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Patsy's Slice Of Paterson-Style Pizza Never Goes Out Of Style

Diane Tagliabue Zambelli
Diane Tagliabue Zambelli Photo Credit: Cindy Capitani
Patsy waitress Phyliss Greenelatt, right, takes a break with long-time customer Diane Tagliabue Zambelli. Greenelatt is related to the original owners and has been a working there for 46 years.
Patsy waitress Phyliss Greenelatt, right, takes a break with long-time customer Diane Tagliabue Zambelli. Greenelatt is related to the original owners and has been a working there for 46 years. Photo Credit: Cindy Capitani
The Barbarulos opened Patsy's on the first floor of their Paterson apartment building.
The Barbarulos opened Patsy's on the first floor of their Paterson apartment building. Photo Credit: Cindy Capitani
Patsy's is an original in Paterson since 1931.
Patsy's is an original in Paterson since 1931. Photo Credit: Cindy Capitani

PATERSON, N.J. -- In the 1950s, teenagers went into the same back door of Patsy's in Paterson to grab a slice and a soda after school.

"Not a single thing has changed," said Diane Tagliabue Zambelli of Patsy's Tavern & Pizzeria on 7th Avenue.

The Elmwood Park resident grew up in the Riverside section of Paterson and has been coming to Patsy's most of her life.

Patsy Barbarulo with his wife opened the popular pizza tavern in 1931 on the first floor of their apartment building.

They've since passed on, but their grandsons Stephen and Gary Barbarulo run the still-popular restaurant.

"This was an Italian neighborhood and everyone moved away but people come back here," said waitress Phyliss Greenelatt, 80.

Her sister and her husband were the second generation to run Patsy's.

"Back then there were all women in the kitchen. Now there are all men," she laughed. She's been waitressing at Patsy's for 46 years.

The secret to their famous pizza that keeps generations coming back for more is in the crust.

"We still roll out the dough and it's put into special pans," she said.

The dough is then baked in two separate ovens that are originals from 1931.

The crust is slightly flipped up on the sides but extra thin and crunchy with a light buttery taste.

"It still tastes the same way it always has," says Tagliabue Zambelli.

"I grew up at the best time in the best place with the best music," she said of her Paterson childhood. She is a January 1962 Eastside High School graduate.

Patsy's is a frequent gathering spot for reunions, she said.

"People always come back."

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