101 Best Pizzas in America

Though more pizzas were considered than ever before and more states made the list, for the second straight year, New Haven and New York City top this list as home of the best pizza in America

101 Best Pizzas in America
Ravi Bangaroo
More than 700 pizzas were considered by 78 pizza experts to come up with this year’s list of great places. Voting was heated, but in the end some familiar places topped the list.

Ask the average person who makes the best pizza, or read articles, blogs, and best-of lists by pizza “experts,” or wade into online comments, and you’ll find that there is a light side and a dark side — two flavors, if you will — of Pizza Opinion: The positive, passionate, all-consuming love for one’s own favorite cheesy, greasy, roof-of-mouth-burning slice; and the dark, fiery vitriol reserved for those who dare challenge the superiority of thin-crust over deep-dish, sweet sauce over savory, or any number of other fiercely divisive pizzalogical issues. Considering the passion pizza inspires, responsibly declaring America’s best pizza can be challenging. But The Daily Meal doesn't shy away from the challenge. With this, our third annual pizza ranking, we have again sought the nation's best pies and slices, considering more places than ever in our quest for the best. 

View List: 101 Best Pizzas in America (Slideshow)

Pizza is arguably our most varied and beloved culinary dgenre, one whose followers are some of the most opinionated, and yet it remains one of the most accessible foods there is. Even the country’s most expensive, remote, and esteemed pizza temple is within reach of the average person’s budget. Every red-blooded American, rich and poor, grew up with his or her preferred regional style of this national fascination, knowing it as the best. Today, there’s better pizza and more knowledge about it and interest in it everywhere. That accessibility and loyalty makes for some tremendously spirited debate.

Consider New Yorkers' obsession with and (often unwarranted) arrogance about New York pizza. While you could argue the state of the average New York serving of pizza has never been worse (thanks to $1 slice), New York City in fact has so much great pizza that there are even inter- and intra-borough arguments about it. Then there’s the Neapolitan versus casserole… er, deep-dish debate (declaratively over, courtesy Jon Stewart); lesser-known regional styles represented by cities like Detroit and St. Louis; the West Coast powerhouses; Pacific Northwest and Southern upstarts; and the neo-Neapolitan movement that has exploded across the country. Wood-fired, coal-oven, grandma and grandpa slices, red pie, white pie, bar pie, pan pie, Sicilian — oh my!
 
For many pizza aficionados, however, there is no debate.
 
"There are only three pizza places on the planet: Sally's, Pepe, and Modern, all in New Haven,” confided director Gorman Bechard, who is working on a pizza documentary Pizza, A Love Story. “People have dragged me to pizza joints all over the country and all it does is leave me with a horrible sadness and a feeling of pity for these poor people who really have no clue as to what amazing pizza is."
 
Bechard is not alone in his passion for New Haven-style pizza. Frank Pepe topped The Daily Meal’s 2013 list of America’s best pizzas, and nobody will be shocked to find five New Haven pizzerias on the 2014 list. But his passion is echoed everywhere. Last year’s list generated hundreds of comments (“What did they do, slip a hundred dollar bill under the pizza slice you ate?” asked one infuriated reader) and suggestions for candidates from everywhere imaginable. And so in 2014, The Daily Meal researched and added 275 more pizzas and recruited a group of 30 more experts to weigh in.
"There are only three pizza places on the planet: Sally's, Pepe, and Modern, all in New Haven,” confided director Gorman Bechard, who is working on a pizza documentary Pizza, A Love Story. “People have dragged me to pizza joints all over the country and all it does is leave me with a horrible sadness and a feeling of pity for these poor people who really have no clue as to what amazing pizza is."
 
Some 700 pizza spots were considered by 78 panelists. Who were these fine folks? In addition to The Daily Meal’s in-house pizza experts and city editors, this was a geographically diverse panel of American chefs, restaurant critics, bloggers, writers, and pizza authorities. Count among them SF Weekly food editor Anna Roth, the Los Angeles Times’ S. Irene Virbila, Esquire and Bloomberg News columnist John Mariani, Clean Plate Charlie’s Nicole Danna, Scott Wiener of Scott’s Pizza Tours, John Berardi of LA Pizza, Jonathan Porter of Chicago Pizza Tours, Jason Feirman of the blog I Dream of Pizza, Felicia Braude of Pizza Lover Chicago, Taste of New Haven’s Colin Caplan, food writer Joe DiStefano of Chopsticks & Marrow, and Virginia B. Wood of the Austin Chronicle. The full list will be available here momentarily — it even includes the band the The Pizza Underground.
 
Voting was exciting. Four fantastic pizzas vied for the crown. New York pizza destinations Di Fara and Roberta’s made a great run along with Arizona’s Pizzeria Bianco, but when the last slice was left, it looks like one famous Connecticut pizzeria can keep its declarative billboard on I-95. That's right, Frank Pepe won again. Other top 10 spots included Sally’s in New Haven, Pizzeria Mozza in Los Angeles, Flour + Water, Tony’s Pizza Napoletana, and two Brooklyn spots: Totonno's and Paulie Gee's
 

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Some 29 states registered — three more than in 2013 — including, for the first time, Ohio, Iowa, and Wisconsin. For the second year, New York scored the most pizzas (35), up five from last year. And there was a clear winner in the battle of the boroughs: Brooklyn. Its 13 pizzas beat out Manhattan (11), Queens (4), Staten Island (3), and the Bronx (1). California followed with nine pizzas, seven in San Francisco and Berkeley. There were noticeable additions from places like Texas (5), Georgia (4), and Washington, D.C. (3), who all registered more spots than they did last year. And in a move that will continue to enrage deep-dish lovers, even fewer spots from Illinois made the list than ever.
 
Other conclusions? There is some seriously good pizza being made across America (with more gluten-free options, to boot). It’s interesting to note that while the Neapolitan-style trend has helped to raise pizza standards, it also may be bullying our regional styles: there are lots of Naples-style pies being made out there. One thing is clear: Great tradition and great pizza don’t guarantee longevity. The time between the 2013 and 2014 lists saw the closing of Chicago’s Great Lake and Manhattan’s Famous Roio's and South Brooklyn Pizza. The passing of these icons makes the accomplishments of these 101 best pizzas resonate even more.
 
No matter where or how you believe these pizzas rank on this list, it’s a great pizza roadmap full of beloved places definitely worth visiting. So get out there and enjoy them. The perfect paper-plate staining slice may be every American’s God-given right, but you never know just how long the door will be open to that red pepper flake shaker at your favorite Formica counter.
 
#101 Ghigiarelli's, Old Forge, Pa. (Red: Tomato, Brick Cheese)

You have to give credit to a town that calls itself the "Pizza Capital of the World," especially if no one would have heard of it otherwise. Not Naples, Italy. Not New York City or Brooklyn, not Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, or New Haven. Nope, Old Forge, Pa., claims this distinction, and on placards for the town no less. Some six places — Anthony'sArcaro & GenellBrutico'sRevello'sRinaldi's, and Ghigiarelli’s &mdasGinger ight Zone of pizza, this pizza capital of its own style, may as well be a different country, too — they even have their own pizza language. Order by color (red or white) or by the cut or by the tray. The mysterious cheese combination that covers the pizza in Old Forge is an enigmatic brick cheese that coats your teeth and tongue in a both curiouly comforting and puzzling way. The white pizza is calzone-like in that it has crust on top and bottom, but the way to go here in that it has crust on top and bottom, is the red pizza.

 

#100 Café Bottega, Birmingham, Ala. (Farm Egg: Mushrooms, Guanciale, Taleggio, Porcini Oil

Over the past 30 years, chef Frank Stitt has been credited for significantly raising the bar in Alabama’s culinary scene. As if the success of his restaurant Highlands Bar and Grill and the roster of culinary talents that have launched their own successful careers after spending time in his kitchen weren’t impressive enough, he’s now going ahead and doing the same thing for the state’s pizza scene. While devoted regulars may have trouble steering themselves away from Stitt’s classic dishes at Café Bottega like the seared beef carpaccio, Niçoise salad, and chicken scaloppini, they’ll find themselves particularly rewarded by any of the eight pizzas on the menu. There’s a white pie with fennel sausage, a grilled chicken and pesto combination, and even a pizza with okra and corn. But the signature pie that the restaurant pointed to as the biggest crowd-pleaser is the “Farm Egg,” topped with mushrooms, guanciale, Taleggio, and porcini oil.

View List: 101 Best Pizzas in America (Slideshow: #99 - #1)

View page 2 to just read the list in full.

Arthur Bovino is The Daily Meal's executive editor. He has eaten at 43 of the spots on this year's list. Read more articles by Arthur, reach him by email, or click here to follow Arthur on Twitter.



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56 Comments

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Zois pizza in Connecticut is right behind the others in ct. I have been eating there since I was a kid. Same owners great consistent pie since 1970. Small town near roselands pizza but they have been around longer. Two totally different styles Roselands is better than pepes!Connecticut has the best pizza places but they are not in new haven they are in the vallèy!

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Did this guy not go West other than Nevada?

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First of all, Frank Pepe is GARBAGE, so that makes the list questionable to begin with. Second, the article talks about NYC pizza (the worst pizza in Manhattan is better than Pepe's) and the different shops in each borough and says only 1 from the Bronx made the list. Just how many pizza places in the Bronx did these "experts" go to? Because in MY neighborhood, there are at least 5 shops, not including Louie & Ernie's (which is exceptional pizza) that have really good pizza. This article is a joke.

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As long as I don't get the trot's
I'll eatanything

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Try Attilio's in Simsbury Ct Italian sausage special...but don't let any one else know

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I see only one location in Georgia, although the article mentions four. Is there a Philadelphia, GA???

Arthur Bovino's picturetdm-35-icon.png

#81 Ammazza, Atlanta, Ga. (Margherita: House Mozzarella, Fresh Basil, Extra Virgin Olive Oil)
#46 Don Antonio by Starita, Atlanta, Ga.
#45 Antico Pizza Napoletana, Atlanta, Ga. (Pepperoni)
#25 Varasano’s, Atlanta, Ga. (Nana: San Marzano tomatoes, mozzarella, herbs and spices)

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This list is absolutely worthless. The worst pizza I have ever had is here. Imo's pizza is not edible. Bleep you 77 panelists!

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Leaving Pi Pizza of St. Louis
and Peel of Edwardsville, IL off this list is a travesty. Especial since the odd-tasting Imo's Pizza of St. Louis was on the list. Ask anyone in the St. Louis area and Imo's is probably not even in the top 10 in St. Louis!!

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Yes. lists like these are very subjective, but it appears that the hipster douchebags who put this list together generally sided with hipster douchebag restaurants that serve pizza.

Everyone knows that the best places to get pizza generally are small mom and pop pizzerias. No. you can't get the new Douchebag IPA on tap, but you can get a can of Coke.

Going through the entire slideshow, only a few of the pizzas mentioned looked appetizing. No. 96 Zaffino's looked really good. So did the few Chicago deep dish pizza places that made the list. The rest looked burnt, dried out, and the toppings were thrown on by a third grader.

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L & B Spumoni Gardens in Brooklyn?

Arthur Bovino's picturetdm-35-icon.png

Was on last year's list, but didn't make it this year. <a href="http://www.thedailymeal.com/101-best-pizzas-america-2013-slideshow?slide=25" title="http://www.thedailymeal.com/101-best-pizzas-america-2013-slideshow?slide=25">http://www.thedailymeal.com/101-best-pizzas-america-2013-slideshow?slide=25</a>

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This list is bad and you should feel bad for compiling it. Even simpletons know you did a piss poor job.

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Why is a list of 101 items presented in a slide show? I don't mind if there are more details linked, but this should really be in a single page list.

Arthur Bovino's picturetdm-35-icon.png

You're given two opportunities to view it as a list... here:
<a href="http://www.thedailymeal.com/101-best-pizzas-america/10222013?page=0,1" title="http://www.thedailymeal.com/101-best-pizzas-america/10222013?page=0,1">http://www.thedailymeal.com/101-best-pizzas-america/10222013?page=0,1</a>
And IN the slideshow where you can click "List."

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Typical American BS - 80% of these people haven't even been out of the country - yet alone gone to Italy.

There are many, many enjoyable pizzas in the US, but to even suggest that any of them can remotely compare to pizza in Italy is just plain stupid.

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Grimaldi's MUST be great. It's ranked both #38 AND #28 according to the slide show.

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Not seeing that, but thanks for the heads-up.

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Any list that includes Imo's (even at #92) automatically disqualifies it, unless the author is listing pizza you could use as building material. Any rational person, with a functioning mouth and nose and the corresponding brain power to interpret what the mouth and nose are telling it, would NEVER recommend Imo's to another human being. If that's #92, I can only imagine #93 is a poo-covered urinal cake.

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Imo's tastes like feet smell.

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Why do you only list the "in" spots with much publicity? It's the little hole in the wall, Paisanos in Hermosa Beach for instance, that are the most creative and best tasting.

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...La rosa's..........sicilian pie........south philly,broad & snyder

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These look divine, but the best pizza I have ever had is Silver Beach Pizza in St. Joe Michigan.. Wowll

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You didn't even get the best St. Louis style right. Arris Pizza in Jefferson City kicks the crap out of Imo's, and would likely be a top 10 contender.

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2nd Avenue Pizza in Sandpoint, ID. Best pizza I've ever had by far.

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I have had pizza in dozens of Italian cities. The best was in Mantova-- very thin crust, pumpkin sauce, and local sausage. I agree that Pepe's in New Haven deserves the crown as America's best.

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LaCasa and Sortino's pizza in Omaha smash Zio's by a landslide, if you don't believe me check out the patronage. LaCasa and Sortino's always packed 20 to 30 tables filled, Zio's , 3 or 4 tables occupied.

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You need to try SHORTYS in Delaware ohio. I have eaten pizza all over this country and its the best I ever had.

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The best pizza in the country is where you like it from. Not from a certain city. Just because it comes from a certain city doesn't mean that it is the best. Enjoy eating pizza but still keep an open mind and give it a try wherever you go.

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Pizza is the best where you like it from. It isn't a city. Pizza is a taste, a flavor. It is what you like, not where someone else is from.

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