There may be no such thing as a free lunch, but you can get pretty close with a $1 slice of pizza. For those of us who can’t afford a $650 dinner, the dollar slice is a staple for all situations, from those last days before you get paid to the wee, drunken hours of the weekend.
While their prices may be equal, not all dollar slices are the same. We tasted all of the priceworthy pizzerias in the NYU area, so you know where to spend your bottom dollar when you’re drunk in the city this weekend.
2 Bros – Saint Marks Place between 2nd and 3rd Avenues
Pros: For many, 2 Bros is the definition of the dollar slice. Because they’re nearly constantly serving up pizza, the pies at this East Village staple are served fresh from the oven. The ingredients themselves are nothing special, but the crust is a satisfying mix of crunchy and chewy. Plus, they are a short walk from many NYU dorms, making for a perfect mid-study snack.
Cons: Grabbing a slice at 2 Bros, where a transaction takes about 10 seconds, can be a harried and frenetic experience. Situated smack-dab in the middle of a block bustling with bars, sushi restaurants and head shops, you’ll often deal with crusties, Bridge and Tunnelers and high school kids from New Jersey buying bongs.
Percy’s – Bleecker Street btwn. Macdougal and Sixth Avenue
Pros: This gem is located only a short walk from campus. Before you’re ~served, Percy will heat your slice in the oven to ensure it’s nice and hot. Once the slice is ready, the shop offers ample seating to take your time enjoying the ‘za. And if you want more than a plain slice, Percy’s also offers pizza with toppings for only 50¢ extra.
Cons: If you go during the same time we did (weekday lunch), you might hear Percy yelling at new employees about how they are doing everything wrong — which we found absolutely hilarious, but for some might be a turnoff!
FDR – 2nd Street btwn. Avenues A and B
Pros: Where are the bars NYU students frequent? The East Village and L.E.S. of course! And where is this dollar-slice shop located? At the intersection of those neighborhoods! Chances are, if you’re out drinking, you’ll pass this hole-in-the-wall at some point during your night.
Cons: There is little to praise about the actual pizza, from its gooey, overly soft crust to the heaps of tasteless cheese and bland sauce. When you’re drunk the excessive cheese might be appreciated, but if your taste buds are in working order then your dollar is better spent elsewhere.
Mamani – Avenue A btwn. 9th and 10th Streets
Pros: Mamani is located right on Tompkins Square Park, so you can take your slice into the park and make a picnic of it. The pizza itself is solid, with a sauce that packs a decent punch. With a full menu aside from their dollar slice (plus some unusual items, like 50¢ individual bags of Cheetos), Mamani’s makes a nice stop after a night drinking in the East Village.
Cons: Late at night you’ll have to deal with hordes of drunken East Villagers. If you don’t live in the neighborhood, Mamani’s can be a bit of a trek, and there is probably a dollar slice closer to your neighborhood.
Papa John’s – 1st Avenue and 13th Street
Pros: If you get nostalgic for the chain pizza slice of the small town you came from, Papa John’s may fill that need. They’re also located right next to the L train so you can grab a slice before taking the long subway ride to your friend’s place in Brooklyn.
Cons: Better ingredients might make better pizza, but that doesn’t hold true if your pizza’s been sitting on the counter for hours. When we sampled The Papa’s slice, we received the last on the platter, which looked (and tasted) like it could have been made any time in the past 24 hours. This shop seems to focus mostly on delivery, and so its in-store dollar slices are lacking in every category, from freshness to flavor to texture.
Conclusion: If you’re looking for an slice while on campus, you can’t beat Percy’s. With the shop’s plentiful seating, there’s no better way to spend a dollar. If you’re out drinking on the weekend, you’ll have more options throughout the Village. But we have to stick with the classic, recommending 2 Bros. While walking through St. Marks may make you cringe, the classic, fresh from the oven dollar slice will make it all worth your while.
Are there any dollar slice havens we missed? Would you crown a different frugal pizza king? Let us know in the comments.