Saturday, December 13, 2008

Nate’s New York Pizza

Nate’s New York Pizza
920 N. Highway 41, Suite 1,
Post Falls,

Here in the Inland Northwest one could say that the apples were big, but in the “Big Apple”, it’s the pizza pies that have all the size queens swooning. New York style pizza is identified by its thin hand-tossed crust, lightness of sauce and use of fresh mozzarella cheese, but most notable are it’s magnificently large dimensions. In fact, even a mere slice of the stuff is so unwieldy that it’s traditionally eaten folded in half. Folding pizza into quarters or eighths is not recommended however, as one will surely end up with a hot plop of sauce and cheese on the front of their purple velour double-breasted jacket, and who can afford the luxury of dry cleaning these days?

Nate Banner, the man responsible for bringing New York pizza to a strip mall in Post Falls, says that a group of locally transplanted east-coasters were waiting outside the store on opening day last year, ready to challenge his output to see if it could stand up to the original back home. These folks ordered just a slice at first and were so impressed they immediately had to order a giant 24-inch pie to take away. Many have become regular regulars, returning sometime two or three times in one day to quell their craving for a slice of the good stuff, according to Banner.

Some purists claim that there’s something about using actual New York City water in the dough that makes New York pizza what it is, and some pizzerias located outside of New York even have gallons of that city’s water shipped in so they can be authentic as possible. North Idaho might not have the same hip, fashionable Giardia and Cryptosporidium bacteria hopping from trendy club to trendy club in our boring old Rathdrum aquifer, but as far as anyone can tell, the dough, as well as the rest of the pizza pies at Nate’s, tastes just as delicious.

I was tragically unaware of Nate’s until I received an email recently (thanks, Liz) touting Nate’s as “awesome” and suggesting I check it out pronto. I looked on Google to find their exact location and pulled up a few user-submitted reviews raving about their fabulous food and the jaw-dropping circumference of their pizzas. “Couldn't even fit it in the backseat of my Ford Focus 4-door,” wrote one reviewer, and I pictured them returning home and having to fold up cold slices to microwave after being forced to strap the huge pie to the roof of their car with bungee cords. “Word to the wise,” read another comment, “do not get the large pizza unless you are feeding 10 or more adults. Make that grown men; it is huge.” I grabbed my keys and headed out the door with a mission; to see if one slice of Nate’s pizza was really enough to satiate even this very hungry grown man.

“Yeah, I’ll just have a couple of individual slices, what d’ya got for toppings” I said, with a hint of smugness. Nate chuckled slightly under his breath at my naiveté. “A couple of slices? Here, let me show you how big they are,” he said as he reached into the oven and pulled out a pizza pie so round and big it could cause a solar eclipse, or at the very least, an unexplainable wireless outage. “I’d suggest the lunch special, which is one slice with two toppings and a soda for $4.49” What a bargain! I ordered my favorite combo of toppings, pepperoni and pineapple, plus I had them throw on a handful of black olives for an extra 25 cents.

I picked a table with a good view of the large screen TV which was tuned into the History Channel’s oddly fascinating show “Ice Road Truckers.” The atmosphere of Nate’s Pizza is simple, almost stark, but classy and relaxing. A New York Yankees flag hangs proudly along with a half-dozen large framed posters featuring black-and-white images of that team’s legendary players such as Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio and Billy Crystal. The place has a breezy, open quality with lofty ceilings, large screen TVs, pale orange walls and subtle industrial elements like pattered steel paneling and wrought iron chairs.

An unexpected blizzard was causing our fearless but freezing trucker to become stranded on the weakest part of the Ice Road when Nate brought out my sizzling slice, which was actually too large to comfortably fit on its two side-by-side paper plates. “Careful,” he warned, “that’s some pretty hot stuff”. Stupidly, I ignored his advice, overwhelmed by the intoxication of the olfactory and visual experience brought on by this holy slice of pizza heaven suddenly before me.

“Aarrgh!” I resisted the urge to blurt it out, although my soft palette was now melted like a cheap marshmallow. I quickly chewed and swallowed, trying to remain graceful in front of strangers, who thankfully seemed to be too caught up in the TV’s arctic drama to notice my pained gesticulations. I chased it with some cold Cherry Pepsi and when that didn’t work I popped some ice cubes in my mouth. I’m not thrilled to admit that I burn my mouth all the time with pizza, so I certainly wasn’t damaged enough to let the little mishap ruin my lunch. I let my mega-slice cool a moment and after spilling pineapple and olives everywhere, remembered that I needed to fold the beast in half before eating. Once I was able to get hold of the darned thing, I fully dug in. The freshness of the ingredients was obvious in the subtle flavors of the homemade tomato sauce and in the bright colors of the toppings. The mozzarella cheese tasted freshly grated (a notable difference from pre-shredded) and the crust was ultra-thin but pliable, not cracker-like, and very scrumptious. I blacked out slightly in a haze of flavor bliss.

Mission accomplished: one Nate’s slice is equal to at least three regular-sized slices, more than enough to satisfy. Their pizza gets high marks in all categories and easily ranks among the best in the region. Nate’s also serves a variety of massive sandwiches and salads, calzones, and spaghetti. Beer and wine are also available with homemade New York Cheesecake for dessert, Careful, after all that you may be riding home bungeed to the roof of the car.


Anonymous said...

hey patrick, this is nate banner over here at nates new york pizza. i just found out about the article you wrote and just got done reading it. i just wanted to write and say thank you very much for spending the time to write up a very nice article about my pizza shop. i have already had about ten new people in today so far who didn't know i was here until they read your story. well back to pizza making,,, again, thank you very much, it is greatly appriciated, your next slice is on me.......see ya nate banner

Anonymous said...

Question: Which North Idaho pizza shop is your favorite?
Posted by DFO | 13 Dec 12:30 AM

There are 21 comments on this post. (XML Subscribe to comments on this post)

I don't know much about New York Pizza, I spent a few months in Chicago, went to a few famous places and "Chicago Style," still aludes me asd well. I know it's different from New York, I think it's deep dish stuff. Anyway, In Sandpoint everyone goes to Second Avenue Pizza when they want the good stuff. Orange's write up is great. I especially liked the descriptions of the size of the pizza, causing an eclipse. I'm not so sure about the diss of the aquifer though, that could cause some bad karma.
Posted by Arpie | 13 Dec 7:41 AM

OK, so this is so 'middle class', but I really like PAPA MURPHY's....
It's the do-it-yourself (when YOU want it done) ascpect in addition to being the best of it's breed...
Posted by Milt Nelson | 13 Dec 9:01 AM

I'm with ya, Milt- if we're middle class, so be it. Papa Murphy's rocks- also, maybe our little family likes 'em so much because they're just down the road? I dunno. We always call ahead for the "Cowboy", then drive down to pick it up 10 minutes later, maybe with a cookie dough or a Cheesy Bread thrown it for the heck of it.
The pizza's always delish, piping hot right out of our own oven, and the prices are great, too. Notice how Papa's always has coupons in just about every ad circular or paper you get? Nice.
Posted by kendramama | 13 Dec 9:47 AM

I love Nate's, but when I'm broke Papa Murphy's will do in a pinch
Posted by PH | 13 Dec 9:49 AM

Capones has the best without a doubt, both in Cda and Post Falls. Actually Arpie Chicago pizza is deep dish and NEw York PIzza is thin. Icehouse Pizza in Hope is excellent too, he's from NYC and grows a lot of the herbs in the garden next to the place.
Posted by keithincda | 13 Dec 10:05 AM

Domino's for their sandwiches, Pizza Hut, not bad. Valentino's for their quite good take and bake.
Posted by Joan E. Harman | 13 Dec 1:40 PM

Pizza hut? That explains everything about you Joan Harmon,Joan Harmon.
Moose market on the corner of Sherman and fourth is number oneskp in CDA and Capones #2 easily! Pizza Hut are you kidding?
Posted by Darth | 13 Dec 3:03 PM

Moose Lounge (Market appears to be dead) for best Pizza? Oh, really. I'll have to check that action out for sure. Pizza hut isn't TOO bad for a nat'l chain. Dominos is yuck and my least fave ever is Pipeline. The crust tastes exactly like the box it came in and the sauce gives me acid reflux for a week. Gag!
Posted by OrangeTV | 13 Dec 3:11 PM

I think I heard the Moose Market was going down. Great idea but 5 years too soon. Condos downtown need to fill up. Timing is everything in business. Everything.
Posted by hmoffsuite | 13 Dec 3:15 PM

I think everyone expected Moose Market to be like a "real" grocery store type place (which was a great idea for downtown) but they just ended up having a bunch of touristy specialty gourmet stuff that gathered dust on the shelves. Now they've converted to a pure bar/lounge and they seem to be doing pretty good if the crowds I've seen in there lately are any indication...
Posted by OrangeTV | 13 Dec 3:20 PM

Arpie, I think OrangeTV's "diss" of the aquifer was total sarcasm, (if you re- read his comparison between New York's water, and our aquifer). I rather liked it myself, it made me laugh. Of course, perhaps your comment was sarcasm to his, that I didn't pick up on?!? I love good sarcasm, puns and innuendo. Thanks for keeping us posted OrangeTV!
Posted by mia | 13 Dec 4:47 PM

If you want New York pizza there are hundreds, perhaps thousands of places to get it, unfortunately none of them are in Idaho. OTV is correct, it's the water. The same reason why hot dogs, or "dirty water dogs," as they are sometimes known, from the street vendors taste better in NYC than anywhere else. My mouth is watering just typing this.
Posted by ThomG | 13 Dec 4:56 PM

If you want a really good pizza, and cheap, go to Italy and have a simple one at any place. They bring back such good memories for me. Otherwise, papa murphy's will make one any way you like, and they are pretty good.
Posted by the stickman | 13 Dec 5:38 PM

Orange: I love your comments and your reviews, thanks. As for an occasional comment from me to another, it's just that. No drama.
Posted by the stickman | 13 Dec 5:40 PM

Orange: Plus, you are one of the few I have never met, and I am intrigued. Come by for a review, and a stick of course.
Posted by the stickman | 13 Dec 5:42 PM

OrangeTV, for sure, visit Stickman, and give us a review of your visit, a feature, if you will. Or not. You're a good bunch around here, it shows. Thanks Dave, you do a fabulous job of keeping things in order. I know you are told that, but with your job, I'm sure it's never often enough! This is a great blog. It has often been my sanity since our move to Moscow while my husband (29wordsorless) finishes his engineering degree. Ironically, I know very few people in Moscow, but I believe I know Moscowminidoka, so to you sir, I send love and Christmas wishes and cheer to you, your awesome wife, and three delightful children!
I went way off topic. Sorry. Merry Christmas one and all!
Posted by mia | 13 Dec 6:12 PM

Stickman, I've driven by a time or two and thought I'd stop if I saw you out there doing your thing, but as unlikely as it seems you weren't. I'll have to cruise by your place more often and I'm sure if I do, I'll run into you. But please stay in this week! It's too blasted cold! Oh, and don't mind my Spanish Inquisition from this morning, I was just being nosy.
Posted by OrangeTV | 13 Dec 6:16 PM

Mia - read the "Hucks-Esque" column in the Daily News every other Tuesday (last one on Dec 9) and you'll know who I am. :-)
Posted by Digger | 13 Dec 6:24 PM

Yo Digger, I'll come by and say "hi" when I'm back down. I think I'll find you at Radio Shack. Correct me if I'm wrong. Happy Holidays to you and your guy. I have caught your column, keep writing! I especially liked the one about the Silos and the church opposing alcohol sales. The Silos rocks. I don't think anyone has to worry about the amount of alcohol they serve in one day! Silly Churches,openmindedness is for kids.. .. or for people who think outside of boxes.
Posted by mia | 13 Dec 8:18 PM

Mia: Please make the attempt to meet the one known as Digger. I have, and I like him very much. He will unfold the entire town to you, so make the effort.
Posted by the stickman | 14 Dec 5:33 PM

Orange: I would love a review from you, so don't give up. Lately I have been forced to work, at a job I love but hopefully ends soon, as I would truly just love to make sticks each day. Was I out there today, you bet. It was very cold, but I put on layers upon layers and survived for the better part of the day. Till this next summer, I will be forced to work, so pleae come by only on the weekends from around noon till dark. After that, I hope to be sitting there as I have been for many years each and every day of the year, no matter the weather. It's my love and my passion, and one such as you would be the perfect one to write about your visit. I don't serve food, but plenty of good conversation and of course a free beautiful walking stick that you will have for your entire life.
Posted by the stickman | 14 Dec 5:40 PM

Anonymous said...

This is the best pizza my wife and I have ever tasted!! We hit the Nates NY Pizza every time through Post Falls! My wife is from New Jersey and she says it is the closest thing you will ever taste to NY Pizza outside NY!! She and I love it! Big slices, great atmosphere, simply the best!
Drew Lukens
Portland Oregon

Anonymous said...

Just stopped into Nate's today for the very first time, and let me tell ya, this is now OUR pizza place! I've tried every pizza place in town looking for that scrumptious thin crust (I'm not dissing any other pizza place, there are great pies out there, but I've been looking for something specific), and especially the three cheese, olive oil, roasted garlic pizza, and I have finally found pizza heaven on earth!!!! If there could be something such as a pizza connoisseur, I am one, and Nate's is 5 million stars!

Pizza people are known for using exaggerated statements, but it's only because it's true;)

Anonymous said...

I hit Nates New York Pizza every Sunday!!!The pies speak for themselves and are the best i have ever had!! The staff is great as well!!Im always the good guy at the party when I arrive with one of there X.L. Pizza's!!Keep it up!!

TheBee said...

If you're looking for great, homemade, organic pizza with a hippie, jazz loving flare you have GOT TO VISIT The Old Ice House Pizzeria in Hope. We make frequent trips there just to "chill".
Old Ice House Pizzeria & Bakery
140 W. Main Street, Hope, Idaho
You want atmosphere? Check Hope's historic old ice house only 20 minutes from Sandpoint. Enjoy Bear's signature New York-style, thin-crust pizza made from the freshest natural ingredients. Smoothies and juices, too. Great menu, laidback funktitude, and live music several times a week. And baklava, if you're lucky!
Typical entrée cost: $ = Under $10
Amenities: Live Music, Outdoor Dining
Phone: 208-264-5555

Anonymous said...

Well, our family has been waiting to discover a place that can deliver a NY style pizza that rivals Nu Yalk Pizza back in Reno NV. Nate's had us salavating with anticipation. When we walked in the door it had the same smells filling the air. Could it be? Did we find the place? Well, it was a good pizza and probably one of the better in the area, but after a few return visits it still didn't win us over as our favorite. A couple of our favorites in the area would be "David's" pizza in Spokane near Gonzaga, as well as the pizza served at Cia Mambo in CDA. All three mentioned are very good, but still searching for that one that can rival our all time favorite back in Reno.