Monday, March 28, 2011

Marco's Pizzeria - A New York Classic in Asheville

Uncle Patsy's Original Pizzeria in Harlem
Marco's Story
For this family, pizza is a tradition. In 1933, Marco’s Great Uncle Patsy started the family’s first pizzeria when he expanded the offerings of his ice cream parlor to include the uniquely New York-Italian dish. Patsy’s Pizzeria in Harlem originally used a coal-fired oven to create a crust that is thin and crisp on the outside. Today, the fourth generation of pizza-makers in Marco’s family continues to use Patsy’s recipe and methods to create a dish that is unlike anything else available outside New York.

Classic New York Style Pizza from Marco's
 "With an heirloom method for creating the crust, we couldn’t use anything less than the best ingredients. We make our tomato sauce, along with many of our salad dressings and toppings, in house with the freshest ingredients." The oven at Marco’s is gas-fired and watched over by cooks whose specialty is cooking pizzas using this unique method. As the pie is cooked, it’s turned so that each side has an opportunity to face the open flame. The cooks know the oven well enough to use hot or cool spots to insure that the pizza cooks evenly. The result shows a crust that has toasted areas and an overall golden finish, taste, and mouth-feel that is very different from the common pizza.

Marco and Christine have been business partners since 1994. The next generation—Brian, Amy and Dominic—operate the South location and can sometimes be found at the North location as well.

Restaurant Review
I am usually not a slow learner, but sometimes I just don't get it.  That was the case with Marco's.  For years, my boss would mention that he was heading to Marco's to grab dinner for his family on his way home from work.  I heard other friends mention Marco's as well and allowed it to merely slip right out the other ear.  It wasn't until last year that I finally stopped by the New York style pizzeria to grab some dinner for myself while my wife was out with friends.  I sat at the bar and had a draught from none other than Marco himself.  He took my order and we talked while the pizza went in the oven.  When the pizza arrived, it was love at first bite - corny, I know ... but very true regardless.

Marco's Pizza Ovens

Marco offers a New York style thin crust pizza made in ovens facing the dining room so guests can watch their dinner being prepared.  Marco seems to always be there behind the bar welcoming everyone as they enter and offering a smile and a good-night as they leave.  You definitely feel welcome and at home when you're there.  The pizza itself reminds me of what I used to eat decades ago before the pan pizza craze brought on by places like Pizza Hut.  What Marco offers is not some mass produced pie but rather a tradition of recipes and flavor that have been handed down through his family.  You can taste it.

It's not just pizza though.  My other favorite is Marco's Classic Stromboli stuffed with salami, pepperoni, roasted red peppers and mozzarella and encased with that same crust from the family recipe.  It is served on a pan just like the pizza.  The crust is browned and crisp - the perfect accompaniment to its stuffing.  A side of marinara sauce is served with it in case you like to dip, but it certainly doesn't need it.

Marco's North Dining Room
The rest of the menu includes typical appetizers, salads and a variety of pizza, stromboli, calzone, sandwiches, pasta, etc.  Plenty is available for everyone to find a taste of their own.  Marco will most likely be present to ensure that you feel like you're among friends and that you have a great experience.

This is a great local independent restaurant.  They are not yet part of the Asheville Independent Restaurant Association, but they should be - they fit the bill perfectly.

Thank you Marco and family for always making me feel at home and providing wonderful meals for me so often these days!

Contact Information

Marco's North
946 Merrimon Avenue
Asheville, North Carolina  28804

Marco's Pizzeria on Urbanspoon

Marco's South
1854 Hendersonville Road
Asheville, North Carolina  28803

Marco's Pizza on Urbanspoon


  1. One of Clark's favorite places!!! I can't wait to show him. HAAAA now you can make him homesick!

  2. It doesn't take long for Marco's to become a favorite, does it!?