Savona family’s fourth restaurant focuses on the pizza

With the opening of their most recent location, the Savona family now has Kingston’s pizza needs covered. Family patriarch Emanuele “Manny” Savona has started the family’s fourth Kingston-area eatery next to Mahoney’s Pub on lower Broadway.

Manny Savona prepares the stuff from which pies are made. (Photo by Carrie Jones Ross)

A stone’s throw away is upscale Savona’s Trattoria, known for its hybrid of Old World and contemporary Italian dishes. The new location is a savory, scaled-down version simply offering pizza, salads, calzones and strombolis — with Savona family flair and ingredients.

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“This [pizzeria] was created as an overflow issue,” explained Manny’s son and Savona’s Trattoria owner Stephen Savona. “We had people requesting our pizza all the time. We are trying to provide a service for those who didn’t want a whole sit-down dinner.”  Unlike the other Savona’s Pizza locations at Kingston Plaza and Morton Boulevard which both boast fuller additional Italian menus, the new spot offers convenience, said Stephen. The setup is very kid-friendly and its hours are extended until midnight on weekends to accommodate the pizza-starved spilling out from surrounding waterfront bars.

The new pizzeria has the immediate vertical appeal of tall, sweeping ceilings, clean mahogany-finished tables, tasteful vernacular trim, bold colors and modern freshness.

The Savonas make their own sauce from Grandma’s recipe, and use only fresh ingredients — no sugar or artificial ingredients dare find their way into it, insists Stephen. Thin crisp crust and enticing pizza toppings like house-roasted red peppers, artichoke hearts, fresh basil and sautéed spinach upgrade the experience. A solid choice is a fig and prosciutto pizza, crafted from dried mission figs, prosciutto di parma and ricotta and mozzarella cheeses. Also highly recommended is the Buffalo chicken wing pizza made with chicken, the canonical Frank’s Red Hot sauce, mozzarella, bleu cheese and celery.  Desserts are all house-made, such as New York cheesecake and tiramisu.

Manny, who hails from a family Sicilian bakery background, greets every customer, and if you’re from the neck of the woods known as Brooklyn, prepare to have a lively discussion about it. Stephen’s brother Daniel runs the Morton Boulevard location, and Manny’s wife Cecelia, also known as “Celly,” runs the Kingston Plaza location. “All my kids do well,” said Manny. “They all do something good.”

It all started when Manny and his wife opened Jimbo’s Pizza together in 1972 on Albany Avenue. It was originally named “Jumbo’s,” but after the signs were printed Manny received an official letter from Disney to change it. “We even had keychains made up saying ‘Jumbo’s,’” laughed Manny.

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