Quick, what is the pizza capital of the world? Hint: Its NYC
So lets spend a few moments breaking it down. Chicago does a good Deep Dish and then some. Boston, San Diego, LA has are making all sorts of great pizzas, and so is New Haven which spoiled clam pies for me forever. And then there’s Naples and Rome that are really the two powerhouses outside of the country that can compete with NYC pound for pound. These are all fantastic pizza cities. But none of them comes close to the size and depth of the NYC pizza scene.
Yelp lists 11,000 establishments selling pizza in NYC which granted is a little high. And it only allows checking 999 results at a time, so I cant really see how many of these are actually pizza places. And according to the Health Dep’t there are around 1600 establishments with the word pizza or pizzeria in the name. So there you have it. We have exactly 1600 to 11,000 pizza places in NYC! Ok, so we dont really know. But the number is very high. In many neighborhoods you can’t walk a block without a pizza, bagel, Chinese takeout, and therefore a Pharmacy.
And with the numbers comes the competition. I’ve witnessed it increase dramatically during the last few years with the advance of Roman, Neapolitan, Detroit, and even NY style all over town. Experienced Italian Pizzaioli continue to flock the city, while local talents like Nick Anderer and Emily Hyland increase the assault. Our healthy pizza culture hasnt changed much, but we do have a lot more interesting options nowadays.
And these days those options go far beyond the institutions like Di Fara, which many consider the best pizza in city. So as I wrote elsewhere…
Think of Difara as the High Sparrow. The High Septon of The Faith of the 7 pizzas (Grimaldi’s, Lombardi’s, Totonno’s, Di Fara, L&B, Patsy’s, John’s of Bleecker). But since it was crowned as the high Septon of The Faith, the 7 pizzas became 700, and many of them are now more powerful and better looking than the High Sparrow. If you are a believer and part of The Faith, you already know who some of them are. But if you are an outsider, you only know the High Sparrow and your mission in life is to meet him. But to meet him you need to take what they call “The Subway” for a long ride and wait your turn among other non believers, which may take 1-3 hours sometimes. And when you finally meet him, the entire experience may depend on one thing. Whether the High Sparrow is having a good hair day. Its essentially like a job interview.
So for those readers or GOT fans that are still with us, yes, we are grateful for all those institutions that deliver quality pizza for all those decades. But today we have a lot of other options, some of which a little bit more interesting. Other than John’s, these guys are somewhat painful to get to, and there’s a very good chance there’s a better option near your hotel. So for the next week or so, I’ll be working on a map of some of the best pizza in NYC, along with other articles, starting with an updates list of the best of Hell’s Kitchen. A pizza week on EWZ if you will. And if you are not into pizza, you are an enemy of America!