The all-Australian, beachside vibe of The Corso, Manly’s primary drinking and dining precinct, has little in common with New York’s Little Italy. Good pizza, however, can be appreciated anywhere.
Prior to Pocket Pizza, the space was home for 18 years to an Italian restaurant that was something of a local institution. When it closed, there were more than 20 applicants to take its place. “I grew up in Manly and always had my eye on the little spot,” says owner Dylan Eisenhut. “I made an application before knowing what I was going to do with it. You have to let the space dictate your product.”
He decided a pizza parlour would make a good fit because customers, “can takeaway and have it down by the water sitting in the sun”. The space is small. Despite four-metre-high ceilings, it seats just 36, and from Friday to Sunday there’s the option to takeaway. Décor is a little kitsch, but cosy, with neon signage and red-and-white tablecloths referencing old-school NYC pizzerias. Current design trends used include recycled wooden floorboards, exposed brick and decorative succulents.
The dough is made daily, in-house, in small batches. Toppings err towards the creative over the classic. They include triple pork with salami, nduja and speck, and mushroom with kale, ricotta, thyme, and truffle. Aside from pizza, there are cold-cut platters, salads and crumbed cheeseburgers with bacon jam. Banoffee is the signature dessert.
To drink, there’s the house Pocket Pizza Draught, available in pecker, pint or pitcher sizes. The logo is a re-worked design of the New York Knicks emblem, commissioned from local artist Cam Wall. Negronis and a rotating “house hooch” cocktail will also be on tap. “We might start with an Aperol Spritz, then change to some sort of punch for summer,” says Eisenhut. “We’ll play with that one.”
2A Whistler Street, Manly (02) 9977 1872
Tue-Sun 12pm-3.30 pm, 6pm-10pm