“Portafoglio” Pizza Lands In New York City (Again)

Not that you needed a food day to celebrate America’s favorite comfort food (is there even really any doubt that pizza wears that crown?), but today is National Pizza With Everything Day, and West Village Neapolitan upstart Rossopomodoro is making it the obligation of New Yorkers with good sense to pay respects. Rosso is slinging free pies out of the back of their kitchen on 118 Greenwich Avenue for two hours on Saturday afternoon between 4 pm and 6 pm. And not any old slices, but “portafoglio” pies, a style that has landed before in Gotham but never quite taken hold. That’s right, New York pizza-style hounds, if you haven’t had the Naples fold yet, here’s your chance.

“The literal meaning of ‘portafoglio’ is ‘wallet,” explained chef-owner Simon Falco. “It is the best you can get for your money. In Italy, pizzas are about the size of our small version and are eaten by one person. In Naples, portafoglio is their ‘fast food’ version of pizza in which an entire Neapolitan pizza folded in a particular way.”

Think Tony Manero in Saturday Night Fever’s eating-a-slice-while-walking sequence but Naples style.

“We make the portafoglio a tad smaller, so you can eat it on the street and it is truly for one person,” Falco said.

The fold? A half-moon then a quarter-moon. According to Falco, it’s usually only made with Margherita pies because the double-fold doesn’t allow much room for toppings. That doesn’t quite jibe with the food holiday, but makes sense from a practical standpoint.

This isn’t the first time eating pizza “al portafoglio” has appeared in New York City. Not long after KestĂ© first opened on Bleecker Street, there were reports of it being served there (New York Magazine’s “Folding Manifesto” features a great diagram). But for all the new Neapolitan places, the folding method has never really seemed to have taken off. Falco thinks he knows why.

“Whenever portafoglios have popped up in New York City, the restaurants have tried to serve them at a sit-down table. But this pizza is meant to be eaten on the street and not at a seated meal. We will be able to showcase the dish in an authentic way by serving it through the back of our kitchen on the street.”

The restaurant will also be collecting signatures to advocate for the addition of Neapolitan pizza-making to UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage list. Falco hopes that could lead to more training of chefs in how to make pizza like a true Neapolitan pizzaioli.

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