15. Paulie Gee’s
> Brooklyn and other locations
Paul Giannone lives the dream. He showed pizza nerds everywhere that without formal training — or even a high school diploma — success as a pizzaiolo was possible if you followed your passion and put your heart into it (and everything on the line). His Greenpoint spot is famous for its numerous pie options, but the Hellboy (fresh mozzarella, Italian tomatoes, Berkshire soppressata picante, parmigiano-reggiano, and Mike’s Hot Honey) is perhaps the most beloved.
14. Tony’s Pizza Napoletana
> San Francisco
Like Tony Gemignani’s Pizza Rock in Las Vegas (No. 28), his eponymous San Francisco pizzeria also serves various pie styles. The signature pie, however, is not, surprisingly, the acclaimed Neapolitan. This pizza starts with hand-mixed dough made with Caputo blue flour and proofed in Napoletana wood boxes, then topped with San Marzano tomatoes, sea salt, fior di latte, fresh basil, and extra-virgin olive oil. Remember that only 73 of these award-winning pizzas are made daily.
13. Sally’s Apizza
> New Haven, Connecticut
New Haven pizza lovers are either Pepe people, Modern people, or Sally’s people. Sally’s opened just down the street from Frank Pepe by Pepe’s nephew Salvatore (Sally) Consiglio in 1938. Because this is New Haven, you might be tempted to order a clam pie here, but that’s more Pepe’s thing. At Sally’s, the plain mozzarella or tomato pies (tomato sauce, no cheese) are arguably better than the original Pepe’s versions.
Totonno’s is a bit of a trek — all the way out in Coney Island — but along with John’s of Bleecker, Patsy’s, and Lombardi’s it’s one of New York City’s oldest historic pizzerias (though Lombadi’s closed for a decade before reopening). Antonio “Totonno” Pero, a Lombardi’s alum, launched his coal-oven shop in 1924, and his traditions have been continued by his family. They turn out well-sauced, fresh-mozzarella-topped pies with blistered edges. And there is almost always a wait for the pies.
11. Al Forno
> Providence, Rhode Island
Al Forno is a Providence institution founded by husband-and-wife owner-chefs George Germon (now deceased) and Johanne Killeen. The menu of Italian specialties make this a worthwhile destination in itself, but this is also the birthplace of grilled pizza — pies baked over hardwood charcoal fire. The signature is the Margarita, with tomato, fresh herbs, two cheeses, and extra-virgin olive oil.