Massachusetts: Santarpio’s Pizza
> Locations: East Boston & Peabody
One of America’s oldest pizzerias, Santarpio’s is a tavern that opened its East Boston location in 1903. It serves damp, chewy pies, including plain cheese, The Works (mushrooms, onions, peppers, garlic, sausage, pepperoni, extra cheese, and anchovies), and a combination of mozzarella, sausage, and garlic that is said to be its most popular pizza. Though you might come here for the pies, don’t overlook Santarpio’s iconic “barbecue” skewers of lamb, steak tips, chicken, or sausage served with hot cherry peppers and fresh-baked Italian bread.
Michigan: Buddy’s Pizza
> Location: Detroit & other locations
Detroit-style pizza has taken off in trendy pizzerias across the country, but Buddy’s owners would argue that Detroit-style pizza is Buddy’s pizza. The pizzeria opened as a tavern in 1946, and under then-owner August “Gus” Guerra, started serving crispy, sauce-topped cheese pies with inch-tall crusts, baked in square pans that supposedly were originally used for auto parts. They’re like the ideal open-faced grilled cheese sandwich turned into the pizza of your dreams.
Minnesota: Black Sheep Pizza
> Location: Minneapolis
Jordan Smith and Colleen Doran opened Black Sheep as the first coal-burning pizza restaurant in Minneapolis in 2008, serving 12- and 16-inch pies with classic toppings and also with such unique combinations as Persian beef, tomato, feta, and harissa and oyster mushroom, smoked mozzarella, rosemary, and garlic. A house specialty is The Sicilian – a 16″ square pie topped with nothing but sauce, mozzarella, and extra-virgin olive oil.
Mississippi: Sal & Mookie’s New York Pizza & Ice Cream Joint
> Locations: Biloxi, Jackson, & Madison
Dan Blumenthal and Jeff Good – not Sal and Mookie – opened this tribute to New York-style pizza (and New York itself) in 2007. Pizzas evoke the city not only with their crust but with their names: the Brighton Beach has mozzarella, provolone, cheddar, grilled chicken, and sautéed onions and bell peppers; the Penn Station references bagels with toppings including dill-caper cream cheese, smoked salmon, red onions, and tomatoes.
Missouri: Faraci’s Pizza
> Location: Ellisville
Run by the sons of the founders of the original Faraci’s Pizza in nearby Ferguson – like Ellisville, in the greater St. Louis area – Faraci’s makes (not surprisingly) St. Louis-style pizza. That means square, and cut into squares, with an unleavened crust and generous portions of Provel cheese, a local specialty that’s in effect an amalgam of provolone, cheddar, and Swiss. All the usual toppings are available, and there are a few signature combinations – for instance, Nonna’s Meatball Pizza, with house-made meatballs and tomato sauce.
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