New York is a huge city, and pizza is really popular here. What can I say? We’re pizza snobs, and proud of it. Everybody has their preferred pizza place, and there’s no easier way to get into a stupid fight than by trying to convince someone else that your favorite pizzeria in number one.
But there’s a lot of pizza out there. There’s good pizza and there’s definitely bad pizza. And so there’s got to be some sort of a ranking, even a very loose one, just to kind of give people a sense of some of the really good pizza. Obviously this is just one New Yorker’s guide to really good pizza, so take it as you will. But if you’re looking for that perfect slice, do yourself a favor, try one of these. These are the four best slices of pizza in New York City.
1. The Pizza Hut on Northern Blvd. and Woodside Ave. in Queens
I know what you’re thinking. Pizza Hut? Really? Yes, really. But make sure that it’s this specific Pizza Hut in Woodside. Some people dismiss it is a chain, that all of the pizza tastes the same from location to location, but there’s something special about this particular franchise. Their best pizza chef is this guy name Alfonse, I don’t know his schedule exactly, but he’s definitely off on Sundays, just in case you’re thinking about taking the 7 train out there.
Get the mozzarella stuffed crust pizza. It’s unbelievable. I don’t know how they do it, but they get all of that melted cheese inside the crust. Like right inside the dough. Crazy, right? Usually you eat pizza and it’s like, crust? Maybe I’ll eat it after I’m done eating the rest of the pizza. Probably not though. But with this pizza, you’ll have to stop yourself from eating the crust first.
2. Uno Chicago Grill on 81st and Columbus
Another chain, but again, don’t turn your noses up at some of New York’s finest Chicago style pizza. It’s too bad that all of the downtown locations were recently boarded up. I guess New Yorkers haven’t really taken to mass-produced deep-dish pizza like corporate thought we would. Which is a shame, because if you don’t give Pizzeria Uno a shot, you’re missing out.
I remember when I was a little kid, my mom took me to one of the first Pizzeria Uno restaurants that opened up out on Long Island. My aunts and my mom ordered this weird pizza with all sorts of vegetables and crazy toppings you’d never see at a regular pizza place. I thought it was gross, ruining a perfectly good pizza with broccoli or eggplant. But now I love that stuff. And you have to eat it with a knife and fork because it’s so deep. Also, I remember back then the wait staff gave my brothers and me our sodas in those baby little kid sippy cups. But my one cousin who’s only nine months older than me, he got his drink in a regular adult glass. I was so pissed. But I’m over it now. And Uno is awesome.
3. Taco Bell Mexican Pizza / Subway Flatizza Pizza
The third best slice of best slice of pizza in New York is actually a tie between Taco Bell’s Mexican Pizza and Subway’s new Flatizza Pizzas. I really tried to pick one or the other, but they’re both so delicious. Let’s start with the Mexican Pizza. Not every Taco Bell still has these bad boys on the menu. But in my experience, all you have to do is stand there and insist, and eventually the person at the register will call the manager over, and eventually that manager will say, “Whatever, fine, we’ll make you a Mexican Pizza, OK?” It’s like a taco shell topped with meat, topped with beans, topped with another taco shell, topped with cheese and tomatoes and taco sauce. It’s insanely good.
And then you have the Flatizza Pizzas at Subway. Honestly, I used to hate going to Subway. I’d always think to myself, man, I’m a New Yorker, I wish I could be eating some pizza instead of a Subway sandwich. Ever since they introduced the Flatizza, I’ve never been in that situation since. How do they cook it so fast? It’s like, they put everything on the flatbread, then they put it in that big toasting machine, and it’s perfectly toasted in something like twenty seconds. Why aren’t those toasting appliances more available? I tried making a Flatizza in my microwave at home and it came out terribly.
4. Ray’s Pizza in Manhattan
No “best slice in the city” list would be complete without the original New York City slice: Ray’s. Ray’s is a New York institution. It’s the original very first pizzeria in the city. One time I was getting a slice at Ray’s and I asked the guy behind the counter to tell me all about this history of Ray’s. “When did it open? What was the original Ray like? Do his kids still run the place?” And he told me everything. (“A long time ago, he was cool, and I’m not sure.”) It was like a New York City tour for only two bucks. Talk about the local discount.
My thing is, why don’t these guys expand? You’d think that the original very first pizza place in all of New York City would be this iconic brand. Just think of the potential for marketing, franchising, advertising. But nope, not Ray’s. They’re focused on one thing, great pizza. If you haven’t eaten at Ray’s, I don’t care where you were born and raised, you’re not a New Yorker.