Local zeppole fans will no longer have to wait for the Our Lady of Mt. Carmel festival to enjoy their favorite doughy dessert. Dee Best Zeppoles and Calzones opened its first brick-and-mortar store at 361 Graham Avenue last month after a five-year delay.
Dee Best Zeppoles and Calzones is owned by local resident Joseph Donatelli, known as Joey Dee, who also owns DeStefano’s Steakhouse (593 Lorimer St.). He told Greenpointers that the delay was due to a moratorium on new gas lines by National Grid in 2018 that was eventually lifted during the pandemic. As seen with many other local businesses, the pandemic came with its own set of scheduling challenges.
Joey Dee and his family run a zeppole stand at the Our Lady Of Mt. Carmel festival which takes place in Williamsburg every summer. He told Greenpointers that his father operated the stand from 1947 – 1965, then Joey took over from 1965 – 1996, and now Joey’s son runs the stand.
“Prior to that, my grandfather and uncles began selling zeppoles and calzones in various Italian-American festivals throughout New York and New Jersey as early as 1919,” Joey Dee proudly said. “Currently, the only festival we do is Our Lady of Mt. Carmel because it is our family’s tradition and neighborhood.”
“Dee Best” menu includes five varieties of calzones. The first is a traditional option with ricotta and mozzarella. The second is called the “feast favorite” and has ricotta, mozzarella, and ham. The third contains DeStefano’s creamed spinach. The fourth has zucchini and onion. The fifth is called the “lasagna” and contains ricotta, mozzarella, parmesan, stewed tomato, sautéed beef and sausage in gravy.
The small restaurant offers an option to add ham, bacon, sausage, or pepperoni to any calzone for $2. Homemade marinara sauce come complimentary with any calzone.
The menu also contains a section of “sweet treats” that starts with the fan-favorite zeppoles. You can order five zeppoles for $5 or a dozen for $10. The menu also offers sfinci di riso, which are deep-fried rice pudding dumplings. You can get four for $5. Lastly, the menu has fried Oreos, which are also four for $5.
Now in its soft opening stage, Dee Best Zeppoles and Calzones is open Tuesday – Sunday, noon to 8 p.m.