Where Else But NYC, Amirite? The Obscure History and Origin of Garlic Knots 🤑🍞

It’s no secret that New York City has been the birthplace of many great culinary inventions. From Bloody Mary’s and Eggs Benedict to Reuben sandwiches and red velvet cake, there’s all sorts of quintessential NYC eats that have had their humble beginnings traced back to the Big Apple.

But did you know that one of your favorite pizzeria snacks, the garlic knot, also made its first debut in the concrete jungle?

Believe it or knot, this delicious doughy snack was apparently created right here in New York City. According to this Reddit post:

Garlic Knots were invented to prevent waste. In 1973, a pizzeria in Queens, NY came up with the garlic knot as a way of not wasting leftover pizza dough scraps.

Garlic knots, which might arguably be one of the best snacks of all time, have since become a staple in the average New Yorker’s diet. But then again, how could you not develop a hopeless addiction to pizza dough that’s coated in the perfect mix of oil, parmesan cheese, crushed garlic and oregano?

After a quick Google search, we were able to trace the garlic knots story back to a Wikipedia page that didn’t appear to have a lot of credibility. Upon further investigation, we found that the earliest claim to garlic knot fame lies in Brooklyn.

According to Long Island Pulse, Anthony Sette, the owner of Anthony’s Place on Avenue X in Sheepshead Bay, alleges his restaurant has began selling “garlic rolls” in 1947. Sette said the restaurant he now owns was once a restaurant called Pizza Bowl, which started selling garlic knots shortly after it opened in 1947. 


Sette told Pulse, “The owner, Dominick’s mother, Tessie, made garlic rolls with poppy seeds, fresh garlic and olive oil.” Sette, who started working at the pizzeria in 1973, said that his restaurant still makes them the same way today.

The first printed reference of garlic knots appears in a Newsday story written by Marie Bianco in 1988. In the article, Bianco described garlic knots from a variety of pizzerias, including Prudente’s in Island Park, Victor’s Pizza Delight in South Huntington, Pizza Delight in Plainview, and Franina’s in Syosset.

The next mention of garlic knots came in 1989, when The New York Times published an article by Joanne Starkey that read, “Garlic knots, addictive, tempting morsels, have been drawing raves recently in casual Italian dining spots all across the Island.”

Unfortunately, there’s no way to prove which pizzeria actually blessed the world with the gift of garlic knots. But nonetheless, it appears that garlic knots were definitely invented somewhere in New York and continue to be one of the tastiest snacks in the city. 

[Feature Image Courtesy Wikimedia] 

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