New York isn’t the only town with distinctive pies—just see Detroit style pizza for proof. But if you’ve been to New York City and never tried a slice of pizza, you’re doing life wrong. At least that’s how Scott Wiener from Scott’s Pizza Tours feels.
“NYC is an incredible pizza town because we have multiple ways of eating. It’s common for New Yorkers to eat quick bites on-the-go, which is why pizza-by-slice became the city’s culinary flag,” he says.
But recently, NYC has also begun to incorporate the sit-down pizza scene, taking pizza to more formal settings.
What is it about pizza, NYC and beyond, that’s so widely popular and universally desired? The answer, according to Wiener, lies in pizza’s endless versatility.
“Pizza isn’t a specific food, it’s more of an inclusive concept that can be stretched as far as you’ll let it go as an eater,” he says. “For me, pizza is at its most basic element—a bread item, but someone with Celiac can find something that contains no gluten and still consider that to be a pizza. I love that.”
Apparently, America loves it too. Pizza has become more popular than ever—about one in eight of us eats pizza any given day, and it’s no surprise that NYC is ranked high as one of the best places in the world to find a delicious slice.
When it comes to Big Apple pizza, there’s a myriad of options to choose from. Here are but a few:
Wiener says coal-fired pizza is a NYC favorite due to the city’s proximity to coal mines located in northeastern Pennsylvania. What makes coal-fired pizza different and delicious is a crust that’s dry on the outside and soft on the inside—a texture that he says can’t be produced from a standard gas-fuel desk oven. John’s of Bleecker St. is among the oldest coal-fire pizza spots in the city, and one of the stops on Scott’s NYC pizza bus.
“The past few years have seen growth in Neapolitan pizza,” Wiener says, speaking to the classic pizza of southern Italy. Greenwich Village’s Keste is a mecca for this style, and also doubles as a pizza school for chefs and culinary professionals.
Classic NYC Slice
Of course we can’t neglect the classic NYC slice, and Joe’s Pizza is one of the most famous places to enjoy this “quintessential” New York slice that’s “big, floppy, and foldable,” according to the Scott’s Pizza Tours website.
There’s one thing that Wiener wants to make clear, though: “You don’t need cheese to have a good time.” The vegans, lactose-intolerants and even gluten-intolerants of the world can still enjoy the beauty of pizza at places like Two Boots and Sizzle Pie.
Ultimately, Wiener says pizza is “really in the eye of the pie-holder,” so it’s up to you to decide what kind of pizza is the one. And with the endless variety of pizza in NYC, there’s no doubt you’ll find your pizza-mate sooner or later.
Related Video: How to Toss Pizza Dough (and Why You Should)
Header image courtesy of OKMG/Shutterstock.