Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Villa Pizza: "Serious nihilist food."

Last week I went pizza-eating with my friend Corey Eastwood. Corey is like, the most O.G. Book Thug I know. I remember when I was 18 I was walking through Washington Square Park and this tall, kinda skinny kid with a backwards Yankee cap and some mangled old black t-shirt was standing on the street with this guy who looked like a drawing of an old hippie selling used books. He was wearing a fanny pack at a jaunty angle. I thought he looked really cool, so the next day I bought a fanny pack, which never looked as cool on me.

I don't know when we became friends instead of just acquaintances. It happened kind of organically. Who cares?! No use arguing the finer points, or trying to determine exact dates for everything. Some relationships don't need an anniversary.

Nowadays, Corey is one quarter of Book Thug Nation, the best bookstore in Brooklyn and he no longer works for Groovy Gravy over in Washington Square Park. I go visit him at the store sometimes and we play chess and talk about cool obscure authors that you've never heard of. He's got this really acute sense of appreciation for rad grimy shit, and so I was really excited when he ended up coming to eat pizza in Port Authority with me.

It shouldn't be a surprise to anyone, but the pizzeria in Port Authority Bus Terminal, Villa Pizza, is obviously part of a chain. But what kind of a Slice Harvester would I be if I didn't eat the pizza in Port Authority? This project is just as much about New York City as it is about pizza, and Port Authority is like an epicenter of weirdness and scumbaggery. As we were walking through, staring at all the weirdos, Corey said, "who even takes the bus anymore? I mean, Chinatown buses and Megabus are so cheap, and fucking flying is cheaper than Greyhound a lot of time these days." I couldn't really answer him. If any readers have any ideas, please don't hesitate to let me know.

The slice here was as bad as you would imagine. Corey said it tastes like the all-you-can-eat pizza in Austin, I thought it tasted like Elio's. There was no cheese on my first bite. It was too spongy and the flavors were all off. There was a Midwestern family sitting a few tables away from us, it seemed like a bunch of cousins and aunts and uncles, about a dozen people. At some point a woman came over with a tray of food and this overfed, doughy little boy screamed, "YOU DIDN'T GET ME PIZZA?!" in the shrill yelp of the spoiled child. It made me think of the kid in that Richard Pryor movie The Toy.


Villa Pizza - Listen, I forgot to write down the price.
263 West 42nd Street (at 8th)
New York, NY 10036


  1. Half of Joisey commutes through the PABT. And if you're heading to VT or PA, or some weird town in Delaware, yup, you're on a bus. Not all of us is rich enough to have a flying hickory peel of our very own.

  2. This is the first pizza place you've reviewed so far that I've actually been to. And like you say, it's pretty fucking dire. I take the Trailways bus upstate when I visit my parents since it goes straight to my hometown, and sometimes I'll be a total fool and not eat before I get there. Every time I go to this place I have a sneaking hope it'll be okay but it never, ever is. Way too expensive too.

  3. You can't get the Chinatown bus to the suburbs can you?

  4. Yeah, my friend Jonathan pointed out that there's all those local buses to Jersey. And then I had totally forgotten about people who are afraid of airplanes.

  5. The only good thing I can think of to say about Villa Pizza is that it is better than Sbarro's. Why, you may ask, would I even attempt to eat at Sbarro's which has been ghastly even when I remember it as a kid about 35 years ago? Well, my rule of thumb is to only eat Sbarro's when it is the last place open at an airport, and I am practically starving to death, a happenstance that occurs surprisingly often.

    Also, as your other commentators point out, the P.A. Bus terminal is primarily a commuter station. My 16 y.o. kid comes through here almost every day back home to boring Rockland County. (Yes, I have a 16 y.o who commutes to Manhattan. (Long story.)