Ralph’s Sports Bar offers Crispy Cheese Pizzas for Lent. . . and beyond

STATEN ISLAND, NY – For Ralph Tafuri, the bare crust is a blank canvas. This Lent, the team at Ralph’s Sports Bar experimented with pizza and calzones as well as dessert pie. And Tafuri considers the stealth and fresh menu a huge hit.

Fra Diavolo Squid Shrimp Pie (Staten Island Advance/Pamela Silvestri)

“We added pizzas for Lent and they sold very well,” the owner said. Its eponymous Dongan Hills saloon, established in early 2020, serves traditional pub fare like juicy burgers and decadent, hand-dipped monstrous mozzarella sticks.

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Handmade mozzarella sticks with Ralph’s homemade cheese. (Staten Island Advance/Pamela Silvestri)

But it’s also known for its steaks, chops, salmon and pasta dishes, the latter of which are designed by Tafuri’s mother, Rita. Recently, Ralph’s added tuna tartar and chicken parmesan served on rustic Italian bread. Rita concocts her signature tiramisu, a mocha desert that draws raves from regulars.


Tiramisu is a signature item at Ralph’s Sports Bar in Dongan Hills, made by Ralph’s mother, Rita. (Staten Island Advance/Pamela Silvestri)


On the list of delicious dough experiences, there’s an “Anchovy Classic” brined with roasted pepperoncini peppers and grated parmesan cheese. The “Helgirl” combines homemade mozzarella, parmesan, garlic, jalapano, and a house specialty, San Marzano-based tomato sauce, ingredients all covered in a drizzle of warm honey.

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A clam pie made with whole Littlenecks (Staten Island Advance/Pamela Silvestri)

White pies feature ricotta and mozzarella with cracked black peppercorns or a generous dose of garlic-sautéed whole Littlenecks. Chopped clams just didn’t cut it, Tafuri said. So they went with all the freshly chipped real deal as topping.

Salad pies incorporate shrimp and anchovies or grilled shrimp with Caesar-style greens and crunchy croutons. And a Sicilian square measuring 10 inches by 13 inches combines sauce and cheese with a choice of toppings.

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Assorted toppings can be cheesesteak, peppers, onions and processed cheese (Staten Island Advance/Pamela Silvestri)

Pies range from $18 to $26 between the classic Anchovy or Margherita and a Penne Ala vodka with prawns.

Plus, the sports bar offers a calzone filled with ricotta-mozz-parmesan cheese and a berry-banana Nutella-Marshmallow-Marscapone pie for dessert.

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Ralph Tafuri on Ralph Tafuri’s new range of pizzas. (Staten Island Advance/Pamela Silvestri)

The family business is run by Rita and Ralph, along with her sisters Luisa and Marisa. Ralph’s partner is Nickie Collela, who brings pizza expertise to the table.

On Thursdays the bar offers a No Limit Texas Hold ‘Em tournament and on Fridays Tafuri hires a DJ. Saturday traditionally sees local bands such as Reckless Driving, Core, Exit 12, Acoustic 22, The Deep Grass and Eric’s Basement.

Ralph’s Sports Bar is located at 1571 Richmond Rd., Dongan Hills; 718-285-4783, Ralphssportsbarsi.com. Pizzas can be ordered directly from the restaurant for collection. There is an outdoor section on the sidewalk and a covered structure for eating on the street. The restaurant is open every day, Wednesday to Sunday from noon to midnight, Monday and Tuesday from 4:30 p.m. at midnight.

The address is the former home of Chris’s Polish Place and Carol’s Cuisine and Pub.

Pamela Silvestri is editor-in-chief of Advance Food. She can be reached at [email protected].

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The actual dining room of Ralph’s at the foot of Todt Hill (Staten Island Advance/Pamela Silvestri)

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Swirl a pie with a crispy crust. (Staten Island Advance/Pamela Silvestri)

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