Newburgh’s restaurant scene is heating up, rivaling the sultry 800-degree temperature inside chef Bruno DiFabio’s gas-fired brick floor pizza oven. The world-class pizza thrower and Food Network veteran has been hand-stretching dough since he was a teenager in Yonkers. After three decades in the pizza business, DiFabio has made a splash in the Hudson Valley dining scene with his new restaurant Pizza Union: Gastro-Kitchen & Bar, whose concept marries contemporary Italian fare with genuine hospitality that has been delighting diners since its ribbon cutting in August.
Beyond the eatery’s unassuming facade, a slice of heaven awaits. The recent interior remodel relies on exposed brick and reclaimed wood to set the tone. An authentic Italian pizza oven, sheathed in copper and flanked by sleek white subway tiles, anchors the open concept kitchen where DiFabio’s signature pizza Romana—a square pie that employs the “poolish” dough method and requires a 72-hour fermentation process—is on the menu alongside more traditional round pies.
Try the Original Tomato Pie ($16)—smothered in mozzarella, tomato sauce, freshly pinched sausage, oregano, and evoo—or if you’re feeling adventurous try the Nuts and Bolts ($17), a Roman pie loaded with asiago, mozzarella, olives, caramelized onions, roasted peppers, pepperoni, hot salami, sausage, garlic, and tomato marinara. Add to that a dizzying array of toppings that run the gamut from gorgonzola dolce and fig jam to chopped clams and pork belly and the potential for innovative combinations is seemingly endless.
If pizza is not your thing, rest assured: DiFabio has you covered. His menu, featuring a glorious combination of old and new school Italian cuisine, incorporates locally sourced ingredients whenever possible. Drinks and a bite after work? Look no further than the Pizza Union Sharing Plank ($19) spilling forth with prosciutto di san daniele, spicy salami, mortpastadella, liuzzi mozzarella, fontina, parmigiano reggiano, olives, agrodolce roasted garlic, peppadew, and DiFabio’s famed bubble bread. There’s also a full bar.
Sunday brunch at Pizza Union features a twist on several classics: the Union Breakfast Pizza ($16) is loaded with hot & sweet peppers, fresh pinched sausage, scrambled eggs, mozzarella, prosciutto, grana padana; the Lox & Schmear Pizza ($18) is stacked with everything seasoning, mozzarella, mascarpone, smoked salmon, fried capers, chives and lemon. All entrees come with a complimentary breakfast shot comprised of Jameson Irish whiskey & butterscotch, served with an orange juice chaser. For those keen on sidling up to the bar, look no further than the establishment’s Bottomless Mimosa ($13) and soon-to-be-famous Bloody Mary bar ($13), featuring 50 “add ins” that leave the standard celery stalk looking, well, standard.
Perhaps the only question that remains is why six-time World Champion pizza chef DiFabio chose Newburgh for his newest digs. “While it may seem to be a new territory for me, it’s really just a broader extension into a state that I love,” says DiFabio in a nod to his Westchester County restaurants in Irvington and Scarsdale.“Newburgh has embraced our traditional pizza and Italian restaurant with new-school ideas. We may have seemed a little quirky at first, but there’s no denying a pizza done right.”
Pizza Union 1400 Route 300, Newburgh, NY (845) 522-8248 Open daily 11am-10pm.