Eating pizza in New York City is high stakes.
You're here for two days. You want to do a million things. The last thing you want to do is wait two hours in line for mediocre pizza.
Fortunately, you can have pizza bliss.
Here are the three most overrated pizza places in New York City and where you should go instead.
A coal fired pizza oven joint in Lower Manhattan on Spring Street. Coal Fired Pizza ovens have been outlawed since 1957 so the only ones that exist are grandfathered in.
Temperatures in a coal fired oven exceed 900 degrees imparting a characteristic char to the crust. In addition, the higher heat lets the crust get crispier.
But Lombardi’s crust is way too hard. It's like eating a rock. It’s a workout for your jaw
It feels whoever is making it doesn’t enjoy their job.
They yell a lot about, “It's the oldest pizzeria in New York”. To be honest, it just feels like they've been doing it wrong the longest.
Be skeptical of places that count years over taste.
There are definitely a lot of great places that have been here for a long time.
They don't rub it in your face.
They just keep doing a good job year after year.
It’s really hard to suss out the difference between the two without doing the reps.
Instead, for coal-fired go to Luzzos in the East Village. Smells like BBQ, tastes like pizza.
Luzzo’s is proof that coal-fired pizza doesn't need to split open your jaw.
Luzzo's La Pizza Napoletana | 211 1st Ave New York, NY 10003
Prince Street Pizza
Prince Street Pizza is really popular. You can smell the fresh bread, bubbling sauce, and melty cheese a block away.
I've waited in that line for 40 minutes once and I've seen people wait up to two hours. It's not worth it.
Why? Because of execution consistency.
You would never generalize anything from n=1 right? You know, you'd want to have a larger sample size.
I've been to Prince Street pizza eight times. The crust was burnt four times out of eight. I love me a caramelized cheese crown. This is not that.
Simply put - it’s low attention to detail.
You don't want to go somewhere with low precision. Especially if you’re bringing people - you don’t want them to have a whack experience.
You don’t want that on your conscience.
Instead go to Village Square pizza. They actually had the same pizza consultant, so the style is very similar.
The execution consistency is a lot higher at Village Square.
AND there's no crazy line.
It’s light, airy, and crispy with the perfect balance of sauce to cheese to toppings.
They have one in the West Village and one in the East Village. That's my go-to “Sicilian Square” spot in NYC. I go more than I’d care to admit.
Village Square Pizza | 118 Christopher St, New York, NY 10014
Village Square Pizza | 147 Avenue A, New York, NY 10009
I read about them in a New York Times piece.
You should be skeptical of the recommendations you read in the New York Times. They have led me astray more times than I recall. It doesn’t feel like those people care about food. It’s feels like someone just doing their fucking job.
And one that they don’t even enjoy.
They point to all of this “artistanality” in the article and attention to detail.
I've been to Upside Pizza a few times. It's always dry because they don't do enough volume.
What is volume? The number of slices sold per hour.
If you're a slice shop and you don't do volume, you're gonna be given out old, stale slices. You’re going to be paying a premium price for a thirsty slice.
I’m so glad I’ve never taken a visitor there.
Instead, try Scarr’s. Scars also does the whole milling their own wheat berries…
But like, it's fucking great pizza.
It’s where I would bring my mother if she came into town.
The crispy exterior of the crust with its delicate insides is married with the lava, where you can’t tell where the sauce ends and the cheese begins - it’s really a textural delight.
It’s the kinda spot you bring people to and feel proud about it.
Scarr’s Pizza | 22 Orchard St, New York, NY 10002
Your people might only be here for two days. Eating pizza in New York City has higher expectations than Lebron had when he entered the NBA.
Be the reason someone remembers the pizza they ate 20 years from now…
I want that feeling for you, “Pizza Bliss”.