Sunday, August 10, 2008

Right Next Door to Vibe! (Gaudio's, 40-13 30th Avenue)

Though it occupies a newly rehabbed building on 30th Avenue that includes among its storefronts the now failed Paparazzi Café (soon to be Cafe Boite, not "Mama Salsa" as originally reported) and Vibe, a dubious Eurolounge of recent vintage, Gaudio's Pizza is something of a neighborhood institution, celebrating its 50th year in Astoria. The frequency with which we see empty Gaudio's boxes out on the sidewalk on recycling-pickup day is a testament to the pizzeria's popularity (though that may be an illusion furthered by the other nearby places using generic boxes without their names printed on them). The inside is newly remodeled, like the building, but still the restaurant feels deeply rooted. Queens accents were thick in the voices we overheard. There was an old Italian waitress -- perhaps the proprietor's wife -- wearing a tuxedo shirt and black vest and serving the tables toward the back, while the booths up front appeared to be reserved for people who wanted somewhere to eat their slices without any fuss. There was also a counter with stools beside the traditional pizza counter, but we couldn't imagine sitting there -- you'd likely feel too much in the way.

We got slices, about which there is little to say. They passed muster. Pizza toppings were available on every table, a touch of generosity we always appreciate. Having to put parmesan and/or garlic on a piece of pizza while under the watchful eye of the counter man or an impatient fellow customer seems an arrangement designed to discourage you from fixing your slice the way you like.

Regulars filtered in the entire time we were there; one joked with the counterman about coming in yet again. In all, it had a cozy timelessness that no amount of change outside in Astoria could disturb.

Price: $2 a slice.
Will we go again? Why not?

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