#44 Artichoke Basille, New York, N.Y. (Artichoke Slice)
Using what they learned while working at their family’s restaurant Basille’s in Staten Island, in 2008, pizzaiolos, cousins and best friends, Francis Garcia and Sal Basille took a party dip, put it on a pizza and turned a sliver of a shop on the West part of New York City’s 14th Street into a pizza icon and cash cow. To this day, when they have four other locations (two others in Manhattan), there’s a line out the door, and pizza fiends standing outside try unsucdessfully not to burn the roof of their mouths on the creamy, cheesy signature Artichoke slice (artichoke hearts, spinach, cream sauce, mozzarella, and Pecorino Romano to be precise).
They’ve made it to The Tonight Show and even landed their own show on Food Network’s Cooking Channel. Not bad at all. There are some who might argue that the artichoke slice has lost a step -- that the crust isn’t what it used to be. But if you’ve visited the under-the-radar sandwich shop Chubby Mary’s they opened next to the original Artichoke as an homage to the shop of the same name once run by their grandfather and uncle, it’s clear the Basille boys still have the touch. Their shrimp hero with vodka sauce, and provolone is amazing.