Newsday food critic Erica Marcus has discovered the new Donatina Neapolitan Pizza Café in Patchogue.
Not only that, Marcus named Donatina as serving up some of Long Island’s best pizza in a “10 pies worth the drive” feature published last week.
“The pizzerias on this list warrant a trip from anywhere else on the Island,” Marcus writes. “They are going above and beyond with their sourcing of ingredients, with their carefully wrought toppings and, most of all, with their crusts.”
She also writes that Donatina is “doing it all.”
“In addition to a Neapolitan wood-burning oven, he has a wall of deck ovens for both traditional New York- and Detroit-style pies.”
Pat-Med grad John Peragine opened Donatina in November.
Peragine said he knew Marcus was up to something when he got a call from her, then from Newsday to take photos.
“They called to get pictures. I asked what it was for,” Peragine told GreaterPatchogue. “[Marcus] said she was working on something and would like to talk to me about the calzone and pizza.”
In the Newsday post, Marcus actually highlights the open-faced calzone, “whose torpedo shape maximizes the proportion of well-browned crust. It arrives heaving with a molten filling of fresh mozzarella, ricotta, sausage and marinara sauce. The filling is so rich, you may need to request a little extra marinara on the side.”
Peragine says Newsday told people to take a drive, and they listened.
The post was published online last Wednesday night, Oct. 23, and hit the paper the next day.
“This past weekend was probably the biggest weekend we ever had,” Peragine said. “We sold about a million calzones. It was nuts.”
Peragine, who also co-owns the PeraBell Food Bar restaurants in Patchogue and Riverhead, prepped at home for about a year before perfecting his menu for what became Donatina.
“This has made all those long nights at home after working, making dough, trying different cheeses, pepperoni and toppings, all worthwhile now,” he said.