1963 was a big year for pizza on the Lower East Side. That’s when a 16-year-old Salvatore Bartolomeo first flipped a disc of dough at Rosario’s Pizza, which quietly celebrated its 50th anniversary yesterday.
The neighborhood has changed since then, as has the pizza joint’s Houston Street location (it’s now at 173 Orchard). So is Bartolomeo nervous about the recent and impending closures of Max Fish (being replaced by Sweet Chick), El Sombrero (being replaced by Artichoke Pizza), Motor City, and all the rest? Or does he plan to go as long as Katz’s, which is celebrating its 125th?
“I joke about being around for another 50 years, but it’s getting very hard,” Bartolomeo told us earlier today. “It’s getting harder every year.”
The Lo-Down recently interviewed Bartolomeo about how he went from an immigrant tailor to a local culinary institution. According to the article, he still works 18 hours a day, seven days a week getting two to three hours of sleep every night. Not too shabby for Superman, let alone a 66-year-old pizza cook.
Take a look at the above video, posted to Vimeo a few months ago by Spreading Art Architecture Worldwide, and the below one, posted yesterday, to hear more from the man who has seen you at your very drunkest.