Joe’s Pizza East Village Versus Joe's West Village
Replicating authenticity is a tricky thing. So you have to hand it to Joe Pozzuoli and crew for some touches at the new East Village Joe's Pizza outpost. Between the fluorescent-lit, sparsely lettered menu above and behind the counter and the Famous Joe’s Pizza "You saw us in Spider-Man" sign on the wall, there are enough familiar, echoing elements of the storied West Village original Joe's Pizza to give you hope in a city besieged by inferior $1 slices and sacrilegious 7-Elevens that have no business gaining the traction they have, that at least in this case, expansion means paralleled east side oasis. The only way to find out for sure? Try plain and pepperoni slices at both spots in one day.
This past Saturday afternoon, as on any day at almost any time, the West Village Joe’s location was packed. Not that that’s odd or difficult to understand — it’s only a few times larger than the backseat of the city’s yellow cabs. A bit shabby, New York’s beloved pie joint shows all the Velveteen Rabbit worn patina that you remember from the last time you rushed through the three-minute transaction there: Shuffle, shuffle, "Plain and pepperoni," cash, change, "Thanks," dash crushed hot red pepper, done.
The plain slice is a bit shorter than you might recall, and the crust a bit wider than it should be, but the thickness of the base of the slice is just as perfect as always: thin, two-fingers-almost-touching thin, with roof-of-the-mouth-scalding hot cheese, and an almost equal amount of sauce. In brief, at Joe’s West Village, the state of the plain slice is strong.
One of Joe’s strengths has always been quality — a great recipe and technique. But it has also been demand. Since there’s always a line, there’s always a fresh pie. As anyone worth the cost of a slice knows, a fresh pie always beats a reheat. At Joe’s, the pepperoni slice, to my recollection has always benefitted from this philosophy. Looking back through my memories of rolled up, crumpled, orange-greased paper plates all the way back through the early '90s, I only remember the pepperoni pie being made to-order the same way as the plain pie. Not so on this visit. Pepperoni slices were layered on a waiting cheese pie in a way that betrayed a lack of cohesion to the cheese that would have been there if they’d been placed on the pie before it went into the oven. And this resulted in something Joe’s has always been prized for not doing: the reheat. It might not be a big deal to most people, but to pizza nuts wary of the dangers an expansion could bring, it’s enough to kick-off recurrent nightmares involving California Pizza Kitchen, DiGiorno, and La Famiglia. "Pizza! Pizza!" You know? The review? Not perfect, a bit dryer from the reheat than it should have been, but pleasantly crispy — I guess a recent reheat at Joe's is better than one at an average slice joint.
And what of East Village Joe’s? Between Five Napkin Burger and Ngam, what was once a two-block culinary wasteland around Third Avenue and 14th Street has slowly clawed out a few pit-stops. And now? In what was once Naked Pizza, a place not worth your time or money unless you derive joy in pouring salt on slugs or taking a magnifying glass to ants, behold, Joe’s!
A walk from the West Village location to the East Village location is the time it took to go from a nine-person long line of post-grad dudes to a four-deep queue of oh-my-god NYU undergrads. The difference? No line out the door, more room inside, and a little less wear on the surroundings. The plain slice? Refreshingly similar to the original. Thin, hot, and crispy, with that super-hot cheese and sauce.
East Village pizza has been dominated by Motorino, South Brooklyn Pizza’s First Avenue shoebox (did you know they deliver?), Gruppo’s thin-crust (if you haven’t had the jalapeño you’re nuts), Nicoletta (give it a break, it’s better than it’s been given credit for, for crying out loud), and the once-mighty, now-gimmicky Artichoke Basille’s (all the love has moved to Chubby Mary’s). Joe’s is a welcome addition, and the plain slice one worth the distinction its ranking as number six on The Daily Meal's list of the 35 Best Pizzas in America. It will take some time for the warmth and the scuff to register the late-night adoration, alcohol-absorption, and kiss-rejection and "text-me-later" consolation and promise that slices at the original are surrounded by, but if they keep making fresh pies with the time-honored recipe, they should be just fine.
But let’s get back to the pepperoni... same deal at both Joe’s east and west: not fresh. Say it ain’t so, Joe's. Say it ain’t so...
Arthur Bovino is The Daily Meal's executive editor. Read more articles by Arthur, reach him by email, or click here to follow Arthur on Twitter.
24 New York City Pizza Places Ranked Among Nation's Best
NEW YORK, NY — New York City is known for many things, but when you're talking food, it's a pizza town. So it's no surprise The Daily Meal's ranking of the 101 Best Pizzas in America was heavy on city pizza places.
New York City took No. 1 and 2 overall on the list with Brooklyn's Di Fara and Manhattan's John's of Bleecker Street respectively. And they took four of the top five spots overall, with only New Haven, Connecticut's Pepe's sneaking in at No. 3. The city also claimed seven of the top 10 spots overall.
Overall, they have 24 pizza places on the list. Twenty-five percent isn't bad, but seems a little low. There are 13 locations in Brooklyn, eight in Manhattan, and one each in Queens, Staten Island and the Bronx.
Here's the full list of the best 24 pizzas in the city (overall ranking in parentheses):
Best Pizza in NY’s Greenwich Village
Bleecker Street Pizza is a Village favorite
Bleecker Street Pizza
Address: 69 7th Avenue South (corner of Bleecker Street)
Voted “Best Pizza in NY” by the Food Network several times, Bleecker Street Pizza is cramped, casual, and the walls are full of the requisite celebrity photos (think Mike Tyson and Steven Tyler without makeup). And they make some of the best pizza around. Try their signature Nonna Maria slice, with home-made marinara sauce, fresh mozzarella cheese and basil.
The great news is that in 2018, Bleecker Street Pizza expanded next door and now offers a nice sit-down dining experience as well, if you’re not in a rush. Same great pizza, but more elbow room!
In fact, if your time is limited and you can only pick one pizza spot on this list, we can wholeheartedly recommend the Nonna Maria slice at Bleecker Street Pizza. You might just get a second slice!
You will be salivating for more. Luckily, they are open until 5am Friday through Sunday, so you can always come back for a late-night snack between bar hops.
John’s Pizza of Bleecker Street (circa 1929)
278 Bleecker Street (corner of Jones Street)
John’s Pizza has been serving customers on Bleecker St since 1929!
First rule of John’s (of Bleecker Street) Pizza — absolutely no slices! So come hungry and bring a friend or significant other to share a classic pie with. You won’t regret it. They’ve been cranking out pies from their brick oven at this location since 1929, so it’s safe to say they have it down pat.
Leave your mark by carving your initials in the wooden booths (if you can find space, that is). Expect a wait to get in, especially on weekends (they don’t take reservations).
271 Bleecker Street
Diagonally across from John’s is a different kind of pizza restaurant that has earned some serious street cred and rave reviews during its decade-long existence (opened in 2009).
The name Kesté means “this is it” in the Neapolitan dialect, which is fitting since this place is all about Neapolitan pizza, run by an Italian-born chef who studied pizza-making in Naples. So while the first 2 recommendations feature NY-style pizza (a thin-crust slice which you can fold, hold and eat), Kesté requires table seating and the use of a fork and knife (gasp!).
The ingredients are fresh and the choice of toppings varied. You can get a nice glass of wine to go with your pizza and warm up with home-made burrata, served with prosciutto di parma. They have a custom-built oven, in which your pie cooks in less than a minute.
7 Carmine Street (off corner of Bleecker Street)
This “no-frills” cash-only Village staple (circa 1975) sells more plain and pepperoni slices on a daily basis than we can fathom. Bring some cash, get a slice or two to go (there isn’t much seating) and grab a spot on one of the benches in Father Demo Square across the street. Do some people watching while munching on the thin crust, fresh cheese and pepperoni. Just leave some crust for the resident pigeons.
Expect a line out the door during the lunch rush at most times on weekends.
By the way, you might recognize Joe’s from Spider-Man 2 (2004). If you need a refresher, check out this pizza delivery scene.
129 MacDouglal Street (off corner of West 3rd Street)
The last recommendation on our list isn’t really a pizza joint. It’s a cozy Italian restaurant, with an inviting glass-roofed garden in the rear and a jazz bar downstairs. La Lanterna’s menu is pretty extensive, and it includes a large section of thin-crust, made-to-order, 10-inch pizza.
Here, you can enjoy an intimate dinner, while satiating your pizza craving. And while there are no celebrity photos, they offer nice decor, Sinatra tunes, and even put a candle on your table. Be sure to leave room for their mouth-watering tiramisu and wash it down with a tasty caffe latte. Afterwards, head to the basement for live jazz and drinks at Bar Next Door.
You can’t go wrong with any of these places, so perhaps get to Bleecker Street really hungry and do a self-guided pizza jaunt. Working west to east, you’d hit Bleecker, John’s, Kesté, Joe’s, and La Lanterna. Enjoy!
Click here to get this pizza guide as a free and printer-friendly PDF file in your inbox and take it with you to NYC (with a larger map)!
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
The Best Pizza in South Philadelphia
Rosario’s Pizzeria, Point Breeze
Rosario’s does, among other things, Mexican-style pizzas. Kinda. More accurately, Rosario’s does a kind of Philly-Italian-Mexican fusion which results in things like pizza al pastor with guajillo chile sauce or Choriqueso Pizza, with salsa, chorizo, portobello mushrooms, and a mix of mozzarella and Chihuahua cheese. It’s weird but undeniably cool, and also quite delicious. 1501 Wharton Street
Stina Pizzeria, South Philly
Skip the Neapolitan pies. Order the Turkish pide instead. The glorious, glorious merguez-stuffed one, especially. 1705 Snyder Avenue
Uncle Oogie’s, South Philly
Phenomenal old-Italian-grandma pies in South Philly. The “Old Italian” is the classic — square, thin-crust, garlic, basil and mozzarella, topped with sweet Italian sausage and peppers on request — but the classic sauce and cheese, the whites, and the gourmet pies are solid, too. Hell, they even do breakfast pizza if that’s your kind of thing. 36 Snyder Avenue and 2119 West Oregon Avenue
Nomad Pizza, Bella Vista
Nomad does fantastic Neapolitan pizzas, blistered by the heat of the wood-fired oven. Nomad Roman, its sister spot at 13th and Locust, does thin-crust, almost flatbread-style Roman pizzas topped with everything from prosciutto and arugula to shiitake mushrooms and black truffle. Both are worth your time and attention. 611 South 7th Street
Celebrate National Pizza Day with a rundown of NYC’s great slice spots
Sorry Chicago, New Haven, New Jersey, and Italy, but when it comes to pizza New York takes the cake — or should we say pie.
So in the spirit of National Pizza Day this Sunday Feb. 9, we invite you to get your taste buds and cameras ready for amNewYork Metro’s pizza tour — ranging from the most Instagram-able pies to the places where you’ll truly be chowing down like a local.
This list in no particular order, and of course, great pizza in the city is not limited to these spots.
Champion Pizza, Various Locations
That’s Champion Pizza owner Hakki Akdeniz he just turned 40 this week. Life was different for Hakki some years ago when he emigrated from Turkey to America in hopes of a prosperous future before those brighter days came Hakki was homeless, spending many of his nights at the Bowery Mission while trying to get back on his feet.
Queens Public Library Celebrates its 125th Anniversary with Dennis M. Walcott, President & CEO, Queens Public Library
Now in 2020, he operates one of the city’s more successful pizza franchises while gaining Instagram fame from his rags to riches story, acrobatic pizza tricks and go-lucky attitude in the process. He was even featured in Budweiser’s Super Bowl commercial montage last week.
A margarita pie from Champion Pizza. (Alex Mitchell)
Hakki is offering free pizza to any homeless person that comes into Champion Pizza’s SoHo location this Sunday for National Pizza Day.
“It’s all about doing it for the love not for the money,” Hakki will tell you as you sit down for a margarita slice, his personal favorite.
Grimaldi’s Coal Brick Oven Pizzeria, DUMBO
This pizzeria is never without a line, which is why it’s on this list. Although this spot is now nationwide, the original shop is in DUMBO, and you can still visit it today.
The spot also has a playful rivalry with Juliana’s. The original owners of Grimaldi’s retired and sold the original Grimaldi’s. However, in 2012, the couple “un-retired” and partnered with a friend to establish Juliana’s.
Grimaldi’s is famous for its classic margarita pie which has a perfectly balanced secret recipe tomato sauce, and it’s topped with freshly hand-sliced mozzarella and fresh basil. Their classic slice and vibrant restaurant makes for the perfect retro-inspired photo. Come hungry since Grimaldi’s serves by the pie rather than in slices.
Louie & Ernie’s, Throggs NeckA tomato and mozzarella slice from Louie and Ernie’s. (Alex Mitchell)
Perhaps the patron pizza saint of Bronx, this longtime Throggs Neck mom and pop shop has been whipping up some of the city’s best pies for over 60 years now. Known for its spirit and sausage slices along with plenty more, many a Bronx resident (and pretty much anyone traveling on I-95) make the time to pull over on Waterbury Avenue for a slice.
L & B Spumoni Gardens, Bensonhurst
Another famous spot in South Brooklyn, Spumoni Gardens, is best known for its Sicilian, ‘sauce on top’ pies. The Sicilian slice is made a little different then you’re used too, although it is still a square.
The cheese is layered under the rich tomato sauce, making it extra tasty and unique. This style of pizza helps keep the crust from getting soggy. Just thinking about the thick and perfectly baked crust is enough to make anyone’s mouth water.
It’s a pizza slice like no other, and once you have one of their slices, you won’t be able to get it out of your head. If you opt to eat inside their formal dining room, the interior is reminiscent of an art museum, complete with angelic sculptures, making it a perfect spot to snap an artsy pic.
Spumoni Gardens is also a personal favorite of City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, he told amNewYork Metro earlier this week.
East Village Pizza, East VillageA regular slice from East Village Pizza. (Alex Mitchell)
This is the image to likely appear if you researched what a standard-issued New York slice looked like — and that’s what East Village Pizza is all about.
Prominently known on social media for its Sicilian pie and double decker pizza, this corner shop has plenty more to offer as well. Heading in at lunchtime for a slice of regular is a worthwhile trek, it has more cheese than sauce at an approximate 65/35 ratio, which is an excellent proportion for an ‘on the go’ style. As an added bonus, the smell of garlic knots over the counter is awfully enticing.
Industry Kitchen, Seaport
If you’re looking for a modern and social media-friendly twist on a classic pie, Industry kitchen is the perfect spot for you. It overlooks the waterfront, and it exudes modernity.
This spot has a huge variety of pies to taste, including specialties like their alligator pie, which has crushed tomato, tasty white cheddar, chives, lemon aioli, and of course, popcorn alligator ( yes, alligator meat.) Although Industry’s savory selection of pies is Instagrammable, their dessert pizza is sure to make your post go viral.
Their Pop Candy Land pizza is the most whimsical pie on our list. The pop candy land pie has a vibrant rainbow crust, tangy cream cheese frosting topped with pop rocks, and a touch of cotton candy. It’s like this dish was made for the gram’.
Mia Pizza, AstoriaA margarita pie from Mia Pizza in an Astoria, Queens apartment. (Alex Mitchell)
This is the pizza you have delivered to warm your soul on a cold, rainy week night after a long day at work. Operating out of a small storefront on Ditmars Boulevard, it’s about time this hidden gem gets some much deserved recognition from city dwellers and pizza connoisseurs alike.
Also, Mia’s gnocchi Alfredo with grilled chicken rivals that of the city’s most upscale Italian eateries and its wings are also a phenomenon of flaming taste. In short, this is one of NYC’s best hiding in plain sight.
Filaga Pizzeria, Chelsea Market
Nestled in one of New York’s food meccas, Chelsea Market, this off-the-radar spot is tasty and will give you some excellent food photos. It’s the perfect slice for a rainy day on the go.
This gem has a ton of varieties of Sicilian pizza, and although all are tasty, the one that stands out the most is their slice with Mozzarella di bufala. They rotate their specials, but there’s really no going wrong, no matter the slice. A fan favorite is their Pugliese slice showcases fresh zucchini, cherry tomatoes, and an entire burrata on top, making it tasty and perfect for your feed.
Pugsley Pizza, FordhamSalvatore Natale, owner of Pugsley Pizza at the 2019 New York Pizza Festival in Belmont, The Bronx. (Alex Mitchell)
Pugsley Pizza and longtime owner Salvatore Natale have been the spirit of Fordham for many years now. Whether it be Natale’s spirit, slices served, or good luck gong that customers are welcome to make a wish and then ring, there’s something innate about this pizza place in The Bronx that makes it a one of a kind experience in New York City.
Fornino, GreenpointA personal margarita pie from Fornino. (Courtesy of Marie Assante)
If you’re looking for something artisan, delicious, and saucy then look no further past this Brooklyn Pizza spot. When nicer weather comes along you can also enjoy Fornino at Brooklyn Bridge Park, overlooking the greatest skyline in the world.
Campania, Staten Island/BrooklynA white pie with meatballs at Campania on Staten Island. (Alex Mitchell)
There has been an argument made that Staten Island is home to the city’s best pizza. While we here at amNewYork Metro seek to not start a civil war, we do acknowledge that Campania certainly packs a pizza-ful punch. This coal fired pizza offers varieties between red and white pies with a plethora of toppings and add ons to fiddle around with as well. It’s a hybrid between thick and thin crust and is certainly everything in between.
Bleecker Street Pizza, West VillagePies on display at Bleecker Street Pizza. (Alex Mitchell)
It’s here where you’ll get a ‘lotta sauce, lotta cheese’ slice and it’s likely that you’ll love each bite. Bleecker Street provides a big slice along with a good deal of specialty pies and plenty of seating space to take it down at. The slices are rich in flavor, sauce, and just about everything that makes New York pizza so darn good. This pizzeria is also like Hercules, it’s less than a full on sit down lunch, but much more than just a bite to go.
15 Places With The Absolute Best Pizza In NYC
Good pizza is no joke! From traditional Neapolitan-style pies to pizzerias that put an Italian-American twist on the classics, these are the absolute best pizza spots in NYC to visit when you’re itching for a slice:
1. Song’ E Napule, SoHo/Greenwich
If you’re looking for the closest thing to Neapolitan pizza from Italy in NYC, Song’ E Napule is your place. It was awarded “Pizzeria of the Year” by Gambero Rosso International, a prestigious Italian food, drink and travel company. Though their classic margherita pizza is to die for, we adore the Calzone Classico. It’s not the Americanized version of a calzone though, chewy dough overstuffed with cheese. Instead, the folded-over dough is filled with mozzarella (fiordilatte di agerola), spicy salami, ricotta, tomato sauce (san Marzano DOP eccellenze nolane) and basil.
And if you still have room for dessert, you’ve got to try the gigantic Pallone di Maradona overflowing with Nutella.
What We Recommend:Margherita or the Calzone Classico
Where:146 W Houston St.
2. Joe’s Pizza, Greenwich Village
Joe’s Pizza has been a Greenwich Village institution since 1975. The original owner Joe Pozzuoli from Naples, Italy still runs the pizza shop. It’s been named the “best authentic slice” in NYC by multiple media outlets (GQ, New York Magazine, LIVE! with Regis and Kelly, and more!).
What We Recommend:Keep it simple–plain cheese or fresh mozzarella
Where:7 Carmine St. (though there are now multiple locations throughout the city, see here)
3. Prince Street Pizza, SoHo
Prince Street’s famous “SoHo Square” slice with tiny, thick slices of pepperoni was a viral trend, but also one that rightfully lives up to the hype. This pizza has the perfect ratio of doughy to crunchy to sweet to spicy (it does have a kick!). But expect to wait on a very long line, especially on the weekends or during lunch time.
What We Recommend:SoHo Square Pepperoni
Where:27 Prince St. A
4. John’s of Bleeker St., West Village
John’s of Bleeker was started by Italian immigrant John Sasso way back in 1929, arguably one of the first pizzas joints in NYC (and the country!). It moved locations in 1954 and has since had different owners, but is still run by a family. You have to get a full pie (no slices), but its coal-fired brick oven method is what makes it so famous. It’s also a sit-down restaurant, not one of the usual eat-a-slice-while-standing-outside joints like a lot of the other NY pizza spots.
What We Recommend:Ricotta/basil pie
Where:278 Bleecker St.
6. Ribalta, Union Square
Ribalta is another truly authentic Neopolitan pizza restaurant. They import all of their ingredients directly from Italy, and “only use the mixture of flours for pizza certified by the Italian flour mill ‘Le 5 Stagioni’ and the natural yeast coming from Italy, which makes the pizza light and easy to digest,” according to their website. They also have gluten-free and vegan options.
What We Recommend:The “DOC”
Where:48 E 12th St.
7. Rubirosa, Nolita
More Italian-American than Italian, Rubirosa was created by the son of Giuseppe Pappalardo, who founded Joe & Pat’s on Staten Island. Reservations are highly recommended online here. It’s a bit tight inside, but that just makes it especially cozy, right?
What We Recommend:Try something different with a vodka or pesto sauce instead of the classic tomato.
Where:235 Mulberry St.
8. Fumo, Harlem
Head uptown for a cozy atmosphere and delicious brick oven pizza right across the street from City College. Lots of candlelight and a gorgeous marble bar add a classy vibe, perfect for date night. And wine bottles are half price on Mondays!
What We Recommend:Vodka pie
Where:1600 Amsterdam Ave
9. Baker’s Pizza, East Village
This East Village pizzeria has allllll the toppings. From a bacon/Brussels sprouts/white truffle oil combo to a pepperoni square, it’s perfect if you’re in the mood for more than just cheese. Plus they have a $5 beer-and-slice deal!
What We Recommend:Pepperoni slice or mushroom with truffle oil
Where:201 Avenue A
10. Roberta’s, Bushwick
Roberta’s wood oven pizzas helped make a name for Bushwick, Brooklyn, and has been known as one of the top pizzas in NYC. Their pies are individual and light and pillowy, and meats and salumi are cured in-house.
What We Recommend:For weekend brunch, get the breakfast pizza with drippy egg!
Where:261 Moore St. (see all locations on their website here)
11. Scarr’s Pizza, Lower East Side
Scarr’s was opened by Scarr Pimentel on the Lower East Side in 2016. It quickly grew in popularity and became a staple on the New York pizza scene, getting included on many best-of lists (including ours!). They use 100% all-natural and stone milled flour (done on-site), and you can taste the difference.
What We Recommend:Classic Plain Slice
Where: 22 Orchard St.
13. Denino’s, Staten Island or Greenwich Village
Denino’s started on Staten Island in 1937, mainly serving as a tavern hangout for dock workers in Port Richmond. It’s grown exponentially in popularity since then, as word of their delicious thin-crust pizza spread. The newer Greenwich Village location is surprisingly just as tasty as the original!
What We Recommend:White Clam Pie
Where:524 Port Richmond Ave, Staten Island or 93 Macdougal St., Manhattan
12. L&B Spumoni Gardens, Bensonhurst
This is a very particular style of pizza that originated in Brooklyn, with an emphasis on the sauce! L&B style is almost a pizza in reverse: they layer the mozzarella cheese first on the dough so it’s under the homemade tomato sauce. It started as a horse-and-wagon operation in 1939, and now is an iconic brick-and-mortar in Brooklyn (with plans for a DUMBO addition).
What We Recommend:The classic L&B Sicilian slice
Where:2725 86th St., Brooklyn
13. Koronet Pizza, Upper West Side
Koronet’s is known for its jumbo-sized slices, which especially hit the spot after a night out on the town. It’s open until 2am on weeknights and 4am on weekdays, and each enormous slice only costs around $5.
What We Recommend:Anything that’s ‘jumbo’
Where:2848 Broadway (multiple locations, see all here)
14. Fiore’s Pizza, SoHo/West Village
Not every slice at this SoHo/West Village border pizza parlor would necessarily make this list, but the Grandma’s slice is where it’s at. It’s a low-key spot and in a tiny space, but that makes ideal at the end of a long night or for a quick lunch. It’s thin-crust style, with a sauce on the sweeter side.
What We Recommend:Grandma pizza
Where:165 Bleecker St.
15. Eleven B Pizza, Lower East Side
Come to Eleven B for good old-school New York pizza. The owner Vincent Sgarlato is almost always there, just as he’s been since his family brought their pizza recipe to the Lower East Side almost 50 years ago. There’s an express side just for pizza or a sit-down restaurant side with pastas and more if you have a little more time to spend.
Finding good pizza in New York isn’t hard to come by but, finding traditional pizzas with recipes that go back thousands of years, is something else. New East Village spot, Tramonti Pizza, is just that – the new pizzeria in the East Village draws on the history of the town of Tramonti (near the Amalfi Coast) and uses a marinara sauce that is said to go back thousands of years. We may have smart Italian spots dotted throughout the city like the recent opening of Altesi Downtown but, who can resist a good old fashioned, no frills joint to come and grab a slice, “just like momma used to make it”?
Set within a very narrow and simple space, the restaurant features just a few tables and chairs for customers to sit at so get in early if you want to grab a space. The eclectic decor includes plenty of pictures of the amalfi coast and a foosball table hanging from the ceiling. Chef Giovanni Vittorio Tagliafierro is chef and co-owner with Diego Matute, both from the school of Mezzaluna. The name of the restaurant, Tramonti, comes from the native village of the Chef in the Campania region of Italy.
As well as the aforementioned thousand-year-old marinara sauce, the dough is made according to traditional by the chef and owner, using a mix of millet, barley, rye and whole wheat that is left to rise for 36 hours before being cooked. The mozzarella itself is imported from Tramonti so you can’t get much more authentic than that. In addition to their classic pizzas there are other classic dishes including broken pasta sautéed with potatoes.
Small dishes begin at $8.50 with larger mains going up to $20 – the most expensive is a grilled salmon dish at $24.
In A Nutshell:
Located in the heart of the East Village, this pizzeria is a special and totally unpretentious little spot. The historical recipes from Tramonti – a spot that boasts more than 1000 years of history in pizza-making – make the experience so much more unique than your average Joe’s Pizza (like what we did there? Just kidding, we love that place too).
OPENED: May 18th, 2017
LOCATION: East Vilage
ADDRESS: 130 St Mark's Place
OPENING TIMES: Mon-Tours 5pm-12am Fri-Sat 12pm-12am and Sun 12pm-11pm
WEBSITE: Visit Site
FACEBOOK: Visit Facebook
INSTAGRAM: Visit Instagram
New York City Pizza Timeline
You think about New York City’s oldest pizzerias and Lombardi’s comes to mind for its place in history as the birthplace of pizza in America. But pizza obsessives know that while Lombardi’s tugs at mozzarella heartstrings, it’s technically not the oldest pizzeria (the original location closed in 1984 and it reopened nearby in 1994). And there’s even been new evidence to suggest that Gennaro Lombardi was carrying on a tradition brought to America from Naples by pizza man Filippo Milone. After a decade of research, statistician Peter Regas has concluded that Lombardi’s was not the country’s first place to sell pizza.
Regardless of who was actually first, anyone seeking out New York City’s best pizza eventually seeks out other classics. And for all the attention paid to the city for pizza, it’s surprising that many of New York City’s oldest pizzerias fly under the radar. So for reference, here’s a list of about 100 of its oldest, most noteworthy joints.
Many places on this list have well-publicized birthdays. Some, not so much. The founding years below were gathered from phone calls, books, the pizzerias’ websites, articles, databases, photos of menus—even pizza boxes.
If you believe a date is incorrect, or if there’s a joint that deserves to be on a timeline of the city’s significant pizzerias that’s been omitted, please reach out.
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