Peace of the pie

Owner Dave Nicol with a personal-size cheese pizza at Bronx Pizzeria.

Owner Dave Nicol with a personal-size cheese pizza at Bronx Pizzeria.


Bronx Pizzeria is 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. For more information, visit

I will admit I’m a pizza snob. I spent my early career in the Big Apple, and as a result, I was taste-washed—similar to brainwashed—and not even time in a gulag could change me. To me, Bronx Pizzeria is the Valhalla of the pie. Dave Nicol is a born-and-bred Manhattanite, whose dad had small restaurants and coffee shops in New York, so the business was in his blood. After a stint in the Marines, he eventually made his way West and became the director of catering for the iconic Bill Graham Productions in the Bay Area.

He came to Reno in 2006 to retire, but that didn’t last long. In February, he opened this pie house. The place offers pastas and sandwiches, but I was there for one thing: Neapolitan-style pie. Pizza is Greek in origin, but modern pizza originated in Italy as the Neapolitan pie with tomato and herbs. Cheese was added in 1889, the same year Queen Margherita of Italy visited Naples and was served a pizza resembling the colors of the Italian flag: red (tomato), white (mozzarella) and green (basil). This kind of pizza has been named after the Queen, as Margherita pizza, and is one of the most common types of pizza served today.

Bronx is a simple, comfortable spot that holds about 75, including a small dining room and a bar, where you’ll find a variety of bottled beers, imported ($5), micro ($4.50), and domestics ($3.50). Wine by-the-glass is limited but nice ($5). Service is very good since all pies are made to order, on-the-spot. These are 18-inch pies, the way it’s supposed to be, and from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., you can get slices for $2. A full pie starts at $18 and each topping is $1.50 each. Their specialty pies run up to $25.

What makes a pizza is the crust—not too thin and crisp like a cracker nor doughy like white bread. It needs to be a cushion with the consistency of a sponge, with just a bit of a salty flavor. You don’t want to taste yeast, nor flour, but rather a texture that supports a topping or two, with tomato tang, basil and oregano spice, and warm cheese that blends with the crust cushion to marry in the mouth. When you masticate this combination, that flavor profile fills your mouth with layers of a salty, sweet, savory, cheesy pleasure.

This dough is made fresh every day, but is then cold fermented for 24 hours. Retarding dough is the act of placing it in a cold environment in order to slow down the activity of the yeast. At cool fridge temperatures, yeast behaves differently, producing more of the desirable flavor and texture.

The sauce is also simple, with tasty, homemade ingredients. The tomatoes come from a small, family run farm in Stanislaus, Calif. The garlic is sweated—a sweat is similar to a sauté in that the goal is to cook small, uniform pieces in an open pan at a low heat to preserve the garlic flavor, not making it bitter.

Sausage comes from the New York Sausage Company in Sunnyvale, Calif., and the pepperoni is from Tony’s Fine Foods and Sierra Meats. The whole-milk mozzarella is from the North Beach Cheese Company. Nicol’s approach to restaurateuring is simple: “create, and don’t compete.” He grew up eating New York pizza and serves the food he ate as a kid, and it tastes just as good today as it did then. The good news is you don’t have to travel 2,600 miles for an authentic piece of NYC pie—fuhgeddaboudit!