Next to Italy, the USA’s — and dare we say the world’s — pizza capital is undoubtedly the Big Apple. While the debate about where to snag the best slice — whether that be coal-fired, Neapolitan, New York-style, the list goes on — runs deep, only a select few amongst the dime-a-dozen shops have reached a level of pizza prestige. Here’s what HAP Editors Britney Eschelman and Megan Shelton consider New York City’s must-try pizzerias.
Revered as some of Brooklyn’s — and even some of the world’s — best pizza, Lucali is a legendary sit-down brick-oven pizzeria in Carrol Gardens that’s worth the absurdly long wait time to snag a table. Guests will revel in the cozy space where the owner and pizza connoisseur, Mark Iacono, masters his pizza and calzone craft in the restaurant’s centerpiece workstation. Sweet lovers must order the gelato drizzled with caramel and sprinkled with sea salt to top off the savory meal. (To note: Lucali is BYOB, cash-only, and doesn’t take reservations.)
NY Pizza Suprema (Midtown Manhattan)
If you find yourself ravenous for a bite after a concert or sporting event at Madison Square Garden and your friends tell you there’s nowhere good to eat, you can prove them wrong by taking them to NY Pizza Suprema. While the exterior is reminiscent of a 99-cent slice shop, don’t let that fool you. An unbeatable selection of true New York slices with ample booth seating is what made this one of Anthony Bourdain’s favorite pizza shops in New York.
L’Industrie Pizzeria (Brooklyn)
One of Brooklyn’s classic pizza joints, L’Industrie is just as delicious and unequivocally cool as the rest of its respective Williamsburg environs. While the line is almost guaranteed to be out the door, it’s 100% worth waiting in for their signature Burrata slice with a side of housemade hot honey, a vintage Coca Cola to sip, and finished off with a sample of their daily soft serve flavor or a decadent Olive Oil Cake.
Louie and Ernie’s (The Bronx)
Louie and Ernie’s is the kind of pizza joint that makes everyone feel as though they’re family. The sibling-owned shop opened first in Harlem in 1947 by brother duo, Louie and Ernie, before moving to The Bronx and passed down to John and Cosimo Tiso in the 1980s. Since then, the partners pride themselves on serving an authentic, limited menu containing simple pizza pies and calzones that landed them in the Pizza Hall of Fame.
Fini Pizza (Brooklyn)
When news broke that Sean Feeney — co-founder of Grovehouse Hospitality and owner of popular Williamsburg Italian restaurants Lilia and Misi alongside Chef Missy Robins — and Will Unsend — former chef de cuisine at Misi — were creating a pizza joint, foodies earnestly awaited the anticipated opening. The minimalist shop boasts a large letterboard menu and delivers checkerboard pizza boxes that are reminiscent of the haunt’s past. Slice-wise, there’s a traditional yet innovative selection to choose from: the Tomato comprises a delicious Gustarosso tomato sauce dusted with breadcrumbs while the White contains fresh mozzarella topped with a hearty layer of Parmigiano Reggiano and fontina cheeses, served with a lemon wedge to squeeze over. Upon leaving, don’t forget to try their Almond Italian Ice, too.
Scarr’s Pizza (Lower East Side)
Set on Orchard Street in Manhattan’s Lower East Side, Scarr’s Pizza serves classic round and square pies with a jaunt-worthy vibe. Ambient lighting, vintage bar front stools, and cozy booths invite a select few guests to dine inside the retro slice shop. You can’t go wrong with ordering a Regular Cheese with Mike’s Hot Honey on the side or go crazy and get one of their Specialty Topping slices such as fried eggplant, meatballs, or extra vegan cheese.
Lombardi’s (Little Italy)
Perched on a corner in Manhattan’s Little Italy, this circa-1905 Italian pizzeria is at the helm of founding the USA’s traditional “New York-style” pizza: a circular, smoky-crusted coal oven-baked pie with fresh tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, and fresh basil. (Pro-tip: The restaurant is cash-only — which puts into perspective how old this spot is — so come prepared, or make sure you have an active debit card.)
Dani’s House of Pizza (Queens)
There’s a reason why Dani’s House of Pizza has been a Kew Gardens landmark for over 60 years. Named for founder Ramiz Dani, this pizza joint in Queens is widely known for its sweet tomato sauce, perfectly crispy pizza, and doughy crust. Named after owner Ramiz Dani back in 1959, his son Sabri now carries on his pizza-making legacy.
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