As every single red-blooded, patriotic, Toyota-driving, Jersey Shore-watching American does, I love pizza. But I’m a Jew from Westchester, so I really have no expertise in the art of the dough, sauce, and cheese. You could assemble a pita, old ketchup, and rancid cottage cheese from the farmer’s market, and I would compliment you on your excellent Sicilian.
Luckily for me, I know some experts. My friend Joe’s family owns multiple pizzerias outside of Philadelphia, and my friend Mike’s ancestors lived in Italy before the Pope did (and also owned some pizzerias in Philly). Could you find better aficionados? Fuhgettaboutit.
Here are pizza places to check out, and a few to avoid like Mussolini:
Two Bros Pizza (32 St. Mark’s Pl.)
This is probably the most generic slice of pizza you’ll find anywhere. It’s pizza, nothing more, nothing less. What is so popular is its dollar-a-slice price. Eating here is like living an Asher Roth song, and it can be digested for any meal. Breakfast, anyone?
Artichoke (328 E 14th St.)
This popular pizza place might always have a line down the block, but for good reason. There are only four things on the menu, but each creation is better than the last. The amazing Sicilian and famous artichoke slices can be purchased very late into the evening, 4 a.m. to be exact, so try to modify your drunken stumbling to pass by. At about $4 a slice, it’s not cheap, but can you really put a price on happiness?
Frank’s (127 E 23rd St.)
Okay, so it’s out of the way for anyone who doesn’t live in Gramercy (damn them), but the trek is worth it. Another grab-and-go place, the slices are big, delicious, and only $2. Frank’s is like Two Bros’ hot friend who lives uptown: the subway’s annoying, but you’re more than happy when you’re finally there.
Motorino (349 E 12th St.)
If you’re going to actually sit down for pizza, do it the right way. Those fifteen dollars might buy you half of a ironically tacky sweater at Urban Outfitters, but it’s just so delicious. Do you own a brick oven? Didn’t think so.
Two Boots (74 Bleecker St.)
Cajun. Louisiana. Pizza. I think yes. This franchise is all over New York City; the site on Avenue A is even half video store. What sets these pizza shoppes apart from others are the specials creations, aptly named after any character who deserves their name attached to a greasy slice of heaven. And they don’t skimp on the toppings. My favorite example is The Dude: tasso, ground beef, chedder, and mozzarella. The pizza really ties the room together.
Bravo Pizza (115 E. 14th St.) Ed. Addition
Just outside U-Hall, don’t be fooled by the big-pizza-franchise look — y’know, the ones that actually add tax to your slice — Bravo Pizza actually lives up to its name. Originally based in Chicago, its one of the only pizzerias in New York City that serves deep-dish pizzas (although this exact location doesn’t serve it as often as the others). I’m sorry, NYC slice, you’ve just gotten a bit thin lately. It’s not you, it’s me.
Anywhere in Little Italy
Just go. You’ll find something.
University Cafe (University Pl. & Waverly Pl.)
Only worth it if you live at Weinstein, it’s 3 a.m., and you’re starving. Get ready to run into your gay roommate who is not only coming home from the Ke$ha concert at Webster Hall, but five screwdrivers deep. Just avoid it.
Any Ray’s, La Famiglia, Domino’s
The holy trinity of terrible pizza chains. No, Ray’s is not the original pizza place. No, Regis Philbin did not go to every single Famiglia, it is just a stock photo. No, Domino’s pizza is not edible. You can do better.
Cafe Amore Pizza (outside U-Hall)
Okay, I’ve eaten here twice in the last two days. But it’s just because I’m lazy. The pizza is okay, it’s decently priced, and there might be some health code violations. Go at your own risk; I personally think rat droppings are tasty.
Sound off in the comments if you agree (or disagree) or I missed your favorite (or least) favorite NYC pizza establishment.