A late-night food truck serving pizza on Austin's East 6th Street bar strip sounds like a perfect combination—almost like pepperoni and melted cheese. But Detroit-style pizza? Most Austinites aren't familiar with it, including me.
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It's named Federici's Italian Restaurant, but you come here for the pizza. Folks from the Freehold, New Jersey, area have been doing so since 1946, when brothers Dante Federici and Frank "Spat" Federici Jr. returned from WWII and joined their parents in the family business. With their mother, they put pizza on the restaurant's menu, which had been in operation in some form or other since 1921 (first as a billiard parlor that served food, then as a bar with food, then a full-blown restaurant). The place looks like it never really shook the bar vibe and remains a bit of a throwback to the loungey '70s. Not that that's a bad thing. When you walk into a place like this, you hope they haven't done anything to "update" (read "screw up") the pizza in the intervening years.
This truck is making pizza that would hold its own in a brick-and-mortar joint. This is not just "good for a truck." It is great pizza, period. If you live near Edison or have a commute that takes you anywhere near, this is destination pizza, folks.
The excellent pies at Baraonda Ristorante & Bar, located near the Fox Theater in midtown Atlanta, often get left out when talking about the city's pizza scene. On a recent visit, their beautifully cooked Margherita reminded this toppings guy that sometimes, less is way more.
With a location steps from the Magnificent Mile and across the street from Water Tower, Chef Tony Mantuano's Bar Toma would be doing extraordinarily well based on his star power and the location, even if the restaurant served frozen dinners. Fortunately, Mantuano did not rest on his laurels, delivering some seriously delicious pizzas that should have locals fighting tourists for tables.
This is an annual thing with me now (see 8PTHMD 2009 and 8PTHMD 2010). I ate a lot of pizza over the course of the year, but these eight pies, mostly from around the NYC area, are the ones that haunt my dreams even as we close in on 2012. Like years past, I'm not declaring these "the best," per se, just eight pizzas that stand out in my memory and that I want more of. Are they in any kind of order? Not this year, so don't read anything into it. Just peep the slideshow and salivate.
The last couple of years have seen a relative flurry of top-notch pizzeria openings in Denver and Boulder. From the crisp and chewy crust to the high quality and often creative toppings, it's quite possible that Pizzeria Basta is the best of the bunch.
Opened just over a year ago, Best Pizza has fast become one of our favorite pizzerias in New York, and yeah, it's mostly because they serve some of the tastiest by-the-slice stuff around. Since opening the shop, the menu has expanded ever-so-slightly to include sandwiches and a single salad. But man, oh man what good sandwiches those are. Check out everything they've got on the menu.
Of course we did get the requisite Pepperoni Pie ($11.50 and it was as glorious as ever, along with a White Clam Pie ($12.50) (theirs are made with plenty of garlic, and a clam-flavored bechamel-like sauce with just a few chunks of real clam—like no other clam pie I've had, but delicious in its own way), but this time I also opted for one of their specialty pie. Something about the high-low dichotomy of portobello, sun dried tomatoes, and pinenuts on a decidedly non fancy-pants bar-style crust seemed interesting to me.
I like bars and everybody likes pies, but I wasn't drawn to the words as a compound food noun for a couple of reasons. In these parts, it's served primarily in places where the food is, if not an afterthought, at least an after-the-booze-and-barely-before-the-Keno thought. But people kept raving to me about the pizza at the Lynwood Café in Randolph, a nice enough town about 20 miles south of Boston, so I stopped in to check it out.
You're probably not going to just stumble upon the quaint and quiet center of the suburban-Jersey commuter town of Cranford. But hey, if you ever do, rest assured that at the very least, there's decent pizza at Emma's Brick Oven Pizza.
There's only one size pizza available on the menu. It's a respectable size — about 16 inches across. Not HUGE but not Neapolitan dainty. Still, even though it's on the bigger side, don't let the size fool you. As the menu says, it's "paper thin." (Yes, the menu says "paper thin.") Got a big appetite? You could easily house three-quarters of a plain pie on your own. Hell, I've eaten an entire Patsy's plain pizza by myself. That was in another lifetime, before Slice even existed. On a long lunch break. I almost fell asleep at my desk when I got back to work. But I digress...
I almost hate to recommend this place to you, since it's about two blocks from my office and is going to go into my personal lunchtime heavy rotation. But I didn't start this site to keep pizza a secret from you. So go. It's worth the trip.
OK. Forget for a minute that Forcella is doing some solidly legit traditional pizzas. That's all well and good and totally worth your while. But just know that the place is the only pizzeria I know of in NYC that's doing a deep-fried "montagnara" pizza.
Mention Tastebud to a Portlander, and they'll likely think of Tastebud's Saturday Farmers' Market stand, where they sell schmeared bagel sandwiches, pitas stuffed with lamb, and reheated, parbaked slices of pizza. Very few people know that Tastebud's pizza is available fresh from an actual bricks-and-mortar establishment, and even fewer know that you can eat as much as your belly will allow every Sunday night for fifteen dollars.
Maria di Napoli Ristorante in Newton, MA, is an unassuming spot in the sleepy Italian-American neighborhood of Nonantum, a few miles outside of Boston. The pies at Maria di Napoli Ristorante are both larger in width and thinner-crusted than a true Neapolitan. But the brightly-flavored, uncooked crushed plum tomato based sauce, simple, sparingly-applied toppings, and a crust with ultra-tender crumb all shout Neapolitan just the same.
Check out this amazing piece of pizza history. It's a pizza roundup from a 1970 issue of New York magazine, the goal of which was to find the best pizza in New York City. Written by Jerome Snyder and Milton Glaser, the originators of the magazine's "Underground Gourmet" column, it just may be the city's first "Best Pizza in NYC" article.
Rubino's knows what it does well, and that's reflected in its modest menu. You can basically choose from among pizza, spaghetti, and salad. The end. They know you don't need all of the other crap if they can do those three things well. I've always thought that methodology was a thing of beauty.
I do not hesitate to say that their Margherita has entered the pantheon of my all time favorites. The pools of creamy buffalo mozzarella melted imperceptibly into the sauce, and the perfectly charred crust knocked it out of the park with a prominent sourdough tang.
UPDATE: Paulie Gee's is no longer offering brunch service. [Photograph: Adam Kuban] The last thing I wanted for brunch yesterday was more pizza. I spent all day Saturday prepping for, cooking, and cleaning up a nine-pie pizza bridal shower.* But ... but ... The Monte Christo pizza ($15) at Paulie Gee's new brunch service is outrageously good. Just when I thought I didn't want to eat another bite of the crusty, saucey, cheesy stuff for at least another week, this amazing combination of salty-sweet, crisp-chewy pizza awesomeness pulled me right back in. Made with mild gouda, ham, and a drizzle...