Grabbing a slice of pizza in most New York City pizza parlors is a cold, impersonal affair. The transaction might last only seconds, and the extent of the verbal interaction could consist solely of the three words, “gimme a slice.” Maybe it is because eating pizza is so common amongst everyone from cab drivers to investment bankers, but many New Yorkers treat their pizzaioli like they treat their ATMs.

24june2006Louie2.jpg

Fortunately, at Louie & Ernie’s in The Bronx, stopping by for a slice is akin to visiting with family or old friends. Located in the basement of a white frame house deep inside the residential neighborhood of Pelham Bay, L & E’s is run by the proud family who lives upstairs. The father makes the pies, the mother works the counter and the phone, and the chatty children happily clean up and occasionally shuttle the slices between the oven and the tables.

24june2006Louie3.jpg

Another unusual aspect of L & E’s is that their best slice is the one topped with sausage. New York pizzerias are more often known for plain cheese or pepperoni. Those deep dish-loving Chicagoans are the ones known for sausage. Luckily for New Yorkers, L & E’s has perfected the thin crust sausage pizza. The heavy chunks often fall from their perches atop the thin slices, but the mouth-watering bits of Italian sausage are so full of flavor and zest that cleaning your plate is as much a pleasure as socializing with your new pizza family.

24june2006Louie.jpg

1300 Crosby Avenue, Pelham Bay, The Bronx, 718-829-6230