Since pizza is not just a food but a vital part of the NYC lifestyle, New Yorkers tend to have a deeply personal connection to their favorite NYC pizza places.
Once we started putting together our comprehensive guide to pizza, all the writers and editors on staff had to get in a word about the joints where they’d grabbed a slice to soak up those late-night beers, eaten a little bit too much of a large pie in one sitting or otherwise made the memories that make up life in the city. This isn’t our general guide to the City’s best slices (which you can read here); it’s a series of odes to the beautiful bond between human beings and their favorite pizzerias. Enjoy! —Jonathan Zeller
This Houston Street sit-down restaurant serves coal-oven pies with an appropriately charred, chewy crust; with its dim lighting, live jazz, and old-school claw-foot tub in the bathroom, it’s a relatively cheap way to feel like you’re having a real night out in the City. If reading “claw-foot tub” in that last sentence felt slightly hallucinatory, just imagine encountering one when you open the door to the bathroom. What a night! —JZ
Bleecker Street Pizza
This Seventh Avenue slicery is an end-of-the-evening mainstay for tired party people on their ways home (or elsewhere—no judgment). The mushroom pizza—made with fresh, not canned, mushrooms—is excellent, as is their signature Nonna Maria. Don’t miss the celebrity headshots by the cash register: any place that’s all right with Mickey Rourke, Dax Shepard and Kylie Jenner is all right by us. —Jonathan Durbin
Any place that’s all right with Mickey Rourke, Dax Shepard and Kylie Jenner is all right by us.
Famous Joe’s Pizzeria
This tiny storefront on Carmine Street is open till 4am, attracting a lively, post-midnight crowd of snack-starved NYU students and nightlife denizens who crowd around counters and high outdoor tables to scarf down their carb fix. Joe’s has been on the same West Village block for more than 40 years, and some familiar—if not always friendly—faces have been behind the late-night counter for more than two decades. —Brian Sloan
John’s Pizzeria (Elmhurst, Queens)
John’s in Elmhurst, Queens, not only makes a fantastic regular slice (superthin, cheesy, crisp), but its 1960s decor and longtime family ownership make it as much a time capsule of a bygone New York as a pizzeria. —Adam Kuban
John’s Pizzeria (Greenwich Village)
You could keep an eye out for the maroon awning that marks this Bleecker Street spot, but you’ll probably see a line of eager pizza-lovers outside first. The interior is notable for its worn-in wood panels and booths carved with decades’ worth of initials and doodles, and for its massive coal-fired oven cranking out crispy, customizable pizzas. They don’t serve slices here, but ordering a whole pie will be worth the commitment. —Gillian Osswald
L&B Spumoni Gardens
It’s open year-round, but L&B is a summer staple for Brooklyn locals. Their Sicilian, a thick square slice that unconventionally layers the mozzarella under the sauce, is the City’s best. Order a corner and a middle, and finish your meal with a traditional spumoni, made from chocolate, pistachio and cremolata ices. Then stay and watch from an outdoor table as friendly neighborhood folks hang out by their double-parked muscle cars. Just don’t stare, OK? —Christina Parrella
Watch as friendly neighborhood folks hang out by their double-parked muscle cars. Just don’t stare, OK?
It’s somewhat cramped. The hot oven nearly touches one of the few tables. Pizza boxes are stacked up toward the ceiling. Service can be less than effusive. But once these expert pizza makers put their homemade pesto oil on a thin, crisp pie or slice—fresh mozzarella, grandma or Sicilian, preferably—and you take a bite, all other concerns cease. (Added cred: Gio, the owner, recently struck a blow for NYC, and its pizza, on The Chris Gethard Show.) —Andrew Rosenberg