First the only bad news. The main dining room at Patsy's at 2287 1st Ave. is closed for renovations. A smaller dining room,, in between the dining room and pizza oven and in front of the kitchen, is open temporarily.
Now the great news. Patsy's isn't just for pizza anymore. They've added a full menu of old-school Italian specialties, including a nice chopped antipasto salad with balsamic vinaigarette, fried calamari, chicken, eggplant, and seafood entrees (with veal to come in the near future), several pastas, etc. The chef used to cook at Villa Roma in Richfield, New Jersey.
The gruff but wonderful waiter was in an almost-euphoric mood. As he put it, Patsy's will now have "great food" and "good Italian food." My guess is that's about right. The chicken scaparella was nicely cooked and accompanied by excellent sausage and a too-gloppy brown sauce. The pizza is as wonderful as ever.
It has sometimes been hard to drag friends to Patsy's because of the limitations of the old menu (pizza with fresh mozarella, or "regular" pizza). Now there is no excuse for your friends to shun your request to go to Patsy's.
Two other pieces of cool news. They intend to get a liquor license in the near future. And the chef is happy to make ANY dish for you with the ingredients he has, regardless of what's on the menu.
This is a rare opportunity to see a wonderful institution reinvent itself. I have a strong feeling that Patsy's will do absolutely nothing to harm the quality of its pizza, which is the most important news of all.