The Five Pizzas You Eat in Heaven*

Jonathan Zeller


New to the NYC pizza scene? Congratulations. To get you started, here’s a brief primer—with a tip of the hat to experts Scott Wiener and Tony Muia (plus’s own pizza maker Adam Kuban), who chatted with us about its different manifestations in the City—on what types of pizza you’ll find in the five boroughs.

1. Classic Coal Oven

Basically: Pizzaiolos use coal ovens to give the crusts on these pies a pleasant char. They generally only serve them by the pie, making them ideal when you want to sit down with friends for a real meal.
One example: Totonno’s, Coney Island

2. New York Slice

Basically: A slice joint usually has pies laid out, ready to be reheated. The slices, thicker and heartier than those from a coal oven, come to you on a paper plate; just fold and eat while walking on the street. It’s what Wiener calls “pizza in transit.”
One example: Joe’s of Greenwich Village

3. Sicilian New York Slice

Basically: A square slice. Done properly, it has a generous helping of sauce and some pecorino. Don’t fall for imitations with, as Muia says, “way too little sauce and a plastic piece of cheese on top.” Wiener places Sicilian slices in the larger “New York Slice” category, but this is our article and we’ll divide pizza types how we want!
One example: L&B Spumoni Gardens, Bensonhurst

4. Neapolitan

Basically: A throwback to pizza’s origins in Naples, Italy, sometimes with cosmopolitan NYC pizzazz thrown in, Neapolitan pizza comes in small personal pies with sauce that gathers in a “soupy” center. The slices can be a bit floppy when you pick them up. Neapolitan is one of the more prominent recent trends in the City’s pizzaverse.
One example: Motorino, Lower East Side

5. All the Other Pizza

Basically: New York is the most diverse city in the world, and that goes for pizza as well. So we’ve got bar pies, deep dish, Detroit style, vegan pies, 99-cent slices, grandma slices…heck, we even had pizza in a cone for a while. Whatever you’re looking for, you’ll probably find it.
One example: Kuban, mentioned above, makes a mean bar pie. (Those have a thin, crisp crust and, as Kuban writes, are “large enough to share but small enough you could house one yourself.”)

*New York City

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