Cheap Eats: Panizzo

Cheap Eats: What’s a Panizzo?

“Cheap Eats” is my post-series on cheap restaurants and prepared food options in New York. I recommend cooking your own food most of the time, but every once in a while it is nice to indulge and you don’t have to pay through the nose to do so. I plan to review many of the cheap options I find on various websites and will let you know if they are as good and as cheap as advertised. If you have a suggestion for a place to review, feel free to let me know through my contact page.

We haven’t visited the West Village since we got a falafel here a while back. My office is right near this area of NYC, so whenever I find a cheap eats opportunity, I jump on it. The West Village actually has a LOT of casual dining. It just doesn’t have meals under $5 very often. There are plenty of options when you start looking at the under $10 range, so if you are willing to spend SLIGHTLY more, check out the West Village. However, that’s not what we do here on cheap eats. $8 is TOO MUCH!

Recently though, I heard of an Italian pizza place that is much too expensive for me normally, but has one particular menu item that fits the Cheap Eats criteria.

Cheap Eats Susanna Pizzeria
Definitely one of the cleaner/nicer looking places on the Cheap Eats list.

Susanna – 182 Bleecker St between MacDougal and Sullivan @ 135th St (map)

Ok, what the hell is a panizzo? I had no idea, but I figured it was a pizza-like thing, given Susanna’s other menu offerings (also the word is pretty similar to pizza). When I got there, the place was pretty empty. There was one group sitting down, having lunch and talking about couchsurfing (I almost jumped into that conversation – couchsurfing is something I’d be interested in learning more about). Otherwise, the place was deserted during a weekday lunch time which should have been pretty crowded. Bad sign? I checked out the menu and found that there were a number of different types of panizzo. I went for the Saki, which listed soft cheese, Italian meat of some sort (I took Spanish in high school, not Italian), and arugula.

Cheap Eats: Panizzo
Ohhhh, I guess a panizzo is like an Italian quesadilla?

It came in a small pizza box and it turned out to be kind of like a sandwich. They took their pizza dough, cooked it a little and put the ingredients inside, folded it over, and grilled it some more. It’s like an Italian quesadilla. There was no sauce involved, which surprised me.


How was the ordering experience? Very friendly. There were two men working there at the time and they had thick Italian accents. Unlike some recent Cheap Eats, their English was great, but the accent still gave me high hopes for the food that was coming my way. I sat at the bar and dealt with emails while they made my panizzo.

How unique is the food? Italian is low on my list of “uniqueness”, but maybe that’s a misguided opinion. I had never heard of or had a panizzo before, so I am willing to say that this was pretty unique, at least for me.

How delicious was the food? Good! Man, good Italian meats, even if I don’t actually know what type of meat they are and can’t pronounce them, are so amazing. However, I did decide to bring it back to my office to eat, which was a mistake. By the time I got home in the freezing weather, the panizzo had cooled down. Still very very delicious, but in the back of my mind, I still had thoughts of what could have been if it had been hot and fresh out da kitchen.

Did it fill me up for $5 or less? I wasn’t stuffed, but it was definitely a solid lunch – I didn’t need to go get a second one. However, this place DID charge tax. Given the nice clean look that says “we do things above board”, I expected as much. Final cost: $5.44

Conclusion: True to form, West Village gave me a cheap-ish eat, but with tax, busted my $5 limit. Still a very worthwhile place to go. However, I would highly recommend staying there and eating at the bar. Panizzo’s cool off quickly and while it was still good cold, it probably would have been way better warm.

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