In New York, when one place closes another is just getting livelier. Especially when that place is Avenue, a club that closes at 4 a.m. located next to a pizza joint that closes an hour after– smart business strategy. The smell of fresh pizza wafts down the block and before you know it there’s a crowd of patrons waiting for tables, ordering pies of pizza they didn’t even realize they were hungry for until they sat down. Saturday night was not the first time I found myself at Artichoke in Chelsea. It also will not be the last. As I stalked the pizza-maker idolizing his speed and gawking over every pie that arrived fresh out of the oven, I got a first hand look at exactly why this pizza may entice the post-drinking crowds but is just as tasty when in any state of mind.
“You tried the cheese… How good is our cheese?” said the employee behind the pizza counter who so kindly put up with me. “We don’t use cheap cheese like other pizzerias.”
Artichoke’s pizza makers use a heavy hand when adding cheese, sauce, more cheese and more sauce. Check out the video above for a look at the generously sauced Margherita pie served with a blend of cheeses straight from Italy (though where exactly I couldn’t quite make out as the post-club Hot 100 played rather loudly in the background), with fresh basil, plum tomato and a drizzle of olive oil. The dough is thick and bready, while nicely firm and crisp enough to support the greasy top layer– likely a result from the plenteous, though not excessive, cheese.
The pizzas are 16” round and you can choose from eight varieties. I’ve sampled both the Margherita and the Artichoke. Expect both varieties to be salty– the only complaint I maintain after my respective visits. The Artichoke pizza is truly a slice of heaven with artichoke hearts, spinach, cream sauce, mozzarella and pecorino romano cheese. It is just as rich as it sounds; and a slice is truly filling enough for a meal. A meal which I expect to have again, though before the early morning hour of 5 a.m. Sunday morning.