New York City is a pizza lover's paradise. From 99 cent slices to upscale artisanal pies, there is something here for just about everyone. Although pizza has been inextricably linked with New York for decades, we are currently in the midst of a pizza boom like never before. And it’s showing no sign of slowing down.
Some of the more notable places to open recently include Motorino, Pulino’s, Roberta’s, Keste, and Co. But there are dozens of other hidden gems that are churning out mouthwatering pies with just slightly less fanfare. Below, we’ll tell you about our favorite spots in each of the five boroughs. Some you may have been to, but hopefully you’ll discover at least one new place you can’t wait to check out.
THE BRONX: Zero Otto Nove
In the heart of The Bronx’s Italian enclave on Arthur Avenue you’ll find Zero Otto Nove, an Italian trattoria with an emphasis on pizza. Go all out and order something you might not normally see elsewhere like the La Cirilo ($14.95) – butternut squash puree, cream of truffle, mushrooms and fresh mozzarella. The restaurant’s name (translated as zero eight nine) is the area code for Salerno, Italy, where chef Roberto Paciullo is from. Thus, it’s no surprise that so much care was put into creating an authentic Italian ambience. Sitting in the middle of their sprawling dining room, it feels like you could be in Italy.
This pizza shop opened in the East Village in the spring of 2008 and immediately began generating hour-long lines during all hours of the night. It’s no wonder the place has maintained its strong customer base more than two years later. Another location just opened in Chelsea and more are on the way. It’s the type of establishment that could put chains like Famiglia and Bravo out of business. Their thick slices are as filling as a meal and there are only four options: Margherita, Sicilian, Artichoke, and Crab. We suggest keeping things simple and going for a Margherita slice.
QUEENS: Da Franco
Compared with the ever expanding pizza scene in Manhattan and Brooklyn, Queens is just a small pepper flake on the map. Yet a little known Italian restaurant in Astoria has been churning out some of the boroughs tastiest pizza since opening last year. Their expansive menu boasts nearly 20 pies, none of which cost more than $15.00. Owner Franco Spatola also runs Spatola Latticini – a small cheese factory that produces 4,000 pounds of fresh mozzarella each week. Expect only the freshest ingredients at Da Franco, which is just a short walk from Astoria Park.
BROOKLYN: Di Fara
The oven at this legendary pizza place is manned by Dom DeMarco. He opened the shop more than 50 years ago and has made every single pie since then. At any given time, it’s common to find patrons who live down the block rubbing arms with tourists from halfway across the world. Expect long waits, especially during evening hours. But spend your time marveling at the process behind each pie. Watching DeMarco is like watching an artist decorate blank canvases – one at a time. It’s difficult to engage in a serious discussion about pizza in New York City without paying this shop a visit.
STATEN ISLAND: Salvatore Of Soho
Located on the island's eastern shore, this pizza place has generated a loyal following since opening in late 2008. Their Neapolitan pies are cooked in a special coal-gas hybrid oven with a rotating stone disk and their mozzarella is made fresh daily with curd they buy from local dairy farms. Many locals have cut their allegiances to classic shops like Lee’s Tavern in favor of Salvatore Of Soho. If you haven’t been to Staten Island, there’s never been a better reason to hop on the ferry and see what the fuss is about.
To read more pizza coverage by Jason Feirman, visit I Dream of Pizza.