Updated on October 7th, 2021
You can’t celebrate the great pizza in our city without acknowledging Roberta’s role in kick-starting the new Neapolitan movement. Although Roberta’s has commercialized since opening in 2008 - they have a second kitchen next door dedicated for takeout and delivery pies, for example - the pizza continues to be baked in massive wood-burning ovens at temperatures high enough to develop black char flecks. The result? The crust still tastes pretty good.
It’s possible you have some history with Roberta’s, since it’s been around for some time. Maybe you hosted a birthday party in their backyard in 2010. Maybe their back room will forever stick out as the scene of several dates with DJs in Bushwick, or maybe you saw their pies shrink-wrapped in the frozen section at Whole Foods last week. As alluring as that nostalgia may be, this colossal Bushwick restaurant isn’t nearly as exciting as it used to be. They now operate locations in Los Angeles, along with a ghost kitchen in Manhattan, and they ship their pizzas nationwide through GoldBelly.
If you’re in the business of showing your friend the most impressive pizza places in town, we have some other ideas for where to take them before Roberta’s. Instead, remember Roberta’s as an ideal group dinner spot because of their massive space. Although the L-train-adjacent restaurant looks like a shipping crate from the outside, inside it’s got the comforts of a ski lodge or a very large sauna filled with string lights, picnic tables, and a giant pizza oven. Plus, they have nearly twice as much seating on their giant patio as they do in the actual restaurant. The outdoor space has its own bar and the atmosphere feels like a sitcom set in industrial Brooklyn. You could show up here with ten people on a whim and find a table. There’s almost no other place in North Brooklyn where that’s possible, a fact that will keep us recommending Roberta’s despite their presence in the frozen pizza aisle.
Before a lot of other spots started putting honey on pizza, Roberta’s started putting honey on pizza. If you eat meat, this is the one pizza you absolutely must order when dining for the first time at Roberta’s. It’s sweet, smokey, spicy, and cheesy all at the same time with tomato, mozzarella, sopressata, chili, and honey.
We like this pie slightly more than the margherita for the simple reason that it includes semi-sharp caciocavallo cheese. The sharp taste counterbalances the salty parmesan and creamy-chewy pools of melted mozzarella.
Our preferred method of eating at Roberta’s is to sit outside and order a bunch of pizza and beer. The other items ultimately aren’t why you eat at Roberta’s. Having said that, the little gem salad and duck prosciutto are both totally acceptable ways to start out large group meals.