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Mario the Baker

This is a classic New York-style pizza joint. There's no décor aside from the requisite cheese and pepperoni art prints and a flashing neon "Open" sign. Hurried servers juggle multiple slices as busy downtown workers expend their half-hour lunch breaks on cheap grub. The first Mario's opened in 1969, and many branches have followed, with varying quality. This location is one of the few still managed by the original owners. The pasta and meat dishes are unremarkable, but the cheese pizza ($2 slice, $8.75 medium pie, $10.25 large) has a tasty crust and plenty of the gooey stuff. If you're not a purist, try a specialty topping such as homemade sausage, homemade meatballs, or fresh mushrooms ($1.50 each). The franchise is also famous for garlic rolls (50 cents each, $3 half-dozen, $4 dozen) and for good reason - the moist, fluffy buns are drenched in enough olive oil to supply a small town in Italy; they're seasoned with the perfect oregano-garlic ratio. Service is superquick, especially during the lunch rush, and delivery is dependable. There are some no-frills sidewalk tables that fill up when the weather is nice.

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