Loretta’s Pizza and Pasta – A Bronx Tale

Pastrami Calzone with mustard dipping sauce

Loretta's Pizza & Italian Ices on Urbanspoon

After stuffing our faces with cannoli’s from La Salle Bakery in the Throgg’s Neck section of the Bronx, we made our way to Loretta’s Pizza and Pasta for lunch. I know we had it backwards and had already filled our hole with dessert but we were not going to let a little thing like being full stop us from hitting one of Serena’s favorite hometown pizza joint.

Loretta’s is small joint that sits a block from the Long Island Sound on Layton Ave. Although Loretta’s is no longer owned by descendants of founders Tom and Loretta Santamorena, the memories of the place have been imprinted on generations of neighborhood kids. This is so much the case, that a Facebook page is dedicated to memories of times at Loretta’s Pizza. It was interesting to read about summers in the late sixties, penny candies, pizza served in empty cigarette cartons, leftover dough being handed out to the kids and kids playing Mike Tyson’s Punch out any given night – the spot being packed with over twenty kids and the owners making room for more. One lady says, “there is no Throgg’s Neck without Loretta’s. All of my friends remember “Loretta’s” as an important part of our childhood memories.”

Pastrami Calzone ($5.00) – Before this one, I had never had a calzone filled with pastrami and cheese. The pastrami and mozzarella combination was excellent. With each bite I made a tight rope of hot cheese from my mouth to the calzone. The dough was fantastic with a light crust on the outside and soft and warm in the inside. The spicy mustard for dipping was a nice touch

Rainbow Italian Ice ($1.50 small, $2.00 large) – Good Italian Ices are pretty hard to come by once you leave New York so it was another must have for this trip

Pizza ($12.50 small, $14.50 large) – The locals rave about the pizza and claim it to be the best pizza in the Bronx so next time I have to find out for myself.

If the Pastrami Calzone is any indication of how everything else on the menu tastes, this place is top notch. Even more than the food, “Loretta’s” seemed to act as a second home to decades of local kids while the owners stood in as surrogate parents, feeding and keeping a close eye on the kids. I am sure the locals could better say how the atmosphere and food has changed over the years but the day I visited, kids sat at the tables around us laughing, the interaction with the guys behind the counter was genuine and the food was great.

Tom Santamorena Jr. outside Loretta's in the early days (photo courtesy of JoAnn Santamorena Dubetsky)

"Loretta's" today (photo courtesy of JoAnn Santamorena Dubetsky)

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Categories: Reviews


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12 Comments on “Loretta’s Pizza and Pasta – A Bronx Tale”

  1. August 17, 2010 at 8:10 pm #

    born and raised in the bronx, country club, moved up to albany ny, whenever we come down, we always have loretta’s. and when we leave we bring one or two back home. always great memories. Kudos La Salle bakery.

    • August 19, 2010 at 8:14 am #

      I def. have to try the pizza the next time I go. I have never been to Albany, how is the pizza up that way?

  2. JoAnn Santamorena
    September 4, 2010 at 5:44 am #

    Wonderful story. Thank you so much. I love all the memories.

  3. Joanne
    September 4, 2010 at 9:30 am #

    I am a niece of Loretta & Tom, my childhood is filled with memories of “Loretta’s” all of my friends hung out there. We loved the ices, pizza and most of all the people that ran it. Loretta, Tom & Grace made every visit a memorable one. I miss the choc ices with choc twizzlers. We would bite the ends off the twizzler and use it as a straw. When ever anyone talks of the old days in Throgs Neck Loretta’s is always a big part of the conversation. The things I will remember most are Tom’s “trick” with the change and always getting to be the “taste tester” for Grace’s new flavors of italian ice. When the family visited sometimes I got to work the counter, those memories will remain in my mind for ever. What great memories of great people. Thanks for the walk down memory lane.

    • September 4, 2010 at 12:33 pm #

      Thank you for stopping in and sharing your memories of such a special place.

    • Corinne Concialdi
      August 16, 2016 at 7:23 pm #

      Iwas a good friend of Thomas jr.,i am wondering about him .last time I saw him was when he came home from the service

  4. Bob Schiffer
    September 5, 2010 at 2:59 pm #

    Tom & Loretta were my late sister Jean’s in-laws and just great people. My mom lived next door to Loretta’s Pizza and when I came to NY on business I would always stay at mom’s. The first thing I did was order a Pizza from Loretta’s before I stopped at mom’s.

  5. Anonymous
    March 21, 2012 at 12:28 pm #

    I use to play stick ball with my friends on Dean Avenue in the late sixties, early seventies. We then go to Loretta’s for pizza & drinks. I never forget how Loretta shook up the Yoo-Hoo and flip it. My friends and I would all go oooh! Such great memories! Tom & Loretta were great people, even though we were pain in the ass kids at times. I will never forget them.

  6. Steven
    August 15, 2016 at 3:47 am #

    Country Club is one of the last great Italian areas and Loretta Pizza is a big part of this neighborhood a lot of great memories and i still live in the area and i am proud to say i live in one of the best areas with the best pizza in the Bronx. Hands down The Club is the greatest.

  7. Anonymous
    August 16, 2016 at 5:36 pm #

    Raised in the Stadium building Lorettas was our home. Pizza, Italian ices and playing games. Best memories.

  8. Stacy
    August 16, 2016 at 5:37 pm #

    Raised in the Stadium building Lorettas was our home. Pizza, Italian ices and playing games. Best memories.

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