14 Newkirk Plaza, Brooklyn NY 11226; 718-859-1501
Style: New York–style, Sicilian-style, and specialty deep dish
Oven Type: Gas
The Skinny: Easily accessible classic Brooklyn slice joint
Getting There: Located right at a major B/Q subway stop, Newkirk, about a half hour into Brooklyn
Hours: Mon–Sat, 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.; closed Sundays
Price: Large pie, $13; Sicilian pie, $17; plain slice, $2.25; square, $2.35; chicken Parm deep dish slice, $4
Notes: No delivery but take-out is available
Much has been written and argued about the great pizzerias in Brooklyn, but as a result of Brooklyn's sheer size and depth there are many pizza joints that do a brisk business with the locals yet never seem to get the wider attention and praise they may deserve. Places like this probably aren't quite destination slices (but may be for the true slice hound); however they well represent the archetypical NYC thin-crust style. There is no myth involved here—just cheap, good slices on the quick with no pretension. LoDuca Pizza is one of these places and one of the few of this ilk that remains in an era dominated by Papa John's and Domino's.
LoDuca Pizza opened in 1989 in Flatbush on Newkirk Plaza, a few doors from their current location, where they've been since 1997. The LoDuca brothers, Vito, Sal and Daniel, run this family-owned-and-operated slice joint. Their Sicilian father, Giuseppe, who emigrated from Palermo as a teen, taught his sons the pie-slinging craft. Giuseppe recently opened LoDuca Pizza and Restaurant, in Somerset, New Jersey.
The plain pie at LoDuca Pizza is a fine example. The crust has that quintessential NYC-style chew. These thin-crust slices are firm enough to be foldable but still have a little flop to them. Sal is the pizzamaker, and watching him work is something else. He is truly a dough-stretching virtuoso. You can tell right away he has been making pies for forevah.
Most everything is made fresh on premises, including the homemade chicken cutlets, which often find their way into the heartily portioned and reasonably priced deep dish chicken Parm pie. The chicken Parm deep dish is LoDuca's signature specialty slice. The Sicilian pie is also quite solid. The toppings are all high quality. The cheeses and tomatoes for the sauce are from premier suppliers and applied to the pies with care. The eggplant slice is pretty spectacular.
Not to be upstaged, the garlic knots are stellar in their own right, especially when accompanied by a side of the tasty house marinara.
LoDuca Pizza is one of those places that unless you are a local you might never know about, however anyone who loves good, inexpensive pizza will feel at home here. If you are in the neighborhood or riding the B/Q train to go to Coney Island, Brighton Beach, or some other famous Brooklyn pizza place*, LoDuca Pizza is well worth adding to your itinerary.