Traditional recipes

What to Eat in New York City: Pizza Slice

What to Eat in New York City: Pizza Slice

Eat Your World spotlights regional foods and drinks around the globe, from New Orleans to New Delhi. Visit their New York section for more of the best local dishes in New York City.

What: A "plain" New York-style pizza slice is cut from a large, perfectly round tomato-sauce-and-shredded-mozzarella pie that has, most important, a thin, wide, crisp yet supple crust that begs to be folded (and it is the water, of course, that really makes the dough). Gas ovens are the norm in New York City slice joints, and it’s no surprise the tastiest slices are those that are freshly cooked, piping-hot, and glistening with grease. A great slice has just the right ratio of sweet-ish sauce to bubbling cheese to chewy dough to hot oil — and you can eat it standing up. This is quick, cheap, unpretentious fast food that happens to be the subject of many a book, blog, and smartphone app. (See also: pizza, coal-oven.)

Where: Our classic slice comes courtesy of Joe’s Pizza, a West Village stalwart doing quintessential New York pies and slices since 1975. It’s an iconic place, which translates to a steady crowd — even in the middle of the night — and, happily, a constant flow of fresh hot pizzas outta the oven.

When: Daily, 9 a.m. to 4 a.m.

Order: A plain slice ($3.50), aka a "regular" or "cheese" slice — you don’t want to overload that thin crispy crust with toppings. Elbow your way through the small space for a spot to stand, fold, and scarf it down. Crushed red pepper is optional, of course.

Alternatively: Let’s get something straight: New York has a lot of good slice joints. And New Yorkers have a lot of different "favorite" slice joints (likely it’s the one that’s in their neighborhood). Joe’s is a great representation of what a New York slice is, but you certainly don’t have to go terribly out of your way to find a tasty slice elsewhere (just avoid the big chains and delis, and look for what’s coming fresh out of the oven). Ask around wherever you are, and consider these other terrific slice purveyors:

In Midtown (across the street from Penn Station/MSG): Established in 1964, New York Pizza Suprema does an excellent slice with some tang (and a great sweet-sauced square "upside-down" slice).

In the East Village: Nino’s Pizza for plain or Stromboli Pizza for a plain or margherita slice — though admittedly both are best after a long night of drinking in that ’hood. Piping hot, greasy, eminently satisfying. Have fun.

Uptown: Both Italian Village on the Upper East and hole-in-the-wall Sal & Carmine’s Pizza on the west side rank high among locals.

In downtown Brooklyn: My Little Pizzeria (718-643-6120; 114 Court St., map) our own (former) neighborhood favorite, has delicious plain slices and excellent crispy fresh-mozzarella slices.

In Queens: We like the $1.75 slices at Louie’s Pizzeria & Restaurant (718-440-9346; 81-34 Baxter Ave., Elmhurst, map), a father-and-son operation for which "Pops" makes fresh pasta as well; and the old-school John’s Pizzeria of Elmhurst (85-2 Grand Ave., Elmhurst, map), a mother-and-daughter-run shop with 1960s diner décor and excellent thin-crust plain and Sicilian slices (plus light, tasty chicken rolls to boot). We’re also fans of the super-thin, saucy slices at Lucia Pizza (718-445-1313; 136-55B Roosevelt Ave., map) in Flushing, a neighborhood best known for its Asian food these days.

In the Bronx: Cozy Louie & Ernie’s Pizza (718-829-6230; 1300 Crosby Ave., map) gets top nods for its thin plain slice and sausage pizza, for which the meat is locally supplied; while in Staten Island, you’d be wise to give Joe & Pat’s Pizzeria (718-981-0887; 1758 Victory Blvd., map) a shot if you like your slices extra thin and crunchy.

Note: The rightfully famous, totally old-school Di Fara (1424 Ave. J, map) in the Midwood section of Brooklyn also serves slices and employs a gas, rather than coal, oven. But the thin-crust pizzas’ meticulous preparation (by septuagenarian pizzaiolo Domenico DeMarco), higher-quality cheese mix, homemade sauce, pile of fresh basil, and generous drizzles of olive oil put it in a league of its own — a more Neapolitan pie that still uses New York methods. If you trek out there, expect a long wait and a high price tag (slices are $5, so it’s better value to just order a $28 whole pie), but truly exceptional hand-crafted pizza — and a great New York experience.

Laura Siciliano-Rosen is the co-founder of Eat Your World, a website that spotlights regional foods and drinks around the globe. Follow Eat Your World on Twitter @eat_your_world.

1. Grab a Pastry at a New York City Bakery

New York is home to many well-loved bakeries. You have to check out Levain Bakery in Manhattan. This place has the best chocolate chip cookie I have ever tasted, and the most famous chocolate chip cookie in NYC. They are perfect! Crunchy on the outside and soft and gooey on the inside. Although copy-cat recipes of their cookies are plastered all over the internet, I am convinced there must actually be some secret recipe or baking technique going on in this little bakery. Their cookies are uniquely tasty! Make your way to the Upper Westside and try them for yourself. Check here more information about Levain Bakery.

Reheating a Leftover Slice of Great New York-Style Pizza

I often get asked “Pizza Snob, what’s the best way to reheat a leftover slice of great New York-style pizza?” Well, here’s a look at the options:

  • Microwave
  • Toaster Oven
  • Conventional Oven
  • None of the Above

The correct answer is “D” since there is never any leftover great New York-style pizza! Unless of course, like me, you purposely over-order to stock some slices up for the future.

Here’s what I do with my leftover slices:

Storage: Keep those babies in the freezer. I use aluminum foil although Mrs. Pie says that’s not really necessary. A larger Tupperware container works well, but you will want to put some wax paper in between the slices so you will be able to separate them easily. Their shelf live in the freezer is a pretty long one. I recently enjoyed some leftover Super Bowl slices from a Five Points Pizza over-order during our March Nashville snow days.

Reheating: Forget the microwave. It will simply suck any life out of your slice making it dry and soggy. I even tried putting a glass of water in the microwave like someone suggested and it still turned out limp.

A lot of folks like the toaster oven because it heats up faster than the conventional oven. However, there is generally only room for a single slice, and without a small pan you are subject to the melting cheese making a royal mess!

So, the Snob prefers to reheat his slices in the conventional oven. I will preheat it to 450 degrees (usually just 350 when I get impatient) laying the slices on a small round pizza pan. This seems to do the trick nicely with 3-4 minutes being the sweet spot.

Here’s a nice crisp and crunchy slice from one of my recent efforts. My only word of caution is that the longer they stay in the freezer, the drier they will be after their resurrection. Nonetheless, buy yourself some good extra pizza today for a pleasant surprise in the future!

Must Eat in New York: Lombardis Pizza

New York is known to have some of the best pizza in the world, therefore, a visit to The Big Apple is not complete without devouring a slice or two of one of these magnificent pies. Don’t get me started on the debate between Chicago and New York pizza and which one is best. In my opinion, they are vastly different and both incredibly good in their own way.

Let me tell you where I do draw the line. You may have a favorite “New York Style” pizza in your hometown and it may be called “authentic” because it is made by former New Yorkers. Undoubtedly, it may be very good, yet nothing compares to having the authentic pizza in New York City. End of discussion.

The New York pizza experience is like no other. Some say it’s the New York City water that makes it so special and even go as far as to import water in order to make authentic New York pizza. But c’mon. It’s just not the same. Authentic New York pizza, the Neapolitan way, must include a nice crisp crust from a coal oven, tangy tomato sauce, gooey melted mozzarella cheese, a bit of “fuhhgetaboutit” attitude and grease running down your arm when you pick up that amazing slice. Whether you fold it or not, it is your choice, but don’t say I didn’t warn you about the grease. Nothing like it, I tell you.

The First Pizza

My first visit was with my sisters during a Girls Getaway Weekend. I planned a “Be a New Yorker” day where we ate all the traditional Must Eat Foods of New York which you can read about in this fun post.

Of course, a stop at Lombardis Pizza, due to its iconic status, was in order. It was a fun night with just the four of us, laughing and sharing stories over cheap wine and a great slice. I’ve returned since then and every time has been a great experience, but you never forget your first.

The Menu

The Original Marguerita Pizza is my favorite. A traditional Neapolitan pizza, without much fussing over, with only high quality fresh mozzarella, fresh crushed tomato sauce, Romano cheese and fresh basil, cooked to near perfection in a coal oven resulting in a crisp, slightly charred crust. The crust is what sets New York pizza apart. The coal oven at Lombardis Pizza makes the crust smokey and charred on the outside yet chewy on the inside. On one occasion it was a bit more charred than I prefer but it was still great. Remember, no two pies will ever be alike. These are handmade to order. The cheese will likely come off in one big chewy chunk after you wrestle it into an incredibly long string. Oh, so good I’m drooling as I write this. Plus, you can taste the fresh crushed tomatoes in the sauce with that tangy acidity and a touch of sweetness. Are you drooling yet?

Lombardi’s small Original Marguerita Pizza

You can add assorted toppings such as sweet Italian sausage, spicy pepperoni or homemade meatballs. However, be warned, it can get a bit pricey at $4 per topping. You will not find crazy gourmet toppings or combinations here. My advice is keep it simple. The thin crust can get soggy if you add too many toppings.

Lombardi’s Large Pizza with homemade meatballs

Pizza pies are sold in either a small with 6 slices or large with 8 slices. They do not sell pizza by the slice, so get some friends together and share a pie.

The Place

The Kitchen with the 1905 Coal Oven

The Smiles

Sorry for that blurry picture. If you’re astute, you may notice that the sister that took the first picture was drinking wine and the sister that took the second picture, the blurry one, was drinking water. In conclusion, drink wine and you will take better pictures!

Lots of smiles with Lombardis Pizza. So good, we even took a pie home TO GO!

Lombardi’s Entrance and lots of smiles!

We almost went on the delivery route but decided against it. Lombardi’s delivers in the area. Everyone in New York City delivers!

One last word of advice, don’t forget to bring cash. Annoying in this day and age of credit cards and apple pay but this pizza joint only accepts your hard-earned green paper bills.

Lombardi’s Pizzeria is located at 32 Spring Street in the Nolita neighborhood.

Read all about the Must Eat Foods of New York City in this blog post as I share my favorite Must Eat Foods from Around the World in the A to Z Blogging Challenge.

What’s your favorite New York Pizza joint? Please share in the comments below.

Whatever you do, please for the love of all things holy and delicious, don’t miss out on having a slice of pizza on your next trip to New York City. If you’ve never been to Lombardis Pizza, then you must add it to your list and try it at least once. It’s the original pizzeria and it’s even better shared with friends!

GO Epicurista


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About Christina Thomas

I'm Christina, a hospitality consultant, freelance writer, food & travel enthusiast, brand cheerleader, ice cream fanatic, chocoholic, and eternal optimist on a mission to #MakeSomedayHappen one delicious bite, sip and trip at a time. Celebrating life with great food, wine and friends throughout Central Florida and everywhere I GO! I want to inspire you to take time out of your busy schedule to do the same. GO celebrate life today, for someday may never come. Join me and GO Epicurista!

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Meet your Chief Epicurista

I'm Christina, a hospitality consultant, freelance writer, food & travel enthusiast, brand cheerleader, ice cream fanatic, chocoholic, and eternal optimist on a mission to #MakeSomedayHappen one delicious bite, sip and trip at a time. Celebrating life with great food, wine and friends throughout Central Florida and everywhere I GO! I want to inspire you to take time out of your busy schedule to do the same. GO celebrate life today, for someday may never come. Join me and GO Epicurista! Find out more.

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4. Falafel

Falafel, middle eastern deep fried chickpea balls with pita bread

The falafel, also known as friend chicken pea fritters, is a favorite among locals who love to eat Middle Eastern dishes alongside pita, tahini, and fresh vegetables.

New York’s oldest falafel restaurant is Mamoun’s Falafel, first established in 1971. Today, it’s one of the best places that you could go to if you want to scour exotic eats.

A classic among New York restaurants, serving its patrons for years by offering a hybrid menu with innovative and delicious dishes. The prices are high and you have to book to find a place. The Taverna menu is more informal while Dining Room is more formal and more expensive. Check the website.

A Parisian-style bistro in the Village where brunch is really a serious thing at the weekend: the dishes are all from the French tradition, revisited in an American version and with local ingredients. Try the Croque Monsieur and the waffles. Check the website.

Momofuku Milk Bar – famous for their milk and cereal ice cream, crack cookies and other Instagrammable treats.

Locations: Midtown West, West Village, & Upper West Side

Levain Bakery – Home to the best chocolate chip cookie in the world!

Locations: Upper West Side (2 locations) & Harlem

Dominique Ansel Bakery – Birthplace of the donut-croissant hybrid, the Cronut.

Location: South Village

Doughnut Plant – Endless kinds of specialty donuts

Locations: Lower East Side (original), Chelsea, Prospect Heights, & Sunnyside

Rice to Riches – A rice pudding spot for when you’re in the mood for something different.

Location: Nolita

Big Gay Ice Cream Shop – I scream, you scream! Need I say more?

Locations: East Village, West Village

Mona’s tip: Nothing beats a simple and delicious classic chocolate chip cookie. As mentioned above, Levain is known for the best chocolate chip cookies in the world. The line out the door is always long and there is no seating. Skip the fuss by calling in a pick-up order and paying over the phone (there is no minimum) then walk straight to the counter to pick up your order.

Locations: East Village, West Village

Related: Read my guest post for NylonPink.TV! The Top 10 Novelty Desserts in NYC to Feed Your Dreams

New York Pizza

What to order: pizza slice, duh. This is really a great way to get your daily vegetables. Just put them on a pizza, right? Deena’s New York pizza tip: fold the pizza in half and eat it like a sandwich. Then you can walk and eat. Who has time to sit? Plus since everything in New York is super dirty, you don’t really want to sit anyway. We ate at the Famous Original Ray’s Pizza, right by the Sheraton Hotel I stayed at, which was good enough that I went back to it more than once.


The first pizzeria in the United States of America was claimed to have been founded by Gennaro Lombardi in New York City's Little Italy in 1905, though this has recently been debunked by author Peter Regas. [3] [4] An immigrant pizzaiolo (pizza maker) from Naples, he opened a grocery store in 1897 eight years later, it was licensed to sell pizza by New York State. [4] An employee, Antonio Totonno Pero, began making pizza, which sold for five cents a pie. Many people, however, could not afford a whole pie and instead would offer what they could in return for a corresponding sized slice, [5] which was wrapped in paper tied with string. In 1924, Totonno left Lombardi's to open his own pizzeria on Coney Island, called Totonno's.

The original pizzerias in New York used coal-fired ovens and baked their pizza with the cheese on the bottom and sauce on top. [ citation needed ] By 2010, over 400 pizza restaurants existed in New York City, with hundreds more of varied cuisine also offering the dish. [1]

New York–style pizza is traditionally hand-tossed, [6] consisting in its basic form of a light layer of tomato sauce [4] sprinkled with dry, grated, full-fat mozzarella cheese additional toppings are placed over the cheese. [6] Pies are typically around 18 to 24 inches (45 to 60 cm) in diameter, and commonly cut into eight slices. These large wide slices [7] are often eaten as fast food while folded in half (like one would fold a cardboard box) from the crust, as their size and flexibility can make them unwieldy to eat flat. Folding the slice also collects the abundant oil in the crease, and allows the slice to be eaten with one hand.

New York–style pizza gets its distinguishing crust from the high-gluten bread flour with which it is made. Minerals present in New York City's tap water supply are also credited with giving the dough in metro area pies its characteristic texture and flavor. [7] [8] Some out-of-state pizza bakers even transport the water cross-country for the sake of authenticity. [9] [10] However, many pizza makers dispute this fact, noting that high-quality and true-to-form New York–style pizza is being found in more and more places. [ citation needed ] The popularity of New York–style pizza is rapidly being exported from New York and globalization of food culture has made access to the right equipment and products easier for those in the industry seeking to produce a product authentic to its New York roots. [ citation needed ]

In contrast to a Chicago-style pizza, which is usually smaller in size, typically no more than one foot (12 inches, 30 cm) in diameter, the average size of a New York–style pizza is typically larger, ranging between one and a half to two feet (18 to 24 inches, 45 to 60 cm) in diameter, with some even larger, giant New York–style pizzas measuring as large as three feet (36 inches, 90 cm) in diameter. [ citation needed ]

Typical condiments include dried oregano, garlic powder, dried red chili pepper flakes, dried basil, and grated Parmesan cheese. [ citation needed ]

Watch the video: 23 New York Pizza Slices in 36 Hours. Which is the Best? Bon Appétit (December 2021).