The menu is simple: pizza, bread, and barbecue. Most days the sisters work the pizza oven, wait tables, and take phone orders. [Frank Santarpio] goes back and forth between the bar and the oven, and [Lennie Timpone] bartends and sees to the back room butcher shop. He brews big pots of Maxwell House, rests his wristwatch and glasses on the meat grinder, switches on his little radio ("This time of year it's just Christmas songs," he says), and then spends hours breaking down pork butts and lamb forequarters for the barbecue skewers.
"Most places do the exact opposite, but we think the toppings cook better on the bottom," says [Carla Santarpio]. The sauce is just crushed tomatoes - "They're the good ones, the same tomatoes that we put in the gravy at our Sunday night dinners at home," says Carla - and dried herbs reduced together for a few hours over a low flame. Timpone says that people are always asking him for the sauce's secret ingredient. "When I tell them how simple it is, they think I'm lying," he says.
To finish, the pies get a drizzle of olive oil from an old Smirnoff Vodka bottle, then about 10 minutes in the 550-degree oven. Santarpio's had a brick pizza oven but got rid of it about 50 years ago. They're now on their second gas-powered Reed revolving tray oven from Kansas City. It has five shelves and can hold 40 pizzas at a time. "It's as hot as we need it to be, and I cook pizza just the way I like them - nice and crunchy," says [Joia Santarpio].
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