#100 La Piazza, Merrick, N.Y. (Grandma Pie)
"La who? La Piazza as in the Mario Batali enoteca in Eataly?" Manhattanites may ask, confused about something Strong Islanders already know well. Nope. Look east to the neighborhood Italian-American restaurant chain with three locations (Plainview, Melville, and Merrick). Notes Newsday, "If there's any eatery that defines family dining on Long Island, it's the neighborhood destination for Italian-American favorites, including pizza, pasta, panini, and here, a category devoted exclusively to 'Parmigiana.' La Piazza knows what it's doing — and does it well." It’s true. It’s become trendy to upscale Italian-American menus, but there’s something to be said for the unadulterated original when it’s done well, and when it comes to La Piazza’s grandma pie, that’s the case. Pizza snobs may sneer, but they will likely do so without having visited most of the curators of Long Island’s great unheralded pizza style. Yes, Carlino's, Ancona, and Cugini, deserve shout-outs, and almost made the cut, but La Piazza deserves a round of applause for their version of grandma pie — a heavily sauced crispy-crunch brown pan-cooked short crust with an almost equal ratio of shredded mozzarella. Now that’s Italian-American!