As a born and bred New Yorker I am admittedly a pizza snob. So very many shops claim to have New York style pizza but they don't even come close. To make me happy, the pizza must have a very thin crust, great sauce, lots of cheese and oil that could run down my arm if I'm not careful. It doesn't have chicken on it or basil or tomato slices or anything too healthy but it is a delicious treat. It is cut in slices unless it's a Sicilian and then it is cut into large squares. It is eaten by folding the slice in half so that you can eat and walk if you are in a hurry. None of that crazy Chi-Town party cut business please. No deep dish pizza soup either. Like Thanksgiving, I like my pizza traditional.
I have been in Tampa for 12 years and I have found 3 pizza shops that make me think I'm back home. I have listed them by rank.
My Top 3 Faves
Pizza Haven – 122 E. Brandon Blvd. Brandon Fl 33511 - (813) 689-0905
I drive from Carrollwood to Brandon to get a slice. Thin crust, tasty sauce, and enough meat and cheese so that you never have to order extra anything. But the magic doesn’t stop there.. Pizza Haven also has beef patties, with cheese and cocoa bread. When was the last time you saw that outside of NY? They round out their menu with pasta dishes, calzones, Stromboli, and a NY cheesecake. I’ve seen them being ordered but I’m always so full of pizza and patties that I have yet to try them. I do not say this often but in this case it is true,pizza here tastes “just like New York.” Maybe better. The first time I reviewed them was 2010 and they are still # 1.
Best NY Pizza – 14741 N. Dale Mabry Blvd, Tampa Fl 33618 - (813) 963-7600
The slices are just the way I like them but I do have to add extra cheese. They also have garlic knots with a nice marinara sauce and a decent cheesecake. The atmosphere is more upscale than Pizza Haven. They have a dinning room with a player piano and a huge TV screen showing relaxing pictures. They also have healthier pizzas as well and I have tried and enjoyed their white pizza. They can get crazy busy so if you want to pick up its best to call ahead. This is truly a taste of NY.
3 .Charlies Pizza & Wings – 4439 Gunn Hwy, Tampa Fl 33618 - (813) 968-7800
Charlies has everything I expect from a NY pizza but what makes his pizza stand out for me is that he personally makes each pizza, wants each pie to be consistent so nobody makes them but him. Another perk is that Charlies gets real NY knishes shipped in from Coney Island. He showed me the box! He also makes great zeppole and his own Italian ices. His wings are great too but that's another article.