Nothing satisfies hunger quite like a fresh, warm slice of pizza. For true fans, the quest to find the most mouthwatering pies is a lifetime journey. While just about every town has at least one good pizzeria, there are a few locations where the quality and taste are next-level good. Prepare your taste buds because here are the top four cities with the best pizza in the U.S.
1. New York
New York City is known for many things, but when you say the city’s name, the first thing that comes to mind is pizza. In fact, the Big Apple was home to the first pizzeria in the U.S. Lombardi’s opened its doors in 1905, serving thin-crusted Neapolitan-style pies, which set the standard for what would become known as New York-style pizza. For that reason, Lombardi’s should be the first stop on your tasting tour. Hit up their Little Italy location for a small Original Margherita pie and calzone.
Dating back to 1965, Di Fara is another favorite eatery of pizza fanatics. The family-owned establishment serves up the same handcrafted pies today as they did 50 years ago. While Lucali doesn’t offer the same historical quality, its fresh ingredients and welcoming ambiance have caught the attention of celebs like Beyoncé and Jay Z. If you hit up Lucali, show up early to get your name on the list and don’t forget it’s a BYOB establishment — so arrive with drinks in hand.
Once you’ve eaten your way through the old-school style pizzerias, switch it up with a non-traditional approach. Ops stands out in the market by using sourdough crusts and a wood-fired oven. Adelina’s, on the other hand, has made a name for itself with a plant-based menu. All of the restaurant’s Italian dishes are vegetarian-friendly, and they even offer a selection of vegan pizzas.
The battle between New York and Chicago pizza styles is almost as old as the country itself. While New York’s easily foldable pies embody the fast pace of the city, Chicago-style deep dish pizza serves as a hearty, sit-down meal. These qualities are ideal when you need to warm your body and catch a break from the elements, which is a necessity for Chicago natives during long, bitter, and windy winters.
To taste a deep-dish pie the way it was intended, stop by one of the 53 Lou Malnati’s locations in the area. The founder actually worked at the first deep dish pizzeria in Chitown, and some people even recognize him as the father of the pan-pizza style. Two other popular establishments, Pequod’s Pizza and Burt’s Place, were both started by Burt Katz and feature his unique caramelized crust. Yet, if you’re a fan of thin crust pizzas, don’t fret — both Spacca Naplo and Piece serve up Neapolitan-style slices.
3. St. Louis
While it doesn’t quite receive the same level of recognition as some of the other locations, St. Louis is hailed as one of the top cities with the best pizza in the country. Known for its extra-thin, crispy crust, St. Louis-style pizzas are instantly recognizable thanks to their rectangular-shaped slices. The use of a unique processed cheese blend — usually containing provolone, cheddar, and Swiss, also gives the pie a distinct flavor from other regional varieties.
To delve into the pizza scene in St. Louis, start with a visit to one of the oldest eateries in the city: Frank & Helen’s Pizzeria. Not much has changed about the restaurant since it opened in 1956, and that’s exactly why it’s so beloved by locals and tourists alike. Frank’s Special pizza is a long-time favorite of patrons, but you also have the opportunity to craft your own mouthwatering pie from scratch. Other top contenders in the area include Monte Bello Pizzeria and Failoni’s.
Detroit may have made a name for itself with automotive production, but it can be argued that its best export is pizza. Similar to St. Louis, Detroit-style pizza ditches the traditional wedge-shaped slices for squares. The pies also take their rebellion a step further by opting for a rectangular-shaped pizza instead of a circle. However, their most notable characteristic is the incredibly thick crust, which is cooked until the outside is crispy.
If that description has your mouth watering, put Cloverleaf at the top of your travel itinerary. The pizzeria is hailed as the inventor of Detroit-style pizza. While they now offer contemporary variations, like gluten-free pizza, you can still order the traditional square pies of years past. For a slightly more modern take on the original, stop by Pepe Z Pizza. The pizzeria offers unique ingredients, like Michigan honey and Brussel sprouts, along with vegan and vegetarian options.
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