What region has the nation's best pizza?
June 15, 2019 4:38 PM   Subscribe

Can we just say some pizzas are demonstrably better than others? The quality gap between the best and worst regional styles is a wide chasm. This doesn’t apply to any other food in America with the exception of maybe barbecue (but even with barbecue, we’re talking about a genre, not a specific dish). And frankly, some city’s pizza styles are half-assed ideas that get disproportionate championing in the name of civic duty. Every city thinks it’s the best in America, and we know that’s just not possible. The same goes with pizza. (Kevin Pang, The Takeout)
posted by Johnny Wallflower (169 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
 
UH OH!!! PIZZA FIIIIIIGHHHHTTTT!!!!

I have found that the nation as a whole has upped its pizza game over the last few decades such that more often than not, a random slice from a non-chain shop is about as decent as an average $1 slice from the city*.

*You know what city.
posted by gwint at 4:43 PM on June 15 [11 favorites]


No pizza strips or grilled pie?? Rhode Island would like a word with the editor.
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 4:46 PM on June 15 [5 favorites]


I'll happily listen to crazed rambling about the best thin-crust pizza as long as it is understand that it can only ever be a battle for second place. First place is deep dish.
posted by lefty lucky cat at 4:52 PM on June 15 [9 favorites]


I am not much of a pizza snob, but after reading that article, I sure know what one looks like.
posted by notoriety public at 4:54 PM on June 15 [23 favorites]


I've never had a St. Louis style pizza, but it sure sounds (and looks) unappealing.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 4:57 PM on June 15 [6 favorites]


"New York City is the best American city for pizza". And yet also the worst American city for pizza. It contains multitudes.

St. Louis pizza really challenges the idea of tolerance for regional pizza variations. Square cut of a round pie? Dumb but I can live with it. Crust without yeast? Weird but I'll try it. Bizarre local Velveeta-variant cheese as definitive topic? Nope, I'm out.
posted by Nelson at 5:02 PM on June 15 [19 favorites]


But most divisive of all is the Chicago’s deep-dish pizza, inspiration for comedy desk pieces, and a food consumed mainly by tourists and rarely by everyday Chicagoans
I always see this claim that people in Chicago don't eat deep dish on the regular, and I dunno, maybe it's just me and my friends and the people I work with, but everybody I know in the city eats deep dish at least semi-regularly. My wife and I get Lou's...maybe once a month? It's our go-to when we're ordering pizza, and it's also the go-to when the place I work is catering a meeting or something. Every deep dish place in the city is busy basically any time you walk by them. Pequod's has a multi-hour line every weekend night. I feel like people who don't like deep dish say this to defend their preference, but it doesn't really track with my experience in Chicago.

Also it's really weird how many people A) get militant about pizza and B) express a pizza preference as an objective truth rather than just a preference.
posted by protocoach at 5:05 PM on June 15 [24 favorites]


The best pizza in America is the one you're about to eat, or are eating.
posted by glonous keming at 5:06 PM on June 15 [70 favorites]


Hmm. Pizza is like coffee -- common enough that you CAN still find bad versions, but if you're willing to expend a little extra money and effort then it isn't hard to find the good stuff. I think NYC still wins just based on having the best worst. (I'd rather have the most uninspiring pizza-by-the-slice than Papa John's.)
posted by grandiloquiet at 5:07 PM on June 15 [4 favorites]


Seeing round pizzas cut into squares is like watching one of those most unsatisfying videos.
posted by rodlymight at 5:09 PM on June 15 [1 favorite]


With California-style pizza, popularized by Wolfgang Puck and perpetuated by California Pizza Kitchen, it’s actually more of a lifestyle. Here, the toppings are the star attraction, and—in typical Hollywood form—they can seem twee and ostentatious. Pears and gorgonzola. Thai chicken with peanut sauce. Goat cheese and duck sausage. Some of these may be delicious, but so is a Philly cheesesteak, if our definition of a pizza is hot meat on bread. That said, the biggest contribution California brings to our pizza culture is the combination of barbecue sauce and chicken as a topping.

The fuck? Boot & Shoe and Arizmendi would like to have words with you. Also the very nice wood-fired pizza place 40 yards from my backdoor.
posted by suelac at 5:10 PM on June 15 [11 favorites]


I also cringed at "party" cut, which, come on. the answer to balancing the pizza:people equation is not to cut the pizza like that. the answer is to get more pizza.
posted by One Thousand and One at 5:11 PM on June 15 [7 favorites]


I've honestly never lived in a place that even attempted to claim it was the best pizza city in America. This just isn't a contest the West coast bothers to participate in, I think. I mean, "California style pizza" as described in the article was a 1980s innovation and its contemporary influence is pretty well limited to the eponymous mall chain at this point.

I'm actually reasonably interested in regional pizza differences but this article reads like a dude went to ten cities, tried a couple pizzas people on Twitter recommended in each, and drew conclusions.
posted by potrzebie at 5:15 PM on June 15 [4 favorites]


I grew up outside Chicago. We ate deep dish pizza a few times a year. I strongly suspect that people who maintain that deep dish pizza is actively bad rather than just not their thing have only had bad, weird chain deep dish.

Our standard pizza, though, was from a local red sauce place, lots of cheese, good quality sausage, sort of a medium-thick crust...definitely not your cracker-like crust but not hippie pizza either. Sort of an ur-pizza., not particularly regional.

As to square cut pizza...I like square cut pizza! You get more variety in your pizza experience - a piece from the middle, with no crust, has a different taste and texture from a piece from the outside; a larger piece has a different texture from a smaller one. The ratio of toppings to crust varies from slice to slice.m It also takes longer to eat, you can't just wolf it down like a single triangular slice.
posted by Frowner at 5:20 PM on June 15 [11 favorites]


Our standard pizza, though, was from a local red sauce place, lots of cheese, good quality sausage, sort of a medium-thick crust...definitely not your cracker-like crust but not hippie pizza either. Sort of an ur-pizza., not particularly regional.

That is the kind of pizza I grew up with, more or less. Around here, though, the choices seem to be mostly bad chain pizza or fancy pizza -- and while the fancy locavore pizza is good, sometimes you just want the middle road.
posted by Dip Flash at 5:23 PM on June 15


I also cringed at "party" cut, which, come on. the answer to balancing the pizza:people equation is not to cut the pizza like that. the answer is to get more pizza.

The cut makes more sense when you consider the origin - it's used on tavern/pub pizza, which is meant to be eaten bitesize and washed down with beer.

As a transplanted New Yorker, I used to be more of a pizza snob, but have mellowed out, having come to respect the many and varied pizza schools that exist.
posted by NoxAeternum at 5:23 PM on June 15 [2 favorites]


UH OH!!! PIZZA FIIIIIIGHHHHTTTT!!!!

*Breaks out the popcorn

does popcorn go with pizza?
posted by Greg_Ace at 5:24 PM on June 15


One of the things I like about living in RI is that you have to seriously work to get bad pizza. There are so many good hole in the wall places with, at a minimum, decent pizza that places that don’t measure up fail in weeks.

I think pizza is a NE thing. Any place south or west of New a York is just kind of following along. This is balanced by the fact that it’s really hard to get good Mexican or Tex-Mex in New England, and good barbecue is unheard-of.

Let regional food be regional.
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:31 PM on June 15 [6 favorites]


It was kind of surreal discovering that "Detroit-style" pizza had become A Thing, by ending up at a "Detroit-style" pizza place in Texas of all places.

Like, yeah, they had a kind of pizza that I recognized from growing up in SE Michigan. It was pretty tasty. I'd eat it again. But it's not A True Authentic Tradition that needs to have its standards carried to the four corners of the earth. It's a way that a couple of places in this one corner of the Midwest make pizza. You know? Especially because most pizza in the area, or even as far as I can tell in Detroit proper, isn't that style. It just felt like blowing it way out of proportion.

(But ok, if we get to vote on the next regional pizza style to get blown all completely out of proportion? I vote for the Boston-suburbs vaguely-Greek "_____ House of Pizza" variety. If "Cambridge-style pizza" is a big foodie thing in ten years, you heard it here first.)
posted by nebulawindphone at 5:31 PM on June 15 [9 favorites]


I no longer live in Chicago, but I've always been a fan of thick-crust pizza.

Also, Chicago has the pan pizza—which is what TFA is reviling—where there's a heavy stratum of paste-like tomato sauce on top of all the other ingredients; and the thick-crust, a more conventional-looking pizza that just has a thick crust. (And of course there's Chicago thin crust, which is unlike New York pizza.) I could be wrong, but I think pan pizza was invented in the 1970s.

There are definitely some pan pizzas in Chicago with awful, cardboard-y dough and undercooked ingredients. But the good stuff, man, I miss that.
posted by adamrice at 5:32 PM on June 15 [2 favorites]


I always see this claim that people in Chicago don't eat deep dish on the regular, and I dunno, maybe it's just me and my friends and the people I work with, but everybody I know in the city eats deep dish at least semi-regularly. My wife and I get Lou's...maybe once a month?

We eat tavern cut pizza in Chicago mostly. As I was typing this, my aunt just called out "Pizza!" which we ordered from Giordanos. It is most definitely tavern cut.
posted by Ironmouth at 5:34 PM on June 15


if we get to vote on the next regional pizza style to get blown all completely out of proportion? I vote for the Boston-suburbs vaguely-Greek "_____ House of Pizza" variety.

Otherwise known as "New London Style"
posted by jeremias at 5:35 PM on June 15 [4 favorites]


Can't we just agree that New Haven style is the worst? It's like Neapolitan but burnt.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 5:36 PM on June 15 [3 favorites]


I, for one, love St. Louis style pizza. Provel and all. Though if you're a cheese snob there are several great places on The Hill and elsewhere that do it with standard pizza cheeses.

I miss the hell out of Imo's, especially after a few beers. It's fantastic bar food.
posted by jzb at 5:37 PM on June 15 [5 favorites]


I do miss my hometown style. Cut into strips with giant scissors as the midwestern god of too much sausage intended.
posted by Eddie Mars at 5:37 PM on June 15 [4 favorites]


Pizza should be made to adhere to something similar to the Bavarian Purity law used for beer.

Flour, water, yeast, tomato sauce, pepperoni, Italian sausage, mushrooms and mozzarella cheese and that's it.

Oh, and beer!
posted by mygoditsbob at 5:46 PM on June 15 [2 favorites]


A friend of mine wrote this piece about the disappointment of Quad Cities style pizza, which might as well have been praising throwing kittens into trash compactors given the reaction he got. He does point out that the first style of pizza that you have is imprinted on you for life.

On preview, sorry Eddie Mars, although if you are a fan of this, you've probably already heard of this article.
posted by Hactar at 5:49 PM on June 15 [1 favorite]


I’m no fan of St. Louis style pizza, but I did find it odd that the article called Frank & Helen’s the standard bearer. Surely it’s Imo’s.
posted by jedicus at 5:50 PM on June 15 [8 favorites]


i would like to voice my opinion on this in conjunction with a complex screed on cat declawing+shitake mushrooms+2016 primary season+racism does it exist?

1/278

now this may sound like an opinion but it is fact

2/278
posted by lalochezia at 5:58 PM on June 15 [1 favorite]


If the thesis is “some pizzas are demonstrably better than others”, it seems perverse to limit the scope of the article to the US, and not consider how the regional styles compare to, y’know, real pizza from Italy.

It’s like declaring “some pieces of music are demonstrably better than others” and then writing an article that only compares the merits of Turbo-folk and Gabber.
posted by chappell, ambrose at 5:59 PM on June 15 [10 favorites]


I personally enjoy quad cities style pizza, significantly more so than I enjoy a visit to the quad cities.
posted by TrialByMedia at 6:00 PM on June 15 [2 favorites]


Philadelphia does NOT have the best pizza. Let's just establish a baseline here.
posted by Peach at 6:06 PM on June 15 [4 favorites]


Meh, to each their own. I’m sure he’s right about the first pizza you have becoming the ur-pizza by which all others are judged.
posted by Eddie Mars at 6:06 PM on June 15 [1 favorite]


Pizza should be made to adhere to something similar to the Bavarian Purity law used for beer.

Attention everyone, I have uncovered the spy in our midst.
posted by aramaic at 6:07 PM on June 15 [5 favorites]


I haven't eaten either New York or Chicago pizza, but I feel safe in assuming that the author has never forgotten lunch while working a day of hard physical labour. If they had, they would have never have talked about this feeling:
and you walk out of a deep-dish dining experience feeling like you’ve ingested five liters of hot grease and wet flour batter
...like it was a bad thing.
posted by clawsoon at 6:13 PM on June 15 [10 favorites]


The best pizza in the world is found in Chicago and it's called The Pizza Puff. There, done, no more arguing.

Seriously though, my favorite pizza joint from when I lived there was Father and Son. I have no clue if they're still in business and I never knew their exact location because they would deliver to my apartment on Wood St near Chicago Ave back when it was still a very cheap place to live ($430 for a two bedroom apartment *with* A GARAGE!).
posted by NoMich at 6:19 PM on June 15 [4 favorites]


This post and thread have made me so hungry I'm off to the kitchen to microwave some Red Baron. Thanks, Metafilter?
posted by The Underpants Monster at 6:32 PM on June 15 [5 favorites]


I live on Long Island, where there's a little pizza place about every quarter mile. Most of the places are about the same. I just really like being able to buy by the slice.
We also have most of the major chains, which I find horrific but some people must like, they stay open. The supermarkets also carry tons of frozen pizza-like things, I guess drunk folks at 4am arn't that discriminating.
Even 7-11 sells something that sort of looks like pizza, cooked in a toaster oven and set under heat lamps for hours.

But nothing is as bad as the crud they call pizza on the NYS Thruway rest stops.
posted by Marky at 6:34 PM on June 15 [2 favorites]


The best pizza was produced by the little old ladies of Sorentino’s in Perth Amboy New Jersey who had a grandfathered in coal oven to produce perfect thin, slightly burnt crusts and home made sauce and people lined up to eat there and it was just for special events.

Everything else is a pale shadow.
posted by The Whelk at 6:37 PM on June 15 [4 favorites]


1000 words and not a single sentence about Wisconsin macaroni-and-cheese pizza. You guys are missing out!
posted by escabeche at 6:38 PM on June 15 [1 favorite]


Weird that they didn't bring up Lexington-style pizza; you haven't lived til you've had one of those whisper-thin crusts from Pie Savio or Crannoli's, slathered in "extra" red sauce with grape, then sprinkled with peppered cheese and breaded capers. Back when the Rock was filming "I'm No Dad.. That's My Mom!!" in L-town, it was rumored that he would get twenty to thirty a day delivered to the set, which is the roundabout reason it's made its way to Los Angeles. If you live anywhere near Hollywood, check it out! Prancëtta's on Steadway is apparently really good, even if the white/black pepper ratio on their peppered cheese isn't "authentic" enough for the "callones" of Lexington's Little Napoli.
posted by Greg Nog at 6:43 PM on June 15 [5 favorites]


The best pizza is the one in front of you right now.

(FWIW, pizza cut into little squares is called "tavern style" in my neck of the woods)
posted by Thorzdad at 6:43 PM on June 15 [1 favorite]


I guess I never had the "good" NY pizza the few times I've tried it when there at "by the slice" places with lines. It always seemed to have too much sauce and the dough was kinda...wimpy...not "crisp" as the article says (and how I prefer it).

This may be sacrilege, but of all the chain pizza joints, the crust on the Pizza Hut pan pizza was always tops on my chart (sauce very Meh though, so that knocks it down overall).
posted by CrowGoat at 6:45 PM on June 15 [1 favorite]


Especially because most pizza in the area, or even as far as I can tell in Detroit proper, isn't that style.

Yeah, it was just Buddy's for a long time, and I don't even think there are any Buddy's within the city limits. However, it's a style I like, so I'm glad it's spread across the country. Emmy Squared is boss.
posted by praemunire at 6:47 PM on June 15 [1 favorite]


i believe i can settle this issue by referring you to Greggory’s Pizza Scale from Night In The Woods
posted by murphy slaw at 6:47 PM on June 15 [8 favorites]


The best pizza I’ve had in the US is Naples-style, which I don’t think should count. The best homegrown style is New Haven style. The pizza I love the most will always be the Delmarva shore legend, Grotto Pizza.

The only pizza I hate is Chicago-style deep dish or cracker crust. Pah.
posted by sallybrown at 6:47 PM on June 15


And my dog would like to weigh in with a preference for late night drunk slice pizza, half of which ends up on our sidewalk in time for the Sunday morning walk.
posted by sallybrown at 6:49 PM on June 15 [2 favorites]


There’s a few places around here (Sam Framcisco) that normally cut the pizza into the standards wedges but automatically switch to square-cutting their round pizzas if you order one that has an egg in it, since the eggs are sunny side up and the egg gets its own square so it doesn’t spill all over until you poke at it with the crust of another piece, which IMO is pretty great
posted by aubilenon at 6:51 PM on June 15 [3 favorites]


The best pizza I ever had was from a hole-in-the-wall place on 8th right off Broadway that got shut down because a Wichcraft (of Tom Colicchio fame) would pay more rent, and the Wichcraft isn’t even there anymore, so basically, that’s the last 20 years of New York in a nutshell
posted by Automocar at 6:51 PM on June 15 [7 favorites]


Lived in New Haven and New York. There is probably pizza elsewhere, but unless you're talking Naples (and I mean Italy) there are no other pizza regions.
posted by vicusofrecirculation at 6:53 PM on June 15 [7 favorites]


I have moved back to my hometown of New Orleans and I do not think there is such a thing as "New Orleans-style pizza"; the only thing even remotely resembling this in a quick web search is a recipe on the web version of Parade Magazine for... um... i dunno I guess it kinda sounds vaguely like a muffelata-inspired pizza? I dunno. There's good pizza places down here and they don't really seem to converge on any particular style beyond maybe "more likely to have seafood available as a topping than most cities", the Very Italian place I went to a lot growing up was probably serving a variety of Sicilian-style and I liked it a lot but I think my tastes have changed since then.

I have never had authentic NYC-style pizza in NYC but my general experience is that "NYC-style pizza" usually means a big sloppy slice that's been sitting under a heat lamp for too long. There was one place in Los Angeles that claimed to make NYC-style pizza that was actually a pleasant taste and mouthfeel experience; it was a thin crust with a lot of cornmeal on the bottom, IIRC.

I just assume that all NYC pizzerias make big slices that sit under a heat lamp too long and get soggy, and that New Yorkers just engage in their usual autofellatio about anything from The Greatest City In The World!!1!1!. Or maybe there is some trace element in water from the Hudson that works some great alchemy on those sad soggy slices and makes them amazing.
posted by egypturnash at 6:59 PM on June 15 [3 favorites]


if we get to vote on the next regional pizza style to get blown all completely out of proportion? I vote for the Boston-suburbs vaguely-Greek "_____ House of Pizza" variety.

Nooo! Much as I like my local Greek pizza place (OK, mainly because they have a mural of the legend of Phaeton painted on one wall), the next big thing out of Massachusetts has gotta be South Shore bar pizza.

What's interesting about it is that you can't get it on the North Shore, just on the other side of Boston, because the thing up there is roast-beef sandwiches.
posted by adamg at 7:00 PM on June 15 [3 favorites]


I just assume that all NYC pizzerias make big slices that sit under a heat lamp too long

No pizza place I’ve ever been to in New York has heat lamps. It sits out cold and they throw it in the oven to warm up.
posted by Automocar at 7:02 PM on June 15 [22 favorites]


Sitting in Houston International waiting on a Margarita pizza in Terminal C as we speak.

The best pizza will always be in your rear view mirror - the dirty $1 slice you got on a windy cold day in Brooklyn that warmed you - the one at the tiny Italian place in Santa Clara with the best red house wine ever - the one on the cheap date night with your spouse that turned into an epic adventure.

For my money mine was from Raggazi in the Cayman Islands - pizza so good my wife and I would get it takeout and it would be demolished on the beach in seconds.

Also - because no thread on pizza goes without it - pineapple on pizza is fantastic. I have strapped as many inflight magazines as I can find around my torso Omar Little style, and expect to be shanked accordingly.
posted by inflatablekiwi at 7:04 PM on June 15 [6 favorites]


The worst pizza is Old Forge pizza. I have never felt such animosity towards a slice of pizza.
posted by soren_lorensen at 7:08 PM on June 15 [3 favorites]


As much as I am intrigued by some of these regional pizza styles, imagining that they could be the best is like imagining there could be a fantastic Montana-style bagel or something.
posted by snofoam at 7:14 PM on June 15 [4 favorites]


My favorite single pie is the clam pizza at Pepe's in New Haven. One day I went (and I can only manage a trip once every few years) and they didn't have fresh clams because it had been raining and the local clam boats didn't go out that day. So I got the shrinp pie and it was friggen awesome too.
posted by thirdring at 7:26 PM on June 15 [2 favorites]


There was one place in Los Angeles that claimed to make NYC-style pizza that was actually a pleasant taste and mouthfeel experience; it was a thin crust with a lot of cornmeal on the bottom, IIRC.

Sounds exactly like Two Boots, an ostensibly Cajun-style pizza which in my youth was available only in New York, but which is now a chain with, yes, branches in LA, at least until some recent unpleasantness.

Despite the way that paragraph makes it sound, their pizza was really good.
posted by escabeche at 7:34 PM on June 15 [2 favorites]


He does point out that the first style of pizza that you have is imprinted on you for life.

I don’t know, I think I’ve moved past the Chef Boyardee pizza in a box that mom made us circa 1970. Although I ate a leftover slice of Little Caesar’s earlier tonight, so perhaps not by much.
posted by TedW at 7:35 PM on June 15 [5 favorites]


Zachary’s Pizza on Solano in Berkeley is a favorite of mine, although I don’t live in the Bay Area anymore. Great deep dish pizza.
posted by haiku warrior at 7:37 PM on June 15 [6 favorites]


St Louis pizza gets ragged on so much, but mostly by ppl who would never be caught dead in such an unhip place as St Louis. It's great in the way that taco bell and cheetos are great. Pure, salty, delicious processed flavor, and I mean that in the best way.

South Florida has some pretty great NY/NJ expats making great pizza of that local style. When I moved to Atlanta that was probably the thing I missed most about home. Atlanta's pizza scene is pretty trash once you get past the bougie neapolitan style places like Antico and Ammazza. Varasanos is a pizza nerd fave and if you are ever passing through Hartsfield you should stop by their location at Terminal A. Fellini's is, I guess, the true arbiter of the local style. Thick, chewy crust with so so sauce and passable cheese. Great for soaking up liquor after a night on Ponce, but pretty uninspiring when not under the influence.
posted by dudemanlives at 7:54 PM on June 15 [2 favorites]


Best toaster oven pizza or pizza-adjacent food:
French bread pizza wins over pizza bagel. But in pizza bagel's defense, this was the first after school snack I learned to make that required assembling more than 2 ingredients and using a heat source.

Best assembly line pizza chain:
Blaze Pizza wins over Pieology.
It’s the same damn concept (“Chipotle, but for pizza!”), and yet one is decent and the other is so disappointing.
posted by spamandkimchi at 8:01 PM on June 15 [1 favorite]


Also....
Sbarro - how is this still a thing?
Like, I was recently in Manhattan, and walked past a Sbarros that had customers.
?????
posted by spamandkimchi at 8:01 PM on June 15 [4 favorites]


It might have been confirmation bias, but based on my one meal there, the best pizza in the world is actually in Naples (Italy, not Florida). New Jersey is a close second.
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 8:02 PM on June 15 [1 favorite]


Mrs Molerats and I moved from Pittsburgh to the West Coast and have a running joke/despair about how we didn't know before that the WC (Oregon at least) does... not know how to do pizza. We have both lived in the Midwest, and the Southeast, and everywhere else we've lived we had at least a couple pizza joints that were genuinely good. Everything here is like.... okay, there's one place that's "pretty good" but wouldn't have merited special mention anywhere else we lived.

We recount this story to people here, and various people (native and non-native Oregonians) will say "oh have you tried X place? It's really good!" It is never really good. We trust no one.
posted by nakedmolerats at 8:11 PM on June 15 [13 favorites]


I like basically all pizza, and I think arguing over the "best" pizza in America is as stupid as arguing about the "best" pasta in Italy; they're regional variations, such that they are entirely different foods. There's no comparison between Chicago deep dish and NYC thin crust, it's like Piedmontese agnolotti with mushroom cream sauce vs. Campanese penne marinara. That they both involve pasta puts them in the same rough category of food, but only a fool (and a suicidal fool at that) would try to rank one vs. the other as anything other than personal preference and perhaps a test of regional loyalty. Similarly, that deep dish and thin crust are both round and baked in an oven doesn't really make them comparable. If you want one and get the other, no matter which way it goes, you're going to be upset. Because they're different dishes, duh.

But we can agree that unleavened cracker-crust is gross, right? I mean that's not even actually pizza. You gotta draw the line someplace, and that stuff is waaaay too close to putting the line where it would include fucking ketchup on saltines. Nope nope nope. No yeast, no pizza. I'll go to the mat on this one alone.
posted by Kadin2048 at 8:16 PM on June 15 [8 favorites]


Despite being a celiac I'm partial to Detroit style personally but I never met an utterly terrible pizza slice. Even the weird pizzas I encountered in Kathmandu or Kolkata. I will say though that I think cauliflower crust pizzas are terrible but YMMV.
posted by Ashwagandha at 8:17 PM on June 15 [1 favorite]


On the one hand, it’s just pizza come on.

On the other hand, I have so many opinions and so many of you are so wrong on the internet right now.
posted by The World Famous at 8:20 PM on June 15 [8 favorites]


But we can agree that unleavened cracker-crust is gross, right?

Seasons 52 serves a tomato-and-cheese flatbread which is exactly that and it's excellent.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 8:21 PM on June 15


I know taste is subjective, but the St. Louis style pizza is just objectively bad. The cheese is just so wrong. And the other parts aren’t good either. I grew up with midwestern tavern-style pizza. Which is really not the same dish as actual pizza.

My favorite pizza was always Giardini on Smith Street in Carroll Gardens. I miss New York pizza.
posted by rikschell at 8:23 PM on June 15


growing up in connecticut, new haven county specifically, i just never ate bad pizza. even if the local spots weren't aping the pepe's/modern/sally's style of pizza exactly, the QUALITY of the pizza had to compete with those places. and i never, ever, ever ate chain pizza. say what you will about new haven style pizza, but connecticut is seriously pizza mecca - it's quite possibly the only good thing about that state.

i saw a meme recently - an image of new england with concentric circles radiating out from new haven, where the pizza gets worse and worse the further out you go. the last circle was labeled "no man's land," and conveniently started right at the border of boston, massachusetts, my current home. there is basically no good pizza in boston. boston's greek style pizza with it's chewy, flour-covered, inedible crusts is a ubiquitous abomination. there are places that use great quality cheese, good sauce, good toppings - but this fucking greek style crust means none of that matters.

people say that the original regina is good, or list off any one of a number of places in the north end that i've never been to, and maybe that's true, but people here are just used to a lower average quality of pizza than i am, so i can't really be assed to go out of my way to try them. the best slice of pizza i have ever had in boston would be the worst pizza spot in my hometown, which, again, is not new haven itself but a random fucking town forty minutes away! connecticut! is! pizza! mecca! i haven't been back in over five years because of Reasons, which means i haven't eaten a satisfying slice of pizza in five years either, and i think that might be what kills me eventually?

new york pizza is fine, but i probably haven't been to the right spots.
posted by JimBennett at 8:28 PM on June 15 [4 favorites]


The Seasons 52 thing is a-okay by me because they're not calling it pizza. Flatbread is a lawless culinary land, go nuts.

It's also where we stick the pizza variant of Kraft MREs For Kids.
posted by Kadin2048 at 8:36 PM on June 15 [5 favorites]


The best pizza in St. Louis isn't St. Louis style -- it's from Pi Pizzeria. They do have some thin-crust options I believe, but they are so anti-provel that they have anti-provel t-shirts. I love the place.
posted by Foosnark at 8:41 PM on June 15 [2 favorites]


The thing about pizza in New York City is that it has a higher floor than most other places. You can walk into nearly any slice joint on any street and get decent pizza. That's not to say you can't find bad pizza—I've had two experiences of just abysmal pizza in the six years I've lived here and nine years of regular visiting—but the floor of quality is much higher than you'll find for a lot of other places.
posted by SansPoint at 8:47 PM on June 15 [4 favorites]


I've had pizza from St. Louis, Chicago and New York City. The best pizza I've ever had was Scratch Pizza in Johnson City TN.
posted by Groundhog Week at 9:00 PM on June 15 [1 favorite]


Even the weird pizzas I encountered in Kathmandu or Kolkata

So.

...my thing is eating pizza everywhere I've visited. Weird cracker crust, almost a papad, with unidentifiable herbs in northern Cambodia=win. Subpar slice in Yangon, well, OK it's Yangon and SLORC and everything and the spices are weird so that's a semi-win. However...

Allow me to introduce you to Romanian pizza, sourced just outside Sinaia, in winter, in a bar with an astroturf floor.

Thick brown bread crust (circa 2"), synthetic cheese, diced wilted green pepper, and ketchup.

Not sauce, ketchup.

Worst pizza in the world.
posted by aramaic at 9:06 PM on June 15 [4 favorites]


There are plenty of things in the East Bay that are amazing and superlative. Pizza is not one of them. Don't get me wrong, I love Arizmendi, Boot&Shoe, rotten City, A16, and Zachary's. I ate at zachary's on Wednesday night and I ate A16 tonight. And I am thankful they exist. But, having lived in New York and eaten at many Chicago deep dish restaurants, I do not labor under the misapprehension that they rise to the level of a regional style or that they would be remarkable in Chicago or New York.

And now, even though my belly is full of tasty
A16 vesuvio, I want Pequod's...
posted by turbowombat at 9:33 PM on June 15 [4 favorites]


The idea that people in the internet age are still pretending to be shocked that Chicago pizza is very different from New York Pizza is endlessly amusing to me. It's like a British person trying to convince an audience that they are genuinely shocked that American biscuits are something completely different. I'm actually sort of seeing the weird Stewart Lee bit in my head.

Just eat your damn food.
posted by East14thTaco at 9:39 PM on June 15 [7 favorites]


> I have moved back to my hometown of New Orleans and I do not think there is such a thing as "New Orleans-style pizza"

New Orleans uncharacteristically lacks the courage of its convictions when it comes to pizza. It's not bad, like the ingredients aren't cheap and they make an effort, but it's just kind of bland. Mid City Pizza has a red beans and rice pizza but it's just red beans and rice spread thin on pizza dough.
posted by smelendez at 9:58 PM on June 15 [1 favorite]


Why would New Orleans need pizza when they have muffaletta?
posted by Nelson at 10:08 PM on June 15 [5 favorites]


Oh, you city folks arguing about restaurant pizza! The best pizza is when you have a friend with an outdoor wood-fired oven, and one person rolls out the yeasted dough, while everyone else has brought along their favorite toppings and cheeses. Each pizza takes less than five minutes, and before long everyone is trying their friends' pizzas. It's a nonpareil social event
posted by Agave at 10:28 PM on June 15 [3 favorites]


Up here in Ottawa we have the chain store, Pizza-Pizza. Which is neither pizza nor pizza.
posted by sebastienbailard at 10:29 PM on June 15 [10 favorites]


People ragging on Chicago deep dish - I don't blame you a bit! The real deep dish were Uno's and Due's originals (and an odd little bar/pizzaria at the end of Piper's Alley in Old Town). No place makes them the way they did anymore. I'm not a cook, but I seem to remember lots more olive oil and corn meal and served in the pan in which it was cooked - NOT on one of those pan inserts that allow for efficient baking, but with parts still partially adhering to the blackened pan) Sauce and cheese and sausage so rich and flavorful that you had to be around college-age just so your heart wouldn't stop after consumption.

Also: I genuinely wish that Chicago had one or two real NY style places. It is good stuff, no need for regional acrimony.
posted by Chitownfats at 10:46 PM on June 15 [1 favorite]


I've never been to New York City, and at this point it's entirely possible I never will. So apparently I'm a deprived person, doomed to never know the manna that is NYC pizza. And yet! I've had a pretty darn good variety of pizza in my four decades plus, from cardboard frozen crap to middling chain pizza to "high end" fare; even Italian pizza, you know, in the country of Italy. In fact, I'm rather glad I'm not a pizza snob; it would just limit my choices and I'd eat less pizza, which I love.
posted by zardoz at 10:52 PM on June 15 [1 favorite]


Also: I genuinely wish that Chicago had one or two real NY style places.
Jimmy's in Lincoln Square.
posted by kickingtheground at 10:59 PM on June 15 [3 favorites]


Philadelphia does NOT have the best pizza. Let's just establish a baseline here.
posted by Peach
I am willing to concede that tomato pie (Corropolese!) is technically not pizza. It is delicious, though. (And yet tomato pie is the only thing I have ever bought at a Wegmans that was actually a disappointment.)

In some ways, there’s an argument to be made that Little Caesar’s deep-dish is arguably Detroit-style. If nothing else, it’s rectangular? Also reasonably good for the money. Don’t give me that look.

Greek pizza-wise, I still remember this place in State College, PA called Bell’s Greek Pizza. The pizza was reasonably good overall, but the main thing I remember about that place was the hummus and what my friend dubbed the Hummus Uncertainty Principle: the only thing one could ever predict about the hummus there was that it would not be served the same way as the previous time we’d ordered it. How many pitas? Toasted? Cut? Hummus in a bowl? Hummus on a plate? Absolutely no consistency but we loved it nonetheless.
posted by DoctorFedora at 11:05 PM on June 15 [3 favorites]


But which region has the best pizza that is also a sandwich?
posted by Insert Clever Name Here at 11:09 PM on June 15 [1 favorite]


In some ways, there’s an argument to be made that Little Caesar’s deep-dish is arguably Detroit-style. If nothing else, it’s rectangular?

Definitely not. "Detroit-style" is not deep dish. It's no thicker than a grandma slice.

Pretty weird that two titans of chain pizza should both be from the Detroit area, and yet neither of them defined "Detroit-style" pizza.
posted by praemunire at 11:15 PM on June 15


Like, yeah, they had a kind of pizza that I recognized from growing up in SE Michigan. It was pretty tasty. I'd eat it again. But it's not A True Authentic Tradition that needs to have its standards carried to the four corners of the earth. It's a way that a couple of places in this one corner of the Midwest make pizza. You know?

What do you think an “authentic” “tradition” is, if not the way some people do some things?

I feel like this sentiment comes very close to the idea that nothing good can come out of the Midwest. Only people elsewhere have authentic foodways worth preserving and imitating.
posted by crazy with stars at 11:39 PM on June 15 [2 favorites]


This is off topic, but: underrated and not on the pizza map is Berlin, Germany. It's simply a few steps closer to pizza in Italy and therefore better than most regional pizzas I've had in the US (sorry, NYC! Although I did have one excellent pizza there once) or the EU. Just stay away from the tourist areas where it won't be good, but I suppose that advice holds for any town outside of Italy.

The least good regional pizza in Italy: Genoa. Dry crust covered in pesto? Hmm.
posted by romanb at 12:12 AM on June 16


Zachary’s Pizza on Solano in Berkeley is a favorite of mine, although I don’t live in the Bay Area anymore. Great deep dish pizza.

Zachary's is solid if you like deep dish but my Bay Area pizza place is Arinell (in Berkeley or SF). Which is, to be clear, not a super fancy pizza place - it's a decent NY style hole in the wall staffed by metalheads and other archetypal pizza burnouts.
posted by atoxyl at 12:19 AM on June 16 [5 favorites]


It’s so sweet reading all these Americans pretending that they have “pizza”.

They will claiming to have “coffee” next.
posted by fallingbadgers at 12:42 AM on June 16 [2 favorites]


Blondie’s, Telegraph Ave in Berkeley, 1985, $1 a slice.
posted by chavenet at 1:51 AM on June 16 [3 favorites]


The least good regional pizza in Italy: Genoa. Dry crust covered in pesto? Hmm.

I don’t eat pizza north of Rome, FWIW.
posted by romakimmy at 1:56 AM on June 16 [4 favorites]


1000 words and not a single sentence about Wisconsin macaroni-and-cheese pizza. You guys are missing out!

Nor the pierogi pizza I get on my yearly trip to Pittsburgh. That fucker is substantial.

I don’t know, I think I’ve moved past the Chef Boyardee pizza in a box that mom made us circa 1970. Although I ate a leftover slice of Little Caesar’s earlier tonight, so perhaps not by much.

We had a lot of those during a brief period In my childhood. But ours were Appian Way brand - my parents were too cheap to spring for the Chef Boyardee.

When I was in a production of Julius Caesar, the rallying cry we used to pump ourselves up right before curtain was, "pizzapizza. PizzaPizza! PIZZAPIZZA!!"

Up here in Ottawa we have the chain store, Pizza-Pizza. Which is neither pizza nor pizza.

OMG. I grew up just south of the U.S./Canada border, and I could sing the commercial jingle for Toronto's Pizza Pizza in my sleep. "Nine six seven, eleven, eleven…"
posted by The Underpants Monster at 2:07 AM on June 16 [3 favorites]


My current theory is that the entities who are responsible for Pizza Pizza were offered a delicious pizza as an example of human foodstuff, but they were confused by the cardboard integument and are now doing their sincere best to make cardboard using pizza ingredients.
posted by sebastienbailard at 3:24 AM on June 16 [2 favorites]


But ours were Appian Way brand - my parents were too cheap to spring for the Chef Boyardee.

Apparently mine were too, at least once. The flimsy pans we cooked the pizzas on were clearly stamped “Appian Way”. A nostalgic memory that brought a smile to my face!
posted by TedW at 3:40 AM on June 16 [1 favorite]


Mrs Molerats and I moved from Pittsburgh to the West Coast and have a running joke/despair about how we didn't know before that the WC (Oregon at least) does... not know how to do pizza.

This shows how subjective pizza opinions are. I grew up in Jersey and feel like I've never had a good slice of Pizza here in Pittsburgh. Slice on Broadway comes close but still not quite there.

I have enjoyed the Detroit style Pizza at Federal Galley but that's so different that I can't really think of it as Pizza.
posted by octothorpe at 4:24 AM on June 16 [1 favorite]


Mercurio’s on Walnut St. in Squirrel Hill in Pittsburgh is good.
posted by haiku warrior at 4:26 AM on June 16 [1 favorite]


This article lost me at:
There are tactile pleasures in folding its triangular slices up as a stream of orange oil drips down your inside forearm.

This guy's "tactile pleasures" are not ones I want to experience when eating pizza. If they define NYC pizza, then his claim that it's the best is wrong.


the first style of pizza that you have is imprinted on you for life.

Demonstrably untrue. The first pizza in my life was from Leaning Tower in North Cambridge, MA, and we had to drive 10 miles to get there, because there were no pizza parlors closer. I don't remember the experience of eating it. OTOH, the best pizza I ever had was from Cleghorn House of Pizza in Fitchburg, MA, 20 years after those first ones, but I am sure it was not much like them. I see that Cleghorn is still there, and I wonder if their pizza is still good. It's too far to go and find out.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:59 AM on June 16 [2 favorites]


Now I want good pizza, and I can't have it for several days since I am out in the farmland which is a pizza desert. I bought a frozen pizza the other day, and it was a huge mistake. It should be illegal to label something like it pizza.

The best pizza I ever had was when I was 8, in a roadside bar somewhere in Tuscany. It was a cold piece of pizza rossa, no cheese, no toppings, but perfect seasoning. I long for this pizza still. Objectively, it was probably not good pizza. It did have a thin, semi-crisp crust, in spite of being cold, and as said, the seasoning was amazing. But mainly what made it great was hunger. Our parents were young, they didn't always think ahead, and suddenly we had passed lunchtime by several hours, all restaurants were closed and we were crying from hunger. So they just stopped at the first open place they saw, and the only thing left was cold pizza. We had it with Fanta.
posted by mumimor at 5:09 AM on June 16 [3 favorites]


If you're trapped in the mediocre party cut wasteland of Minnesota it's worth noting that Pasquale's in Rochester does a good NY/NJ style pizza.
posted by Ferreous at 5:10 AM on June 16


haiku warrior: "Mercurio’s on Walnut St. in Squirrel Hill in Pittsburgh is good."

That crust looks way too thick.
posted by octothorpe at 5:12 AM on June 16


Pizza should be made to adhere to something similar to the Bavarian Purity law used for beer.

Fun hilarious fact: The original purity law did not include yeast as it had not been discovered yet.
posted by srboisvert at 5:23 AM on June 16 [6 favorites]


The best pizza style is leftover pizza.
posted by srboisvert at 5:24 AM on June 16 [4 favorites]


Like, yeah, they had a kind of pizza that I recognized from growing up in SE Michigan. It was pretty tasty. I'd eat it again. But it's not A True Authentic Tradition that needs to have its standards carried to the four corners of the earth. It's a way that a couple of places in this one corner of the Midwest make pizza. You know?
What do you think an “authentic” “tradition” is, if not the way some people do some things?

I feel like this sentiment comes very close to the idea that nothing good can come out of the Midwest. Only people elsewhere have authentic foodways worth preserving and imitating.
Ah, yeah, I could see how it sounded that way. No, I fucking love Michigan, and I love Midwestern food culture. It's just that Detroit pizza in particular is not a foodway with especially deep or broad roots, and it feels comical to hold it up as a representative of the region's food when we have so many things that are more important to me there.

If I'd been given a magic wand I could wave over X beloved foodway from my childhood and have it blow up and get famous as "Detroit-style X," I'd have gone straight for the Greek- and Lebanese-influenced diner food. Second choice would have been "cherry pie made with actual pie cherries the way God intended," even though we don't even grow the cherries on this side of the state, that's how badly I miss being around people who understand cherries. Third choice would have been Vernor's — wouldn't it be great to live in a world full of hipster artisanal Vernor's clones getting sold as "Detroit-style ginger ale"? Fourth would have been the local implementation of German food. I'd probably have gotten to a pizza style eventually, but it would be pretty far down on the list, and it might well not have been the rectangular Buddy's-style thing that eventually did get the name.
posted by nebulawindphone at 5:48 AM on June 16 [4 favorites]


Like, if you'd dropped me into the area in the 80s and told me "One of these pizza styles will eventually become famous nationwide as Detroit-style pizza," I wouldn't have known which one you meant. That's how not-a-deep-rooted-tradition it was.
posted by nebulawindphone at 5:54 AM on June 16 [1 favorite]


When it comes to pizza, people like what they like. Personally, medium-thick crusts with an extra-thick layer of Wisconsin "pizza cheese" turn my stomach. But some people like it.

In NYC it's absolutely possible to get a mediocre slice of pizza. None of the $1 slice places turns out a product I'd consider eating. That said, the City abounds with places that are above the national average. But, just like you can't walk into any old place in Chicago and expect to get a deep dish that will blow you away, you can't simply walk into some random NYC deck oven joint and expect a pizza that will redefine the category for you. I mean, sure there are places in the north end of the UWS where I live that I consider "pretty good," and they're definitely better than what I've had in most American cities, but none I would hold up as archetypal NYC Pizza. The point being that, no matter where you are, you need to go to the right place and order the right thing. I'm reminded of when Sichuan food started blowing up in NYC and occasionally someone would say, "I don't see what the big deal is. I went to Grand Sichuan and had an egg roll and beef with broccoli. It wasn't any better than what I usually have."

This is, no doubt, true of most places that can be said to have a pizza style or areas that are known for good pizza or food of any kind. For example, pizza in Italy outside of Napoli and Roma is usually pretty good, but not necessarily better than what I've had at American places working in those styles. And even in Napoli and Roma it's not impossible to get mediocre pizza. Similarly, there is plenty of so-so barbecue to be had in Texas. Overall, in my experience, the baseline for barbecue is significantly higher in Texas compared to New York, and there are a number of places in Texas that are incomparable in that style. In my experience, much the same can be said about NYC and pizza compared to other places. This in no way discounts the fact that truly outstanding pizza can be found in a lot of other cities and regions. In my book, New Haven tops that list. But in many of these places real excellence in the style may be confined to a mere handful of pizzerie, or even just one.


if we get to vote on the next regional pizza style to get blown all completely out of proportion? I vote for the Boston-suburbs vaguely-Greek "_____ House of Pizza" variety.

Grew up in Newton & can attest that this style is nothing special. In all the pizza parlors, as we called them, the game was really the submarine sandwiches, which were typically very good.
posted by slkinsey at 6:11 AM on June 16 [4 favorites]


Cecil Whittakers > Imo's.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 6:21 AM on June 16


Then there are those regions whose pizzas that hardly even constitute a distinct style. We’ve never tried Ohio Valley-style pizza, but according to the blog Mine Road (via Serious Eats), the crust is focaccia and the cheese isn’t melted all the way. The Daily Beast also notes there is a pizza specific to the city of Buffalo—which is disappointingly not about spicy wing sauce, but rather pepperoni that curls under the broiler into grease-containing cups.

For an article claiming to crown the nation's best pizza, this is ridiculous. These other media outlets say 'x,' so whatever! They aren't worth more than a dismissive sentence or two! I can't speak to Ohio Valley style pizza, but Buffalo style is legit wonderful, and not just based on greasy pepperoni (though that is a part). It's a medium-thick fluffy, doughy crust with what might seem like too much cheese, a slightly sweeter sauce, and cup-and-char pepperoni. Dab that grease with a napkin and go. It's transcendent. I have nothing against the pizza styles from larger cities, they've all been delicious. I just don't think this guy knows (or, I guess, cares) how much he's undercutting his own argument.
posted by everybody had matching towels at 6:32 AM on June 16 [2 favorites]


"I feel like this sentiment comes very close to the idea that nothing good can come out of the Midwest."

There's ardent defenses of Chicago pizza here, though.
posted by Selena777 at 7:15 AM on June 16


The best pizza style is leftover pizza.

What is this "leftover" pizza of which you speak?
posted by AbnerRavenwood at 7:25 AM on June 16 [5 favorites]


It's when you didn't buy enough pizza.

Grew up in Newton & can attest that this style is nothing special. In all the pizza parlors, as we called them, the game was really the submarine sandwiches, which were typically very good.
There is no uniformity of Sub-Boston Greek pizza houses. Some make really good pizza; lots don't. Subs are a safer bet.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 7:38 AM on June 16


Otherwise known as "New London Style"
There is only New London Style Pizza. Go there and be healed.
posted by overeducated_alligator at 7:41 AM on June 16


slkinsey: None of the $1 slice places turns out a product I'd consider eating.

There's a time and a place for the dollar slice, and time and place is typically "It's late at night, you're drunk, and need to put something hot and covered in cheese in your stomach." For what it is, Two Bros., is a more than adequate slice. It's even decent enough that I'll eat it sober if I just need a slice or two on the quick.
posted by SansPoint at 8:11 AM on June 16 [1 favorite]


You know what's good? Pizza.
posted by davejay at 8:41 AM on June 16 [11 favorites]


[Flagged as fantastic]
posted by nebulawindphone at 8:43 AM on June 16


Which region of the United States of America has the nation's best pizza, an Italian food eaten around the world, but let's just talk about America, okay? -filter.

How come we never, ever get articles about something like regional differences of Vietnamese food in France, or which part of England has the best local style of curries? Food-filter is so very, very amerocentric, especially these survey/which is best posts.
posted by thecjm at 8:54 AM on June 16 [1 favorite]


This whole thing is a less charming version of Babbitt's The Search for Delicious.

the only pizza I can recall actively disliking is Imo's, and that was after I had eaten most of it. Hunger is the best sauce, but after that's gone... all you're left with is the horrible texture of provel.
posted by snerson at 9:02 AM on June 16 [1 favorite]


It’s so sweet reading all these Americans pretending that they have “pizza”.

Location: London

gurl what
posted by Automocar at 9:02 AM on June 16 [13 favorites]


How come we never, ever get articles about something like regional differences of Vietnamese food in France, or which part of England has the best local style of curries?

Those sound like interesting posts and I'm all for someone making 'em.
posted by cortex at 9:12 AM on June 16 [12 favorites]


How come we never, ever get articles about something like regional differences of Vietnamese food in France, or which part of England has the best local style of curries? Food-filter is so very, very amerocentric, especially these survey/which is best posts.

C'est la vie(t)? We "get" articles by people posting them. Be the change you want to see in food ranking posts.
posted by snofoam at 9:14 AM on June 16 [7 favorites]


C'est la vie(t)? We "get" articles by people posting them. Be the change you want to see in food ranking posts.

I have done Toronto-food centric posts before. And I do need to post more of them.

But this is as much about what kind of stuff gets posted on MF as it is about sites like The Takeout that are so very, very US centric and take all of the air out of the room. At least Eater has some non-US focused subsites (though not for my city).
posted by thecjm at 9:33 AM on June 16 [3 favorites]


[I should have probably jumped straight to mod note, so apologies for popping in in two different modes in short order here, but: I think wanting to see more global representation in posts, whether on food or any other topic, is a good goal and if we want to have a conversation about how to accomplish/support that I think that'd be fine for MetaTalk, but we shouldn't dig in on a metacommentary derail about it in the middle of a thread on the blue.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:41 AM on June 16


What is this "leftover" pizza of which you speak?

You're obviously not ordering enough pizza to begin with.
posted by mikelieman at 10:27 AM on June 16 [1 favorite]


I'll jump in internationally to say that the absolute worst pizza is Telepizza in Spain. It's kinda like eating cardboard with tomato sauce on it, but 1) they always have that 2x1 deal, and 2) they deliver.
posted by chainsofreedom at 11:04 AM on June 16


A friend of mine just shared a picture of him and his family up there in Houghton, MI and now I want to go up there just to hit The Ambassador for their amazing tostada pizza. I mean, I guess if my family wants to see me, they are free to join me there. They would then have to walk over to the Keweenaw Brewery with me afterwards if they want to continue to see me. Then join me for a pasty at the Suomi in Hancock for breakfast the following morning.
posted by NoMich at 11:18 AM on June 16 [1 favorite]


I'll jump in internationally

Wish I could do that ...
posted by Kirth Gerson at 11:18 AM on June 16


All this talk about square-cut pizza without mentioning the inverse?
posted by ckape at 11:21 AM on June 16 [1 favorite]


The best pizza outside Italy can be found in London
For a bit more international jumping
posted by mumimor at 11:28 AM on June 16 [1 favorite]


And when I was looking for the above link, I stumbled over this, too delicious to leave out: Rome is home to some of Italy's best pizza. Now I'm really craving pizza.
posted by mumimor at 11:51 AM on June 16


Also it's really weird how many people A) get militant about pizza and B) express a pizza preference as an objective truth rather than just a preference.

There's this particular thing that happens in lots of discussions of matters of preference--everyone acknowledges there's nothing objective until you get to that one thing that really gets my goat and then I'm suddenly deadly serious. (Me, I can't imagine arguing over New York vs Chicago vs practically anything else, and though I lived in New York for ten years and really loved the pizza and moved to California where it is...weird...it's just different, and some of it is good, like Arizmendi is generally a fine option, and POTATOES ON PIZZA? WTF IS WRONG WITH EVERYONE? DO YOU EAT POTATO SANDWICHES?! O FALLEN WORLD!) The toggle to "no, but seriously now" just seems to be set weirdly low for pizza.
posted by Smearcase at 12:01 PM on June 16 [2 favorites]


Potato pizza is my favorite pizza, and it's a Roman tradition. You can have it with anchovies, or rosemary, or pancetta, with or without mozzarella. Potato pizza is genius.
posted by mumimor at 12:04 PM on June 16 [7 favorites]


And I love potato sandwiches as well. You should try them.
posted by mumimor at 12:04 PM on June 16 [3 favorites]


Shall we say pistols at dawn, then? No, I mean this just furthers the point I guess. I recognize that it is a thing people like or it wouldn't exist and there simply is no objective standard but I just cannot therewith. I will eat all the other pizzas and leave the glorious symphony of potatoes and bread to you.
posted by Smearcase at 12:13 PM on June 16 [1 favorite]


Which region of the United States of America has the nation's best pizza, an Italian food eaten around the world, but let's just talk about America, okay? -filter.


For some reason that made me think of this comment:
The Dalai Lama has been ALL OVER THE WORLD and he totally knows what pizza is and has probably heard that joke a million times.

He was so FUCKING with that dude!

posted by TedW at 12:21 PM on June 16


I'm a lifelong New Yorker who went to college in Chicago and have to give New York the nod not because of the quality but because here we're brought up to think of pizza as a mobile food and deep-dish, while still very good (yay, Carmine's in Evanston!), is more of a sit-down thing. My favorite here is Koronet, up by Columbia. Big, chewy slices. You'd be hard-pressed to walk with one, though...
posted by AJaffe at 12:22 PM on June 16


NYC does have good pizza but most of the locals don't recognize it for what it is. Any slice shop that I've gotten a recommendation for from a local has been a disappointment. I've had better overall luck in random slice selection in California.

In the East Bay I've always found Zachary's way too acidic. I'm not one to get indigestion but their pizza kills me. For a slice of what I'd consider to be good NYCish pizza my default is Gioia on Hopkins Street. I've never really seen it recognized, but the place is always packed and their funghi is incredible. They cook the mushrooms down before they put them on the pizza so they don't leak water everywhere and the flavor is intense.

Bad mushrooms were always the cardinal sin on NYC pizza for me. When they aren't canned disgusting slices they're put on the pizza raw in slices thick enough to drench the rest of the Pizza as they give up their water in the oven.

My favorite pizza in Manhattan is John's on Bleecker. I will not be taking questions at this time.
posted by mikesch at 12:25 PM on June 16 [1 favorite]


The first pizza I remember growing up was from a small chain in St. Louis called Pantera's. They were a weird deep dish, with a pre-baked crust that was a medium sized crust on the bottom and sides, and had a ton of ingredients with crispy, baked mozzarella on the top. Kind of like a quiche, but meats, veggies and cheese, tomato sauce under the cheese. They also had pitchers of soda and video games. Good times. Until they became a pizza buffest chain that served dreck.

The second pizza I remember is Frank & Helen's, not as famous as Imo's, but a family restaurant that also served things likes broasted chicken. I'd split a pizza with everything on it with my grandfather's best friend every time we ate there together. It included anchovies, which came in little dollops instead of full fillets. The party cut made sure every piece was a surprise, and if one piece had too much, you could just reach for another. Given the load of toppings, the cracker crust wouldn't have survived a regular pie cut.

There's a third pizzeria in St. Louis that I vaguely remember. It was from a bar, but we only did take out, which had a walk up outside window. Don't think they are still around.

Since then I've had New Haven's (love it), live a block from a Two Boots (great Bayou Beast pie), Porta (ate there a couple days ago), Razza is a few blocks away (haven't been there since they've gotten national attention), used to love Uno's before they went chain and quality dropped at one point, got Grimaldi's in the office when we had a big launch, grab a slice of Frank's when it's nice out (pepperoni, of course), and sometimes crave Dominoes when I want sh*tty pizza.

Pizza is amazing.
posted by ryoshu at 12:32 PM on June 16


I really like Zachary's but yeah, boy howdy, 100% guarantee of heartburn.

(Also yay John's.)
posted by Smearcase at 12:33 PM on June 16


I have done Toronto-food centric posts before. And I do need to post more of them.

The best basic slice in T.O. is at Vesuvio in the Junction. I will fight Bitondo's loyalists (and then eat their pizza, because it is also great).

Now Vesuovio's take out slices are rectangular (gasp!), but that's because the pizzas they make for slice sales are huge full baking sheet affairs, and critically every slice is to the edge of the pie so you get some crust to hold on to instead of cheesethumbing it. If you order a whole pizza, you'll get a circle cut into proper wedges, of course. It's the making a round pizza and cutting it into squares that is a crime against geometry and nature.
posted by rodlymight at 1:19 PM on June 16 [1 favorite]


My theory about why pizza gets people so riled up is that in some places, good pizza in a very specific style is basically omnipresent. It's like tap water. It's like bread or Coke or ketchup. You can find it wherever you are, you don't have to think hard about quality, you know what you'll get, and you know unless something goes weirdly wrong it'll be the way you like it.

And so then ending up someplace with a different pizza style, or unreliable pizza quality, is like stepping into a mirror universe where THE TAP WATER TASTES LIKE EGGPLANT for some reason, or where Coke is blue and faintly salty — or where sometimes Coke is blue and sometimes it's normal, and none of the locals seem to notice the difference, and they think you're a weird snobby asshole for commenting on it.

(And meanwhile, if you haven't ever left home, you have the even weirder experience where people from the mirror universe sometimes come visit, and they're all "Dude, your tap water is really bland here, I don't like it," and you're like "Wait, why shouldn't it be bland? It's tap water???" And they shrug and change the subject, and then go home and breathe a sigh of relief when the tap water tastes like eggplant the way it's supposed to, and you just think "God, Midwesterners are SO WEIRD.")
posted by nebulawindphone at 1:36 PM on June 16 [9 favorites]


MetaFilter: you're a weird snobby asshole for commenting on it.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 2:34 PM on June 16 [1 favorite]


I've had both sublime and pretty mediocre pizza in Brooklyn. (I used to live a block from Lucali, which was great.) In California, though, I'm honestly just as satisfied by the sourdough crust pizza slices at Cheeseboard in Berkeley.
posted by pinochiette at 3:27 PM on June 16 [1 favorite]


Yeah, jeez, potato pizza is definitely an "Italy thing" not a "California thing". I remember seeing it in Rome and being like "WOW WEIRD" but all the Romans were chowin down.
posted by potrzebie at 3:30 PM on June 16 [2 favorites]


The best basic slice in T.O. is at Vesuvio in the Junction. I will fight Bitondo's loyalists (and then eat their pizza, because it is also great).

Vesuvio is the best. It's also the first place in Toronto to serve American style pizza. Those brothers have been working there a long, long time.

Bitondo's might be the best cheap slice in the city, but too greasy for me these days. That's probably more a reflection of my tastes changing as it is their pizza changing.

I'm a fan of the all of the places doing Neopolitan-style pizza, like Libretto and General Assembly. But it's nice to get a solid slice and not have to drop $14 on a pizza I could finish in one sitting. King Slice and North of Brooklyn I'll hit up when I'm in their neighbourhood but wouldn't go out of my way for either.

And while we're on the subject of Ontario pizza - shout outs to Roma Bakery in Hamilton for their cheese-less pizza "bread" that comes in uncut rectangle slabs, Sam Panopoulos at the Satellite Restaurant in Chatham for creating Hawaiian pizza, and Kaoru Ohsada of Nami in Toronto for inventing sushi pizza.
posted by thecjm at 3:59 PM on June 16 [2 favorites]


I still don't believe there is any reason to say "pizza pie". It's like saying "spaghetti noodle". Who's getting confused when somebody says "pizza", that they gotta add "pie"? Get the hell outta here.
posted by turbid dahlia at 4:05 PM on June 16


I still don't believe there is any reason to say "pizza pie". It's like saying "spaghetti noodle".

You will be sad to learn about "shrimp scampi" and many other such pleonasms.

Anyway, a discussion at stackexchange attempts to answer your question.

(There must be a term for the opposite of pleonasms: expressions that self-contradict. My favorite example is "gym clothes.")
posted by sjswitzer at 4:25 PM on June 16 [1 favorite]


I am in deep mourning since the closing earlier this year of my favorite pizza place in Austin. Nearly once a week for nearly 40 years, friday was Conan's Pizza night. My hippie favorite Chicago style deep dish pizza with whole wheat crust, no more, sob!

Yeah, I know they have stores in North (it's just not the same) and South Austin (a two hour drive).
posted by a humble nudibranch at 4:33 PM on June 16


Reinheitsgepie
posted by exogenous at 6:47 PM on June 16 [2 favorites]


Best pizza: Some take-out Chicago deep dish that was near a hotel I stayed in for business travel once. Pepperoni, onion, green olive. That pie was 25 years ago and I still think about it.

2nd best pizza: Emilio's Brick Oven, northern virginia. Tre Formaggi, add prosciutto.

Worst pizza ever: A thankfully defunct cheaper-than-little-ceasers delivery joint in Las Cruces, NM. Only pizza I've ever experienced that had a half-life. You couldn't really let this stuff get cold and try to eat the leftovers in the morning; it was that bad.
posted by Xyanthilous P. Harrierstick at 7:10 PM on June 16


Also it's really weird how many people A) get militant about pizza and B) express a pizza preference as an objective truth rather than just a preference.

In order to reach a meaningful truth, we have to agree on definitions. For example, Chicago-style pizza is technically a casserole that dreams of greatness.

And I'm ok with that.
posted by sebastienbailard at 7:37 PM on June 16 [2 favorites]


You know that you can buy a frozen Tombstone cheese pizza anywhere in America and use it as a canvas for your own fresh toppings, right? Including more, better cheese? I'm drunk-serious.

Also, I'd hoped to CTRL-F for Phil-phia and see no results, but at least the only mentions were dismissive.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 10:16 PM on June 16


FWIW, Aldi's sells ready-to-bake, unfrozen pizza in their refrigerated case, at least at some locations. They are quite large, at least 16", and are designed to be reheated in a domestic oven. (I think the crust may be par-cooked, not entirely sure.) They run $6 at full price but are often available for $3 if they are within a few days of expiring (and they are pretty short-dated, so this seems to happen a lot).

Anyway, if you are in a place without good pizza and want something better than frozen, it is not a terrible starting point. Get the basic cheese and load it up, pass on the pre-topped pepperoni and supreme versions. As-is, it'll be very bland. (Both the crust and the pizza as a whole seemed underseasoned to me.) You'll want to season it significantly, including straight-up adding salt... or salty grated hard cheese.

I've gotten a pretty good quality-to-effort ratio by adding fresh mozz (also Aldi's, not bad), grated parmesan, and basil (the latter after cooking).

You can do better pizza at home, certainly, but it's a lot more work (make dough the day before or buy it, stretch it, etc.). As an alternative to frozen pizza, though, it wins hands-down.
posted by Kadin2048 at 12:28 AM on June 17 [1 favorite]


I can't speak to Ohio Valley style pizza

I can. It is the style I grew up with. I am not going to claim it is the best style since I've had my pizza worldview increased over the last 20+ years. With that said it certainly has its merits. The crust is definitely bread-ier and crisper than other styles. Cold cheese is added after the bake which makes a nice mouth contrast with the hot pizza.
posted by mmascolino at 5:39 AM on June 17


Pizzeria Delfina in the Mission, San Francisco and Ken's Artisan Pizza in SE Portland have the best pizza I've traveled for, although I'm certain Italy is where I'll find the absolute best.

Locally, we have no shortage of pizza places with billion-degree ovens that bake your pizzas in a couple minutes. At one place here, Pupatella, they ask you what time you'd like to pick up your order instead of telling you when it will be ready. The pizza doesn't go into the oven until you get there.
posted by emelenjr at 7:32 AM on June 17 [1 favorite]


I do not prefer pizza from Northern Italy. Napolitano is quite lovely. NYC is too varied to really judge. I have never had a bad pizza in Providence, despite generally being weirded out by the whole grilled pizza thing. Agree that Zachary's is too acidic, and am not overall a giant fan of the style, although it can be pretty great if you're in the mood. I have never had deep dish in Chicago, but had my first memorable slice there. I quite like Arinell's.

Here in DC there's the gamut, mostly not great, mostly nodding to other regions: Pete's was good while it lasted, Paradiso still solid, Two Amy's gets a mention, Ledo is actually worse than Dominoes. The place up the street that sells the really cheap stuff will do in a pinch, because even mediocre pizza is sometimes great.
posted by aspersioncast at 7:47 AM on June 17 [1 favorite]


This is the only article I have ever read in my 39 years on this earth that actually acknowledges that deep dish pizza is NOT Chicago's pizza of choice, and for that, I am grateful. Locals do not eat deep dish on the regs, no.
posted by agregoli at 7:48 AM on June 17 [2 favorites]


maybe it's just me and my friends and the people I work with, but everybody I know in the city eats deep dish at least semi-regularly.
posted by protocoach


I'm dying to know where you live in Chicago.
posted by agregoli at 7:50 AM on June 17 [1 favorite]


This is the only article I have ever read in my 39 years on this earth that actually acknowledges that deep dish pizza is NOT Chicago's pizza of choice, and for that, I am grateful. Locals do not eat deep dish on the regs, no.

Visitors/transplants might though. Still, it's a lot of calories to eat. Was always mildly disappointed at Old Chicago's ( restaurant chain with locations in Minnesota), which promised Chicago-style pizza, which I always assumed had to be deep dish. It occurs to me now that it could be some other style.

Pizza puffs, on the other hand, seem to be localized to Chicagoland.
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:32 AM on June 17


The one thing that NYC has on pizza is so many 'by the slice' shops. In most places, you have to buy an entire pizza so you are pot-committed to thinking it's good. And you can only eat pizza if you have many friends, as communal eating artificially inflates the flavor of anything. By the slice places are what makes New York (and maybe the entire east coast) special. Even LA doesn't have many by-the-slice pizza shops.
posted by The_Vegetables at 8:54 AM on June 17 [2 favorites]


I can't speak to Ohio Valley style pizza

I can. It is the style I grew up with. I am not going to claim it is the best style since I've had my pizza worldview increased over the last 20+ years. With that said it certainly has its merits. The crust is definitely bread-ier and crisper than other styles. Cold cheese is added after the bake which makes a nice mouth contrast with the hot pizza.


I've lived in Cincinnati for over 20 years and I have never seen this pizza. Where does it exist?

How come we never, ever get articles about something like regional differences of Vietnamese food in France, or which part of England has the best local style of curries?

I would subscribe to any of these FPPs.
posted by cooker girl at 9:14 AM on June 17 [1 favorite]


Yeah, jeez, potato pizza is definitely an "Italy thing" not a "California thing."

Noted! I guess this is my comeuppance for the time I got annoyed about someone saying the kouign amman is a Bay Area thing. (I was readier to believe potato pizza was because I don’t like potato pizza OR the Bay Area.)
posted by Smearcase at 11:25 AM on June 17


I can't speak to Ohio Valley style pizza

I can. It is the style I grew up with. I am not going to claim it is the best style since I've had my pizza worldview increased over the last 20+ years. With that said it certainly has its merits. The crust is definitely bread-ier and crisper than other styles. Cold cheese is added after the bake which makes a nice mouth contrast with the hot pizza.

I've lived in Cincinnati for over 20 years and I have never seen this pizza. Where does it exist?


Beto's in Pittsburgh for one. I've never brought myself to try it.
posted by octothorpe at 12:42 PM on June 17 [1 favorite]


Hi cooker girl...in this case Ohio Valley refers to the communities along the Upper Ohio River Valley between Pittsburgh and say a little bit south of Wheeling. The canonical local chain was DiCarlo's which had some sort of very complicated extended family + franchisee arrangement. I see that from their website they have a location in Myrtle Beach, SC. A true testament of how much Ohio Valley residents vacation at that beach.

Last year, a location actually opened in Florence, KY but I never made it all the way down there for a slice. According to Yelp, it is now closed.
posted by mmascolino at 1:43 PM on June 17


I live in Dayton, OH, which also claims it's own pizza style. Thin, almost crackery crust, edge to edge toppings, party cut. I wait tables at a Giordano's and the looks on people's faces after they wait an hour and a half for a table only for me to inform them that their pizza will take another hour and a half to cook is priceless.
posted by battleshipkropotkin at 4:12 PM on June 17


their pizza will take another hour and a half to cook is priceless.
What? How can this be?
posted by mumimor at 9:26 AM on June 18 [1 favorite]


Serious Eats: Greensburg, PA: Finally Getting Sweet on Jioio's Pizza

Yeah, it sounds disgusting, but it kind of works.
posted by tonycpsu at 11:36 AM on June 18


>> their pizza will take another hour and a half to cook is priceless.

What? How can this be?


Giordano's is a Chicago-based chain of deep-dish pizzerie (they sell other styles as well). Deep-dish does takes a long time to cook, although 90 minutes seems excessively slow to me (circa 45 minutes is more normal, but a 90 minute wait could also have to do with waiting for oven space while earlier orders finish baking off).
posted by slkinsey at 11:22 AM on June 19


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