Pizza. If you’re obsessed with it, you’re not alone. Last year, at the behest of the California Pizza Kitchen chain, the Harris Poll conducted a survey of attitudes towards pizza on the part of more than 2,000 U.S. adults. The study found that, if they could only eat one food for the rest of their lives, 21% of the participants would choose pizza — more than any other food by far.
Approximately 3 billion pizzas are sold in America each year, and we consume an average of 23 pounds (or 46 slices) per capita annually. A lot of that, of course, comes frozen from the supermarket or gets delivered from (or picked up at) one of the big multi-unit pizza purveyors, like Domino’s or Pizza Hut or some slightly smaller local chain. Some of these latter operations do a very good job. These are the regional pizza chains that really should go national.
There were about 77,000 pizzerias and restaurants specializing in pizza in America last year — many of them chains, of course, but many of them also single establishments or mini-chains with just a handful of outposts. These are the ones ranked here.
There are many different styles of pizza around the nation, many of them regionally specific. One estimate mentions as many as 24 — though probably 10 or 12 are common. These include Neapolitan, Sicilian, deep dish, New York-style, Detroit-style, and New Haven-style (named for the Connecticut metropolis that some consider to be the country’s pizza capital).
The pizzerias on our list represent many of the possible styles, some of them serving a number of different styles to please a wide range of customers. Some of these establishments go wild with non-traditional toppings (corn, kale, barbecue sauce), while others specialize in simple cheese pizzas, or pies with only a few additions — like America’s most favorite pizza topping, pepperoni, an addition unknown in Italy. These are examples of famous “Italian” dishes Italians don’t really eat.
Whatever the style and whatever the toppings, pizza is one of the best possible things we have to eat — and these are the best places to get it.
To determine the best pizzerias in America, 24/7 Tempo consulted “best” lists appearing on numerous websites, including those of Food & Wine, Eater, Buzzfeed, Zagat, Thrillist, Departures, TripAdvisor, and The Daily Meal, as well as regional websites. This yielded a list of more than 400 pizzerias, of which 70 were mentioned repeatedly. From this number, drawing on averaged rankings from the sites consulted, reviews, and editorial discretion, we chose the 40 best purveyors of pizza in the country.
40. Ken’s Artisan Pizza
> Portland, Oregon
Ken Forkish, a tech careerist turned baker, has been crushing the Portland pizza scene since starting Monday pizza nights at Ken’s Artisan Bakery in 2006. His thin-crust pies, baked in about two minutes — and inspired by his visits to Europe — are known for their tangy sauce and for being more artisanal than they are Neapolitan.
39. Pequod’s Pizza
> Chicago and Morton Grove, Illinois
Pequod’s late founder, Burt Katz, is legendary in Chicago’s deep-dish lore, and his tradition lives on with Pequod’s blackened caramelized crust, a chewy, nearly burnt cheese edge rimming a cheesy pool of sauce.
38. O4W Pizza
> Duluth, Georgia
You wouldn’t mistake this Atlanta suburb for New Jersey or Long Island, but Anthony Spina’s “Jersey-style” pizzas (made with hand-pulled mozzarella) and his accolade-showered New York grandma pie (a basic square pizza with tomato sauce and mozzarella baked in a pan), made in cast iron, are better than many you’d find in their states of origin.
37. Prince Street Pizza
> New York City
In 2012, this establishment took over the premises of the city’s storied Ray’s, which closed in 2011. It quickly became famous for its “SoHo Squares” cooked in a new gas-fired, brick-lined Marsal & Sons oven. You can’t leave without trying the Spicy Spring, topped with tangy-sweet fra diavolo sauce, fresh mozzarella, and a pile of crispy, spicy oil-filled pools of spicy pepperoni.
> New York City
New York City is known for its thin crust pizza, but within the borough of Staten Island, the pies are even thinner. Rubirosa, a representative of that pie culture in Manhattan’s Nolita neighborhood, has made converts to the borough’s signature style. The Classic (tomato and fresh mozzarella, from “our 60 year old New York style family recipe”) and the Vodka are the baselines, but you can’t say you’ve been there without trying the Tie-Dye (vodka, tomato, pesto, and fresh mozzarella).
35. Papa’s Tomato Pies
> Robbinsville, New Jersey
Papa’s, established in New Jersey in 1912, claims to be America’s oldest continuously owned, family-owned pizzeria (though it moved from Trenton to Robbinsville in 2013). The Azzaro family cooks made-to-order tomato pies (cheese and toppings first, then sauce) that typically come well done. But you shouldn’t leave without trying a true original. Papa’s mustard pizza is first brushed with spicy brown mustard, adding an even more pronounced tang to its saucy pies.
34. Una Pizza Napoletana
> New York City
Pizza maestro Anthony Mangieri has crisscrossed America, first taking New York by storm, then departing for San Francisco, and returning nine years later — in 2018 — to Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Neapolitan-style pizza is no longer anything novel in America, but Mangieri’s pies continue to set a standard with their incredibly light, tall, dinghy-rim crusts, making them one of the more iconic pizzas in New York City.
33. Regina Pizzeria
Regina is Boston pizza royalty with a history that goes back to 1926. There are now 13 locations in Massachusetts and one in Connecticut, and some say that expansion has come at the cost of quality. Nothing’s wrong at the original location in the winding streets of the North End, however, where the dark crust is paired with juicy cheesiness.
32. Post Office Pies
> Birmingham, Alabama
Chef John Hall worked in several esteemed New York City restaurants before coming to Birmingham to open a pizzeria with a friend in an old post office. Pies are topped with house-made mozzarella and cooked in a handmade wood-fired brick oven, which yields crisp, thin, char-edged pies.
31. Timber Pizza Co.
> Washington, D.C.
For years, D.C. was a pizza wasteland. That’s changed recently, and Timber Pizza Company is one reason why. Partners Chris Brady and Andrew Dana started in 2014 by towing an oven to local breweries and farmers markets, and went brick-and-mortar in 2016. Saying “Cheese, Please” scores you a red pie with a blend of provolone and fresh mozzarella, but their most famous pizza may be the Green Monster with pesto, fresh mozzarella, feta, zucchini, and kale.
30. The Pie Pizzeria
> Salt Lake City, Utah
This old-school Salt Lake City institution occupies a brick-walled basement under a pharmacy. The basement used to house a church, and the pasta and pizza place that preceded the Pie here kept the pews as seating. These days, the place is a student hang that serves pizzas in three styles: thin crust, “ApocalyptDough” (where spices in the dough create a “creeping, unique burn that slowly approaches and has an undetermined lingering effect”), and standard golden crust.
29. Cane Rosso
Jay Jerrier’s small Cane Rosso chain has become synonymous with good pizza in and around Houston, Austin, Dallas, and Fort Worth. You’ll find authentic wood-burning pies, with the option to top them with ingredients like candied jalapeÃ±os, bacon marmalade, and brisket â this is Texas, after all.
28. Pizza Rock
> Las Vegas
If there’s a pizza style that California pie king Tony Gemignani doesn’t know how to make, it’s hard to believe he won’t figure it out. Gemiginani’s colorful, bustling Vegas joint serves no fewer than 10 different styles, including Roman, classic Italian, deep dish, thin crust, New York, and New Haven — and he does them all admirably well.
27. Vito & Nick’s
Chicago has long been known as a deep-dish city to out-of-towners, but everyone living there knows it’s really a thin crust town. This family-owned spot has been serving thin crust pies since 1946. If it’s your first time, you’ll want to order a sausage pizza. Its generous cheesiness and sauce will tell you why.
> Portland, Maine
Located in Portland’s old Public Market building, Slab advertises its “Sicilian street food” — which includes what the pizzeria describes as Old World-style dough, formed into thick square, well, slabs. The basic offering includes tomato sauce, mozzarella, provolone, and oregano, with pepperoni optional, and there’s a Spicy Meat pie with red pepper sauce, pepperoni, pepperoncini, mozzarella, provolone, and blue cheese dip. Thin crust pies are also available.
25. Santillo’s Brick Oven Pizza
> Elizabeth, New Jersey
Al Santillo’s massive pizza oven — it requires a 20-foot-long peel to retrieve the pies — is housed in his living room, a tradition started by his grandfather in 1950, and pizzas are available for takeout only. And be ready to order your pizza by “vintage” as Santillo labels his pies by the year of their creation.
24. Motorino Pizzeria
> New York City
When Anthony Mangieri’ closed his original Una Pizza Napoletana (see No. 34) to head to San Francisco, Mathieu Palombino took over the East Village site to open first Manhattan pizzeria (his original was in Brooklyn). Having now expanded to the Upper East Side and opening several offshoots in Asia, Palombino has developed a reputation for making one of New York’s great Neapolitan pies: the Brussels sprouts pizza, with fior di latte, garlic, pecorino, smoked pancetta, and olive oil.
23. Dino’s Tomato Pie
Seattle pizza maven Brandon Pettit slings seven variations each on 18-inch round and Sicilian (square) pizzas using his custom brick ovens. Extra toppings are available, but as a note on his website points out, “more than three toppings will be expensive and won’t be any better.” His Sicilians are the right move â airy and crunchy, with sides crisped with blackened cheese.
22. Joe’s Pizza
> New York City
Established in 1975, this West Village institution — still owned and operated by 75-year-old founder Joe Pozzuoli — has a perpetual line outside. Joe’s serves fresh, hot, cheesy slices that are the baseline against which all other New York City slices must be judged.
21. De Lorenzo’s Tomato Pies
> Robbinsville, New Jersey and Yardley, Pennsylvania
De Lorenzo’s is a serious New Jersey pizza tradition, founded by Alexander “Chick” De Lorenzo in Trenton in 1947 and relocated to Robbinsville in 2007. (De Lorenzo added the Pennsylvania location, just across the border from New Jersey, in 2018.) De Lorenzo’s pies, described on the menu as “thin, crisp, with a slight char on the crust,” can be enhance with 18 different toppings.
Mark Iacono is a New York City pizza legend, whose Carroll Gardens pizzeria is known for long lines and destination pizza dining. The thin pies with wide, flat, almost pita-like crusts are the reason to visit, but Iacono’s calzones are also routinely mentioned as being among the best in the city.
19. Moose’s Tooth Pub & Pizzeria
> Anchorage, Alaska
Fellow rock climbers Rod Hancock and Matt Jones had little restaurant experience when they started serving draft beer and stone-baked pizzas in the mid-1990s, but their pies have drawn lines ever since then. The menu features some 35 variations, but the Avalanche is the best known. It’s loaded with pepperoni, blackened chicken, bacon, red onion, cheddar, mozzarella, provolone, and barbecue sauce.
18. Del Popolo
> San Francisco
Jonathan Darsky has his own magic touch, but it can’t hurt that he was once pizzaiolo of the San Francisco’s acclaimed Flour + Water. After leaving there, he became known for his $180,000 customized Freightliner pizza food truck. The truck still plies the streets of San Francisco, but Del Popolo is now a Nob Hill brick-and-mortar destination, too, serving eight pizzas with ingredients like housemade sausage, prosciutto, cherry tomatoes, and salami piccante.
17. Lou Malnati’s
> Chicago and other locations
Offered since 1971, the Lou Malnati’s deep-dish experience comes in four sizes: six-inch individual (for one), 9-inch small (two people), 12-inch medium (three), and 14-inch large (four). Whatever size you order, the right choice is the Malnati Chicago Classic, made with Lou’s lean sausage, extra mozzarella, and tomato sauce on a butter crust.
16. Modern Apizza
> New Haven, Connecticut
Modern — established in 1934 as State Street Pizza — is the New Haven thin-crust, coal-fired, brick oven pizzeria locals frequently describe as the place they go instead of Sally’s (No. 13) or Frank Pepe (No. 8). The ingredient-heavy Italian Bomb is the pie the pizzeria’s T-shirts advertise, and the one to order. It’s topped with sausage, bacon, pepperoni, mushrooms, garlic, peppers, and onion.
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.
> East Boston and Peabody, Massachusetts
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 the pizzeria’s 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.
9. Pizzeria Mozza
> Los Angeles and Newport Beach, California
Award-winning baker and chef Nancy Silverton’s L.A. hotspot Osteria Mozza also happens to be home to one of the city’s best pizzerias. Pizzeria Mozza, attached to the restaurant, turns out a wide range of pies topped with some of the finest seasonal ingredients you’ll ever see on a pizza, including corn, Fresno chiles, Meyer lemon, and squash blossoms.
8. Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana
> New Haven, Connecticut, and other locations
Hailed by The Daily Meal for producing America’s best pizza, Frank Pepe is a must-visit spot if you want to be able to talk about serious pizza. Opened in New Haven’s Wooster Square in 1925, it serves long, more-or-less oval, crunch-crisp pizzas fired in the restaurant’s coal ovens. The fresh tomato pie, available only in the summer months, is a favorite, but the most famous offering here is the clam pie, topped with freshly shucked littlenecks, garlic, olive oil, herbs, and parmigiano-reggiano (no mozzarella) — a genre onto itself. If you leave without trying it you’ve done it wrong. Just expect to wait.
7. Buddy’s Pizza
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.
6. Pizzeria Beddia
Joe Beddia had the idea of making the best quality New York-style pizza he could, his way, using the best ingredients he could find. His Pizzeria Beddia, which he founded in Philadelphia in 2013, was named the country’s best pizzeria two years later by Bon AppÃ©tit. Beddia’s place became the Franklin Barbecue of pizza, with lines around the block for the mere 40 pies he made daily Wednesday through Saturday. But Beddia himself was making all the pies so he could pay close attention to detail, and this took its toll. He closed his place in 2018 and reopened Beddia 2.0 nearby — this time with partners and other pizza makers. They may not all have Beddia’s same master touch, and the pies aren’t exact facsimiles of the earlier ones, but they still have all the great flavors of his original work.
5. Di Fara
Domenico DeMarco — who has operated Di Fara since 1964 — is New York City’s pizza pope. For decades, he’s been cooking New York- and Sicilian-style pizzas for anyone willing to wait in the long lines that have formed since his legend has grown. Order a simple classic round, by all means, or the Di Fara Classic (mozzarella, parmigiano-reggiano, plum tomato sauce, basil, sausage, peppers, mushrooms, onions, and a drizzle of olive oil), but don’t miss the Sicilian square, widely regarded by many New York pizza nerds as the city’s best.
4. Apizza Scholls
> Portland, Oregon
Portland’s been called “America’s greatest pizza city” by international pizza consultant Anthony Falco. And amongst Portland’s pizzerias, Apizza Scholls is widely regarded as serving some of the city’s best pizza. There are specials to select from but you can also choose your own topping combos for the 18-inch pies. For the purpose of balance, though, the pizzeria limits toppings to three ingredients, including two meats per pie.
3. Via 313
> Austin, Texas
Via 313’s owners, brothers Zane and Brandon Hunt, were at the forefront of the Detroit pizza movement outside its native city, pioneering an appetite for it in Austin with their custom pizza trailer starting in 2011. The Hunts developed their passion for the style growing up in Michigan, but their own caramelized pies with the crisp cheesy edges have become icons of their own.
2. Razza Pizza Artigianale
> Jersey City, New Jersey
Razza opened in 2012, but its reputation exploded in 2017 after New York Times restaurant critic Pete Wells wrote provocatively that this New Jersey pizzeria served the best pizza in New York City. The pies are a little larger than standard Neapolitan pizzas, but they have the crunchy texture you’d expect from fresh bread crusts, and they truly are worth the hype — and the wait.
1. Pizzeria Bianco
> Phoenix, Arizona
Bronx native Chris Bianco is a pizza celebrity. His Phoenix pizza spot has been topping best-of lists for decades. Bianco no longer makes the pies himself, but they’re still widely lauded, and fans still make the pilgrimage here for them. Order a signature Margherita by all means, but the Rosa, with red onions, parmigiano-reggiano, rosemary, and Arizona pistachios, is a delicious specialty you shouldn’t miss.
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