Named after the owner’s race horse, Speedy Romeo is a clear winner when it comes to pizza, italian tapas, and of course, cocktails down in the Lower East Side. This isn’t your usual pizza joint either! Their blend on unique pizza toppings and styles will keep you coming back from more and more.
I don’t know about you, but I love the signage this place has got going on. I’d honestly have one with Bar & Bowtie written right on it if I had the funds at the time of writing this!
The newly expanded, 100+ seat Lower East Side location features dishes all prepared by Chef Justin Bazdarich in a wood-burning oven and grill. The room recombines two separate restaurants around a marble horseshoe bar, serving up Italian wine, local craft beer, working class tall boys, and inventive craft cocktails. The expanded space features antique-green shelving and steel and aquamarine booths and banquettes for bigger parties. Guests can eye the Pavesi pizza oven painted like Van Halen’s “Frankenstrat” electric guitar. The restaurant utilizes salvaged décor and a bright yellow marquee sign from the defunct Rentas Liquors.Speedy Romeo
During their day/lunch shifts, this spot is pretty low-key. Walking inside, you’re greeted with this wonderfully cute horseshoe shaped bar surrounded by a few tables and a very sweet looking wood-fire burning oven for all to see.
Of course the pizza here is a highlight but Speedy Romeo’s Italian fare dishes are quite a treat as well, especially the appetizers that I tried out during my time here.
If you’re looking for some better times to make it out to a restaurant or bar, definitely look forward to Monday or Wednesday after 2pm and before 5pm. Most of NYC for example works heavily under that 9-5 schedule. Monday’s are great because everyone’s just getting back into things after getting trashed over the weekend and Wednesdays are great cause it’s the day after taco Tuesday, aka, “hump” day.
Let’s get this show started!
I’m a HUGE fan of small plates! The smaller the better in my book because that means you can try more of the food without getting too full!
At least in theory.
First up, we have the,
- Iceberg Lettuce
- Red Leaf
- Lemon Juice
As basic as I sound, I love a dank Caesar salad. When coming to an Italian restaurant, it’s *almost* always a go-to.
Favorite part of this dish was the amount of cheese they just throw on top! One can never go wrong with too much cheese!
- Italian Long-Hot Peppers
- Cheese & Salami Stuffing
- Smoked Tomato
- Charred Rosemary
Oh boy, these were spicy as ****! For me at least, since my spice tolerance isn’t as high as some others.
Great start to a good meal and it’s a bit on the smaller side.
- Fire Roasted Octopus Tenders
- Hazelnut Romesco
- Crispy Potato
- Chili Oil
This one can be a bit iffy for some people. I’m in love with this one, especially the heavy “charring” on the octopus itself. However, some might be a bit against it.
Order with caution!
I’m so sure you can’t wait to see the cocktails I picked out during this venture!
Next up is gonna burst your bubble…
I can’t really say this place had anything SPECTACTULAR to be sippin’ on.
I’ll let you be the judge.
I found it interesting that only the first two cocktails of their list were non-traditional. And by that, I mean they wouldn’t be part of the “top 20 cocktails all bartenders should know” list.
It was also a bummer that the only person on the floor that day, not just behind the bar, was a girl who doesn’t even bartend.
This is definitely a bit of a buzz-kill for anyone who ACTUALLY likes, even half decent cocktails.
First one up was the,
- Velvet Falernum
- Orange Bitters
Okay. This was a really “whack” attempt at a fancy mezcal margarita.
I’d say that Velvet Falernum is like the Cointreau of smokey/darker flavored cocktails.
Don’t get me wrong, it was a very drinkable cocktail by anyone who is or isn’t a drinker. Whether you like sweet cocktails or liquor-heavy cocktails, you could gulp this down without a complaint. Definitely a great combo with any of the pizzas as well.
“Kansas City Ice Water”
- Lime Zest Cordial
- Kansas City Bitter Lemon Soda
Now this is my favorite cocktail here. It’s smooth and completely refreshing to pair with just about any of their pizza or small plates.
I was recently asked after sharing this on social media if it was a “strong” cocktail and the answer is a definitive NO.
As good as this cocktail is, it’s really a spin-off of the classic Tom Collins cocktail. If you’re a fan of those, you’ll be into this.
- Potato Gin
- Contratto Rosso Sweet Vermouth
I love me a nice Negroni. It’s one of my all-time favorites, seriously! Not in this case though.
First of all, I’ve never had potato gin before. Definitely not a fan.
And lastly, the gal behind the bar shook this cocktail instead of stirred it.
Let me explain,
There are many cocktails out in the world today and there’s a reason that some are SHAKEN and some are STIRRED.
Shaking ANY cocktail aerates the ingredients as well as dilutes them more. Not to mention if you don’t fine strain the liquids into the glassware, there will be small ice shards present as you sip.
This is precisely why cocktails with “heavier” ingredients such as citrus juices or egg whites, for example, need to be shaken.
Don’t get me wrong, a Negroni is still a Negroni whether it’s shaken or stirred but I prefer mine the classic way.
Now, I’m sure you’re stressing since there hasn’t been any sightings of pizza yet in this here article.
I had to save the best for last, c’mon!
“Pizza, Pizza!” (In my worst Mario voice)
I wish I had a bigger budget this day because I would’ve ordered all of the pizza on their menu.
Each one is particularly unique in it’s own way and totally separate from the “normal” pizza one is accustomed to in the traditional Italian spectrum.
I’m sure you’re excited,
- Grilled Scallion
I’d call this, the “fancy” Hawaiian!
Everywhere I go for pizza, I usually ask if people are into pineapple on their pizza and my general consensus between here in NYC and from down in Florida is this;
People either love it or hate it.
If you’re into Hawaiian pizza, this will be your next favorite pizza. I can promise you that.
- Kat’z Pastrami
- Dijon Bechamel
- Smoked Red Sourkraut
- Fontina Cheese
- 1000 Island Russian Dressing
- Everything Bagel Crust
I literally almost **** a brick when this pizza came out. I love a nice pastrami sandwich, let alone bagels and they put ALL of that into one delectable round dish.
I was torn whether or not this pizza or the last one I’ll share after this was my favorite but I think this one takes second place for one reason.
It’s a heavy pizza to dive into.
These guys head around the corner and pick up Pastrami from the famous New York Deli, Kat’z on Houston which is UGH-mazing by the way.
Once you get a slice of this into your bosom, you’ll immediately feel your stomach getting full. It’s a killer pastrami Reuben on an everything bagel in a pizza.
Definitely a MUST-TRY here at Speedy Romeo.
- San Manzano Tomato Sauce
- Italian Sausage
- Pickled Chilies
THIS IS MONEY RIGHT HERE.
I’d say this is Speedy Romeo’s bread and butter when it comes to their pizza and it definitely does NOT disappoint.
What makes this thing so special is the chilies. On top of what they already throw on the pizza, they give every table an extra side dish of chili to add, all to your liking.
If you make it Speedy Romeo, this is THE pizza to get. Hands down.
Alright guys, I am CLEARLY very busy here!
I have all of this food to eat and the worst part is, I let it all get cold since I was taking pictures for over an hour!
If you’re in the Lower East Side and you dig pizza and cocktails, do yourself a favor and make Speedy Romeo a spot for you to try.
The LES location is their second spot to their original Brooklyn location but if you’re like me, and you don’t leave Manhattan that often, it’s a good thing they’ve got a spot for you downtown!
Until next time guys,
“10/10 would recommend, Yancy……OUT!”