an event inspires. Bringing people together
for a common cause defines a neighborhood, and a good restaurant
The restaurant started 20 years ago as a pizza joint, an unlikely
venture for Sandy, a former hair stylist, and her husband
Joe, who worked in sheet metal. They relocated from Connecticut,
opened their little eatery, and watched the business grow.
They recount this with surprise in their voices, but it’s
easy to see that they offer the most indefinable requirement
of a good restaurant: personality. You can’t train it into
people, which is why even the best chain restaurants have
a Stepford quality.
At Village Pizzeria—greatly expanded in size and scope since
its inception—you find an enthusiastic staff furthering the
Guerreras’ vision of the place, a staff that probably knows
you because you’re a regular visitor. Add to this the keep-the-party-going
exuberance of Ralph the bartender, who might let you taste
some of his excellent home-brew anisette at the end of your
A labyrinth of dining areas opens before you, as you travel
from front door to back. When the weather serves, out back
there are more tables alongside a boccie court. Settle in,
order some wine, study the menu.
Let’s start with the pizza, which was difficult for us, seeing
the breadth of the menu offerings. Still, we squeezed in an
order for a four-cut Buffalo wing pie ($7.50). It was a good
selection, revealing not only the good foundation (crust,
sauce) for pizzas here but also the restrained hand of the
chef, generously applying the chicken without overpowering
the pie with its own sauce.
A whole menu page is devoted to pizza possibilities, allowing
you to decorate your four-, eight- or 12-cut pie with any
number of toppings. Stromboli and calzones also are available.
Lighter fare includes sandwiches, leaning toward Italian-style
cold-cut combos and hot grinders. Alongside wraps, panini
and burgers are specialty sandwiches like focaccia portobello
and focaccia Sicilian, the latter filled with chicken and
eggplant. (Sandwiches are in the $5 to $8 range.)
You won’t be surprised by the appetizer list, with its standard
offerings of shrimp, steamers, wings, calamari and more ($7
to $11). A variety of salad offerings includes a Greek salad
($11) and one made around ahi tuna ($14).
Here’s where we get down to business. The meat entrées include
pork osso buco ($24); in a departure from the classical dish,
here they add mushroom gravy and mashed potatoes. A sirloin
steak will cost you $20, filet mignon $27. Plenty of the usual
veal dishes are available, all in the $19 range.
Being indecisive, we chose the Village Pizzeria Sampler ($16),
a bounteous plate of pasta dishes, including spinach-stuffed
shells, chicken parmigiana, eggplant rollatini and more, all
set on a base of pasta.
You can order such items separately, from a pasta list that
also offers fettuccine Alfredo ($15), baked lasagne ($15),
rigatoni alla vodka ($14) and more, some of them sporting
sauce that’s also sold by the restaurant. Clams, shrimp and
lobster figure among the seafood dishes, many of which are
brought together in a cioppino (market priced); chicken
dishes: more of the usual suspects.
What distinguishes these familiar foodstuffs is the hand of
chef Brian Maxwell, who has been with Village Pizzeria for
three years and made himself very much at home with the family’s
favorites. The night we visited he was offering specials of
veal saltimbocca ($24), pork Chianti served with portobello
mushrooms ($20), and my entrée, cavatelli aglio olio
($19), in which he added broccoli rabe, sliced sausage and
sundried tomatoes to a traditional toss of pasta in olive
Lots of little touches enhance dinner here, from the warm
bread with its accompanying oil to the fresh salad and the
frequent visits from servers, owners, bartender—anyone passing
by. By the time we reached dessert—there was no alternative
for my daughter but tartuffo ($5.50), a chocolate-covered
ice-cream ball—we already felt like old friends, and were
pledging to return.
here for a list of recently reviewed restaurants.
can’t get more in touch with the roots of close-to-the-ground
dining than in Italy, so why not enjoy a spring
tour of Venice, Florence and Rome? It’s a trip
that benefits Living Resources, which provides
aid to people with disabilities, and it’s a bargain:
$1,829 for a weeklong stay, including airfare
from NYC, accommodations for six nights, daily
breakfasts, some fancy dinners, sightseeing and
more. The trip takes place March 8-15, 2008. You
can get more info by calling 218-0000, ext. 5314.
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very much enjoyed eating dinner at Daniel's
at Ogdens. You review described my dining
experience perfectly. This wasn't the case
with Pancho's. I much prefer Garcia's or
Lake View Tavern for Mexican fare. I agree
that a restaurant can have an off night
so I'll give the second unit on Central
Avenue a try.
yes I miss the star ratings, bring it back.
Second, I haven't had a chance to visit
Poncho's yet, but I especially like reading
would travel to Amsterdam to this restaurant
- it's not that far away. People traveled
from all over to eat at Ferrandi's in Amsterdam.
From his background, I'm sure the chef's
sauce is excellent and that is the most
important aspect of an Italian restaurant.
Sometimes your reviewer wastes words on
the negative aspects of a restaurant. I'm
looking forward to trying this restaurant
- I look forward to Metroland every Thursday
especially for the restaurant review. And
by the way Ferrandi's closed its Amsterdam
location and is opening a new bistro on
Saratoga Lake - Should be up and running
in May. It will be called Saratoga Lake
Bistro. It should be great!
comments about the Indian / Pakistani restaurants
being as "standardized as McDonald's"
shows either that you have eaten at only
a few Indian / Pakistani restaurants or
that you have some prejudices to work out.
That the physical appearances are not what
you would consider fancy dancy has no bearing
on the food. And after all, that is what
the main focus of the reviews should be.
Not the physical appearances, which is what
most of your reviews concentrate on.
A restaurant like The Shalimar, down on
Central Avenue, may not look the greatest,
but the food is excellent there. And the
menu has lots of variety - beef, lamb, vegetarian,
chicken, and more..