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Everyone knows New York is the best city for pizza. But what places are cooking up the best pizza in New York? From the late-night spots that'll be open on the walk home from the bar, to the places that'll you need to clear your schedule for just to get a seat, here are the ten best pizza spots in the city.
A favorite of Beyonce and Jay-Z (and presumably Blue Ivy), this Brooklyn pizza restaurant is truly top notch. Serving only pizza and calzones, Lucali does it's one thing as perfectly as it gets. Dough is rolled thin with an empty wine bottle, topped with San Marzano tomatoes, mozzerella, and your choice of toppings, and served on a tall pizza stand with extra red sauce for crust dipping. The restaurant doesn't take reservations and can have an hours-long wait on weekends, but take advantage of nearby bars during your wait, and be sure to bring a bottle because Lucali is BYOB.
This Union Square Italian restaurant serves a broad menu, but the pizza is definitely a stand out. Served in two varieties, Neapolitan and Pizza en Pala (the dough rises for 72 hours and is baked twice), you have a broad variety of traditional, innovative, and even gluten-free options from the wood-burning oven at this pizzeria.
Ribalta (credit: Facebook/Ribalta)
Artichoke Bastille may have been my very first friend back when I moved to NYC in 2009, and I've certainly learned to share its excellence with my real New York friends. The artichoke pizza features a fluffy crust with alfredo sauce, spinach, artichoke, and parmesan. It's rich, gooey, and everything you could want in a warm handheld piece of food. One bite is heaven, and one slice is total indulgence. Margherita and crab slices are also delicious.
This Bushwick pizzeria brings even snobbiest Manhattanites to the outer boroughs. The famous Cheeses Christ is a cheese lovers' dream come true: topped with mozzarella, taleggio and parmigiano cheese, this pie is a true triple threat. Like anything good in New York, expect a long line where you will be tempted by pizza scents.
5. Di Fara
Domenico DeMarco is a local celebrity, having owned and operated Di Fara since 1964. Dom cooks both New York and Sicilian-style pizza Wednesday through Sunday (noon to 4:30 p.m., and from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.) for hungry New Yorkers and tourists willing to wait in long lines, and brave the free-for-all that is the Di Fara counter experience. Yes, you're better off getting a whole pie than shelling out for the $5 slice. Yes, it's a trek, and sure, Dom goes through periods where the underside of the pizza can trend toward overdone, but when he's on, Di Fara can make a very strong case for being America's best pizza. If you want to understand why before visiting, watch the great video about Di Fara called, The Best Thing I Ever Done. You can’t go wrong with the classic round or square cheese pie (topped with oil-marinated hot peppers, which you can ladle on at the counter if you elbow in), but the menu’s signature is the Di Fara Classic Pie: mozzarella, Parmesan, plum tomato sauce, basil, sausage, peppers, mushroom, onion, and of course, a drizzle of olive oil by Dom.
-From America's 40 Best Italian Restaurants
Some spaces are cursed. Others? Blessed. When Anthony Mangieri shuttered Una Pizza Napoletana at 349 East 12th St. and headed west, Mathieu Palombino took over the lease, renamed the space Motorino, and the East Village pizza scene hardly skipped a beat. Motorino offers a handful of spirited pies, including one with cherry stone clams; another with stracciatella, raw basil, and Gaeta olives; and the cremini mushroom with fior di latte, sweet sausage, and garlic. But contrary to every last fiber of childhood memory you hold dear, the move is the Brussels sprouts pie (fior di latte, garlic, Pecorino, smoked pancetta, and olive oil), something both Hong Kong natives and Brooklynites can now attest to since Palombino opened (and moved and reopened) his Asian and Williamsburg outposts in 2013.
-From America's 40 Best Italian Restaurants
Franny’s isn’t just a Brooklyn pizza spot that opened in 2004, it’s one of the Brooklyn restaurants that helped generate the critical mass of passion that was necessary to create the Brooklyn versus Manhattan restaurants debate. This local spot run by husband-and-wife owners Andrew Feinberg and Francine Stephens (veterans of Savoy), who New York Magazine once called "as committed to the Chez Panissean tenets of local, sustainable agriculture as they are to the venerable tradition of artisanal pizza-making," is the restaurant darling of Brooklyn (it was also just named by The New York Times as one ofthe 12 best restaurants in New York for wine). And even though they’ve moved across the street, expanded from 32 seats to more than 100, and opened another restaurant (Marco’s), Franny’s quality and passion for food — and pizza — hasn’t waned a bit. Want to have some fun? Start a conversation at the restaurant about which of the 12 pizzas on the menu is best. It will be a heated debate. What’s certain is that the clam pie, not a style New York is known for mind you, with chiles and parsley, is one of New York City and America’s best.
-From 101 Best Pizzas in America.
8. Zero Otto Nove
For many New Yorkers, Arthur Avenue is a storied pilgrimage to the Bronx they’ve heard of where supposedly they can get the "authentic" Italian food no longer prevalent at the oft-maligned Chinatown-encroached tourist spots of Little Italy. Whether or not you agree that Italian Shangri-La matches the perception, Salerno native chef Roberto Paciullo is one of the driving forces behind it. The success of his first spot Roberto’s led to the pizzeria Zero Otto Nove ("0-8-9"), which was named for Salerno’s area code (Salerno being the port city about a 45-minute drive south of Naples), and a second location in New York’s Flatiron District (just around the corner from The Daily Meal’s office… stop by around 6 p.m. for a drink and ask for Freddy). The Neapolitan wood-fired pies cook under 900-degree heat for about 45 seconds, and they are exemplary (we can vouch for almost the entire menu, which includes pies with gorgonzola and tomatoes, sliced potatoes and sausage, and the more adventurous Cirilo with butternut squash purée and cream of truffles, but once again The Daily Meal’s panel of experts singled out the Margherita, which features a tangy, balanced sauce, and crust that’s light and a little chewy, too good to leave behind as pizza bones.
-From The Daily Meal's 101 Best Pizzas in America list.
Zero Otto Nove (credit: Facebook/Zero Otto Nove
As a Columbia Alum, I feel obligated to include Koronet as having some of the best slices in Manhattan. First of all, the slices are as big as your face, and though the prices increase by a few cents every year, it always seems like a bargain for a giant Koronet's cheese slice (best topped with garlic powder and red pepper).
10. Two Bros.
Okay, so they may not serve the best pizza in NYC, but I'd argue that they do serve the best $1 slice! The dough is perfectly crisp, the sauce tastes like tomatoes (not ketchup or paste, like so many $1 slices), and the cheese is gooey and plentiful. For a quick, late-night pizza fix, any location of Two Bros around the city will do.
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The 10 Oldest Pizza Joints In New York City
New York City is a tough market for restaurants — there's an 80% fail rate — so even more props to these guys.
It's nearly impossible to duplicate the old-school pizzerias nowadays, since brick coal-ovens can only be rebuilt or replaced.
We found a guide to the oldest pizza places in New York City from Serious Eats, and did some additional research to find out exactly how these places have managed to stay around for so long.
This place lives up to its “Suprema” name, delivering one the best cheese slices in the city. Opened in 1964, it predates the current Madison Square Garden, and is known for offering three different kinds of red sauces and fresh, house-made mozzarella.
Recommended: cheese slice, Grandma slice, and fresh mozzarella with basil (each has a different one of their signature sauces).
Midtown - West/Chelsea, 8th Ave. and W. 31st. St, across from Penn Station
The Best Pizza in New York City
Forget the Big Apple: NYC should be called the Big Pizza. Here's where to find the top slices.
Photo By: BriJoy Photography
Take a Slice
New York City has a lot of classic foods to its name: bagels, corned beef and cabbage, black-and-white cookies, hot dogs. But no food item is more symbolic of the NYC food experience than pizza. Though there may be a pizzeria on nearly every corner of the Big Apple, not all pies are created equal. Here are the best places to fold up a slice.
Speedy Romeo is not your average NYC pizzeria. Chef-Owner Justin Bazdarich crafts thin-crust, Neapolitan-like wood-fired that combine New American flavors from his hometown of St. Louis with Italian techniques and a bit of New York flair, leading to toppings like Katz&rsquos Deli pastrami from Manhattan, and Missouri&rsquos beloved provel cheese. The Dick Dale combines Hawaiian and European flavors, with bèchamel, speck, pineapple, St. Louis-style provel cheese and grilled scallions. At the new Lower East Side outpost, Bazdarich honors the neighborhood&rsquos Jewish roots in the Paul&rsquos Boutique, an everything bagel crust layered with dijon bèchamel, fontina, 1000 island dressing, smoked red kraut and pastrami.
Pizza has been a recurring theme in the history of Matt and Emily Hyland&rsquos relationship. It was the first meal they shared together. On their first proper date, the young couple ate a grilled pie in Providence. So it&rsquos really no surprise that the husband-and-wife team found their way into the industry. At their Clinton Hill restaurant (with a location in the West Village), they serve an array of bubbly modern American-style pies. The dough is hand-mixed and the mozzarella is prepared in-house. High-quality ingredients are integral, and the Hylands strive to use local products whenever possible. On the seasonal menu, pies are broken down into four sections: red (tomato sauce), green (tomatillo), pink (vodka) and white (sauce-free). Expect to see classics with numerous inventive options, such as the namesake Emily with mozzarella, pistachios, truffled cheese and a drizzle of honey. The meat lovers&rsquo must-try is the RM3! with pepperoni, sausage and Mangalitsa ham from New Jersey.
Staking its claim as America&rsquos first pizzeria, the history of Lombardi&rsquos goes back more than a century. As the godfather of coal-fired pies, Lombardi&rsquos has influenced the upper echelon of the city&rsquos pizzerias since its opening in 1905, and is perpetually packed with tourists and locals eager for a taste. Founder Gennaro Lombardi taught John Sasso of John&rsquos and Anthony Pero of Totonno&rsquos how to hone their skills. The cash-only spot serves an array of classics, and no slices. The original margherita is exemplary, with a bright San Marzano sauce and fresh mozzarella cheese, finished with a bit of romano and basil chiffonade. The clam pie is another top seller. Freshly shucked clams are layered on dough with pepper, oregano, garlic, parsley and pecorino. There&rsquos no sauce or cheese, just loads of seafood on a super-crisp crust.
L&B Spumoni Gardens
If a pizza joint is a favorite in a historically Italian neighborhood, it&rsquos likely legit. Established in Bensonhurst in 1939, L&B has been serving adoring crowds for over 70 years now. A three-in-one setup, it offers an ice cream parlor (thus the namesake spumoni), a casual red-sauce restaurant and a pizzeria. All are worth a trip, but the World Famous L&B Sicilian pie is unlike any other slice. The upside-down pie is prepared with the cheese right on top of the dough, and the sweet tomato sauce on top. Crumbly flakes of salty Parmesan are sprinkled above. The thick crust is pulled out of the oven just shy of being fully cooked through, so the bottom layer is slightly springy in the middle with lightly browned edges. It&rsquos not a thin-crust classic, but its flavor is enticing enough to convert even the most-die-hard square-pie-into believers.
Corner Slice at Gotham West
The corner slice has gone artisanal at this Gotham West Market stand. Chef Ivan Orkin, partner David Poran and pie virtuoso Michael Bergemann offer a new take on the neighborhood pizzeria with 60-hour fermented dough made from spelt and durum wheat. The recipe took about a year to develop, and the result was worth the wait. Crisp-crusted square slices are lightly chewy and slightly spongy, like a lighter yet sturdier take on the Sicilian. Here, the goal is perfection, not ostentation, so you won't find any flashy toppings. Tomato, mozzarella and white pies or slices can be covered with ingredients like hot soppressata from Salumeria Biellese, Calabro Cheese ricotta and house-made fennel sausage.
Since 1964, Domenico DeMarco has rolled out dough in this Midwood, Brooklyn, storefront. Not much has changed since those early days. The fluorescent sign out front is a retro throwback. The Formica-filled dining room feels like a church dining hall. Every Wednesday through Sunday guests can spot the octogenarian proprietor working behind the counter. His presence and mastery is the real draw. For the past 50 years, he&rsquos made the pies in same deliberate fashion for adoring crowds. DeMarco&rsquos Neapolitan pies are not fired in wood, but he still manages to obtain a paper-thin crust with supple edges and a slightly soggy center. They're topped with sugary tomato sauce enriched with extra-virgin olive oil, then finished with homegrown basil and a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese. The only inconsistent aspects are the prices and the lines. Slices now go for $5 apiece (the pies are a better deal), and waits are guaranteed.
Old-time Italian enclave Carroll Gardens was once mostly blue-collar workers and some Mafiosi, and the neighborhood is where famed gangster Al Capone was married. So when former marble worker and local Mark Iacono got news that an old-fashioned candy store had closed and the landlord was searching for a new tenant, he decided to give pizza a whirl. Fueled by a love of his grandmother&rsquos cooking, Iacono created a dimly lit, romantic BYO restaurant. The cash-only pizzeria consistently attracts A-listers ranging from Jay-Z and Beyonce to the Beckhams. Iacono, however, is now famous himself, for his rustic wood-fired pies and calzones. His New York-style plain pizza is consistently hailed as one of the best in the city and even the U.S.
Blending Shake Shack&rsquos counter-order format with Marta&rsquos Roman pies, this new Union Square Hospitality Group spot led by chef Nick Anderer serves coveted Eternal City-inspired pizza for a steal. Aside from the $25 Black Truffle Boscaiola (white pizza with pork sausage, mushrooms, mozzarella and shaved black truffles), light and crispy thin-crust pies cost less than $13 each. Preconceived pies range from spicy salame with red sauce, sopressata and hot peppers to white pizza with kale and pecorino. Those are paired with an inexpensive selection of antipasti, beer, wine and half-bottles of Champagne, all in a no-reservations, no-cash East Village space.
When this Neapolitan-inspired pizzeria opened in early 2016, it was nearly impossible to score a reservation at a normal dining hour, and it can still take weeks to nab a table during primetime. Run by the team behind lively nouveau Italian hotspot Charlie Bird, this sophomore effort is the ideal combination of cool ambience, well-curated Italian wines and ambitious pies. Pliant wood-fired, thin-crust dough is elevated in compositions like the Diavola (hot pepper, mint and Neapolitan salami) and the garlicky Littleneck Clam.
Pasquale &ldquoPatsy&rdquo Lanceri opened this East Harlem coal-oven shop in 1933, after years of training under Gennaro Lombardi, the founder of America&rsquos first licensed pizzeria. It has a lot in common with its predecessor. Like Lombardi&rsquos, Patsy&rsquos pies are cooked in a scorching-hot coal oven that creates that representative crisp crust marbled with black across the underside. The plain pie is simply topped with sweet tomato sauce and mild mozzarella cheese. It&rsquos a model of uncomplicated perfection. So what does set Patsy&rsquos apart from the other early coal-oven joints? It&rsquos the only historic pizzeria to sell pizza by the slice, for less than the cost of the subway trip.
Set among graffiti-scrawled warehouses, this hipster-approved restaurant is as nouveau Brooklyn as it gets, with a rooftop garden, a bread bakery, an apiary and a radio station blasting from a recycled shipping container. Waits for seats often exceed two hours on weekends, and many diners make special trips to the Morgantown neighborhood from throughout the city. There&rsquos good reason: The food is killer. The menu includes impeccable vegetables, world-class charcuterie and, of course, New York-Neapolitan hybrid-style pies. The Famous Original features tomato sauce, mozzarella, complex caciocavallo cheese (it&rsquos like mozzarella's more sophisticated sibling), oregano and a dash of chile, all on a thin, crisp crust. The result is an earthy, elaborate cheese pie that&rsquos out of this world. The Beastmaster adds gorgonzola, pork sausage, onion, capers and jalapeno to its tomato and mozzarella base. Each pie is completely unique and affordable. The most-expensive option rings in at $18.
This Williamsburg shop looks like your average corner pizzeria however, it certainly doesn&rsquot sidestep its superlative title. Roberta&rsquos veteran Frank Pinello debuted the neighborhood joint in 2010 as an ode to his Bensonhurst roots, Sicilian heritage and love of New York&rsquos pizza tradition. He uses a century-old wood-burning oven to create classic chewy and slim round pies as well as rectangular grandma pies with a snappy olive oil-infused crust. Like your traditional pizzeria, the menu here is simple with choice of white or red 20-inch pies and slices with your pick of toppings including Salumeria Biellese pepperoni, Pat LaFrieda short rib and brisket meatballs, anchovies, pickled veggies and Calabrian chile.
Much as New Yorkers love their NY-style signature slice, the city has plenty of love for Chicago&rsquos hulking deep dish. When the craving strikes, Emmett&rsquos two-inch tall, casserole-like creations are the way to go, hailed by many as the best deep dish outside Chicago. Flaxen dough cradles a thick pillow of springy mozzarella cheese, tomato sauce and choice of toppings ranging from sausage and fried egg to Chi-Town-style hot giardiniera and Italian beef.
When New Yorkers want to get combine a favorite snack dip with their pizza, they head to Artichoke Basille&rsquos. Its eponymous slice is piled about an inch high with artichoke hearts, spinach, mozzarella, Pecorino Romano and a healthy layer of butter and cream atop an extra-thick crust. On the slightly lighter side, the classic Margherita still weighs twice as much as your average NY slice. A thick and chewy crust is slathered with bright tomato sauce, aged mozzarella, Parmigiano Reggiano, fresh basil and an extra sprinkling of Pecorino. On weekend nights from about 11 p.m. to 3 a.m., lines of hungry fans snake out the door and down the block.
Like the cool, scholarly uncle of the U.S. Neapolitan pizza family, Italian pizzaiolo Roberto Caporuscio is so consumed with traditional technique and authentic ingredients he&rsquos become the president of the American chapter of the Associazione Pizzaiuoli Napoletana, the trade association that certifies pizza makers. Caporuscio has trained Neapolitan pie enthusiasts from around the country, and he&rsquos fed tons of New Yorkers. His latest Financial District outpost, run with his daughter, offers more than 70 pizza variations (including the first recorded pizza in history, the Mast&rsquo Nicola, topped with lardo, Pecorino Romano and basil), 150 seats as well as an on-premise pizza school that hosts professionals and amateurs of all ages.
Opened in 2010, Paulie Gee&rsquos is something of a newcomer to the long-established Brooklyn pizza scene. What it lacks in longevity it makes up for in quality and esteem. The joint is so popular that waits can stretch beyond 90 minutes for tables to try the blistered, char-covered crusts. With a crisp circumference and soft center, these Neapolitan-style pies come with clever names and creative toppings. Ricotta Be Kiddin&rsquo Me is one, with fresh mozzarella, Canadian bacon and sweet Italian fennel sausage topped with basil and fresh ricotta straight out of the oven. There are even top-notch vegan options like Red, White and Greenpeace, a pie with baby arugula and olive oil that's finished with house-pickled red onion and cashew ricotta once it&rsquos pulled from the heat. Prepare to hang: There&rsquos no pickup or delivery.
Totonno’s Pizzeria Napolitano
Any trip on the classic NYC pizza train must include a stop at this coal-oven pizzeria. Founder Antonio &ldquoTotonno&rdquo Pero got his start at Lombardi&rsquos shortly after arriving from Italy. A Coney Island institution since 1924, Totonno&rsquos has racked up most every accolade, including a prestigious America&rsquos Classic award from the James Beard Foundation, and a nod as one of the best pizzas on Top 5 Restaurants. Current owners Antoinette Balzano and Louise &ldquoCookie&rdquo Cimineri are so secretive about their grandfather&rsquos dough recipe that they wouldn&rsquot allow cameras to film the prep process. The dough is made daily, never refrigerated, then topped with handmade mozzarella and fine ingredients, many sourced straight from the motherland. It&rsquos no joke. The restaurant stays open only until the day&rsquos batch of dough is gone, so it&rsquos best to go early.
This Bushwick pizzeria evokes the sustainable, crafty ethos of its surrounding neighborhood. The rustic-industrial brick-walled space was formerly an auto garage. The sourdough wood-fired pies are creatively crafted from heirloom wheat and natural yeast, dotted with ingredients sourced from local farms. Pies include the Pops (tomatoes, mozzarella, guanciale, onions and Pecorino), Juno (Robiola, asparagus, greens and Parmesan) and a simple Margherita with house-made mozzarella. Those artistic combinations are paired with market-driven antipasti and salads, seasonal cocktails, natural wines and a somewhat ironic &ldquoBud and amaro&rdquo riff on the classic boilermaker.
The Big Apple may be in the midst of a fancy-pizza renaissance, but the best old-school slice shops are as good as they&rsquove ever been. A prime example: Joe&rsquos Pizza. The Greenwich Village institution has been slinging inexpensive pies and slices for more than 40 years. The shop moved a couple blocks down from the original in 2005 and has expanded with three new locations, but Joe&rsquos still serves the same thin-crust rounds coated with the proper balance of vibrant sauce and tasty cheese that have lured fans since 1975, and all for just $3 a slice.
Houdini Kitchen Lab
Set in a nondescript industrial section of Ridgewood in an unmarked former brewery, Houdini Kitchen Lab requires a certain navigational prowess. Given its out-of-the-way location and creative pizzas, it draws comparisons to Roberta&rsquos, just a few subway stops west. The wood-fired pies are sort of like a Neapolitan-NYC hybrid, ultrathin, with top-notch ingredients. The Queen Pizza ups the ante on the regular Margherita with house-made stracciatella. The Habanera, layered with thin strips of cured pork and mouth-tingling chile oil is ideal for heat seekers.
John’s of Bleecker Street
Prince Street Pizza
This Nolita take-out joint, &lsquoHome of SoHo Squares,&rsquo offers four excellent versions of fluffy oversized Sicilian-style pizzas made on a fluffy, crisp base that banishes any fear of a soggy bottom. All are worthy of applause, but the Spicy Spring Pie is the champion. Right atop the olive oil-infused dough, a hearty sprinkling of mozzarella cheese separates the spicy fra diavolo sauce from the foundation, preventing the crust from getting wet and mushy. Spicy pepperoni slices are spread evenly across the whole the block along with a dusting of Romano cheese.
31 Regional Pizza Styles
Encompassing newer Italian imports as well as famous rivalries (New York vs. Chicago, anyone?) and lesser-known specialties like Omaha-style pizza and Colorado Mountain pies, here's a guide to the regional pizza styles of the U.S.
Photo By: Margaret Sechser-Burcaw
New York Style: Joe's Pizza
Found on nearly every street corner in the city and most pizzerias throughout the United States, New York's thin, gas-cooked rounds are what many Americans think of when they think of pizza. These classic pies and individual slices are both crisp and chewy, ideal for folding in half and gobbling up on the go. Grab one at Joe's Pizza in Greenwich Village. The small shop moved a couple of blocks from its original location in 2005 and has debuted three additional outposts, but it still serves the same iconic slices with bright sauce and gooey cheese that it has since 1975, at just $3 a pop.
Neapolitan pizza is serious business. The style has its own certification, Verace Pizza Napoletana (VPN), from an organization that specifies which ingredients, equipment and pizza-making methods can be used. Ribalta is one of the two VPN-designated pizzerias in New York City. It allows its dough (just flour, water, salt and natural yeast) to mature for at least 72 hours before it's coated with a sauce of imported tomatoes and Buffalo mozzarella and tossed in an 800- to 900-degree wood-burning oven for 60 to 90 seconds. It gets just a sprinkling of fresh basil when it comes out. That strict method of preparation results in a puffy exterior crust, called a cornicione, with a nice crunch, as well as a flavorful center that droops down with bright sauce and salty cheese.
New York Neapolitan: Totonno's
Since 1905, when Gennaro Lombardi started slinging America's first coal-fired pies in his namesake Little Italy pizzeria, New York City has been known as a coal-pizza town. Three of Lombardi's acolytes opened their own iconic coal-oven shops &mdash John's, Patsy's and Totonno's &mdash and all are still firing pies today. Each drew from the tenets of Neapolitan pizzerias, searing thin crusts in scorching ovens and topping them with a generous spread of fresh mozzarella and San Marzano tomato sauce. But these pies have a thinner crust and crisper bottom and, like most foods in the U.S., come in a bigger portion than their Italian predecessor. Try one at this Coney Island institution, where the pies created with daily-made, never-refrigerated dough are sold to adoring fans until the day's batch has sold out.
Sicilian: L&B Spumoni Gardens
There are two things most people tend to know about Sicilian pizza: It's square, and it has a thick, crumbly crust. Before it hits the oven, the dough is proofed for a long time to give it a light and airy texture with a nice crumb. Though it's one of the least popular styles of pizza in New York City, it's one of the best when done well. L&B has been creating Sicilian converts since 1939. The three-in-one Bensonhurst pizzeria, restaurant and ice cream shop's rectangular pies retain their springy crust by using a layer of gooey mozzarella as a buffer between the dough and the sweet, garlicky tomato sauce. The whole crimson sheet gets sprinkled with salty flakes of Parmesan.
Grandma: Umberto's of New Hyde Park
It might look like a Sicilian, and it, too, is stretched in a pan with olive oil, but the grandma pie is a marvel all of its own. Actually made by Italian nonnas at home, the dough for these square pies isn't proofed as long as for their fluffier, rectangular counterparts this results in a thinner, denser base with a crisp, olive oil-infused crust. The homestyle pizzas are said to have originated on Long Island before spreading to New York City and through the rest of the tri-state area. That's why many who want a taste of this style choose to make the pilgrimage to the island where it was born, at Umberto's of New Hyde Park. The thin square is topped with a rich and vibrant oregano-infused tomato sauce, and creamy, oven-crisped mozzarella cheese.
Deep-fried Neapolitan-style dough began popping up in the New York-New Jersey area in the mid-aughts and has since spread throughout the rest of the United States. Of course it did &mdash who doesn't love the idea of fried dough topped with red sauce and cheese? The Montanara is the most-popular pick at Forcella in Brooklyn. There, the dough is flash-fried to create a light and airy crust before being layered with San Marzano sauce, mozzarella, Parmesan and basil, and then taking a trip through the wood-fired oven. That last step helps dry the oil from the golden dough that creates something strangely reminiscent of a savory doughnut. that's also a pizza.
French Bread Pizza: Shortstop Deli
Way better than the stuff that comes out of a grocery freezer or your pantry, French bread pizza is a college-student staple in Ithaca, New York. The pizza-sandwich hybrid, known as the Poor Man's Pizza (PMP), was invented by Bob Petrillose in the 1960s at his late-night food truck, the Hot Truck. Petrillose patented the dish and in 2000 sold the business to his friend Albert Smith, then-owner of Shortstop Deli. Today the deli is where you can find French bread pizza 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Each Hot Truck Pizza (yes, a third moniker) is made fresh to order with tomato sauce and mozzarella on a third of a loaf of pillowy Ithaca Bakery French bread. It's baked open-face until crisp with a choice of toppings, then folded over so it can be consumed on the midnight slog home.
New England/Greek: George's Pizza House
This New England specialty isn't for everyone, due to its enthusiastically spiced sauce and its often dense, overly bready crust. Regular pizza dough is infused with olive oil and stretched out into an oil-coated steel or aluminum pan, where it's topped with a chunky, oregano-heavy tomato sauce, piled with grated cheddar and mozzarella cheese and baked in a 500-degree oven. These golden rounds tend to be found at places with words "pizza house" or "house of pizza" in the name. The best example is from George's Pizza House in Harwich, Massachusetts. There, the thick crust is perfectly chewy on the inside and so crisp on the exterior it almost seems like it's fried, cracking into small pieces as soon as you bite in.
Grilled Pizza: Al Forno
Grilled pizza, which has become a backyard staple in recent years, was invented in Providence, Rhode Island, back in 1980 by Johanne Killeen and George Germon, the husband-and-wife chef-owners of Al Forno. The pies at this iconic Italian restaurant are still just as good as they were at the time of their creation &mdash and they've become even more of a staple. Quickly proofed dough with a high gluten content is soaked in light olive oil and pressed by hand before it's coated with toppings and cooked directly on the grill grates above maple charcoal. The boomerang-shaped crust ends up crisp and chewy, charred with pockmarks. Toppings range from traditional margherita with two kinds of cheese to corn with spicy olive oil and crispy calamari.
Pizza Strips: D. Palmieri's Bakery
This Rhode Island specialty, sometimes referred to as bakery-style pizza or tomato pie, is a staple at Italian bakeries in the Ocean State. It varies from place to place, but it's basically made in a way that blends the processes of grandma and Sicilian pies. Focaccia dough is spread out on large rectangular trays and topped with tomato sauce before it goes into the oven. When it comes out, the crimson squares are sprinkled with Parmesan, cut into strips and sold at room temperature by the strip or tray. These garlicky, peppery bands have been on the menu at D. Palmieri's Bakery in Johnston since Domenic Palmieri opened the doors more than 35 years ago and are by far the most-popular item sold at the shop.
New Haven Apizza: Sally's Apizza
Like New York Neapolitan pies, New Haven apizza is a direct descendant of renowned pies of Naples, Italy. But unlike New York's historic pies, these rounds are the product of a long, cold dough fermentation that gives the crust a more nuanced flavor and chew. It then picks up even more flavor and crunch from a turn in a scorching coal-fired brick oven, which imbues the crust with the style's signature char. That's exactly how Sally's Apizza in New Haven, Connecticut, has been making its famous pies &mdash so beloved by Frank Sinatra that he regularly sent his driver 60 miles from Manhattan to pick them up &mdash since 1938. Its tomato pie is a work of art, with a tangy housemade sauce made from a proprietary blend of tomatoes and fresh herbs, with no cheese in sight.
Boardwalk Pizza: Grotto Pizza
In coastal towns along the New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland shores, there's a style of pie that's considered a summertime must. It's called boardwalk-style pizza, a thin-crust pie covered with a mozzarella-cheddar blend and tomato sauce swirled on top. That's how it's done at Grotto Pizza, a Delaware classic that has spread out from its Rehoboth Beach beginnings. Because it's made with the cheese right on the dough, followed by the twirl of slightly sweet sauce, each bite offers a different experience. A sauce-heavy mouthful is sweeter and tangier, and the cheesier pieces are flakier and buttery, making a slice an ever-changing pizza party for the palate.
Trenton Tomato Pie: Classico Tomato Pies
The Garden State is hailed for its juicy, flavorful tomatoes, so it's not exactly a surprise that one of its regional pizzas focuses on the sauce. It's the star of the Trenton Tomato Pie, a crisp round covered with cheese and toppings, finished with a vibrant red sauce. That's the gist at Classico Tomato Pies, whose namesake dish was dubbed the best tomato pie in the state by USA Today. The year-old restaurant's pie is hailed for its soft, lightly blackened crust and ample cheese placed directly on the dough, followed by bright crushed tomatoes, seasonings and oil as well as diverse toppings &mdash familiar ones like eggplant and hot peppers and less expected ones like pork roll and jalapenos.
Philadelphia Tomato Pie: Sarcone's Bakery
Stretched and baked in sheet pans, Philadelphia tomato pie bears a close resemblance to Sicilian pizza, with a 1-inch-thick crust made from pan-proofed dough. But that's where the similarities end. These room-temperature bakery-made squares are made from a focaccia-type dough topped with a thick and sweet tomato gravy, with no toppings or cheese &mdash aside from a light dusting of Romano or Parmesan. Grab a slice at fifth-generation-owned Sarcone's Bakery in South Philly. The Italian shop, now run by Louis Sarcone, still uses the same recipe for its rich, super-sweet sauce and light, chewy crust that Louis' great-grandmother developed back in the day.
Old Forge: Mary Lou's
Old Forge, a northeastern Pennsylvania town five miles from Scranton, calls itself the "pizza capital of the world." The town does boast quite a few pizzerias for its population of around 8,000 people. Its eponymous style, baked in rectangular trays, has a pale white crust, a rich onion-infused tomato sauce and an unusual array of cheese blends that sometimes include varieties like American and cheddar. Hidden away in a residential neighborhood, Mary Lou's makes some of the best Old Forge pizza in town. Octogenarian owner Mary Lou Verdetto and her grandson Joe make fresh dough every morning to use up by the end of the day. Her crisp crust is lighter and fluffier than most of the other spots, with an ideal balance of onions and sweet tomatoes. As a result, the plain red trays are often ordered in advance by adoring fans.
D.C. Jumbo Slices: Duccini's Pizza
For Washington, D.C.'s late-night revelers, bigger is better. The city has its own regional pizza variation that's distinguished by size more than style, called the D.C. Jumbo Slice. The staple was created in the funky nightlife haven Adams Morgan and has spread throughout the city. A favorite among folks who need to soak up booze after a night on the town, each of these extra-large New York slices is about the size of a human head &mdash hey, just look at the picture. Duccini's Pizza is the place to indulge. Each 13.5-inch long piece has a crispy crust with an appropriate balance of fresh mozzarella and marinara. They go for $5 a pop &mdash $6 if you want to add some pepperoni.
Ohio Valley Style: DiCarlo's Original Pizza
In Steubenville, Ohio, and other Ohio River towns, local pizzerias dole out square pies covered with piles of cold &mdash uncooked &mdash grated cheese. Known as Ohio Valley-style pizza, these crisp-crust pies come out of the oven with just a coating of tomato sauce and are then covered with fresh cheese and often pepperoni. Each bite is warm, cool and crunchy all at once. While the square pies can now be found throughout the region, the style started at DiCarlo's in 1945. To this day, the shop (which now has dozens of family-owned and franchise spinoffs) uses the same crunchy Italian bread dough, whipped tomato sauce and aged provolone that helped cement the specialty as a regional icon.
Brier Hill: Wedgewood Pizza
Brier Hill pizza &mdash a pan-cooked round covered with a thick sauce, bell peppers and Romano cheese &mdash is so popular in the Youngstown, Ohio, area that when Pizza Hut opened its doors here, the chain felt compelled to add it to the menu. Some of the earliest examples were made for a fundraising project at St. Anthony's Catholic Church, and visitors can still get a taste there every Friday evening. To get these distinctive pies throughout the week, however, Wedgewood Pizza in Austintown is the place to go. Its flavorful rounds have a crisp golden-brown crust topped with all of the expected Brier Hill accoutrements.
Detroit Style: Loui's Pizza
Basically a hybrid of Sicilian pizza and deep dish, Detroit-style pizza was born in 1946 when Gus Guerra decided to bake a pie in a blue steel pan that was originally designed for the auto industry. That tray essentially acted like a cast-iron skillet, creating a nice thick crunch on the exterior of the crust. A thick layer of mozzarella and brick cheeses coats the dough, and a layer of sauce is added to the top to ensure a perfectly crisp crust. You can still get those pies at the original Buddy's, but Loui's in Hazel Park is another top Detroit-style player. Entering the unrenovated restaurant is like walking into a time warp, with all the Chianti bottles hanging from the ceiling, checkered tablecloths and old-school kitsch that was totally in vogue when Loui's opened its doors in the 1970s.
Deep Dish: Labriola
Ever since Pizzeria Uno filled its thick crust with cheese and other toppings in 1943, deep-dish pizza has become synonymous with the Windy City. But it's not exactly an everyday thing. "Deep dish is our Times Square," says Steve Dolinsky, author of Pizza City, USA: 101 Reasons Why Chicago Is America's Greatest Pizza Town. "It's just a box you check off when visiting the city." Dough infused with butter or olive oil and active dry yeast is left to ferment overnight before it's heaped into a 2-inch-high anodized steel pan to go through several stages of rest. It's pressed along the edges of the pan and covered first with slices of mozzarella to protect the crust from getting soggy, then a layer of toppings like pepperoni or sausage, followed by tomato sauce, before its 40-minute trip through a 500-plus-degree oven. At Labriola, the chefs use three types of tomatoes to make their flavorful sauce imbued with basil, oregano and cayenne.
Stuffed Pizza: Suparossa
Basically deep dish with a thin layer of dough across the top and pond of tomato sauce on the top layer, stuffed pizza entered Chicago's pizza atmosphere in 1974. What really sets it apart is the layering: The thick bottom crust gets coated with a layer of cheese, then sauce, then toppings, then a thin layer of crust that encloses the whole Italian-style pie. It's also a bit taller and more packed with ingredients than deep dish. Although stuffed pizza "Is the style of pizza [Chicagoans] typically get mocked for," says Dolinsky, some solid examples can be found throughout the city. The pizza expert praises Suparossa as serving the best in the city, chock-full of gooey cheese and marinara sauce.
Tavern Style: Pat's Pizza and Ristorante
While Chicago may be most famous for deep dish, the most-popular pies in town are tavern-style like the ones served at Pat's. Born in bars back in the 1930s, says Dolinsky, this Windy City favorite is a variation of the Midwestern bar pie, somewhat similar to St. Louis' namesake paper-thin pizza but without the Provel. Thinner than even the slimmest New York City slices, these rounds have a cracker-thin crust that is usually topped with tomato sauce, cheese and fennel-heavy Italian sausage that's pinched and pressed onto the pizza right up to the edge. It's sliced up into shareable party squares.
Quad City Style: Harris Pizza
About two and a half hours due west of Chicago, the Quad Cities are made up of four towns that straddle the Mississippi River: Rock Island and Moline in Illinois, and Davenport and Bettendorf in Iowa. That's where you'll find their namesake pies. The dough is infused with brewer's malt, which gives its crisp crust a nutty and sweet taste. It's coated with a dollop of spicy tomato sauce, fennel- and spice-heavy lean pork sausage and a blanket of mozzarella cheese. At family-owned Harris Pizza, that malty crust is also infused with molasses before it's stretched out onto a cornmeal-dusted baking peel, coated with about a pound of sausage (no exaggeration) and a healthy dose of mozzarella and slid into the 500-degree oven. As is customary in the area, the rounds are cut into strips using large scissors.
St. Louis Style: Imo's Pizza
St. Louis-style pizza gets a lot of flack for its paper-thin crust and its signature cheese. Why all the guff? The unleavened crust is so thin it's almost like a cracker, and the cheese, called Provel, is a processed blend of cheddar, Swiss and provolone. And it's delightful. That gooey, almost buttery cheese product spreads across the crisp base like a nice warm hug. Those Provel-topped rounds, which are often cut into party squares, can be found all over the Gateway to the West, but the place (or places) to try it is Imo's Pizza. Said to be the originator of the Missouri specialty, the local chain is never far from any point in St. Louis: There are more than 90 locations around the city and its surrounding neighborhoods.
Gas Station Pizza: Casey's General Store
Ask small-town Midwesterners the best place to get a pie and one name is sure to come up repeatedly: Casey's General Store. Headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa, the chain of 2,000 gas stations &mdash yes, you read that right &mdash has locations spanning from Ohio to North Dakota, all of which serve its famous pizzas. These thin-crust rounds are made on the premises from scratch-made dough, mild tomato sauce and real mozzarella cheese. Options start with basics like cheese or sausage and move on to more inventive flavor combinations like taco pizza (pictured above), covered with chips, salsa, ground beef and beans. There's even a breakfast variety for those early morning pizza cravings, piled with scrambled eggs, mozzarella and cheddar, and your pick of breakfast meat.
Pan: Hideaway Pizza
Popular at Pizza Hut, in certain Chicago joints (Pequod's is one) and throughout the Southeast, pan pizza is exactly what it sounds like: The dough is proofed and cooked in a pan, usually with oil or butter, a style of cooking that tends to create a thick, buttery crust. That's what you'll find at Tulsa, Oklahoma, favorite Hideaway Pizza. The 60-plus-year-old place cooks its dough in a beveled cast-iron pan, creating a thick but still crisp crust that has an ardent fan base throughout Oklahoma and in nearby Arkansas. The specialty pies come covered with Hideaway's signature red sauce, different cheese mixtures (mozzarella and cheddar are often combined) and bold topping combinations.
Omaha Style: La Casa
In Omaha, Nebraska, pizza comes with a rich and flaky crust that's more like a biscuit than those crisp rounds found in New York or Chicago. Sure, the city now hosts other pizza styles, such as deep dish and Neapolitan, but its original, namesake style is a buttery rectangle with just a bit of thin tomato sauce and lots of meat. That's the premise of La Casa Pizzeria. Since 1953, the place has been topping its flaky unyeasted dough with unsweet housemade tomato sauce and either mozzarella or piquant Romano cheese (or possibly both). The bottom of each pizza is grilled in a special gas-heated rotating deck oven to give it that special "bakery-style" crust. The go-to topping combination is a blanket of ground beef dotted with onions and mushrooms.
Colorado Mountain Pie: Beau Jo's
Birthed in 1973 in the gold-mining town of Idaho Springs, the Colorado Mountain Pie offers a Rocky Mountain interpretation of pizza. One local chain, Beau Jo's, has spread the creation through the peaks of the Centennial State. Its pie is chewy, bready and deeper than Chicago's tallest pies, with three different options for the hand-rolled crust &mdash white, honey-whole wheat and gluten-free &mdash sold in 1-, 2- or 3-pound rounds. Each one comes with a generous blanket of cheese (take your pick of 10 kinds), one of 11 different sauce options and your choice of 36 toppings that start with regular pepperoni and turkey pepperoni, then move on to items like Hatch green chiles and broccoli.
California Style: Spago Beverly Hills
California-style pies typically feature a thin, hand-tossed crust covered with unique toppings and bold flavor combinations that represent the Golden State's bounty of produce and its diverse inhabitants. Those innovative toppings can range from barbecue chicken and Thai chicken to avocado carpaccio and mixtures like pear, walnut and blue cheese, and are now found throughout the country at chains like California Pizza Kitchen and independent gourmet pizzerias. It all started at Wolfgang Puck's Spago in Los Angeles when Chef Ed LaDou put a house-cured smoked salmon, red onion and dill creme fraiche pie on the menu in 1982. That rendition is still offered, now with the optional addition of caviar.
Pizza Al Taglio: Triple Beam Pizza
Pizza al taglio, Italian for "pizza by the cut," was born in Rome during the 1960s. Pizzeria staff cut hunks of the light and airy rectangles with special scissors according to the size the guests say they want. Takeaway shops in the Eternal City display thick slabs of meter-long cold-fermented dough (hence its other name, "pizza al metro") coated with vibrant toppings ranging from the classic margherita (tomatoes, mozzarella and basil) to artichokes, asparagus and prosciutto. The style has been spreading across the United States in recent years to places like Bonci in Chicago, Rione in Philadelphia and Rock Pizza Scissors in New York. It's all good, but chef-restaurateur Nancy Silverton brings some James Beard Award cred to the style at Triple Beam in Los Angeles. Her options include pepperoni, delicata squash with honey, and chicken sausage, kale and walnut pesto.
Vesuvio: Prova Pizzeria
Part pizza, part calzone, the Vesuvio is a Neapolitan take on a stuffed pizza. Named after the famous volcano, the pie features two layers of thinly stretched dough, topped with ingredients like cheese, tomatoes and whatever else, and covered with another layer of dough that's stretched out extra thin. Those two rounds are pinched together, and the whole thing is pushed into a wood-fired oven. At Prova in West Hollywood, Chef Vito Iacopelli uses his family's 100-year-old natural-fermentation dough recipe to make his signature Volcano Vesuvio. Stuffed with ricotta, mozzarella, salami di Napoli and San Marzano tomatoes, the "bombe" is cooked in a brick-lined oven until it rises into a peak. The chef then pokes a hole into the top to let the steam erupt.
Four Upstate NY pizzerias named best pies in the state
It’s no secret that New Yorkers are serious about their slices and pies — pizzas of course — and Food + Wine magazine has named four spots in Upstate NY as some of the best in the state.
Though the national publication declared New York City and Upstate New York worlds away, these pizza shops are worth a stop on any pizza tour.
First up, Perecca’s Bakery in Schenectady. Food + Wine made mention of their thick slices of tomato pie keeping them in business for the past century.
Perecca’s is no stranger to pizza fame as they made a list of the best pizza in America in 2020. The restaurant’s pizza is just one part of a full service menu, but our judges for the Best Pizza in Upstate NY a few years ago said their sauce was the best they had tasted. Do yourself a favor and order a piping hot cheese pizza from this Capital Region mecca.
If you thought New Yorkers from the five boroughs were passionate about their food, ask any expat from Utica, NY where to get great Italian meals. This may be part of the reason O’Scugnizzo Pizzeria made the cut. Owned and operated by the same family since 1914, O’Scugnizzo’s is the oldest pizza shop in Upstate NY and is one of the oldest pizzerias in America.
The self proclaimed “King of Pizza” shop was also named the winner in our last round of Best Pizza in Upstate NY.
O'Scugnizzo Pizzeria in Utica is the nation's second-oldest pizza shop owned and run by the same family. It opened in 1914. Teri Weaver | [email protected]syracuse.com
The Central New York pizza shop does something unique in constructing their pizzas. Traditional toppings such as sausage, pepperoni, onions and peppers are placed on the crust first. Those toppings are covered with a layer mozzarella cheese. The pie is topped with a layer of sauce after it comes out of the oven to give it an “upside down” quality. Food + Wine said fans are always calling in for shipments of their tomato-forward pizzas with cornmeal-dusted crusts.
Speaking of unique pizza, Syracuse got a shout-out with their Twin Trees strip cut pizza. Some call it the “West End Cut” because it was favored by Twin Trees on the west side of town. While there are multiple locations, each run by different family members as separate businesses, the original Twin Trees on Avery Ave. offers a full Italian menu alongside their pizzas.
The EBA -- Everything But Anchovies -- Pizza at Twin Trees Restaurant, 1100 Avery Ave., Syracuse. Don Cazentre | [email protected]
Want the best of both worlds? Twin Trees pie offerings include Spaghetti & Meatballs and Chicken Parm pizza.
And if you thought Buffalo was just about the wings, you thought wrong. With their signature cup-and-char pepperoni, Buffalo’s Bocce Club made the national list of best with their “thick boi pizzas.”
Once named one of the best pizza shops in America by The Daily Meal, it was said that Bocce’s cup-and-char pepperoni pie “sets the standard for Buffalo pies against which all others are judged.” Made with thicker crusts, the Buffalo-style pizza scene is raking in the dough.
New York's 10 Best Pizza Joints
New Yorkers once regarded the Big Apple as the place to find the world's best pizza.
Many locals now bemoan the departure of skilled Italian families from the pizza-making business, and, as pizza has evolved through the decades — becoming much more than mozzarella, tomato sauce and dough — many cities may lay claim to that culinary pedestal.
Food critic Alexa Mehraban, who describes her profession as "professional eater," enjoys a slice at . [+] one of New York's finest pizza restaurants, Joe's Pizza.
Excellent slices can surely still be found, though, in New York's five boroughs — if you know where to look for them. Local food critic A lexa Mehraban raised her food-sensing telescope, located her 10 favorite joints and will clue you in to the places where she took every scrumptious bite.
"In New York City, pizza is king," says Mehraban, whose @EatingNYC Instagram page has more than 317,000 followers. "Yes, we make great bagels, have some really awesome soup dumplings and are home to some of the country’s best burgers, but there's one thing we can’t get enough of: pizza.
"Now, more than ever, it seems that one in every three new restaurants specializes in pizza," says Mehraban, who also has a food-related website eating.nyc. "NYC's restaurant scene is not necessarily flourishing, but it looks like we’re going to continue overconsuming pizza until the end of time."
Here are Mehraban's favorite pizza restaurants (in no order of preference), and her comments why these 10 establishments are the bomb when the urge strikes for various kinds of pizza in the big city:
*Prince Street Pizza (Manhattan). "The go-to here is the spicy pepperoni square. After a few bites, you’ll notice a pattern: Each crispy bite will be paired with super fluffy dough. There’s truly nothing quite like it. The pepperoni here means business, too: Each fra diavolo pepperoni slice is thick-cut and cradles a pool of spicy oil."
*L&B Spumoni Gardens (Brooklyn). "This Bensonhurst original has been serving the best Sicilian slice in New York for more than 80 years. It’s cheesy, doughy and the sauce has the perfect amount of sweetness. This old-school Italian pizzeria and restaurant also makes mean spumoni-flavored Italian ices."
Professional eater Alexa Mehraban gets set to taste a slice of Prince Street Pizza.
*Joe’s Pizza (Manhattan). "No pizza list could be complete without Joe’s Pizza. This is your classic NYC slice shop with a recipe that is down to a science, making it the best spot for a quintessential slice of pizza. The fact that Joe's is open till 2 a.m. is also a game changer."
*Roberta’s (Brooklyn, Manhattan). "For Neapolitan-style pizza, it’s pretty hard to beat Roberta’s. The Bee Sting pie is arguably one of the best in the city, made with sopressata, chili oil, honey, tomatoes, mozzarella and basil. Though it’s no longer on the menu, you can still get it if you ask nicely."
*Paulie Gee’s (Brooklyn). "This Greenpoint establishment makes personalized Neopolitan-style pies and has one of the longest pizza menus in New York. Choose between unique, meaty options like the Porkypineapple or the Benny Gee made with fresh mozzarella, baby spinach and sliced Canadian bacon, all topped with a hollandaise drizzle. For more variety, you can check out Paulie Gee’s Slice Shop, which recently opened in Williamsburg."
*Rubirosa (Manhattan). "Angelo Pappalardo knows a thing or two about making great pizza, especially because he is the son of the beloved Joe & Pat's in Staten Island. At Rubirosa, expect classic New York-style pizza: super-thin, super-crunchy and really, really good. They do a lot with pizza toppings, but nothing too crazy, which is part of the reason why I love it so much."
*Joe & Pat's (Staten Island, Manhattan). "Joe & Pat's thin, crunchy pies have been serving the people of Staten Island since 1960. Just a few months ago, Manhattan was gifted with its own location in the East Village. My favorites are the Vodka Pie and Tri-pi Pie made with the ultimate sauce trio: pesto, vodka and marinara."
*Rizzo’s Fine Pizza (Queens, Manhattan). "Since 1959, Rizzo’s has been serving up some of the best thin-crust pizza in New York. I first tried Rizzo’s at the original Astoria location back in 2010 and find myself dreaming about it often. Rizzo's is most famous for its square slice and special tomato sauce made with a blend of sharp and mild grated cheese, but the classic slice is just as good."
*Emily (Brooklyn, Manhattan). "It’s safe to say that Emily (and Emmy Squared) changed the game for pizza in New York. Why? Primarily because of the Emmy pie (made with pistachio, honey and truffle sottocenere) and the Detroit-style pizza which is twice baked and served deep-dish style."
*Lucali’s (Brooklyn). "Located far off the beaten track in Carroll Gardens, you’ll find Lucali’s, an iconic New York establishment famed for its wood-fired pizzas and calzones. Be prepared for a wait any day of the week, and don’t forget to BYOB."
Houdini Kitchen Laboratory
What Our Inspectors Say: "Located in an industrial stretch of Ridgewood, this inventive pizzeria pulls off a number of tricks with carefully curated ingredients. Taking residence in a repurposed brewery built in the late 1800s, the red brick structure sits near the borough’s massive cemeteries where this establishment’s namesake has been laid to rest. While the 'lab' isn't large, it feels cavernous nonetheless, thanks to high ceilings, sparse digs that include a sprinkling of tables with views of the cement dome oven and an ample covered terrace. Tuck in to salads, homemade pastas and burrata, as well as wood-fired pies that include the Guido BK which celebrates the bitter beauty of broccoli rabe and shares its charred crust with red wine-cured sausage and mozzarella."
10 Old-Fashioned New York Neighborhood Pizzerias
Neighborhood pizzerias are the backbone of New York City dining. Since the 1950s when the stacked pizza oven was first popularized, they’ve been providing cheap food for much of the city’s population. In fact, for the last half of the 20th century, two slices and a fizzy soft drink was considered the classic working person’s lunch. Nowadays, lunch options have grown to include a tidal wave of franchise fast food for which modern mayors and real estate interests have opened the floodgates. But miraculously, the neighborhood pizzeria survives and prospers. Here are some of the city’s best, ones that deserve acclamation for consistently turning out a voluptuous product. God bless you, neighborhood pizzerias!
[All photos by Robert Sietsema]
Napoli’s Best Pizza — What a charming name! With a tip of the hat to Naples, this tiny pizzeria across the street from Tremont Park is usually thronged with locals enjoying the neighborhood’s best pizza. And this place doesn’t doll it up, either. There are two choices: a plain cheese wedge and a square, extra-thick Sicilian, unless you want pepperoni to be strewn across the top of your slice as an afterthought. The crust is the thing here, beautifully browned, with a little more dough around the circumference than you really need, in order to flaunt the crust’s excellence. And every morsel of crust gets eaten. Astonishingly, a whole 14-inch round pie can be had for $5.50. 521 East Tremont Ave, Bronx, (718) 299-0759.
Pizzatown — This lively pizzeria with some nifty murals has been a mainstay of 5th Avenue in the Slope since before that thoroughfare was even considered part of the Slope. The regular slice boasts a thicker and crisper crust than usual, and many patrons go for the extensive collection of novelties — such as the Buffalo chicken slice, the vodka slice, and the square Sicilian fried-eggplant slice with fresh mozzarella, surmounted by a very large basil leaf. But best of all is the stuffed slice, which features Italian sausage, pepperoni, potatoes, and cheese pressed between a double crust — it’s double delicious, and identifies the roots of Pizzatown in Abruzzi, where such pizzas are a specialty. 85 Fifth Ave, Brooklyn, (718) 789-4040
Tony’s — Since the 1970s, when Bushwick was still an Italian stronghold, Tony’s Pizza has been turning out near-perfect pies on Knickerbocker Avenue, a stone’s throw from Maria Hernandez Park, once known as Bushwick Park. The slice is austere in its structure: the crust pale and thinner than most, but crisp the sauce mild and only slightly sweet the better-than-average cheese strewn with a generous hand. Devotees also extol the hot heroes, potato-lovers pie, and fried calamari. 443 Knickerbocker Ave, Brooklyn, (718) 455-9664.
Mr. Phil’s — The upside-down Sicilian is star of the show at this classic Dyker Heights pizzeria (established 22 years ago), which is more glitzy and comfortable than its brethren along New Utrecht Avenue, an ancient Dutch thoroughfare that dates to the 17th century. The slice in question is square, thinner and crisper than most Sicilians, with the mozzarella next to the crust the rich, thick, sweet tomato sauce on top of that and a scatter of parmesan on top for enhanced saltiness and cheesiness. The garlic knots are especially good and so are the outsize, deep-fried rice balls, once again demonstrating Sicilian heritage of this excellent place. 7212 New Utrecht Ave, Brooklyn, (718) 234-4106.
Tu Arepa Pizza Café — Taken over not too long ago by a Chinese-Venezuelan, this pizzeria just off Queens Boulevard in Forest Hills was already a historic and fully functioning institution. Now it also serves overstuffed arepa sandwiches, fried and baked empanadas, cheese-stuffed cachapas, and other Venezuelan fare as a sideline. The pizzas, though, remain uncommonly solid, including a plain slice with extra cheese, a narrow bone (the bare outside edge of the slice), and a bland tomato sauce that makes this example typical of great neighborhood slices. Other more contemporary slices include the baked ziti, the Hawaiian, and the bacon chicken ranch, the last slice gobbed with salad dressing. 100-22 67th Ave, Queens, (718) 766-8900.
Olga’s — Offering virtually no place to sit and eat, only a narrow shelf that runs around the room, Olga’s on Upper Broadway in Hamilton Heights is nevertheless mobbed during the day with neighborhood types, who use it as a sort of stand-up social club. This is an example of a pizzeria taken over by Dominican owners from its previous Italian ones, and all the better for it. The slice is uber-cheesy, the crust pale and doughy, the tomato sauce less profuse than usual, and yet it tastes fantastic, showing how a distinct point of view is always an asset to a great neighborhood pizzeria. 3409 Broadway, (212) 234-7878
Stella’s — Founded in 1997, this Chelsea mainstay across from the projects and just north of the Maritime Hotel seems far older. The regular slice is especially tomatoey and slightly salty, best enjoyed on the two-slices-with-a-can-of-soda $5 lunch special. On the other hand, then you’d miss the dense white broccoli slice, which features cloudy masses of ricotta and mozzarella. Seating is limited to a gleaming metal counter, and you should see the line that winds out the door during mealtimes! Are those Roy Lichtenstein prints on the walls? He once lived nearby. 110 9th Ave, (212) 462-4444
Pizza D’Oro — Lush, lush, lush, and thick-crusted, too, is the style of most Staten Island pizzerias, if you leave out places like Lee’s and Denino’s that specialize in cracker-type bar pies. Several notches above its neighborhood brethren, 42-year-old Pizza D’Oro ("Pie of Gold") displays a glass case filled with pies that ramp up pizza’s richness, many available by the slice. One of our favorites is the lasagna pizza, multiplying cheeses and meats heaped high on the crust. Located in an old house now surrounded by a strip shopping center on the northwestern part of the island. 3115 Victory Blvd, Staten Island, (718) 698-8873
Giovanni’s Pizzeria — This Woodside pizzeria of ancient vintage always had a larger menu than most. In addition to the regular pies, there are pastas, heroes, salads, steaks and chops, and belt-busting, all-in Italian dinners. But in addition, the place now serves Mexican food, so that you can have guac and chips alongside your Sicilian slice. The cemitas (round Pueblan sandwiches) have become neighborhood favorites. Hopefully, the Mexican and Italian menus will begin fusing, and we can expect a Mexican pizza strewn with chiles and cactus strips, or maybe chipotle chicken, in the future. 45-59 47th St, Queens, (917) 473-3727.
San Marco — Named after a famous piazza in Venice and dating to 1969, Williamsburg’s San Marco Pizzeria is perhaps the most beautiful and elegant establishment of its type you’ve ever seen. Seating is mainly at a polished granite counter that faces the pizza oven a series of signs display the menu, for which there is no paper equivalent and pies are restricted, for all practical purposes, to plain cheese and plain Sicilian. The cheese slice is austere, with a tomato sauce not the slightest bit sweet, and plenty of salty cheese, making it an entirely savory experience. 577 Lorimer St, Brooklyn, (718) 387-4861.
The 20 Absolute Best Pizzas In NYC
This is objectively the only pizza round-up you need. You're welcome.
You've heard of New York City, yes? Then you're familiar with the information that New York City pizza is the world's greatest pizza? In the off chance you're not, do enjoy this comprehensive round up (in alphabetical order) of the the best pizzas &mdash slices and pies &mdash in this wonderful city. And if you disagree with these choices, don't @ me. I am a New Yorker. I do not care what you think.
You gotta do it. If you're gonna come to this city, you need to buy a single slice of this melty, dippy masterpiece and take it straight to the face on a super cold day. You gotta do it.
Where to find it: 114 10th Avenue, New York, NY, 10011 (and nine other locations)
B Squared is in here because it is my neighborhood place, and it is SO GOOD. May I recommend their Honey Bee pie? It's a tomato-mozz-sopressata-garlic-puree-chili-oil-honey DELIGHT.
Where to find it: 679 9th Ave New York, NY, 10036
Garlic-heavy, delightful, and about ten steps from Gotham West Market's Ample Hills outpost. Not for those looking for a straight-up plain slice. Patience, pls &ndash we'll get there.
Where to find it: 600 11th Avenue, New York, NY, 10036
Come for the Emily burger, stay for the clam pizza. Or any of the pizzas, really. They're all pretty simple, relatively light, and unusually delicious (. for a place that also serves a great pretzel bun burger).
Where to find it: 35 Downing Street, New York, NY, 10014
Listen. Joe's is a good slice. A great one, depending on your level of inebriation, even. It's sweet and it's larger than your head and regardless of how that all makes you feel, you've gotta try it at least once.
Where to find it: 7 Carmine Street, New York, NY, 10014
John's has been here for about as long as this city, and it'll be here long after we're all gone. The pizza is so, so good in all the ways you hope pizza will be: cheesy, sturdy, saucy, crunchy. Sit with a pie and clear plastic pitchers of Coke and beer, and feel the New York-ness of it all around you.
Where to find it: 278 Bleecker Street, New York, NY, 10014
How blessed are we to live in a day and age that such a thing as burrata pizza exists? And, furthermore, that there are people who've mastered the hell out of it?
Where to find it: 271 Bleecker Street, New York, NY, 10014
The whole thing is another experience in and of itself. Go with a huge group, order all the things, have yourself a great, pizza- (and calamari-) filled time.
Where to find it: 19 1st Avenue, New York, NY, 10003
The first pizzeria! In New York! In all of America! They take such care with their coal oven-fired pies that it's really a matter of pride, by this point. Get a few pies, for sure, but make sure the white one is in there. That cheese is piped.
Where to find it: 32 Spring Street, New York, NY, 10012 (and one other location)
You'll only find suuuper thin crust here. It's not a bad thing. That means there's always room for more.
Where to find it: 29 East 29th Street, New York, NY, 10016
Come with me away from the lower half of Manhattan for a sec, will you? Motorino's pizza is like all girls next door in every movie ever: She's always been there, right in front of you, but you never realized how perfect she was for you until you took a bite took the time to get to know her . or whatever.
Where to find it: 510 Columbus Ave, New York, NY, 10024 (and two other locations)
A divisive choice, maybe, but worthwhile. If you're a fancy person. Who likes fancy pizza. No shade. Just (clam pie) love.
Where to find it: 187 Mulberry Street, New York, NY 10012
Patsy's is a legitimate institution. You must go to the original or else you cannot say you've gone at all. Capiche?
Where to find it: 2287 1st Ave, New York, NY, 10035
Their brunch is as great as their pizza, which is saying a lot. If you want to do it right, try to nab yourself a 12 p.m. reservation and get a little bit of both.
Where to find it: 568 Amsterdam Avenue, New York, NY, 10024
I recently had a really nice bonding moment with someone here on the Delish staff after she'd seen my Insta stories of a Prince Street visit. "THOSE CRISPY LITTLE PEPPS," she exclaimed (via Slack). "THOSE CRISPY LITTLE PEPPS," I replied. We're basically best friends now &mdash it's that good!
Where to find it: 27 Prince Street, New York, NY, 10012
The Manhattan outpost is new (it was a Brooklyn-only staple before this year), but this could not, in good conscience, have been a best NYC pizza round-up without it.
Where to find it: 230 Park Avenue, New York, NY, 10169 (plus one other location)
Yes, the same sauce-heavy goodness you see on Instagram all the time.
Where to find it: 235 Mulberry Street, New York, NY, 10012
Straightforward pizza. The way it's supposed to be.
Where to find it: 22 Orchard Street, New York, NY, 10002
Do you see the everything bagel seasoning on that crispy, puffy crust? Do you?? Hmm.
Where to find it: 63 Clinton Street, New York, NY, 10002
This is about as close to legit Neapolitan as you're going to get in this city. That and a bottle of almost any of the natural wines on their menu, and you've got yourself a pretty ideal Friday night.
Where to find it: 175 Orchard Street, New York, NY, 10002