These pies are fit to feed a small army — or perhaps just one very hungry pizza lover
#12 26-Inch Pizza, Tenney’s Pizza, Saratoga Springs, Utah
#12 26-Inch Pizza, Tenney’s Pizza, Saratoga Springs, Utah
Frankie R. / Yelp
Named "The Beast," the 26-inch pizza is made of 48 ounces of dough, 24 ounces of cheese, 15 ounces of sauce, and six ounces of pepperoni. Diners who take on the Tenney's challenge win $100 if they complete the task.
#11 28-Inch Pie, Family Pizzeria, Strafford, Va.
#11 28-Inch Pie, Family Pizzeria, Strafford, Va.
In order to win Family’s hour-long challenge for two, the pizza must include two toppings, and beverages are allowed but challengers cannot leave the dining room during the challenge. Winners receive the pizza for free, $40, and t-shirts.
#10 30-Inch Pizza, Koronet Pizza, New York City
Yelp / Pinky And The B
#10 30-Inch Pizza, Koronet Pizza, New York City
#9 10-Pound Pizza, Randy’s Wooster Street Pizza, Manchester, Conn.
#9 10-Pound Pizza, Randy’s Wooster Street Pizza, Manchester, Conn.
As seen on Man v. Food, the pizza makers at Randy's Wooster Street Pizza pack four portions of pizza dough with meats, cheeses, and veggies, and stretch the whole thing until it reaches a diameter of 22 inches. Those who complete the challenge receive the meal for free, a $50 gift card, and a hat proclaiming their glorious win.
#8 11-Pound Pizza, Big Pie in the Sky Pizzeria, Kennesaw, Ga.
#8 11-Pound Pizza, Big Pie in the Sky Pizzeria, Kennesaw, Ga.
#7 36-Inch Pizza, Firehouse Pizzeria, Logan, Utah
Firehouse claims their Monster Pizza is equivalent to five average pies, which seems about right to us.
#7 36-Inch Pizza, Firehouse Pizzeria, Logan, Utah
#6 40-Inch Pizza, Schiappa's Italian Restaurant, Lebanon, Ill.
Eleanor B. / Yelp
Schiappa’s, which was established in 1979, has a diverse menu that includes a fair amount of seafood, but its claim to fame is serving a whopping 40-inch pie.
#6 40-Inch Pizza, Schiappa's Italian Restaurant, Lebanon, Ill.
The Fabulous 40 Pizza costs $59.99; they charge $5.99 for each “traditional” topping, and extra cheese will cost you an additional $8.99.
#5 48-Inch Pizza, Randy’s Premier Pizza, Oakdale, Minn.
#5 48-Inch Pizza, Randy’s Premier Pizza, Oakdale, Minn.
If you give the pizzeria 48 hours’ notice, you and two friends can attempt to consume a 48-inch pie and, if you’re successful, Randy’s will reward you $1,000.
#4 54-Square-Inch Pizza, Mama's and Papa's Pizzeria, Los Angeles
#4 54-Square-Inch Pizza, Mama's and Papa's Pizzeria, Los Angeles
#3 62-Inch Pizza, Big Lou’s, San Antonio
#3 62-Inch Pizza, Big Lou’s, San Antonio
You can order an enormous 62-inch pie — that’s right, over five feet wide — and if you order the Super, it will come absolutely covered in toppings and cost $88.09 before gratuity and tax.
#2 46.64-Square-Feet, The Dirt Road Cookers, San Antonio
#2 46.64-Square-Feet, The Dirt Road Cookers, San Antonio
#1 129-Foot-By-92-Foot Pizza, Pizza Ranch Restaurant, Iowa Falls, Iowa
129 feet-long, 92 feet-wide, and 50,000 slices — those are the measurements of the jaw-dropping pie made by Pizza Ranch.
#1 129-Foot-By-92-Foot Pizza, Pizza Ranch Restaurant, Iowa Falls, Iowa
World’s largest pizzas commercially available
While many pizza restaurants max out with 20-inch pizzas, with a few outliers straying into the 30-inch territory, there are few in the world bold enough to make pizzas that rival the size of the people eating them. But even then, most of those pizzerias will only make them a few times a month for special food challenges. Only a select, crazy few pizza joints in the world will make humongous pizzas at the whims of their customers – although they may require 48 hours notice. Here are the top five biggest, commercially available pizzas in the world.
What’s happening with America’s largest pizza companies?
Who added stores in 2018? Who pushed their sales to record highs? Who dropped off a bit? Who are this year’s movers and shakers? The 2018 Top 100 Pizza Companies list is compiled based on total units annual sales.
Last month, we published our list of the nation’s 100 most successful independent operations. Now, we present to you our yearly listing of America’s 100 largest pizza chains. The list is released in November each year.
Domino’s has unseated Pizza Hut as America’s biggest pizza chain based on global retail sales in Pizza Today’s 2018 Top 100 Pizza Companies list. There has been movement at the top of the list as pizza companies jokey for position. Joining Domino’s at the top of the list of largest pizza chains are Pizza Hut, Little Caesars Pizza, Papa John’s and California Pizza Kitchen. Read more on the Top Five Pizza Chains in America.
Fast-casual leaders have gained market share and have established a foothold in this year’s ranking. A prior No. 1 in the Hot 100 Independent Pizzerias list, Buddy’s continues to climb the top pizza companies list.
Our Very Best Pizza Recipes
Don’t pick up the takeout menu next time pizza night comes around! Whether you prefer the classic cheese or a new-school spin, there’s something for everyone with these homemade pizza recipes.
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Photo By: Antonis Achilleos
Photo By: Jason Clairy ©Clairy Productions Inc.
Photo By: Tara Donne ©Tara Donne
Photo By: Tara Donne ©FOOD NETWORK : 2012, Television Food Network, G.P.
Sometimes, using shortcuts is totally worth it. Ree&rsquos 30-minute pizza comes together with the help of store-bought pizza dough, sauce, pepperoni and cheese.
True Chicago-Style Deep-Dish Pizza
A Chicago native, Jeff Mauro knows a thing or two about deep-dish pizza. His fan-favorite recipe calls for a homemade dough, which he tops with mozzarella, sausage, pepperoni and hand-crushed tomatoes. A sprinkle of Parmesan adds the finishing touch!
Mozzarella Stick Stuffed Crust Pizza
We took Detroit's square, deep-dish style pizza to a whole new level by stuffing the crispy crust with cheese and pepperoni. In fact, the whole pizza is loaded with it along with a hearty meat sauce that you can make while the pizza bakes.
Barbecue Chicken Pan Pizza
This cast-iron pizza is the perfect mix of salty, sweet, tangy and sharp. Crispy baked pizza dough is topped with barbecue chicken, mozzarella and cheddar cheese. A drizzle of honey with fresh cilantro and scallion finish off this cheesy chicken pizza.
Giada's hand-held snacks are like mini calzones, each one stuffed with arugula, cheese and zesty Italian sausage. Using store-bought pizza crust will save a significant amount of time.
Gluten-Free Pizza Dough
This easy gluten-free pizza dough bakes up into a crispy, chewy crust (plus, it's vegan!). The addition of coarse cornmeal gives it texture and crunch.
As in a classic diner cheeseburger, mustard tops the ground beef in this pizza, which bubbles with melted American cheese, fresh red onion and dill pickles. Serve it with shredded lettuce on the side to complete the burger experience and make this a "one-crust" meal that comes to the table in an hour flat.
Skillet Deep Dish Pizza
If you ask us, this deep-dish pizza is way better than takeout. Thanks to your cast-iron skillet, you can have a hot, flavorful pizza on the table in just one hour &mdash and with minimal cleanup!
Keto Pizza Snacks
Perfect for keto followers, cheese lovers and gluten-free folks too, this pizza dough is made mostly from cheese. Now no one has to miss out on pizza night!
Stuffed Pizza Crust
The simple way to make stuffed crust pizza at home? String cheese! Ree rolls them up into her pizza crust for an easy-to-make homemade version of everyone&rsquos favorite restaurant pie.
Meaty Grilled Pizza
Looking for a way to mix up your usual grilling menu? Try pizza. This meat lover&rsquos pie is loaded with toppings and comes together easily on the grill. Just be sure to preheat your pizza stone on the grill for at least 30 minutes. That way, your crust will cook up nice and crisp.
Spaghetti Squash Pizza Crust
If you&rsquore looking for an alternative to the traditional pizza crust, give Katie&rsquos five-star recipe a try. For a truly crispy crust, squeeze all the moisture out of the spaghetti squash before baking.
Pantry Pizza Pronto
Why mix up a batch of pizza dough when you&rsquove got store-bought focaccia on hand? It&rsquos the perfect time-saving trick on pizza night.
Hawaiian Barbecue Pizza
Ready in just 30 minutes, this sweet-and-salty pizza is a breeze to prepare. Grilling the pineapple before baking the pizza adds just a touch of smoke to the juicy fruit.
Soft Pizza Pretzels
Trisha packs all your favorite pizzeria toppings into her easy-to-make soft pretzels: oregano, Parmesan, garlic, red pepper flakes and more!
Sausage Pan Pizza
Italian sausage and plenty of kale give this pizza a zesty flavor. Molly&rsquos advice? The kale will cook down when it&rsquos in the oven, so always add more than you think you might need.
These bite-size pizza rolls are like your favorite freezer aisle after-school snack but even better (yeah, we said it). We stuffed ours with crumbled Italian sausage, pepperoni, pizza sauce and, of course, plenty of cheese, then fried them so their wonton skin wrappers get super crisp. We dare you to compare.
Cauliflower Pizza Crust
To achieve the dough-like texture for this gluten-free pizza crust, chop cauliflower in a food processor, then steam and drain it to get out the extra moisture.
Venetian Rolled Pizza
Use store-bought dough to make these pizza rolls a cinch to prepare. Filled with mozzarella, spinach and prosciutto, they make a satisfying and fun hand-held dish.
Basil Pesto Pizza
Nothing gives pizza a summery twist like replacing the red sauce with pesto. And it&rsquos easy to make from scratch just toss a few ingredients into the food process and combine until blended.
English Muffin Pizzas
These pizzas can be made ahead and frozen for the perfect after-school snack. No need to thaw just add your favorite toppings and bake.
What's more fun than pizza for breakfast? Delegate tasks to your youngest helpers like brushing the oil on the crust, layering it up with toppings and tearing the basil. When you sit down for breakfast, everyone can enjoy a job well done.
Neapolitan Margherita Pizza
Neapolitan pizza is all about simplicity and freshness. Instead of loading the dough up with toppings, most are made with little more than tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, basil and olive oil. Use the best ingredients you can &mdash it will be worth it!
Grilled Dessert Pizza
Who says pizza has to be savory? Chocolate hazelnut spread acts as the &ldquosauce&rdquo for Trisha&rsquos grilled pizza, which she tops with sliced bananas, dried fruits and roasted nuts.
Tricolor Salad Pizzas
Ellie saves time by using store-bought, whole-wheat pizza dough for this simple pie. To up the health factor, she cuts down on fat by using part-skim mozzarella and ricotta cheeses.
Big Batch Pizza Dough
This recipe yields four 1-pound pizza dough balls that you can use one right away and wrap and freeze the other for the future. If you freeze the dough, thaw it overnight in the refrigerator and then allow it to come to room temperature on your countertop before stretching it out. How you top it is up to you!
The Best Pizzas in America's Biggest Cities
Here are the top spots for a good pie in the 52 largest cities in the country, including Chicago and New York City.
Photo By: Photo: Amy Giuffi
Photo By: Danny Batista ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved
Photo By: Knox Photographics
Photo By: Photo: Bentley Norman
Photo By: Chris "Quit" Nguyen
Photo By: Devon Rowland Photography
Photo By: Bob Hodson Photography
New York City: Roberta's
Picking the best pizza in New York is like choosing the most-beautiful beach in the world &mdash it's impossible. The city's pizza offerings range from dollar slices to meticulously wood-fired Neapolitans, with a pie for every occasion. Dive into our dedicated guide or just scout out a table at Roberta&rsquos in Bushwick. The New York-Neapolitan hybrid-style pies creatively combine local ingredients for unique and comparably affordable pies like the chile oil-topped Famous Original, with tomato sauce, mozzarella and caciocavallo cheese.
Los Angeles: Pizzeria Mozza
Pizzeria Mozza is unlike any other pizza joint. Chef Nancy Silverton runs the kitchen using the same techniques that made her La Brea Bakery world-renowned, creating a crust that's the perfect crisp, barely charred vessel for pies with creative toppings like squash blossoms. For those that feel like splurging, pizzas can be topped with black truffles, and the wine cellar has no ceiling. For a full meal, start with a chopped salad and finish with a silky butterscotch budino.
Chicago pizza is the stuff of legend and although Gino's East's reputation might have spread nationally with franchised locations, it doesn't come more authentic and storied than Pequod's. The Pequod's legend began in 1970 in Morton Grove, Illinois, with a pan-style caramelized crust pizza. They added a thin crust in 1986, and although a fire at their Chicago location in 2006 set the business back five months, they rebuilt updating the interior, but keeping a neighborhood atmosphere that fits right in with their Lincoln Park community. And that pizza? It's not as deep as some Chi pies, but what it lacks in depth it makes up in the crust, perfectly crisp with an almost-burnt exterior. And they don't skimp on the cheese &mdash there's way too much of it, it's so stringy that it's almost problematic, but also, perfect.
Houston: Pi Pizza
Houston is the most-diverse city in the country, so it only makes sense that their best pizzeria would think beyond just Italian-American classics. What began as a food truck evolved into an '80s rock and roll neighborhood joint with skate boards hanging from the wall and some of the most-innovative pies in the Lone Star State. Toppings like bacon and mac and cheese aren&rsquot all that unique, but who else puts wild Texas venison sausage on pizza? And a soft egg isn't unusual for Neapolitan joints, but you'll never see them scrambled, especially alongside breakfast sausage, potatoes, cheddar cheese, and cream gravy in their AM/PM, proof you don't need it to be on a bagel to eat pizza anytime.
Philadelphia: Square Pie
Tucked just across the river from New Jersey, Philadelphia has many great pies, but none are quite as distinctive as the ones at Square Pie. Chef-Owner Gene Giuffi, a native Brooklynite who&rsquos long called Philadelphia home, prepares namesake square pan pizzas with crisp edges and legions of fans. The plain pie&rsquos always a winner, but the house specialties are clever, including porchetta with garlic, spinach, provolone and cream.
Phoenix: Pizzeria Bianco
Chris Bianco wrote the book on pizza. Well, one of them. Bianco: Pizza, Pasta and Other Food I Like was a huge hit, drawing an invite to Jimmy Kimmel&rsquos show, where Bianco taught Aziz Ansari the fine art of wood-fired pizza. He launched his first operation 30 years ago out of an old corner grocery store and has since expanded to two pizzerias and three other restaurant concepts. The perfection of his margherita earned him a James Beard Foundation Award back in 2003, but he's also pushing the bar with innovative combinations like the Rosa, with Parmigiano Reggiano, Arizona pistachios, onions and rosemary.
San Antonio: Dough Pizzeria Napoletana
Fresh mozzarella made daily, an authentic wood-burning oven from Italy and seasonal pies crafted by a chef with a Culinary Institute of America pedigree all help make Dough stand out in the booming San Antonio restaurant scene. Founded with just 10 employees in 2007, the restaurant now has over a decade under its belt in a space nearly three times the size of the original, plus a new location in Plano. They boast the best all-Italian wine list in the city, with crisp southern whites making an excellent pairing for the spring pie, with spicy sausage, leeks, kale, roasted mushrooms, creamy fontina and house-pulled mozz.
San Diego: Blind Lady Ale House
San Diego is an oasis for beer lovers, and nothing goes better with a pint than a slice. Blind Lady excels at both. One of their founders has a degree in brewing science, another is certified by the Associazione Vera Pizza Napoletana, and the third, well, he's an artist who did an album cover for Blind 182 (and has also studied beer for 20 years). Since they are a brew-pub, there must be bar snacks (Belgian frites, spicy beer nuts), but the pizza is king, from the classic margherita to more experimental options like the house chorizo with poblano chiles, fontina, epazote, and cotija (soyrizo swaps available upon request).
Dallas: Cane Rosso
This locally beloved pizza fired its way into locals&rsquo hearts with just 90 seconds and 900 degrees. Also, house-made burrata and a spinach-artichoke dip in a bread bowl named in honor of former Cowboys coach Jimmy Johnson. But mostly, this place is about the pizza. The Neapolitan recipes were envisioned by owner Jay Jerrior, who fell in love with pizza on his honeymoon to Italy (Don't tell his wife!), then trained under master pizzaiolos and started a slice catering business. It was so successful, it launched a brick-and-mortar space in Dallas's hip Deep Ellum neighborhood, eventually expanding to six locations in the Dallas area (plus outposts in Houston, Austin and Fort Worth).
Austin: Via 313
Between classic New York-style (Home Slice) and Neapolitan (Bufalina), Austin has two of the main pizza bases covered, but the most-craved of them all is Via 313, a gluttonous Midwestern Detroit-style alternate. The four-slice square pies aren't quite Windy City-style casseroles, but three are enough to destroy the biggest appetites (finish all 4 and get ready for a nap). Every pizza has a perfect pillowy crust with just a hint of cheesy caramelization on the outside. And since the only thing better than pepperoni is more pepperoni, the Detroiter has you covered with two styles, one over the cheese and one hiding underneath.
Mesa, Arizona: Venezia's Pizza
Ever wonder what kind of pizza Walter White threw on his roof during Breaking Bad? It came from Arizona (where the show was filmed), but more specifically Venezia's, a family-friendly joint that's consistently voted Best in the Valley. For the best deal go with the New York-style slice of the day (you can't go wrong with the spicy, meaty Italian Stallion on Monday and Wednesday), but aside from the classic big slices they also experiment with a dish designed specifically for the carb-averse and gluten free: zero crust pizza bowls.
New Orleans: Pizza Delicious
Started by a pair of New Yorkers, these phenomenal pies were actually born at a Sunday night alleyway pop-up. They became so successful that they sold 100 pizzas every week until opening their proper restaurant in 2012. Legit Italian meats like prosciutto, speck and pancetta are stand-out toppings, but in addition to serving authentic classics, the duo is not afraid to go wild with a combination of sriracha and pineapple. Bonus points for their homemade cookies.
Washington, D.C.: Timber Pizza
Timber Pizza Co. wouldn't exist without farmers&rsquo markets. First, their local-only approach to ingredients relies heavily on D.C.-area purveyors. Second, they actually got their start serving their &ldquoNeapolitan-ish&rdquo pies out of a 1967 Chevy C10 at those very same markets. Working with farmers led to unique creations like the Norman, a white pie topped with nectarines, jalapenos, bacon, spicy jam and cilantro. Their unique pizzas earned them such a following that it only took two years for them to graduate to a brick-and-mortar operation, where ovens don't just burn during lunch and dinner: they also serve wood-fired breakfast biscuits and bagels.
San Jose, California: A Slice of NY
When the owner of A Slice of NY couldn't find a decent piece of pizza in San Jose, he took matters into his own hands and went back to his childhood pizza shop in Manhattan to learn the secrets of a perfect New York City pie. He doesn't import NYC water, but otherwise his resulting pie is as close as it gets. Pepperoni is the most-popular and classic cheese is excellent, but they're the only place in the world to find the ASONY Margarita, their own spin on the Italian classic which includes a garlic and olive oil base, pureed Italian plum tomatoes, basil, garlic, Parmesan, and olive oil. The pies taste amazing, but ASONY also prides themselves on treating their employees right: As of July 2017, they became the first South Bay-area worker-owned cooperative.
The secret of Detroit-style pizza is out and although it doesn't get the love of New York or Chicago, the Motor City's signature style deserves just as much attention. Buddy's is the innovator, selling square pies since 1946. The city's working-class character is built into the pie &mdash each is cooked in a steel pan that was originally used to hold nuts and bolts at manufacturing plants, resulting in a pizza that resembles thicker Sicilian-style pies. Their pride and joy is the Detroiter, which blends fontinella, Wisconsin brick and Parmesan cheeses with tomato-basil sauce, pepperoni and Buddy's special Sicilian spice blend. And although Buddy's is as old-school as it gets, they're not afraid to change with the times, offering both vegan and gluten-free pizzas that are endorsed by the Tri-City Celiac Support Group.
Atlanta: Amalfi Pizza
You know a pizzeria means business when its ovens must be installed via crane. It took a serious crew to get Amalfi Pizza's two 6000-pound wood-burning ovens into the second-story restaurant, but all that effort would be a waste if they didn't know how to use them. So the operating partners staged at a pair of legendary Napoli pizzerias to perfect their craft. The pies are traditional, sometimes to the point of obscurity, like with their Carnavale pizza formed in the shape of a star with a ricotta-stuffed crust. It might sound like something dreamed up for Instagram, but it's actually a special occasion pie served in Italy during Easter.
Jockamo's most-popular pie celebrates local native son Kurt Vonnegut. Named for his novel Slaughterhouse Five, it has everything a meat-lover could want: pepperoni, sausage, ham, sliced beef and bacon. The family-friendly pizzeria isn't just for hardcore carnivores: They cater to all tastes, including international crowds with the Bollywood (spicy masala sauce), and Louisiana ex-pats with the Creole (crawfish and etouffee sauce), all curated with the care of an owner who spent 16 years training in another local pizzeria before breaking out on his own.
Seattle: Serious Pie
Sometimes we forget that every pizza maker is actually a baker. Serious Pie started from that mentality, growing out of revered local chef Tom Douglas' Dahlia Bakery. Take an Applewood-fired stone-encased oven, plus that baking mindset and the result is a lightly textured pie with just the proper char, topped with imported and well-chosen ingredients like buffalo mozzarella and sweet fennel sausage. Plus, their dedication to meat, cheese and bread extends beyond just pizza to excellent charcuterie boards.
Denver: Hops & Pie
Colorado has an incredible number of craft beer bars, but only one serves a pizza topped with fried chicken and waffles. Hops & Pie laughs at mere pepperoni pies, coming up with insane creations out of a 100 percent scratch kitchen, where they even make their own sausages and pickles. The dining room looks inspired by a hip thrift store, full of Denverites chomping on those creative signature pies, including a duck confit pizza with cherries, goat cheese, rosemary, caramelized onions, bacon and baby arugula, which is even better paired with the nearly 30 carefully curated craft beer taps.
Tucson, Arizona: Grandma Tony's
Grandma Tony's nearly has a monopoly on Tucson pizza. Their pies, made with brewer's yeast dough and all-natural Italian grande mozzarella cheese, are available not only at their three locations, but also their 1950's-themed diner (Little Anthony's), as well as the Gaslight Theatre and Gaslight Music Hall. In addition to being able to find their pizza just about anywhere, customers seem to want everything when they order - the supreme pie is the hands-down favorite.
DeSano believes that ingredients make the pie, which is why the kitchen uses barely processed ingredients direct from the Campania region around Naples, Italy, including buffalo mozzarella, San Marzano and Pomodorini tomatoes grown in volcanic soil, Neapolitan olive oil and even an oven made by the revered craftsmen of the Acunto family. They're all ingredients that the owner's great-grandparents grew up eating, except in their most popular pie, the San Gennaro, which uses sausage, caramelized cippolini onions and hard-to-find spicy South African peppadew peppers.
Fort Worth: Pizza Snob
If you're claiming to be a snob, you&rsquod better have chops to back it up. Pizza Snob has the cred thanks to a food science PhD with a degree from the NY Culinary School who scoured the globe for the very best ingredients. It's led to a dough made in-house that proofs for 72 hours to create a golden, buttery textured canvas for ingredients like beer-glazed onions, candied jalapenos and baby portabella mushrooms sautéed in red wine. And maybe the best part? Pies are ready in two minutes or less.
Portland: Scottie's Pizza Parlor
Not many pizza parlors hold a world record. Inspired by a 99-cheese pizza in the 2014 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie, Scottie&rsquos went two better with 101. The stunt pie was only available for a week, but Scottie's is about more than just clever gimmicks. They pay homage to old-school pizzerias with a collection of vintage pizza boxes from around the world, and honor New York with pies inspired by the owner's Brooklyn childhood. Their most-popular pizza is the DeFino, a square pizza named after the owner's grandmother, topped with tomato sauce over fresh mozzarella, then finished with fresh basil, pecorino Romano and garlic-infused olive oil. In addition to the pizza, they're also proud of their employees, each of whom earns a living wage of at least $15 per hour.
Memphis: Aldo's Pizza Pies
Memphis goes whole hog on pork, with no food group untouched by slow-smoked swine. Aldo's does the city proud with a pie topped with pulled pork, barbecue sauce, mozz, red onion and a side of cole slaw, for good measure. Aside from &rsquocue-based pies, locals love the Willie, Cheech and Bob, which goes international with jerk chicken and mango chutney. Toppings are key, but the real star is the dough, which is made with a 50/50 mix of New York and Naples flours blending the best of both worlds.
Milwaukee: Pizza Man
Started nearly 50 years ago as a way to cure the late-night munchies (with delivery until 4 a.m.!), Pizza Man's built itself into an institution that was nearly derailed by a fire in 2010, but revived by a new group of investors honoring the business' legacy. The most-popular order is the Pizza Man Special, a supreme pie with locally processed Uncle Vinny's sausage and a small garden's worth of veggies all on the standard cracker-thin crust. Specialty pies feature oddball ingredients like cream cheese and giardiniera, but no matter what the order, it should be accompanied by a glass of wine. Pizza Man offers more than 100 bottles, each available by the glass.
Columbus, Ohio: Rubino's
Rubino's is 1954, inside and out. The cash-only Columbus institution doesn't have a computer in sight &mdash they write every order on paper and even have a rotary phone. The service is also old-school, with so many 3rd- and 4th-generation customers that the typical greeting includes a friendly insult. The regulars wouldn't have it any other way: It's worth some friendly ribbing for such a delicious pizza. The crust is as thin as it gets, with just a sprinkling of cheese so as not to hide the flavor of the sauce, which they simmer for four hours.
Fresno, California: Mike's Pizzeria Lounge
Generations-old techniques just seem to make pizzas taste better, so Mike's &mdash which has been at it for almost 60 years &mdash is pretty superlative. The restaurant is a Fresno destination for traditional pizzas, not too thick, not too thin and just what their loyal fan base likes. The secret is simply fresh herbs and quality tomatoes, served in an old school dining room crossed with a sports bar lounge that looks straight out of Goodfellas. It might not sound like anything too complicated, but that simplicity helps them earn regular nods as the best pizza in the valley.
Tulsa, Oklahoma: Andolini's Pizzeria
The owner of Andolini's isn't some pizza newbie &mdash he started his first pizzeria six months out of college, then trained at the International School of Pizza and now partners with his brother on a pizza empire that's expanded all over Oklahoma thanks to an obsession with cornering the market on nearly every pizza style. &ldquoTulsa-style&rdquo practices West Coast freshness combined with an East Coast process in a 550-degree oven they go Napoletana in a 900-degree oven they rock an electric oven for Roman style and they honor New York City with both street slices and an homage to Brooklyn classic Di Fara.
El Paso, Texas: Grimaldi's
Known throughout the country for its signature coal-burning ovens, Grimaldi's began under the Brooklyn Bridge in 1990. The restaurant has been a mainstay in El Paso since opening in 2014. That coal oven weighs in at 24 tons, burning 100 pounds of coal per day at 1200 degrees to create a crust that's smokier and crispier than its wood-fired counterparts. The menu stays fairly traditional &mdash pepperoni is the most popular &mdash but for a change of pace, fans go with their garlic white pizza, topped with hand-sliced pizza and mozzarella and a drizzle of olive oil.
Wichita, Kansas: Picasso's Pizzeria
Although New York-style pizza has spread all over the world, there are still a few pizza deserts out there. Wichita was one, until the owner of Picasso's stepped up and filled the Manhattan-shaped hole in the city's culinary landscape with 26-inch pies served by the slice. They call their signature pizzas &ldquoslices of art,&rdquo with unique combinations like the Kansan, with spinach, blue cheese, red onion and sunflower seeds. In addition to the pizzas, they also take their beer seriously, with 10 brews on tap and more than 110 bottles and cans.
Charlotte: Inizio Pizza Napoletana
Inizio in Charlotte respects Neapolitan tradition by using only 00 flour, San Marzano tomatoes and real buffalo milk mozzarella, all cooked in a wood-burning oven in 90 seconds or less. But the diavola is in the details. The owner spent 15 years perfecting his process in a backyard oven, traveling far and wide studying dough before opening his restaurant, in March of 2016. Since it has such a classic philosophy, you can't go wrong with a margherita, but those looking for something different should experiment with their pistachio pie, a pesto and rosemary creation that's become a hit on social media.
Oklahoma City: Empire Slice House
Empire Slice House describes itself as a pizza baby conceived by David Bowie and Frank Sinatra, and although it may be hard to taste Old Blue Eyes and Starman in the pies, the pizzaiolos are definitely doing things their way. Until they opened, OKC was missing a by-the-slice joint, so Empire Slice House filled that gap, taking over an old laundromat in the up-and-coming Plaza District to serve big NY-style slices named after local heroes (Brussell Westbrook) and musical icons like Wu-Tang rapper Ghostface Killah, who gives his name to a popular pie topped with pepperoni, poblano, BBQ chips and of course, ghost pepper marinara.
Albuquerque, New Mexico: Amore Neapolitan Pizzeria
The owner of Amore Neapolitan Pizzeria spent three years living in Naples where he met his wife. Together, they brought their shared love of pizza to New Mexico, opening a true family restaurant that honors Italian tradition while incorporating local flavors. His wife, mother and two sons all chip in, cooking with local ingredients in two locations &ndash one upscale and one in a shipping container park. You can't go wrong with one of their nine San Marzano tomato-sauced pizza rosse, but the New Mexico pies are what make them really stand out, with blue corn as well as the iconic red and green chiles.
Long Beach, California: Michael's Pizzeria
Spun off of beloved Italian fine-dining spot Michael's on Naples, the two locations of this popular pizzeria crank out wood-fired pies that draw inspiration from Naples, but don't follow all the rules. Instead of the typical San Marzano tomatoes, they go local, drawing from California's rich produce bounty. They also offer a selection of pastas and even burgers, but the pizza is naturally the draw, especially the Margherita. It's so popular that it's inspired Margherita Mondays, when every pizza order comes with a second pie for free.
Colorado Springs, Colorado: Pizzeria Rustica
Take a historic building from 1889 (the state's very first capitol), a reverence for the slow-food movement, a love of craft beer and wine and a commitment to the environment, and you'll get Pizzeria Rustica. Adapting Neapolitan style to the altitude took some work, but mixing in local gluten and Italian Ischian yeast with classic Caputo 00 flour makes for a crust that honors tradition while keeping things local. The namesake pie features a garlic ricotta pocket baked into the crust, and toppings of prosciutto, arugula, crushed San Marzanos, house-made mozzarella and parmesan, but they also offer toppings you'll almost never see elsewhere, including house-cured bresaola.
Minneapolis: Young Joni
Chef Ann Kim of Young Joni has racked up back-to-back James Beard nominations for a fine dining approach to pizza that's still welcoming and accessible&hellip if you can score a reservation. The vibe is lively, fueled by craft cocktails in a speakeasy atmosphere, and the wood-fired pies aren't afraid to think outside the Neapolitan box with ingredients like French feta, sweet potatoes and Spanish chorizo. Their most-popular is something you won't find anywhere else: a take on Korean barbecue topped with kalbi-marinated short ribs, mozzarella, scallions and arugula in a spicy chile-sesame vinaigrette.
Boston: Ciao Pizza and Pasta
Boston's best pizza isn't technically in Boston. Just a few minutes away in Chelsea, Ciao has earned a huge following and critical acclaim for its Neapolitan-style pizzas. There are only eight seats, but their popularity has led to a second location focusing on their equally popular handcrafted pasta. The pies cook in an 800-degree oven, and the owner rings an old-fashioned dinner bell for every order. You can't go wrong with their Uovo pizza, featuring roasted onions, potatoes, bacon, mozzarella and a soft egg, but be sure to save room for dessert pizza, coated in Nutella.
San Francisco: Tony's Pizza Napoletana
Twelve-time World Pizza Champion Tony Gemignani makes two appearances on this list because he literally wrote the book on pizza, publishing a guide that's become required reading for any pizza professional. His eponymous San Francisco joint recently scored a Michelin Guide recommendation for a menu featuring not just award-winning pies of nearly every style, but also house specials like fried dough balls â called coccoli â topped with prosciutto and burrata or spicy 'nduja salami. Also don't miss the Meatballs Gigante, a meaty blend of veal, pork and beef that's limited to 25 orders per day.
Durham, North Carolina: Lilly's Pizza
Started in 1994 by a group of punk rock musicians who wanted to bring some â damn good pizzaâ to Raleigh, Lilly's developed such a following that itâ s expanded to a second location, in downtown Durham. True to the ownersâ punk roots, they support the arts by decking the walls with a rotating array of affordable paintings and further support their community with local produce from a trio of North Carolina suppliers (Melvin's Garden, Blue Sky Farms and Touch of Green). Although they do offer plenty of vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options, the menu isn't totally hippied-out: The most-popular order is actually a bacon-topped sweet barbecue chicken pie.
Oakland, California: A16
A16 all revolves around its oven. It was imported from the Naples region, crafted by legendary artisan Stefano Ferrera. They were one of the first pizzerias in the country to be certified by the AVPN (Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana), an international non-profit dedicated to preserving old-world pizza-making techniques. That means you'll find San Marzano tomato sauce, fior di latte mozzarella and the freshest local basil, from Mariquita Farms. Although they're known for their classic margherita, you'll also find a unique fried pizza called the montanara topped with smoked mozzarella, as well as a calzone-like stuffed pie called the racchetta. Also, don't miss the James Beard Foundation Award-winning wine list.
Omaha, Nebraska: Orsi's
Omaha's Little Italy may have faded over the years, but Orsi's still flies the green, white and red flag proudly. It started as a wood-fired bread bakery, then converted to gas and started making pizzas for friends in 1960, eventually selling the prized pies to customers. Fans love the fresh-baked pies in classic combos and less-common creations like the Goudarooni, a double-crusted pizza featuring hamburger, broccoli, spinach, and potatoes. Not in the mood for a pizza? They've still got you covered with a full deli.
An offshoot of Baltimore's first Turkish restaurant, HomeSlyce was dreamed up when its owner realized the similarities between his native cuisine and pizza, specifically in the boat-shaped crust of pide pastries. The restaurant makes Italian-style pizzas, but this isn't your typical slice joint: Their Classic is anything but traditional, topped with goat cheese, walnuts, eggplant, spinach, caramelized onions and roasted peppers, but to really experience what makes them special, try the Spice featuring Middle Eastern spicy s oujuk sausage.
Virginia Beach, Virginia: Windy City Pizza
Two Chicago transplants brought a taste of home to the Chesapeake Bay when they opened Windy City Pizza. This spot offers both deep-dish and thin-crust styles made with ingredients shipped from Chicago, naturally. To create the gaping deep-dish pizza, the chefs use a staggering pound and a half of cheese, plus fresh Italian sausage baked right into the pie.
Louisville, Kentucky: Wicks Pizza
This lively pub and bar specializes bubbling, well-topped pies with satisfyingly thick, chewy crusts. Ranging in size from 10 to 18 inches, the Big Wick is a specialty, and comes with a veritable truckload of toppings. On the roster: Italian sausage, ground beef, pepperoni, tomatoes, black olives, mushrooms, green peppers and more.
Tampa, Florida: Eddie & Sam's
Many New Yorkers believe that the secret to an authentic pizza is the water used for its dough. Eddie & Sam agree, importing H20 from the Catskill Mountains all the way to Tampa. They serve pies by the slice with all the hustle and bustle of a true New York joint, so the natural first order is the cheese, but adventurous eaters know to go deeper into the menu with something you'll only find in Tampa &ndash a lasagna pizza topped with ricotta, ground beef, mozzarell, and Parmigiana cheese.
Irvine, California: Square One Pizza Cafe
Ever since their first date, the owners behind Square One dreamed of running their own pizzeria. After a journey through the restaurant world &mdash taking jobs in critically lauded fine dining establishments and as wine buyers to learn the business &mdash they opened Square One, with the mission of serving amazing pizza and setting an example as one of the few family-operated restaurants in Irvine. Their chef pedigree and creativity comes out in an array of scratch-made pastas and appetizers like Bolognese fries, but especially so in the their chef's specialty pizza, which rotates daily and includes ingredients ranging from braised short ribs to homemade pork carnitas.
Before it was cool to operate out of older refurnished buildings, Andiamo was there, serving brick oven pizzas from a converted tire and service shop that's also a historical landmark. They've been at it since 2001, honoring the not-too-thick, not-too-thin philosophy of classic Northeastern pizza joints. They don't sell slices (a 10-inch personal is as close as it gets), but still do volume: They average 500 to 600 pies a day. All the classics make appearances on the menu, as well as unlikely ingredients like tuna and New Haven-style chopped clams. But the ultimate topping might just be their homemade meatballs.
Jacksonville, Florida: V Pizza
Combine an old paint store, a love of Neapolitan pizzas and three Jacksonville natives, and you get V Pizza, which took over an industrial-looking space that reminded the owners of Italy and introduced their hometown to the joys of buffalo mozzarella and dough made from finely textured 00 flour. They pride themselves on their margherita, but aren't afraid to go outside the box with weekly specials like a Philly cheesesteak pie (made with rib roasts cooked for hours and genuine Cheez Whiz) or the beloved Mac Attack, with cavatappi noodles in gouda and parmesan cream sauce. It's earned them lines out the door, with a loyal following that's helped build a mini empire of five locations across Florida.
Looking for a pizza that weighs 12 pounds? You'll find one at Crust, where they're known for a 32-by-32 inch pizza with massive 15-inch slices sold for only $4.50. The dough is brushed with garlic oil and dusted with Pecorino cheese and kosher salt to ensure that no one throws away the crust at the end (They recommend a side of marinara for dipping!). The atmosphere is pure Cleveland, with a mix of patrons, including a ton of kids, who naturally love that gigantic pie.
Las Vegas: Pizza Rock
You know a pizza place means business when its owner is a 12-time World Pizza Champion. Tony Gemignani has built an empire, with the Las Vegas location as one of the crown jewels, complete with nine ovens specifically calibrated to regional styles from California to Sicily. If you must choose one, go with the rarest, the Sausage & Stout, featuring stout beer in the dough, hand-pulled mozzarella, caramelized onions, beer salt, a stout reduction, fontina and house fennel sausage. Better act quick though: They only make 23 per day.
Sacramento, California: Roma II Pizzeria
Anyone in the restaurant industry will tell you that staying in business for 30 years is a real accomplishment. Roma II Pizzeria just had their diamond anniversary, operated the entire time by a female Italian owner straight from Puglia. She keeps it old-school, playing Dean Martin and Neapolitan ballads in the background while cooking the red sauce herself. The style is a hybrid, not deep dish but not cracker thin, with an aged crust that appeals to a local blue collar crowd, but she also plays with less-common ingredients like duck and figs. Still after all these years, Roma strives to maintain a neighborhood atmosphere, with regulars pulling up a bar stool for a beer or glass of wine to pair with their now legendary pizzas and Southern Italian-style pastas.
Corpus Christi, Texas: Authentic New York Pizza
The Texas coastline is a world away from the five boroughs of New York City, but it doesn't have to taste that way. Authentic New York Pizza is the real deal, a true Mom-and-Pop spot from a New Yorker who spent more than 30 years working in the city's best kitchens before flying south to Corpus Christi. It's a family-friendly establishment, so much so that you'll find a man blowing up balloon animals for the kids, but that doesn't mean their slices are kids&rsquo stuff. The Brooklyn Bomber would make any grown man wish for a second stomach, thanks to a buffet of typical veggies and meats plus a quartet of smoked barbecue (brisket, turkey, sausage and bacon) that weighs in at a total of 15 pounds.
Where To Taste America's 5 Best Potato Pizzas
Pizza crowned with tender, thinly sliced potato struck me as strange at first, even though pizza di patate is a delicious tradition in many parts of Italy. Now, I can&apost get enough of these comforting combos.
You can craft a potato pizza at home with Chef John&aposs recipe for Potato Pesto Feta Pizza or New York pizza maven Jim Lahey&aposs recipe for a more traditional Italian version. Or, stop by any of these American pizzerias renowned for their potato pies.
Pizzaiolo, Oakland, Calif. | Seasonal Potato Pizza
Pizza combos here shift with which ingredients are in season. This gorgeous specimen glows with potato, pancetta, fontina cheese, and rosemary, plus a fried egg for good measure.
TriBecca Allie Cafe, Sardis, Miss. | Pizza di Patate
The potato pizza at this brick oven pizzeria run by New York expats Rebecca and Dutch Van Oostendorp features olive oil, thin-sliced potato, whole-milk mozzarella, cheddar, bacon, chives, and sour cream.
Bar Night Club, New Haven, Conn. | Mashed Potato Pie
Potato pizza in a smoother form: An impossibly light and crispy oblong crust, slathered with garlicky mashed potatoes studded with bacon.
Serious Pie, Seattle | Yukon Gold Potato Pizza
This wood-fired slab of goodness arrives fragrant with rosemary salty with pecorino romano cheese and layered with tender coins of yukon gold potatoes.
Mr. Pizza, Los Angeles (by way of Seoul) | Potato Gold Pizza
Another hearty twist on tradition. This version from the popular South Korean pizza chain offers a tomato sauce base topped with mushrooms, ground beef, corn, onions, potato wedges, sour cream, and bacon, all atop a sweet potato crust.
America's 15 best pizzas
15. South Brooklyn Pizza, New York City (New York Style): While known as a great pizza city, New York's state of the slice isn't what it you'd think, especially while it's in the grip of the Neapolitan craze and .99-cardboard drunk food. But there's hope in the form of the East Village's South Brooklyn Pizza, where owner Jim McGown espouses a conventional gas oven that gives the upskirt a slight char that seems just right. A slice of the signature New York Style pizza takes time (on average, up to 10 minutes), but it's worth the wait. The San Marzano sauce is neither too sweet nor acidic and is topped with layers of thin, ovoid mozzarella slices, dotted with fontina cubes and finished with a generous drizzle of olive oil, basil and grated pecorino or Grana Padano. The thin crust cracks, but carries the cheese and sauce all the way up the slice, tangy bite after bite." />.99-cardboard drunk food. But there's hope in the form of the East Village's South Brooklyn Pizza, where owner Jim McGown espouses a conventional gas oven that gives the upskirt a slight char that seems just right. A slice of the signature New York Style pizza takes time (on average, up to 10 minutes), but it's worth the wait. The San Marzano sauce is neither too sweet nor acidic and is topped with layers of thin, ovoid mozzarella slices, dotted with fontina cubes and finished with a generous drizzle of olive oil, basil and grated pecorino or Grana Padano. The thin crust cracks, but carries the cheese and sauce all the way up the slice, tangy bite after bite." />
Interested in this topic? You may also want to view these photo galleries:
13. Paulie Gee's, Brooklyn, N.Y. (Regina): Greenpoint, Brooklyn, isn't much to look at, but Paulie Gee's is a pizza lover's home, a clean, rustic space that looks like a barn but puts out a pie to rival every Naples memory you've had or dreamed of having. There are some 19 pies, all great in their own right and featuring clever names and great topping combinations — In Ricotta Da Vita, Ricotta Be Kiddin', and the Luca Brasi (no anchovies) — but when The Daily Meal checked in with the pizzeria, the Regina was the pie noted as the signature: mozzarella, tomatoes, pecorino romano, olive oil and fresh basil. And panelists agreed that Paulie's Regina well deserved a top spot among America's 20 best pizzas. (Photo: Paulie Gee's)
Pizza is about as varied and beloved a genre, as opinionated a subject, and also as accessible a food as there is, which makes determining the country's best pizzas a truly challenging task.
Yes, pizza is tough to rank responsibly. But once again, that's just what The Daily Meal set out to do.
1. Frank Pepe's, New Haven, Conn. (White Clam)
If you want to discuss the loaded topic of America's best pizza with any authority, you have to make a pilgrimage to this legendary New Haven pizzeria. Frank Pepe opened his doors in Wooster Square in New Haven, Conn., in 1925, offering classic Napoletana-style pizza. After immigrating to the United States in 1909 at the age of 16 from Italy, Pepe took odd jobs before opening his restaurant (now called "The Spot," next door to the larger operation). Since its conception, Pepe's has opened an additional seven locations.
What should you order at this checklist destination? Two words: clam pie ("No muzz!"). This is a Northeastern pizza genre unto its own, and Pepe's is the best of them all — freshly shucked, briny littleneck clams, an intense dose of garlic, olive oil, oregano and grated parmesan atop a charcoal-colored crust. The advanced move? Clam pie with bacon. Just expect to wait in line if you get there after 11:30 a.m. on a weekend.
2. Di Fara, Brooklyn, N.Y. (Di Fara Classic Pie)
Domenico DeMarco is a local celebrity, having owned and operated Di Fara since 1964. Dom cooks both New York and Sicilian-style pizza Wednesday through Sunday (noon to 4:30 p.m., and from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.) for hungry New Yorkers and tourists willing to wait in long lines, and brave the free-for-all that is the Di Fara counter experience. Yes, you're better off getting a whole pie than shelling out for the $5 slice. Yes, it's a trek, and sure, Dom goes through periods where the underside of the pizza can trend toward overdone, but when he's on, Di Fara can make a very strong case for being America's best pizza. If you want to understand why before visiting, watch the great video about Di Fara called The Best Thing I Ever Done. You can't go wrong with the classic round or square cheese pie (topped with oil-marinated hot peppers, which you can ladle on at the counter if you elbow in), but the menu's signature is the Di Fara Classic Pie: mozzarella, parmesan, plum tomato sauce, basil, sausage, peppers, mushroom, onion, and of course, a drizzle of olive oil by Dom.
3. Pizzeria Bianco, Phoenix (Marinara)
"There's no mystery to my pizza," Bronx native Chris Bianco was quoted as saying in The New York Times. "Sicilian oregano, organic flour, San Marzano tomatoes, purified water, mozzarella I learned to make at Mike's Deli in the Bronx, sea salt, fresh yeast cake and a little bit of yesterday's dough. In the end great pizza, like anything else, is all about balance. It's that simple." Try telling that to the legions of pizza pilgrims who have made trip to the storied Phoenix pizza spot he opened more than 20 years ago. The restaurant serves not only addictive thin-crust pizzas but also fantastic antipasto (involving wood-oven-roasted vegetables), perfect salads and homemade country bread. The wait, once routinely noted as one of the worst for food in the country, has been improved by Pizzeria Bianco opening for lunch, and the opening of Trattoria Bianco, the pizza prince of Arizona's Italian restaurant in the historic Town & Country Shopping Center (about 10 minutes from the original). This is another case where any pie will likely be better than most you've had in your life (that Rosa with red onions and pistachios!), but the signature Marinara will recalibrate your pizza baseline forever: tomato sauce, oregano, and garlic (no cheese).
4. Una Pizza Napoletana, San Francisco (Margherita)
When Anthony Mangieri, pizzaiolo for the East Village's Una Pizza Napoletana, closed in 2009 "to make a change," move West, and open somewhere he could get "a chance to use his outrigger canoe and mountain bike more often," it was the ultimate insult to New Yorkers. You're taking one of the city's favorite Neapolitan pizzerias, defecting to a temperate climate, to people who denigrate New York's Mexican food? So you can canoe and mountain bike? Traitor! Good for Mangieri, and good for San Franciscans, who inherited one of the country's best Neapolitan pies (if only Wednesday through Saturday, 5 p.m. until they're "out of dough"). A thin crust with chewy cornicione, a sauce that's tart and alive, an appropriate ratio of cheese . you could almost imagine yourself at the pantheon to pizza in Naples: Da Michele, a place where the pizza is poetry and pizza poetry is on the wall. Mangieri harkens that same ethos on his website — check out the pizza poem "Napoli" — and delivers the edible version to his patrons. There are only five pies, all $25 (a $5 hike since last year), plus a special Saturday-only pie, the Apollonia, made with eggs, parmigiano-reggiano, buffalo mozzarella, salami, extra-virgin olive oil, basil, garlic, sea salt and black pepper. But when you're this close to godliness, you don't need extras. Keep it simple with the margherita (San Marzano tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella, extra-virgin olive oil ,fresh basil, sea salt, tomato sauce) and know the good.
5. Pizzeria Mozza, Los Angeles (squash blossoms, tomato, burrata)
Renowned baker and chef Nancy Silverton teamed up with Italian culinary moguls Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich to open Osteria Mozza, a Los Angeles hot spot where the famous clientele pales in comparison to the innovative, creative fare. The pizzeria, which is attached to the main restaurant, offers a variety of Italian specialties, from antipasti to bruschetta, but the Neapolitan-style pizzas steal the show. Their list of 21 pies ranges from $11 for a simple aglio e olio, a classic cheese pizza, to $23 for a more unique pie with squash blossoms, tomato, and burrata cheese — a delicious and simple pizza that transports through the quality and nuance of its ingredients. So it's no surprise that Batali and Bastianich have taken a stab at duplicating the success of this model pizzeria, opening in Newport Beach, Singapore (!), and soon, San Diego.
6. Roberta's, Brooklyn, N.Y. (Margherita)
Say Roberta's is in the new class of restaurants that has fanned the flames of the Brooklyn vs. Manhattan debate, call it a great pizza joint, recall it as a frontrunner of the city's rooftop garden movement, and mention that Carlo Mirarchi was named a Best New Chef by Food & Wine, and you'd still be selling it short. Roberta's is in Bushwick six stops out of Manhattan on the L, and it's one of the city's best restaurants (it even serves one of the city's hardest-to-score tasting menus). In Bushwick! Pizza may not be the only thing at Roberta's, but its Neapolitan pies are at the high end of the debate about the city's best (and according to an interview with the blog Slice, inspired another great pizzeria on this list, Paulie Gee's). Yes, some of them have names like "Family Jewels," "Barely Legal," and - after disgraced New York City mayoral candidate Anthony Wiener - "Carlos Danger," but you can afford not to take yourself seriously in an environment where Brooklyn hipsters and everyone else tolerate each other when your pizza is this good. As much as the Amatriciana and the Bee Sting (when Roberta's goes mobile) may tempt, the Margherita (tomato, mozzarella, basil) is Roberta's pizza Lothario.
7. Sally's Apizza, New Haven, Conn. (Tomato Pie)
Sally's Apizza is a New Haven classic, operating from the same location where they opened in the late 1930s in New Haven's Wooster Square. Their pizza is traditionally thin-crust, topped with tomato sauce, garlic and "mozz." The pies look pretty similar to what you'll find down the street at Frank Pepe, which any New Haven pizza believer will note is because the man who opened Sally's is the nephew of the owner of Pepe. The folks at Sally's will be the first to tell you that Pepe makes a better clam pie, but their tomato pie (tomato sauce, no cheese), well, they have the original beat there.
8. Flour + Water, San Francisco (Margherita)
Although this San Francisco restaurant claims to specialize in house-made pastas, their pizza is formidable. Baked in a wood-fired oven, the thin-crust pizza at Flour + Water blends Old World tradition with modern refinement, according to chef and co-owner Thomas McNaughton. Pizza toppings vary depending on what's in season, making each dining experience unique, but Flour + Water's textbook Margherita is amazing. Heirloom tomatoes, basil, fior di latte, and extra-virgin olive oil . if only the simplicity implied by the restaurant's name could be duplicated in pizzerias across the country.
9. Motorino, New York City (Brussels Sprout)
Some spaces are cursed. Others? Blessed. When Anthony Mangieri shuttered Una Pizza Napoletana at 349 East 12th St. and headed West, Mathieu Palombino took over the lease, renamed the space Motorino, and the East Village pizza scene hardly skipped a beat. Motorino offers a handful of spirited pies, including one with cherry stone clams another with stracciatella, raw basil and Gaeta olives and the cremini mushroom with fior di latte, sweet sausage and garlic. But contrary to every last fiber of childhood memory you hold dear, the move is the Brussels Sprout pie (fior di latte, garlic, Pecorino, smoked pancetta and olive oil), something both Hong Kong natives and Brooklynites can now attest to since Palombino opened (and reopened) his Asian and Williamsburg outposts earlier in 2013.
10. Al Forno, Providence, R.I. (Margarita)
On South Main Street in the heart of Providence, R.I., Al Forno offers a quintessential Italian dining experience for those who can't afford the flight. Husband-and-wife owner-chefs George Germon and Johanne Killeen received the Insegna del Ristorante Italiano from the Italian government, a rare honor for Americans, attributable to their informed passion for pasta along with their invention of the grilled pizza. The restaurant bakes their pies in wood-burning ovens as well as on grills over hardwood charcoal fire. Their most notable grilled pizza? The Margarita. It's served with fresh herbs, pomodoro, two cheeses and extra-virgin olive oil.
11. Modern Apizza, New Haven, Conn. (Italian Bomb)
Established in 1934 as State Street Pizza, Modern's coal-fired brick oven puts out pizza in the same thin-crust style. It's likely that you'll hear it spoken about as the place "the locals go instead of Pepe's and Sally's." That may be so. The atmosphere is great — wood paneling, friendly servers, a clean feeling — but it doesn't play third-string just because it's not on Wooster. Modern's pies are a little topping-heavy with less structural integrity. Given the focus on toppings, the iconic Italian Bomb is the pie to try: bacon, sausage, pepperoni, garlic, mushroom, onion and pepper.
12. Totonno's, Brooklyn, N.Y. (Margherita)
By all accounts, Totonno's shouldn't be around anymore. Consider first that it was opened in Coney Island in 1924 (by Antonio "Totonno" Pero, a Lombardi's alum). Then factor in the fire that broke out in the coal storage area and ravaged the place in 2009. Add to that insult the destruction (and some reported $150,000 in repairs) incurred in 2012 during Hurricane Sandy when 4 feet of water destroyed everything inside the family-owned institution. You'll probably agree that Brooklyn (and the country) should be counting its lucky stars Totonno's is still around. And yet it does more than that.
It doesn't just keep a storied pizza name, or nostalgia for simpler times (and perhaps more authentic and consistent pies) alive. No. Owners Antoinette Balzano, Frank Balzano and Louise "Cookie" Ciminieri don't just bridge our modern era's festishizing of pizza to the days of its inception at Lombardi's. The coal-fired blistered edges, the spotty mozzarella laced over that beautiful red sauce . ah, fuggedabout all the teary-eyed try-too-much words, this is Neptune Avenue! This is Brooklyn! This is Totonno's. And this, is how you make pizza.
13. Paulie Gee's, Brooklyn, N.Y. (Regina)
With a love for pizza, little formal training, without finishing high school, with a career he has characterized as having "masqueraded as a computer geek," and a fear of becoming Shelley Levene from "Glengarry Glen Ross," Paulie Giannone struck out into the unknown, to Greenpoint, Brooklyn. He ventured there before "Girls," before the condos, in a time when the dream of a two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment a 10-minute walk from the subway to Manhattan on the Polish word-of-mouth, no-lease real estate wire still went for less than $2,000.
This backyard do-it-yourselfing pizza passionista put it all on the line and earned every kind word he's gotten. Greenpoint isn't much to look at, but Paulie Gee's is a pizza lover's home, a clean, rustic space that looks like a barn but puts out a pie to rival every Naples memory you've had or dreamed of having. There are some 19 pies, all great in their own right and featuring clever names and great topping combinations — In Ricotta Da Vita, Ricotta Be Kiddin', and the Luca Brasi (no anchovies) — but when The Daily Meal checked in with the pizzeria, the Regina was the pie noted as the signature: mozzarella, tomatoes, pecorino romano, olive oil and fresh basil. And panelists agreed that Paulie's Regina well deserved a top spot among America's 20 best pizzas.
14. Apizza Scholls, Portland, Ore. (Apizza Amore)
Apizza Scholls has some of the best pizza in Portland, and some have argued, north of San Francisco — and that's using an electric oven! But they do have some guidelines for patrons interested in composing their own topping combinations on their 18-inch pies: only three ingredients, and no more than two meats per pie. So choose wisely from a list of toppings that in addition to classics like anchovies, red onions, garlic, pepperoni, sausage and basil includes capicollo, house-cured Canadian bacon, cotto salami, arugula, jalapeño and pepperoncini. Heads-up: bacon is "not offered for build your own toppings." If you aren't up to building your own pie, there are 10 classics to choose from, including the signature Apizza Amore: margherita with capicollo (cured pork shoulder). The signature Amore features a spicy kick offset a bit by the somewhat sweet mozzarella and balanced sauce. That's amore!
Explore America's Best-Ever Pizzas, BBQ, Breakfasts and Burgers on All-New Series
When you consider classic eats like pizza, barbecue, breakfast and burgers, there's surely no shortage of restaurants at which to find them from popular chain restaurants and elegant cafes to takeout joints and hole-in-the-wall dives, these tried-and-true bites are everywhere. But how many places make the single best rendition of the dish, those one-in-a-million plates that keep you coming back again and again? Those next-level dishes are hard to come by, but in the all-new series Best. Ever. (premiering Monday, Jan. 5 at 10|9c), Food Network stars are revealing where to find them.
Over the course of four weeks, host Ted Allen and more of your favorite faces, including Alex Guarnaschelli, Anne Burrell, Marc Murphy and Aarón Sánchez, will showcase America's top pizzas, burgers, barbecue picks and breakfast plates alike. With the utmost mouthwatering detail, they'll share the ins and outs of these must-try specialties and reveal the hot spots at which to find them from coast to coast. Tune in every Monday night for an in-depth look at each of these four foods, and watch as the stars speak out about what makes their dish picks in Los Angeles, Portland, Ore., Chicago, Boston and more cities the best of the best.
Don't miss the premiere of Best. Ever. on Monday, Jan. 5 at 10|9c.
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See How Philadelphia's Pizzeria Beddia Makes the Best Pizza in America
Philadelphia locals call Joe Beddia the Pizza Jesus. Others refer to him as the Jiro of Pizza. What makes him worthy of such praise? He makes the best pizza in America (yep, we said it). Restaurant and drinks editor Andrew Knowlton spent a day at Pizzeria Beddia to see exactly how Beddia makes the country's best pies.
Every day at 9 a.m., you'll find Beddia at Pizzeria Beddia, in his happy place: Making dough.
Beddia works his dough magic on the simplest of ingredients: organic flour, yeast, water, extra-virgin olive oil, sea salt, and sugar.
Each morning, Beddia divides up the dough he made the previous day into 40 equal pieces, which will serve as the foundation for the evening's pies.
Beddia makes enough dough for 40 pies a day. He says it's all he can manage without killing himself.
Beddia listens to Howard Stern on the radio while he makes dough.
Beddia arranges the classic letter board menu that hangs on the wall at Pizzeria Beddia.
Beddia's sauce couldn't be simpler: raw, crushed, canned New Jersey tomatoes sea salt and garlic.
Beddia's toppings are simple and classic—think house-made pork sausage, roasted onions, crimini mushrooms, and arugula.
Beddia uses exactly six ounces of sauce per pie, spreading it out in a spiral.
Beddia uses a mix of aged fresh and aged mozzarellas on his pies.
A 16-inch round tomato-and-cheese-pie at Pizzeria Beddia costs $19.
Pizzeria Beddia offers three different pies: a cheese pie, a spicy chile-laced pie, and a seasonal pie—this one's got spinach, fresh cream, spring onion, and red onion.
Beddia lives a five-minute walk away from the restaurant in Philadelphia's Fishtown neighborhood. He comes home for lunch each day after he makes dough in the morning.
He also fits some transcendental meditation into his lunch break at home.
John Walker, left, is Pizzeria Beddia's second and only other employee. Among his many duties around the shop are working the register and juicing fruits and vegetables for his and Beddia's daily juice fix.
The pizza arrabiata (left), seasonal pie, and cheese pie.
Beddia slices through a fresh cheese pie.
There's always leftover pizza dough, which Beddia bakes into little loaves and cuts into pieces for guests to help themselves to at the counter.
A few of Beddia's knickknacks, which include a bowl of dried Calabrian chiles and a miniature figurine of the Philadelphia 76ers' Charles Barkley.
Beddia and Walker take orders the old-fashioned way: by hand.
Walker counting the night's cash on the basement stairs.
And, finally, a slice for Beddia.
Beddia locks up shop around 10:30 p.m., after selling all 40 pies.
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