A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from October 03, 2004
Lombardi's on Spring Street claims to be the first pizzeria (1905) in the western hemisphere. The problem here is the the telephone directories that I checked list Lombardi's as a "bakery."

I first spotted "pizzeria" in a telephone book for 1911-1912, for another establishment (not Lombardi's).

53 1/2 Spring St.
Lombardi G bakery CAN-10298
(Note: This is from the first "reverse" telephone directory - ed.)

The 1911-12 Manhattan Directory lists a "Verra Pizzeria grocer" at 146 Mulberry Street, although this is "Vera Pizzeria baker" in the 1913-14 Directory. Gennaro Lombardi's restaurant at 53 1/2 Spring is not in the 1915-16 Directory, but Antonio Lombardo baker at 55 Spring is listed there.

Only in the 1920-21 Manhattan Directory did I find a "Gennaro Lombardi restr" at 53 1/2 Spring. In the 1922-23 Directory, "Grande Pizzeria Napoletano" is listed under G. Lombardi at 53 1/2 Spring.

So, our first western "pizzeria" is probably 1911 at 146 Mulberry Street.

Posted by Barry Popik
Food/Drink • (0) Comments • Sunday, October 03, 2004 • Permalink