Opinions on pizza run deep with people. New Yorkers say it’s in the water, Chicagoans like it deep, Brazilians eat it with a knife and fork and Italian’s wrote the book on it. There is such a thing as bad pizza and everyone has their preferred level of crispiness and choice of toppings. Here is my guide to pizza and where to find the best of each kind.
Regular Dollar Slice
These are the slices you inhale like a vacuum when you’re drunk at 3:00am. You can find these small pizza shops everywhere in New York, clearly advertising that they cost a dollar. They ALL. LOOK. ALIKE. If you take a picture of every plain cheese dollar slice city-wide, they will all look exactly like the pizza emoji. Always ask for these slices well done unless you like a greasy, doughy cheese ball. By leaving it in the oven a little longer it makes it very crisp so there’s some texture to it, but beware the screaming hot cheese.
Where to Find It: Any where, especially high traffic areas, like Saint Marks Place: 2 Bros. Pizza, 32 St Marks Pl, New York, NY 10003
Sicilian / Square
Sicilian slices are square and with a thicker crust. They are the perfect combination of chewy and crispy. The best square slice, hands down, comes from L&B Spumoni Gardens in Brooklyn. They have been around forever and have become famous because of their different approach; they put the cheese on first and then the sauce. You know how sometimes you’ll be eating a slice and the cheese with slide off and you’ll be left with saucy bread? With Spumoni Garden slices, the cheese bakes into the bread and then is smothered in their homemade sauce, and finished with a sprinkle of parmesan. It’s amazing. You can’t eat just one. I ask for one but end up going back about four times.
Where to Find It: L&B Spumoni Gardens, 2725 86th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11223
An abomination to pizza. It should never be allowed in the state of New York. You want it, you go to Chicago to get it and chances are, Chicagoans don’t even like it.
Where to Find It: Chicago. Get outta here.
Brick oven pizza is cooked in a screaming hot brick oven, so hot they sometimes fully cook in under 90 seconds. The crust gets bubbly, the bubbles get a little black and crispy, you can taste the smoke in it and the crust is always thin and crunchy. It’s just perfection. Go to Lombardi’s for this. It’s 110 years old this year and is the city’s first pizzeria. Given that, you know it’s good.
Where to Find It: Lombardi’s Pizza, 32 Spring St, New York, NY 10012
*sigh* Domino’s, Little Caesar’s, Papa John’s…there is no reason you should eat from any of these places if you live in New York. Order from your local pizzeria! Not only will it be better, but you will be supporting your local business and not a franchise. In my neighborhood, a Domino’s opened next to a wood fired brick oven pizzeria. The Domino’s didn’t last very long.
Where to Find It: Don’t find it.