Racanelli's Pizza and Brew-- Rye Brook, NY

Next time there’s a long wait at one of your favorite restaurant chains, save yourself the trouble by stopping at Racanelli’s Pizzeria Res...

Next time there’s a long wait at one of your favorite restaurant chains, save yourself the trouble by stopping at Racanelli’s Pizzeria Restaurant in Rye Brook.

Let’s face it, there are only so many times you can go to the Cheesecake Factory for dinner. Wonderful as it is, chances are you’ll be staring at a handheld buzzer, sitting on a bench, and drooling over a 30-page menu for at least 80 minutes on a Thursday, Friday, or Saturday night. Or you might lose your appetite by the time you get seated, order food, and stumble to your chair after the few glasses of wine you had while waiting for your table. All of this can be fun. Except when you’re starving and impatient.

If you’re willing to try something new and save yourself a good hour and a half of hunger pains, there’s another place you might want to go.

Last Thursday night, my roommates and I discovered Racanelli’s Pizzeria in Rye Brook, located right across from Dagostino’s on South Ridge Street. I can’t believe we’d never discovered this place in the three and a half years we’ve been living in Purchase.

My friends each ordered an individual pizza Napoletana. For $8.45, they were served a thin crust pie (the thickness of about two stacked potato chips) layered with simple yet fragrant ingredients: a zesty tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, and hand-picked basil leaves. You can choose from signature pies you just can’t get from a delivery franchise: margherita pie (fresh tomatoes, mozzarella and basil), portabella pie, zucchini pie, sun dried or roasted tomato pie, or…listen to this…arugula di parma pie (arugula, prosciutto, mozzarella and basil). You can even order a salad pie with mixed greens, tomatoes, olives, peppers and mushrooms.

Don’t care for thin-crust pizza? They have soft and chewy New York pizza, too.

I tasted a slice of my roommate’s—it was crispy, thin, and slightly soft from the creamy mozzarella and olive oil. Because it was only lightly seasoned (and not brackish), I could appreciate the freshness of the ingredients.

But since I wasn’t in the mood for pizza, I chose the chicken salad Italiana out of the 18 hand-crafted combinations on their list. The tender and juicy chicken was rubbed with an Italian herb seasoning (with hints of dried rosemary and basil) and grilled to perfection. Hiding under every other leaf of romaine lettuce were beautiful little surprises—marinated button mushrooms, sweet roasted red peppers, and sautéed broccoli florets that melted in my mouth.

The only problem was that they didn’t have oil and vinegar, with which I usually substitute dressing. However, their homemade balsamic vinaigrette was to my liking—sweet, tangy, and silky. In fact, it was addicting. I wanted to drizzle it in my plate and mop it up with some bread.

If you want neither pizza nor salads, Racanelli’s offers 10 types of imported pasta, traditional Italian dishes such as chicken cacciatore, eggplant parmigiana and shrimp scampi ($14-20), as well as Italian street fare such as sausage and peppers, calzones ($7-8), burgers and sandwiches ($8-10).

Another great thing about this place is that you and your friends can share a pitcher of Sam Adams for $10 or each have a glass of wine for about $4—not bad, right?

In addition to the simple, clean tastes of the food and humble yet artistic presentation of ingredients, the place was immaculate. The wall tiles gleamed and the mirrors behind our table sparkled. You know a place is clean if it wows your obsessive-compulsive roommate.

In terms of décor, Racanelli’s doesn’t boast much; however, the fruit-decaled wall tiles and soft lighting gave it a semi-vintage feel.

But the quality and price of the food, overall cleanliness, and not to mention the quick service, certainly make up for the lack of interior decoration.

And frankly, when you’re really hungry, that’s all that matters.


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KaryEe said...

I will definitely take your advice and try to stop by one of these days! I love the thin crust pizza that you are talking about, and its great that they have such a great variety of delicious dishes when you say the service is so quick! Yea, the CheeseCake Factory is great, but you should always be open to new things....right??? :P

Wendy said...

We used to LOVE pizza, Pasta an dTHings, as it used to be called we've been going there since (gulp) Middle School. It certainly has great food, but they are TERRIBLE about serving people with kids. We went with a group of friends and all our kids (9 in all) on a Friday night, at 530, no less, and they were NASTY. We ended up not staying due to the rudenees of the host. Any resturant, no matter how good the food, if they are not kid friendly, I blacklist. And our kids are well behaved! They lost our business, as well as the business of our two other freinds, and all the people I could think of with kids to tell. Too bad.

Holly Pinafore said...


That's really unfortunate and unfair. The place was fantastic when we visited. However, I'm sorry your experience was a bad one. If I find any places in the area that are more kid-friendly, I'll let you know.


Anonymous said...

Wendy: Racanelli's Pizzeria has been Racanelli's and Pizza & Brew since it opened 30+ years ago...it was never called "Pizza, Pasta & Things" - wrong establishment?