MICHAEL McANDREWS/The Hartford Courant
Pizza is always there for you. At your eighth birthday party with all your friends and that clown, it was there for you. During your late-night college cram sesh, it was there for you. After a long day of work, a hot cheesy slice was there to comfort you — and maybe a bottle of wine too.
Pizza is a staple of American meals, which means it’s pretty easy to come across. It can sometimes feel like there is a pizzeria around every corner, but there’s just something about a great pizza. Here is where to find the 101 best pizzas in America.
Delicious slices and pies are being cooked up all across America, so this ranking takes special care to highlight pizzerias from all parts of the country, as well as female- and Black-owned businesses. While America does love its pizza chains, this list is focused on smaller establishments and local favorites that have found success branching out to a few locations. To find them, we used internal expertise, scoured Yelp and other review sites, looked at coverage by local journalists and gathered suggestions from readers.
Although they’re each special in their own ways, the following pizzas have many of the qualities you’d expect in an above-standard pie: saucy, cheesy slices of heaven with a doughy-yet-crispy crust and a nice flop; along with a respectable amount of grease — just enough to get the job done. Some have basic-but-essential ingredients like pepperoni and house-made sausage, while others venture outside the box with creative-yet-functional toppings.
Salt Lake City’s Settebello came to life in 2005 and claims to be one of the first pizzerias in the U.S. to recreate Pizza Napoletana as it has been made in Napoli, Italy — the birthplace of pizza — for centuries. Top items here include a classic Margherita; the Settebello with crushed tomatoes, housemade sausage, pancetta, mushrooms, pine nuts, basil and olio; and the Diavolo with crushed tomatoes, calabrese, mozzarella, roasted red bell pepper, garlic, basil and olio.
Wilson Pizza and Grill is a hidden American gem in Kansas City, Kansas. The old-school restaurant is often very busy, but reviewers find these gourmet pizzas are worth the wait. Meat lovers should try the 18th Street Special with pepperoni, sausage, beef, ham, mushrooms, onions, black olives, green peppers and the house-blend mozzarella.
Adriano’s Brick Oven is a family-owned restaurant in Glenwood, Iowa, that makes its dough and sauce in-house. Customize your own pizza with toppings like pepperoni, mushrooms and basil or Canadian bacon, pineapple and jalapenos.
Hungry after a day at one of America’s oldest national parks? DeLuca’s Pizzeria Napoletana in Hot Springs, Arkansas, has a whole menu page dedicated to its brick oven pizzas. Two celebrated varieties include The Benny Briggs Pie with pepperoni and Italian sausage; and The Patsy Searcy Pie with spicy soppressata, Calabrian chili oil, peppadews and honey.
Not only does Alaska have amazing views of the northern lights, but great pizza too. Head to Moose’s Tooth in Anchorage for gourmet pies and pints. The restaurant — named after a mountain peak in the Alaska Range — has an exhaustive list of pizzas, including a popular Spicy Thai Chicken pie with roasted chicken, red onions, local bean sprouts, carrot threads, cilantro, mozzarella, provolone and Thai peanut sauce.
Pizza Paradiso in Washington, D.C., makes wood-fired pizza from slow-rise, hand-worked dough topped with extra virgin olive oil and other vibrant fixings. The Quattro Formaggi is a menu standout featuring Gorgonzola, pecorino, grana padano, mozzarella, minced garlic and parsley; as is the Margherita, built with housemade tomato sauce, basil and buffalo mozzarella.
Staff cuts have been a huge pain point for restaurants during coronavirus, but thankfully, Timber Pizza Company has not had to let a single employee go during coronavirus, co-owner Andrew Dana told The Daily Meal in an email. The menu at his D.C. restaurant is short and sweet with big flavor from the most coveted pie, the Bentley. The pizza features tomato sauce, a provolone and mozzarella blend, cured chorizo, soppressata, Peruvian sweet peppers and spicy honey.
Cloverleaf Pizza in Eastpointe, Michigan, is the real deal. Here’s an origin story you might not know: Founder Gus Guerra is credited with creating Detroit-style pizza using his wife Anna Passalacqua’s Sicilian family recipe for thick-crust dough. That’s when the “Motor City Square” was born, and today, you can get it the same way Guerra made it back in the day.
With more than 20 years of experience under his belt, there’s no shortage of pizza-making skills at Jay Langfelder’s eponymous Jay’s Artisan Pizzeria. The Buffalo, New York, restaurant offers wood-fired, Detroit- and Sicilian-influenced pies, featuring fun flavors like shishito and corn with garlic, fresh mozzarella, Calabrian chili cream and grana padano; or caramelized fennel and onion with a cheese blend and capricho de cabra goat cheese.
Monza Pizza Bar is a casual Italian restaurant in Charleston, South Carolina, and wood-fired pie is its forte. Great options abound on this menu, but some fan favorites include the Count Louis with tomato sauce, mozzarella, roasted mushrooms and pepperoni; and the Ronnie Peterson with arugula pesto, ricotta, oven-roasted chicken, artichokes, mozzarella and garlic.
Pizza Stone’d is a mobile women-owned food truck that specializes in New York-style, wood-fired pizzas, stromboli and pasta, along with other goodies born from seven-decades-old family recipes and imported Italian ingredients. As it’s always on the move, follow Pizza Stone’d on Instagram to see where it pops up next. Then, get ready for a mouthful of flavor with options like buffalo chicken, ricotta and meatball or supreme pie with pepperoni, sausage, peppers and onions.
Micucci Grocery is an Italian grocery store in Portland, Maine, famous for its thick and fluffy Sicilian slab pizza. On each, expect a 50-50 mix of Wisconsin provolone and mozzarella paired with fresh tomato sauce. On your way out the door, you can pick up sauces, oil, pasta and more goodies for the next night’s meal.
Terita’s is a family-owned business in Columbus, Ohio. After more than 60 years in the business, the pizzeria still uses its famous recipe for homemade Italian sausage, driving customers from all over the state to swing by for a taste of the special: a pepperoni, mushroom, sausage, green pepper and onion pie.
Frank & Helen’s is a family tradition in University City, Missouri, seeing children who grew up on the pies now bring their kids there to eat, according to the website. Make your own pizza with a spectacle of customizations such as cauliflower crust, or trust in the house selections. Frank’s Special, for example, comes with green pepper, onion, mushroom, tomato, black olives, pepperoni, bacon, Canadian bacon, Italian sausage, hamburger, anchovies and garlic.
Last Dragon Pizza in Queens, New York, is a Black-owned, woman-owned, word-of-mouth pizza business operated by pizzaiola Nicole Russell. Inspired by the ‘80s cult classic film “The Last Dragon,” Last Dragon Pizza serves spicy New York-style whole pies and dishes named after memorable scenes from the film. Take the “Kiss Mi’ Converse” pie for example, featuring spicy jerk chicken, yellow peppers, scallions, white onions and black olives.
Come to Slab hungry, because this Portland, Maine, restaurant isn’t messing around. An individual-sized portion of old-world Sicilian slab pizza is a whopping 1 pound. You can get a 4-pound half slab or 8-pound full-size slab too. Creative flavors include spicy meat with red pepper sauce, pepperoni, pepperoncini, mozzarella, provolone and blue cheese; and tomato pesto with tomato sauce, pesto, roasted tomatoes, garlic, tapioca cheese and oregano.
CRUST occupies a 2,600-square-foot art deco building and former 1950s home by the scenic Miami River in Florida. A look at the menu reveals enticing items including a popular Truffled Pizza with fresh tomato, arugula, shaved parmesan, lemon juice and white truffle oil; and a Surf and Turf Pizza with shrimp, prosciutto, pepperoni and shaved ham.
Zoli’s was named after a dog, and the votes are in: this place is pawsome. The menu at this Addison, Texas, pizzeria features innovative starters like cacio e pepe waffle fries, plus 18 New York-style round and square pies including a make-your-own option. Get down with Fat Staxx, featuring double pepperoni, mushrooms, cherry pepper ricotta and habanero honey.
This 44-seat pizzeria in Darnestown, Maryland, exclusively serves seasonal wood-fired pizza in the style of “canotto,” which translates to “inflatable raft” in Italian. This is a reference to the pie’s airy outer ring. A higher water content allows it to puff up and in some places, bubble and char. The Margherita pizza is popular here, as is the fig and smoked prosciutto pie with crescenza, fior di latte and basil.
While eating pizza at the other Bonci location in Rome on an episode of “The Layover,” Anthony Bourdain said, “You want it. You want it bad. Your life would be so much better if you had this right now. Leave your family. Abandon your children ... You know you want it.” The offerings in Rome and Chicago change often, sometimes hourly, so there isn’t a standard menu. Bourdain, though, gave his stamp of approval to a fresh mozzarella, squash blossom and anchovy slice.
Cuts & Slices in Brooklyn, New York, is far from ordinary. This pizzeria goes beyond cheese and pepperoni, offering out-of-the-box items like the chicken and waffles pie with oven-fried chicken, buttermilk waffles and mozzarella glazed with savory maple syrup; and the shrimp scampi pizza with garlic butter crust, seasoned shrimp scampi, mozzarella and garlic pesto drizzle.
Pizza di Joey is a Baltimore Sun’s Best 2020 Readers’ Choice winner. The spot serves authentic New York-style pizza to diners in Baltimore using fresh, seasonal ingredients from local farms and markets. This veteran-owned shop is known for its 12-inch “monster” slices, and from what we hear, Buffalo chicken is the move.
Pizza Bruno has seen the critic’s choice and readers’ choice lists of the Orlando Sentinel Foodie Awards a time or two. “A hidden gem off the beaten path where tradition meets creativity,” Pizza Bruno serves up Neapolitan-style pizzas to the Orlando area. This pizza spot uses a simple dough that is fermented at cold temperatures for up to 48 hours. After it’s topped with sauce and goodies like locally sourced Italian sausage, it’s cooked for 90 seconds at 1000 degrees Fahrenheit in the wood-fired oven fed with kiln-dried red oak.
Pizza Delicious was created by two college roommates and New York natives who bonded over complaining about the lack of local pizzerias in New Orleans. It started as a Sunday night alleyway pop-up, selling just a few pizzas via pay-as-you-go mobile phone, and eventually upgraded to a brick and mortar warehouse to keep up with demand. You can’t go wrong with a classic cheese or pepperoni slice, but there’s Hawaiian here too, for the folks who subscribe to this great food debate.
The menu at Young Joni includes a diverse array of globally influenced wood-fired pizza and other plates. If you don’t know what to order, you can’t go wrong with the Korean BBQ pie topped with beef short ribs, mozzarella, scallion, arugula and sesame soy chili vinaigrette. There’s even buzz about the gluten-free crust being the best in town.
Helmed by two longtime chefs — one a master baker, the other a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America — EVO in Charleston, South Carolina, is a must for impassioned pizza fans. The talk of the town is the Pork Trifecta made with red sauce, housemade sausage, pepperoni, bacon, mozzarella and Parmigiano-Reggiano.
Hot brown is iconic to Louisville, Kentucky, and you can bet Chef’s Cut Pizzeria has a version on the menu. This meaty Southern staple features bacon, turkey, tomato and creamy alfredo sauce, mozzarella and provolone cheese. If you can’t quite make it to the Bluegrass State, make your own version at home with this recipe from Churchill Downs, home of the Kentucky Derby.
O4W Pizza is in Duluth, Georgia, but its roots are in The Garden State. A meal here guarantees traditional Jersey-style pizza made from fresh dough that is topped with house-made sauce, hand-pulled mozzarella, and sausage and meatballs derived from a time-honored family recipe. Grandma-style pies are the upper crust here, featuring fresh mozzarella, marinara, pecorino romano, extra virgin olive oil, fresh oregano and basil.
Wood-fired pizza fans come on down. Family-owned and -operated TriBecca Allie Cafe in Sardis, Mississippi, has been crafting its current dough recipe for five years. Try the house specialty Magnolia Rosa Insalata with mixed greens and pine nuts tossed in house-made vinaigrette and freshly grated pecorino romano. It was the runner-up in the American Pizza Championship.
Ken’s Artisan Pizza in Portland, Oregon, slings pizzas made from long-fermented dough, hand-stretched mozzarella and Italian tomatoes, blistered in a wood-fired oven to crispiness. A popular item here is the 12-inch fennel sausage pie with tomato sauce, mozzarella, roasted onions, basil and spicy Calabrian chilis.
Zaffiro’s Pizza is a friendly neighborhood bar and pizzeria in Milwaukee known for its thin-crust pie and possible sports celeb sightings. Don’t expect to find squash blossoms, goat cheese or honey drizzles here — just cheese, pepperoni, sausage, anchovies and other essential toppings. If it’s not broken, don’t fix it.
A favorite of actor Jack Nicholson, Perreca’s Bakery in Schenectady has been run by the same family for more than 100 years. The Upstate New York landmark uses a coal-fired oven to bake a much-desired bread, and the star of the show — tomato pie — gets seasoned red sauce with romano and parmesan cheeses served at room temperature.
Food + Drink in Reno, Nevada, usually serves two types of foods — pizza and tacos — although during the pandemic, pizza reigns supreme. Choose from next-level pies like the lauded no-sauce, sweet and salty “fig + pig” with mozzarella, asiago, fig preservatives, prosciutto, arugula, balsamic glaze and shaved Parmesan Reggiano.
PizzaLeah in Windsor, California, is named for executive pizza maker Leah Scurto, an award-winning pizza chef and seven-year member of the United States Pizza Team. Her Old Grey Beard pizza with red sauce, mozzarella, fontina, Italian sausage, Calabrian peppers, hot honey and orange zest earned second place at The West Coast Pizza Cup in 2019, and lucky for you, it’s on the menu at PizzaLeah.
Al Forno in Providence, Rhode Island, makes simple renditions of food rooted in various regions of Italy. The menu, inspired by New England’s farms and waters, boasts grilled pizza adorned with toppings such as corn, pomodoro, fresh herbs, cheese, prosciutto and spicy aioli. If you close your eyes, you might just picture yourself in The Boot.
Emmy Squared has a handful of locations around the country, but its roots are in Brooklyn, New York. In all of its square-shaped glory, the Detroit-style pie comes fluffy on the inside and crispy on the outside with trendy toppings. If you like big flavor, try the Angel Pie with ricotta, mushrooms and Truffleist mushroom cream. To add to the hype, the burgers here are some of the best in America.
Cheese Board Pizza came to life when employees at the cheese shop and bakery down the block combined sourdough baguette dough with their favorite cheeses and vegetables. After selling just one type of vegetarian pizza each night, the offering became so popular that they opened a pizzeria two doors down. Using the same recipe today, Cheese Board Pizza’s rotating selection of always-meatless pies are revered in the Berkeley, California, community.
The menu at Pizza Den in Princeton, New Jersey, features four pizzas with tantalizing toppings. This includes a classic pie with toppings of your choosing (arugula, baby kale, chicken, mushrooms, sausage and more); a Brooklyn pie with fresh mozzarella, tomato sauce, olive oil and fresh basil; a sauceless pie with mozzarella, ricotta, goat cheese, fresh basil and garlic; and a tomato pie with tomato sauce, garlic, olive oil and fresh basil.
Pizza Shackamaxon in Philly is a “slice first” shop prioritizing serving as many people as possible instead of a select few. If you want a whole pie, you might have to wait an hour or more, especially on weekends, but it’s worth it. With four menu options, there are no bells and whistles here, just plain, pepperoni, tomato and the weekly special. Due to COVID-19, there are only 50 pizzas sold per day though, so get one while you can.
Add this New Orleans food destination to your list for the next time you find yourself in Louisiana. The BBQ chicken pizza with bell peppers and onions is highly recommended, as is The Big Easy with pepperoni, Canadian bacon, Italian sausage, bacon, black olives, mushrooms, onions and bell peppers. Whatever you choose, don’t miss out on the wings. Some say they’re the best in the city.
Pizza Rock was started by three best friends, two of whom are nightlife experts, the other a 13-time world pizza champion. The not-so-traditional Las Vegas pizzeria serves many different styles of artisan ‘za in an electric atmosphere — DJ included — but the New Yorker Pizza is something special. Winner of the Best Traditional Pizza in the World at the Las Vegas Pizza Expo, it gets sliced mozzarella, tomato sauce, house-made fennel sausage, pepperoni, garlic, extra virgin olive oil, oregano, pecorino romano and ricotta. And it’s near the Neon Museum, the most underrated tourist spot in the state.
At Seattle’s Serious Pie, the dough is hand-crafted through a multiple-day process and tossed in a 600-degree oven for light browning. Toppings like farm potato, seasonal mushrooms and truffle cheeses go beyond what you’d find at your average pizzeria. Though all items come highly regarded, the pie with sweet fennel sausage and roasted peppers aims to please.
Mother Bear’s Pizza/Yelp
Indianapolis might be the most caring city in Indiana, but you’re going to want to venture to Bloomington for a piece of this pie. Mother Bear’s Pizza — which has been voted the best pizza in the city for the past 10 years by students at Indiana University — serves a popular Divine Swine with imported pepperoni, ground sausage, Hoosier ham and smoked bacon, among 20 other creative pies.
Santillo’s Brick Oven Pizza has been feeding Elizabeth, New Jersey, for 102 years. The family-owned business, passed down three generations, still uses the same recipe Lou Santillo developed in 1918, which means grandson Al has to shovel 13 loads of coal into the oven twice a day. “If you want something that good, you must suffer, and we do,” Al said, according to Santillo’s website. Take a bite of the past with pie styles from different years, like the 1964 16-inch pizza with extra virgin olive oil and Parmesan cheese.
The people of Hazel Park, Michigan, and its visitors rave about Loui’s Pizza and its deep-dish Detroit-style pie. “We use original brick ovens [with] no conveyors. That’s what separates our pizza from our competitors,” Loui’s Pizza told The Daily Meal. Go for regular cheese or pick from the most popular toppings at this family-owned establishment: pepperoni and mushroom. And don’t skip out on the crust. Some say that’s the best part.
“In crust we trust,” is the motto at Home Slice Pizza in Austin, Texas, and New York-style pie is the name of the game. Here’s what to expect: crisp, stone-baked Neapolitan crust and slices so large you have to fold them in half to eat. Make your own masterpiece or go for the “tried and true” part of the menu. There’s Margherita, pepperoni and mushroom, and an eggplant pie that’s essentially eggplant parmesan on ‘za.
Triple Jay’s Pizza is a highly recommended food truck and mom-and-pop restaurant in Midtown Atlanta. The food truck has been parked pretty much all year, with sales down at least 95% due to COVID, but the brick and mortar is slinging pizzas left and right. “I actually started making pizza on the weekends with my sons as a way to just hang out and bond with them for years, never knowing that we would one day make it into a business” owner Jay Terrence told The Daily Meal. The most popular pie? Pepperoni, of course.
Bambino’s prides itself on using homemade hand-stretched dough made from flour milled in Italy, fior di latte mozzarella and locally grown produce. The best part? Unlimited toppings for $11. If you’re not afraid of a little kick, try The Hot Chick with spicy Buffalo sauce, fresh mozzarella, chicken, jalapenos and Gorgonzola; or Unleash The Beast with red sauce, shredded mozzarella, crispy bacon, Italian sausage, pepperoni and meatballs.
The Missing Brick specializes in “creating urban dishes on pizzas.” The 21-and-up family-owned Indianapolis restaurant offers creative pies meant to reflect flavorful dishes like lasagna, seafood boils and BBQ ribs. Take The Trap Pizza for example, with shrimp, crab, mozzarella, a special Young Bae Spice, fresh parsley, green onion and “O.G. Garlic Herb Trap Buttah.” That’s enough to make America’s best seafood shacks jealous.
Plant Based Pizzeria is the first 100% plant-based pizzeria in Atlanta. When in Rome — or Georgia, that is — go for the Georgia Peach Pizza with roasted basil pizza sauce, vegan mozzarella cheese, spicy Beyond Sausage, roasted peaches, red onions and jalapenos.
Audrey Jane’s Pizza Garage is a family-run pizza parlor in Boulder, Colorado, where the pies are inspired by San Francisco, New York City and Italy. Don’t miss the Spicy Pig, featuring hand-crushed tomato sauce, mozzarella, natural casing pepperoni, Italian sausage, roasted jalapenos, fresh garlic and oregano.
The family behind Metro Pizza has visited hundreds of pizzerias across the country to learn and gather recipes “to bring our guests a taste of home, wherever home may be.” The Old New York Pizza is a hot item here, an original classic cheese pizza with thick slices of mozzarella and richly simmered Italian tomato sauce. For something out of the ordinary, try the “stuffed” pizzas.
There’s nothing fancy at this retro pizzeria, but it’ll bring you joy nonetheless according to online reviewers. Scarr’s is known for its simple cheese pizza by the slice made from all-natural, 100% stone-milled flour. It’s a classic New York City slice joint, no ifs, ands or buts about it.
Los Angeles Times food critic S. Irene Virbila describes Pizzeria Mozza’s Margherita pie as a “beautiful melding of fresh milky mozzarella” with “light tomato sauce and fresh, fragrant basil leaves on crust that’s both tender and crackling crisp on the bottom, blistered and smoky from the wood-burning oven.” If that doesn’t sell you, other options include corn with mushrooms, Fresno chiles, fontina and mozzarella; or Shrimp Aglio e Olio with garlic, mozzarella and fontina.
If you’re acquainted with New Haven, Connecticut, pizzeria nightclub BAR, you know what the people are there for. There’s a list of 30 optional toppings ranging from pepperoni and Buffalo chicken to lobster and fresh littleneck clams, but mashed potato pie is the real deal. The specialty starts with a white base and mozzarella and is topped with hand-mashed potatoes and brick oven-cooked bacon. The house suggests adding onions or swapping meat for broccoli.
On the 100th anniversary of this cash-only family business, Vito & Nick’s owner Rose Barraco George — granddaughter of Vito and daughter of Nick — told the Chicago Tribune she still uses grandmother Mary’s recipe to make impossibly thin, crispy pizza with plump sausage, red sauce and melty cheese. Some say it’s the best in the city.
The late Dominic Zuppardi learned his trade in Italy and became a master bread-maker in West Haven, Connecticut, before opening his own bakery specializing in artisan Italian breads and apizza. Today, the family-run business makes a variety of pies, but for a taste of history, you’ll want to order one of the very first pizzas on the menu: the traditional plain pie with a great amount of tomato sauce and pecorino Romano cheese. Pro tip: ask to add fresh garlic too.
Juliana’s is named after the mother of Patsy Grimaldi, the much-celebrated pizza proprietor of Grimaldi’s. Funny enough, after selling his Brooklyn legacy, he opened a new one next door. Juliana’s proudly prepares coal-fired thin-crust pies adorning house-made, locally and internationally sourced toppings. You can’t go wrong with the Margherita pizza, but the white pie is timeless too.
In 1935, Colony Grill opened as an Irish-American tavern in Stamford, Connecticut. Over the years, it earned a sparkling reputation for its thin-crust bar pie, best served with the signature spicy pepper-infused “hot oil.” This became so popular that eventually, all other menu items were phased out completely, and the need for a grill ceased to exist.
Inspired by a recipe more than 50 years old passed down by his father — the founder of Joe & Pat’s in Staten Island — Aj Pappalardo made pizza magic in Manhattan. Rubirosa is a family-run, Italian-American neighborhood restaurant and New York City institution where regulars and newcomers can enjoy Italian plates and pizza with cool toppings ranging from classic tomato and mozzarella to mini meatballs and Brussels sprouts.
Cane Rosso was born after owner Jay Jerrier had a taste of pizza in Italy on his honeymoon. In an attempt to replicate it, he trained under master pizzaiolos at The True Neapolitan Pizza Association. Thanks to wood-fired favorites like Delia with bacon marmalade, grape tomatoes, housemade mozzarella and arugula, this Texas pizzeria has a loyal following of Dallas-area diners. Jerrier went on to create a non-profit organization of the same name to help abandoned dogs get adopted too.
Located in the historic town of Tilton, New Hampshire, this riverside restaurant has a seemingly infinite number of pizzas on the menu. There are lots of options at Tilton House of Pizza, from chicken and broccoli alfredo to spinach and feta, but you can’t go wrong with a classic pepperoni pie.
Pizzeria Beddia in Philly is open seven days a week. It’s best known for the No. 1 listing on the menu, a 16-inch pie with tomato sauce, fresh, whole milk mozzarella, Sicilian oregano, olive oil and Old Gold cheese, the establishment told The Daily Meal. The runner-up for most popular is a seasonal corn pizza with corn and black pepper cream, heirloom cherry tomatoes, fresh whole milk mozzarella and basil vinaigrette, which sounds like it would make for a healthy salad dressing.
This pizzeria started off as a food truck — or a horse and wagon in 1918, to be exact. You’ll find regular round pies at L&B Spumoni Gardens’ brick and mortar in Brooklyn, though it’s famous for thick Sicilian squares. The landmark family establishment sells by the slice, but you can only unlock toppings if you order a whole pizza. Choose from extra cheese, mushroom, sausage, pepperoni or anchovies.
If you’re looking for a reliable New York City slice, head to The Bronx for a bite at Louie and Ernie’s. The 1,200-square-foot basement pizzeria was recently inducted into the Pizza Hall of Fame, and co-owner Cosimo Tiso said he and brother John “believe in KISS: Keep it simple, stupid. We have limited products — only pizzas and calzones — and don’t try to reinvent the wheel.”
Star Tavern is a bustling neighborhood pizzeria in Orange, New Jersey. The family-owned and -operated restaurant is renowned for its super thin crust bar-style pie. Go crazy with toppings — this place has cup pepperoni — or take a walk down memory lane with the Old School Everything, featuring onions, sausage, pepperoni, peppers, mushrooms and anchovies.
There are nine pizzas on the menu at Supino in Detroit that are made from local and organic products whenever possible. Some popular pies include the no-sauce Funghi with flat parsley, fresh basil, mushrooms, mozzarella, smoked Gouda and Parmigiano-Reggiano; and the red-sauce Supino with roasted garlic, black olives, chili oil, ricotta and mozzarella.
DeSano Pizzeria is open seven days a week from 11 a.m. until the chef runs out of dough. The highly coveted Nashville spot employs wood-burning ovens to cook authentic Neapolitan pizza, including the house special San Gennaro pie with San Marzano tomato sauce, sausage, peppadews, garlic, caramelized onions, scamorza, mozzarella di bufala and pecorino Romano.
Angelo’s Picnic Pizza/Yelp
The Nashville area may be known for incredible fried chicken, but Angelo’s Picnic Pizza is turning heads with its pies. Secret family recipes were passed down to the founder’s two sons, who keep the legacy alive with the finest quality and best tasting Brooklyn-style pizza in Antioch, Tennessee. Order the New York Pizza with sun-dried tomato, roasted garlic, feta, spinach and pesto; or the signature Picnic Special featuring spinach, mushrooms, broccoli, sun-dried tomato, roasted garlic, feta and tomato.
Alyssa Bianca M./Yelp
L’industrie Pizzeria in Brooklyn, New York, serves classic and gourmet pizza. The New Yorker is popular here — it gets tomato sauce, mozzarella, pepperoni, sausage and ricotta — but cheese connoisseurs are going to want to try the signature burrata pizza with tomato sauce, mozzarella and — you guessed it — burrata.
When asked which pizza is most popular at Nomad Pizza Company, co-owner Tom Grim told The Daily Meal, “That is like asking which flavor of ice cream is most popular. Vanilla is, and always will be for ice cream. For pizza, Margherita will always be No. 1 by far.” This Philly restaurant is “open, thriving and hasn’t stopped making great wood-fired pizza,” Grim said.
Pies at Di Fara in Brooklyn, New York, are still handcrafted by owner Domenico De Marco, an Italian immigrant who spent over 53 years perfecting his craft, along with his children. The octogenarian imports many of his ingredients from Italy, and the late Anthony Bourdain is quoted saying it’s “the best of the best.” Make your own regular, square or white pie, or go for the Chaos Pie with sausage, meatballs, cherry tomatoes, wild onions and fresh garlic.
Rochelle ‘Shella’ T./Yelp
Tony’s Pizza Napoletana has won Best Pizza Margherita at the World Pizza Cup in Naples, Italy, and Best Pizza Romana at the World Championship of Pizza Makers, so you know these pies are the real deal. You’ll find a bunch of styles here, including Neapolitan, New York and Detroit, but you’d do yourself a disservice if you didn’t try the award-winning Margherita. Only 73 are made per day.
Apizza is iconic to Connecticut, but this shop serves it all the way out in Oregon. At Portland’s Apizza Scholls, you can build your own pie or choose from a list of specialties. Popular items include the Apizza Amore — a Margherita with cured pork shoulder — and the Bacon Bianca featuring whole milk mozzarella, grana padano, a heaping of fresh garlic, herbs, black pepper, extra virgin olive oil and house-cured bacon, sans sauce.
Nick Nitti had his first bite of pizza Napoletana in Naples on a trip to Pompeii, and it was love at first bite. Years later, he trained under one of Napoli’s best pizzaiolos before opening Forno Rosso Pizzeria Napoletana in Chicago, where he serves expertly crafted pies. There are 20 of them, to be exact, including a brunch-y carbonara pizza with San Marzano tomatoes, fior di latte mozzarella, pancetta, pecorino romano, organic egg, cracked black pepper and basil.
Enticing pasta plates like bucatini cacio e pepe and spaccatelli pomodoro might pique your interest at Roberta’s in Brooklyn, New York, but pizza is the wave. Check out the Bee Sting with mozzarella, tomato, soppressata, chili, basil and honey; or the Lil’ Stinker with tomato, mozzarella, parmigiana, pecorino, double garlic, onion and pepperoncini.
Galleria Umberto is a cash-only counter known for Sicilian-style pizza and Italian eats just a stone’s throw from Boston Public Garden. The coveted Massachusetts pizzeria specializes in square slices, but cheese is the only type on offer, and you can only order for lunch during the hours of 10:45 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
ZuriLee is a destination for pizza-loving locals and tourists, though its Caribbean-inspired creations set it apart from other joints. You will find classic pies here, though the cheese pizza levels up from mozzarella to smoked Gouda, havarti and Vermont white cheddar. Don’t miss out on The Jerk Chicken Pizza with mozzarella and fresh corn, or The Oxtail with mozzarella, grana padano and oxtail ragu.
The Margherita pizza is the star of the menu at Cibo in Phoenix, but if it’s fire you desire, Diavola brings the heat. This pie gets mozzarella, tomato sauce and spicy salami. Speaking to the chef’s expertise, a representative of the restaurant told The Daily Meal he “grew up doing this in Naples. Spent his whole life working in restaurants and learning pizza. He was taught by his brother. He’s the heart and soul of this restaurant.”
Illinois may be divided when it comes to picking a favorite baseball team, but Lou Malnati’s is undeniably essential to the Chicago deep-dish pizza experience. If you’re stuck on what to get, order the Malnati Chicago Classic featuring lean sausage, extra cheese and vine-ripened California tomato sauce on flaky, buttery crust.
Naples, Italy, native Joe Pozzuoli opened Joe’s pizzeria in 1975, and he still operates the original location today. For first-time visitors to New York City, a slice from this old-school joint is an iconic street food you absolutely need to try. There are no “string-bean, asparagus covered, wild turkey surprise” pizzas here, just authentic pies with no-frills toppings available upon request.
Pizzeria Delfina is a farm-to-table neighborhood restaurant in San Francisco. The family-owned business specializes in Neapolitan-inspired pizza, with popular items including Margherita with tomato, fior di latte mozzarella and basil; prosciutto with caciocavallo (an Italian cheese), mozzarella, panna and arugula; and broccoli rabe with caciocavallo, mozzarella, olives and hot peppers.
Lombardi’s offers a slice of history in New York City. The Little Italy gem came to life in 1905 and could just be the first pizzeria in the United States. It’s also credited with developing New York City-style pizza. Just like in the old days, Lombardi’s is beloved for its smoky, crusted coal-oven pizza topped with purist tomato sauce, fresh whole milk mozzarella and basil.
While it’s not the oldest restaurant in New York, Patsy’s dates back to 1933 and is widely credited as the first pizzeria to sell by the slice, as well as with popularizing New York’s thin-crust pizza. The historic East Harlem spot still makes thin-crust pizza in its coal oven with just three options: old-fashioned square pie, old-school round pie and white pie with your choice of toppings.
If you’re craving pizza and ice cream, Lovely’s Fifty Fifty in Portland, Oregon, is your one-stop shop for both. The 12-inch pie with house-made fennel sausage, kale, Reggiano and rosemary is popular here, as is the summer squash variety peppered with pretty edible flowers. Once your sweet tooth activates, choose from popular soft serve flavors or go for an organic pint of malted milk ball, salted caramel, raspberry buttermilk or mint stracciatella.
Modern Apizza in New Haven, Connecticut, has always been a family restaurant. “The journey the owners have been on is what brought the pizza to what it is now,” an employee shared over the phone with The Daily Meal “A lot of love goes into the pizza.” The hot ticket item here is the Italian Bomb, complete with bacon, sausage, pepperoni, mushroom, onion, pepper and garlic.
Paulie Gee’s menu is lush with creative ‘za, featuring 30 wood-fired pizzas, eight of which are vegan. If you like it hot, order the Hellboy with fresh mozzarella, Italian tomatoes, Berkshire soppressata piccante, Parmigiano-Reggiano and Mike’s Hot Honey. It’s the most popular option on the menu, the restaurant told The Daily Meal. And if you’re not hungry for a whole pie, Paulie Gee’s Slice Shop is just two blocks away. “Both of our pizzerias serve up pizza, music and conversation in equal portions,” owner Paulie Giannone said over the phone.
Chris Bianco's Pizzeria Bianco in Phoenix, Arizona, has been described as a "mecca for the pizza obsessed.” Looking for a “life-altering experience?” Try the Sonny Boy with tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, salami and olives.
This Denver restaurant is housed in a 640-square-foot shipping container, where you can order wood-fired pies, fresh oysters, prosecco on tap, Italian spritzes, local beer and craft cocktails. The clam pizza is a standout here, topped with littleneck clams, pancetta, toasted garlic and panna. Limited quantities are sold each night, so get one while you can.
Wen Gin G./Yelp
Prince Street Pizza is another much-loved New York City attraction. You can’t go wrong with a cheese slice, but the Spicy Spring is top dog. It comes with fra diavolo sauce — a spicy tomato-based sauce — spicy pepperoni and mozzarella. If squares aren’t your thing, The Fancy Prince, the shop’s Margherita pizza, is a must-try house specialty.
Smiling with Hope is a New York-style pizzeria in Reno, Nevada, that trains and employs people with developmental disabilities, who currently make up 30% of the staff. The restaurant is modeled after the mom-and-pop shops that the pizzeria’s owner, Walter, grew up with in New Jersey during the 1960s and 1970s. He and Judy, his wife of 40 years, work every hour of operation, and Walter handcrafts every pizza. The Classic NY with pepperoni is the most popular.
Piece is an award-winning pizzeria specializing in New Haven-style pizza, and beer is brewed on premise. The crème de la crème at this Chicago spot is “red pizza” with tomato sauce, mozzarella, pecorino romano and pepperoni.
Sally’s Apizza is a pillar in the New Haven, Connecticut, pizza scene. Straying from the state’s iconic white clam pie, Sally’s sets itself apart with other specialties including a White Potato variety with potato, onion, mozzarella, imported Parmesan and rosemary.
Famed New York City pizzeria Lucali came to life so that owner and pizzaiolo Mark Iacono could save his local candy shop. Now, the Brooklyn hotspot is a magnet for celebrities. Ed Sheeran, John Legend, Kylie Jenner and countless others have eaten here pre-coronavirus, when customers could forgo takeout for table service — if they were able to get a seat. “During this whole pandemic, I’d like to thank customers for their support, and my staff,” Iacono told The Daily Meal. The most popular pie? That honor goes to the Margherita.
If you’re looking for pizza in this major sports city, it’s gotta be Santarpio’s. This cash-only Boston restaurant has no shortage of options on the menu, down to even shrimp scampi pizza, but its top-selling slice is classic pepperoni. “We do our very best to please our customers,” an employee told The Daily Meal over the phone.
Detroit may be one of the most underrated cities in America, but the thrill of Buddy’s Pizza is just right. This Motor City restaurant takes the No. 6 spot on our list for its swoon-worthy square-shaped pizzas perfected over five generations. Make your own with Wisconsin brick cheese, tomato or tomato basil sauce and all the toppings your heart desires, or go for one of 14 signature pies.
Nashville-based Slim & Husky’s Pizza Beeria serves artisan pizzas in “underserved communities and more,” and features menu items inspired by hip-hop and R&B. Take “Got 5 On It” for example, featuring classic red sauce, the house cheese blend and fresh mozzarella; or “Cee No Green” with classic red sauce, the house cheese blend, ground beef, pepperoni, hickory-smoked bacon, Canadian bacon and Italian sausage.
Razza Pizza Artigianale serves wood-fired pizza in Jersey City, New Jersey. The shop’s top seller is a Margherita pizza with the essentials: tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, sea salt, basil and California extra virgin olive oil. Although it already impresses at No. 4 on the list, Razza is “trying hard to make the pizza better today than it was yesterday,” an employee told The Daily Meal.
John’s of Bleecker Street is a New York City landmark that opened in 1929 and has been “doing it the same way ever since.” The family-owned pizzeria is best known for its pepperoni and sausage mushroom pizzas, but don’t come here expecting a slice. Pizza is sold by the whole pie only.
Pequod’s is synonymous with Chicago, with a cult following of locals and tourists vying for cast-iron pan-style pie with a caramelized crust edge. The most popular item on the menu is the deep-dish pepperoni and sausage ‘za with a side of excellent customer service. “We treat everyone fairly and want everyone to leave with as big of a smile as they came in with,” an employee told The Daily Meal.
Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana is a household name for pizza buffs everywhere. The New Haven-based pizzeria is famous for its signature coal-fired White Clam Pizza featuring fresh clams, grated pecorino romano, garlic, oregano and olive oil. Get a taste at any location in Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and New York. Not only is Frank Pepe’s the top pizza destination in the country, but it’s also one of the greatest old-school restaurants of all time.