Taglio Pizza in Mineola returns to its Roman roots

Somewhere along the way, Rob Cervoni lost his sight. When he opened Taglio Pizza in 2018, his goal was to introduce Long Islanders to Roman-style pizza, cooked in a long rectangular skillet and sold by the square. Inspired by the cult Roman pizzeria, Bonci, Cervoni used a high hydration (i.e. moist) pizza dough that enjoyed a long, slow rise. The result was a crust whose texture was both structured and airy; delicious on its own but enhanced with toppings like bologna and pistachio, or roasted potato and rosemary.

But his vision was diluted. From the start, Taglio had a floor plan and location (at the corner of a train station and a hospital) that suggested a “slice shop” and not an “artisanal pizza”. As a new business owner, Cervoni didn’t want to turn away customers who wanted a basic slice of pepperoni.

“We tried to give everyone what they wanted,” he recalls, “but then what was our identity?”

Adding to its woes: Construction of the Mineola LIRR station began shortly after it opened, and then the pandemic effectively wiped out commuters and locals taking the train to concerts or sporting events.

Late last year, Cervoni admitted he let himself down. “I wanted to be at the forefront of artisan pizza on Long Island,” he said, “I wanted be change. So I had to change.”

Through his work with Caputo, Italy’s leading pizza flour brand, he had befriended Mimmo Tolomeo, a native of Elmont (and a descendant of both Elmont’s Sapienza Bake Shop and A& S Bagels in Franklin Square), who had become an accomplished pizza maker and acted as brand ambassador for the Naples-based company. After working in Manhattan, he misses his “native island” and decides to join Cervoni to relaunch and develop Taglio.

Cervoni has doubled down on its Roman pies, adding toppings such as Amatriciana sauce and truffled mushrooms. For his part, Tolomeo has focused on what he calls his “Neo New York” pie. Many places, he explained, are working to “New Yorkify” the classic 12-inch Naples-style pie that many American customers find too soft and chewy. Their efforts go into making a crisper, tighter pie.

The “New York pie” with Neapolitan influences at Taglio Pizza in Mineola.
Credit: Newsday/Erica Marcus

At Taglio, Tolomeo goes the opposite way, using traditional Italian techniques (pre-fermented dough, imported tomatoes) to build a better 18-inch, 8-slice pie. The edge of its rind is pronounced, with a wonderful airy texture. The pie itself is topped with four types of cheese: shredded low-moisture mozzarella, fresh mozzarella drizzles, pecorino romano, and an American-made grana.

According to Cervoni, everything is improving: the station is busier now that residents of Mineol use the LIRR to get to concerts and ball games; huge new apartment buildings provide a new flow of customers. And he learns to stick to his guns.

“The best thing is when someone comes here for a quick lunch and they try the pizza and say, ‘Whoa. It’s the best pizza I’ve ever had. I want to introduce people to these styles. But I can also say, ‘if you don’t like it, there are plenty of other pizzerias around’.

Taglio is at 85 Mineola Blvd., Mineola; 516-741-0379, tagliopizzany.com

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