Excerpts taken from Ed Levine's book
PIZZA A SLICE OF HEAVEN
Nick Angelis of Nick's Pizza
When asked why, armed with a journalism degree from New York's Hunter College, he ended up a pie man, albeit a great pie man, Nick Angelis shrugs his shoulders and says, "That's easy. It's what I always wanted to do." Nick's father Angelo's idea of a good time on the weekends was to pile everyone into his Ford Fairlane and head to Totonno's in Brooklyn. That's my kind of dad. Nick now belongs in the pantheon of great New York pie men that includes Patsy Lancieri, Patsy Grimaldi, the late John Sasso of the original John's. The crust Nick gets from his gas-fired brick ovens is nothing short of a miracle. It's crisp yet pliant, with just a hint of char and smokiness. Nick also has the good sense to use Corona Heights Pork Store co-owner Frankie Cappezza's incomparable mozzarella and sausage on his pies in his Queens location. In his other stores he uses more local purveyors, for which he has earned respect. Nick makes the only cannoli I've ever truly loved - with a waffle iron, stuffed to order and topped witha sprinking of pistachio nuts.
There are now three Nick's: one on Manhattan's Upper East Side, one in Rockville Centre on Long Island's South Shore and the original in Forest Hills, Queens. All three locations have become full-service Italian-American restaurants with salads and veal, shrimp, chicken and pasta dishes galore. The rest of the food is perfectly fine, but Nick's raison d'etre is still pizza. The cannoli is a bonus.
Nick says his mom still gives him a hard tine for not becoming a lawyer or a doctor. Nick tells her. "What's the difference? One I'd wear a suit, and the one I chose I wear an apron." Angelis rarely question the decision he made. "Most days I have a great time." His idea of a great time isn't that much different from his dad's. "I love to go out for pizza with six or seven people and order a bunch of pizzas that come out of the oven every five minutes." "That's my idea of heaven."