When RC Gallegos made his first pizza, he said he thought it was “garbage.” It was not until he went to New York and studied how to make a perfect New York slice that he came back and opened the original RC’s NYC Pizza & Pasta in 2003 in Conroe. The business has since expanded with locations in Kingwood and in The Woodlands area, each serving the same Northeast-inspired pies.

“What we offer are 17-year proven recipes. Not just proving, ‘This is what is served in New York from my experience of living and working there,’ but, ‘This is what the communities we operate in want as well,’” Gallegos said. “There’s differences between the popularity of items, but we still have identical menus, all the same offerings.”

He said a commitment to authentic New York pizza sets him apart from other restaurants and has earned not only the support of New York transplants, but also recognition in various competitions and expositions across the globe—including as a member of the United States Pizza Team.

The perfect pie

Gallegos said he considers several variables in making the perfect pie, including the thinness of the sauce, the moisture of the cheese and the consistency of the thin crust. There are three elements that Gallegos said a New York pizza crust must have: crispiness, softness and chewiness.

“They’re almost opposite of each other, a crisp bottom and a softness to the dough, mostly in the cornicione—which is the raised crust on the outer edge—and then a chew,” he said. “Those three variables are really what it takes to properly identify a New York crust.”

While Gallegos said RC’s prides itself on the authenticity of its traditional New York fare, from the signature thin crust and Sicilian pies to heroes and baked pasta dishes, Gallegos said he knows The Woodlands location on Sawdust Road for its customer base’s wide range of preferences compared with more traditional orders at his other eateries.“The Woodlands really tests ... our dough and the integrity of that dough to uphold all the toppings they love to put on it. Six, seven toppings,” he said. “In New York, normally it’s very, very simple and basic. ... Fortunately, our dough is very versatile, and it serves very well, as I put it, as a canvas, for their piece of work, their art, whatever they’re building.”The Sawdust Road location is also home to off-the-menu specialties such as Chicago-style deep-dish pies and an in-development Detroit-style pan pizza to be released in the future. While the eatery will always maintain its central focus on New York, Gallegos said he has brought in the new options in recognition of the desires and backgrounds of The Woodlands-area foodies and pizza enthusiasts he said have embraced the pizzeria since its launch.

“Offering these different menu items allows them to keep feeding that love. ... I didn’t put my deep dish out until I felt 100% sure that it was a very, very good representation of that community, of the Chicago pizza that people would be accustomed to,” he said. “Same thing for the Detroit. We won’t release it until we’re 110% ready.”

Challenges in 2020Like many businesses, the restaurants were hit by the coronavirus pandemic. After opening in 2018, its franchised New Caney location in the Valley Ranch Town Center closed in July, citing difficulties from the pandemic.

However, Gallegos said business at The Woodlands location did not suffer any major setbacks through 2020 due to its existing lean operations and his on-site management, as well as the newfound popularity of curbside service and consistent patronage from area customers.

“The Woodlands loves supporting local,” he said. “It’s a really phenomenal community to be a part of.”

RC’S NYC Pizza & Pasta

501 Sawdust Road, Ste. 1, Spring



Hours: Sun.-Thu. 11 a.m.-8 p.m., Fri.-Sat. 11 a.m.-9 p.m.