By melanie cane
Chef/owner Tony Greco at your service at Valtori
Valtori Pizza Kitchen, a Touch of Italy’s Boot in Rye
By Melanie Cane
Without much fanfare last fall, Tony Greco achieved a longtime dream of opening a restaurant not far from his Westchester home. Nestled between Jerry’s Post Road Market and Rye Art Gallery & Framing, Valtori Pizza Kitchen serves everything from arancinis to zeppoles, in addition to distinctive pizzas.
Greco and his family moved to New York City from Calabria, Italy, when he was 6 years old. “We were poor to say the least, but our table was always full. My mom (Nonna) showed her love through her fantastic meals, and to this day she is one of the best chefs I know.” Greco learned to cook from his mother and at age 11 started working in his neighbor’s family restaurant. From there, he moved around, working at delis, catering companies, and restaurants, where his love and passion for the restaurant business grew.
Today, he owns two Italian dining spots in New Jersey with his brothers, as well as a fine-dining restaurant in Stamford. With the help of his two lifelong friends, Richard Solano and Joseph Valente, Valtori became a reality. “We were immediately drawn to the location and chose a warm Tuscan orange façade that makes people feel welcome and comfortable.”
Greco is a hands-on owner, always front and center at the restaurant. His extensive menu is grounded in traditional Italian-American comfort food with an emphasis on his Calabrian roots. He makes all of the dishes from scratch and uses the best ingredients. The sauce is made using freshly crushed San Marzano tomatoes and it is a perfect blend of herbs and seasonings. “Our pasta sauce is so good you can drink it straight from a cup, no bread needed.”
At any time of day, up to 20 varieties of pizza are available in the shop and for delivery. Greco’s favorite is the sweet potato pie, which is made with mozzarella, baked sweet potatoes, caramelized onions, goat cheese, and spicy soppresata. Greco uses Grande mozzarella and credits his pizza oven, a traditional Baker’s Pride dual deck, for the crunchy and chewy crust. “It bakes perfectly every time.” And he offers alternatives to the conventional crust: gluten-free, whole grain, flatbread, and sourdough, among them.
Not in the mood for pizza? Try one of Valtori’s soups. The signatures are pasta e fagioli and chicken tortellini, but there are also two specials per day. Add a salad of organic and freshly-chopped greens, proteins, and house-made dressings.
Valtori also offers a wide assortment of sandwiches, including wraps and subs, and they make their own wings and chicken and vegetable stromboli.
Many diners head to Valtori for the pasta. Greco uses ricotta instead of potato in his delicious homemade gnocchi, and he says his stuffed peppers bring him back to his childhood Sunday afternoon dinners.
Valtori Pizza Kitchen is still evolving. Greco is researching using locally sourced produce and is looking forward to planting his own tomatoes and basil.
He is pleased to announce the recent launch of his meal delivery plan, Everyday Gourmet, whereby customers can choose from between six to eight entrees, including two vegetarian options. Plan options are available for all size households. The meals are healthy and seasonally inspired and all you have to do is heat them up. “Just like the big guys are doing. The only difference is that we are in the neighborhood,” he notes.
Although Greco is the new kid in town, he is already giving back, by donating to the Bread of Life food pantry and supporting the Garnets teams. “Rye is a community to love and support.”