The dining are at New York Pizza Department's new location.

Mark Fontana is enjoying the elbow room at his recently relocated New York Pizza Department, 6546 E. Tanque Verde Road.

The restaurant moved to its new home late last year, joining a mix of eateries and businesses, including Sakura Teppan Steak & SeafoodSavaya Coffee Market and Wild Birds Unlimited, at La Plaza Shoppes on Tucson’s east side.

The new spot, once home to Panda Village Chinese Restaurant, is several hundred square feet larger than NYPD’s old location, with an open floorplan in the dining area and a spacious kitchen.

The extra room is a welcome change for Fontana, a former University of Arizona football player, who, up until the move, ran NYPD out of a pair of connected storefronts on North Wilmot Road.

“My kitchen here is way bigger, way better,” Fontana said. “At the old location, I couldn’t get the food out fast enough. It was slowing down service. Now we are knocking it out.”

Part of the restaurant’s increase in efficiency, Fontana said, was the addition of several new major pieces of equipment in the kitchen, including convection ovens and fryers for sides like french fries and onion rings.

NYPD's menu offers an expansive selection of pizzas, sandwiches, salads and pastas.

“Everything went through the oven at the old location,” Fontana said. “Now fries take three to five minutes, instead of 15.” 

As soon as Fontana settles into operations at his new location, he is going to look toward opening a second spot, preferably in the Rita Ranch area. 

“We already have a following down there,” he said. “I coached football at Cienega (High School) for the last nine, ten years. We do a lot of catering out there.”

Restaurants that opened in 2018