MIDTOWN — Diners with a train to catch will be able to take their wine or cocktails to go from a celebrity chef’s new pizza restaurant in Grand Central Terminal.
Prova Pizzabar, the new creation of Iron Chef judge Donatella Arpaia, opened on Monday in the lower dining concourse of Grand Central, with Neapolitan-inspired pizza, salads and pasta, as well as go-cups designed to bring a drink onboard for the train ride home.
Arpaia said she is excited to get into the quick-service game after more than a decade operating high-dining restaurants including davidburke & donatella and the Michelin Star-winning Greek restaurant Anthos.
"I wanted to get out of high dining," she said. "I did it, I learned a lot, I loved it, but I really feel that this kind of pizza hasn't been done and exposed to the masses in this way."
The "sippy cups," which cost an extra $2 on top of the drink and resemble a wine glass inserted into a clear travel mug, are part of Arpaia's goal of serving customers on the go.
"People who like wine want to be able to have a glass of a good red on the train, but everything they sell in Grand Central will give you a headache," she said. "With these cups you can carry out something good."
The restaurant offers the option of a quick slice to commuters in a hurry, along with tables and a bar —51 seats in all — for people with a bit more time to linger.
The pizzas are inspired by the Neapolitan style — but are not, strictly speaking, Neapolitan pizzas, which require specific preparation to qualify. They use Polselli flour, letting each batch of dough ferment for two days in a refrigerator and then rise for another 18 hours before it finally meets the oven, according to a spokeswoman for Arpaia.
That preparation gives the dough a light, airy consistency that makes it better for carryout than the dough you might find in a slice spot on the street, Arpaia said.
Pies on the menu include the eponymous Prova pizza, with truffle burrata cheese, cherry tomatoes, arugula, and prosciutto; the Zucca, with pumpkin puree, guanciale, mozzarella, pine nuts, and rosemary; the Regina, with Buffalo mozzarella, cherry tomatoes, and basil over a tomato sauce base; and the classic Margherita, with mozzarella and basil over tomato sauce.
Slices range in price from $4 for the Margherita to $8 for the Tartufata (truffle cream, Porcini mushrooms, and mozzarella) and large pies range from $22 to $42. Salads go for $9 or $10, and the three focaccia sandwiches on the menu — Vegetariana, eggplant parmesan, and meatball parmesan — are all $9 a pop.
Diners also have a spread of pasta dishes to choose including the baked gnocchi, lasagna, and spaghetti Piennolo, which range in price from $14 to $16.
Arpaia, who is known for her appearances as a judge on the Food Network shows “Iron Chef America” and “The Next Iron Chef,” previously operated a Prova location in Chelsea, but that restaurant closed in late 2015, according to Eater.