Greenwich Village's Pizza Box probably takes the cake (or should I say pie?) for me when it comes to pizzeria names. (With the possible exception of Pizza Booth, just down Bleecker Street.) And thankfully, the slice here lives up to the charming moniker.
It's crisp, chewy, and fairly well-balanced in terms of the "holy trinity" — crust, sauce and cheese. The turnover, no matter what time of day, seems to be such that you usually get a fresh slice that hasn't been sitting too long.
The exterior doesn't really scream "great pizzeria," though the fact that it's been around since 1957 seems promising. Ever since I read Chicago food writer Mike Gebert's theory on "since 195x" pizzerias, I've been a sucker for giving the a try. Mr. Gebert says:
...one of my rules is, always try a pizza that dates back to the 1950s. There is always a small possibility that in the intervening 35+ years, they have NOT screwed it up by trying to make it more like Domino's or something.
It's not "artisan" pizza and isn't trying to dazzle you with multicheese combinations, but it's a solid, no-nonsense slice — thinner and crisper than most New York–style slices you run into. Definitely not "Domino's or something."
And you can eat it — while the weather is still somewhat warm — in a garden that's more pleasant than you'd expect from any typical slice joint:
176 Bleecker Street, New York NY 10012 (Greenwich Village, MacDougal/Sullivan; map)