Does your love for cheesy ooey gooey pizza rival that of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles? The pizza market in America is worth over $46 billion and spreads across approximately 76,000 pizzerias, and it's still growing. If you're interested in knowing where your pizza cravings would be best satisfied, we've looked high and low for top-tier pizza cities for you. Most of these places have high pizzeria-to-person ratios, and the local population likes to choose from an array of toppings and types. So, dig in, why don't ya?
Quad City-style pie includes malty molasses in the crust, chili in the sauce, and toppings under the cheese. You can opt for sausage with a hint of fennel, which is crumbled into the pizza. QC pie really hits all your tastebuds and the thin strips are memorable. We recommend dining at Gunchie's in Davenport, Frank's Pizzeria in Silvis, or Harris Pizza in Rock Island. Prepare to have your tastebuds schooled.
Old Forge reckons it's the pizza capital of the world. A bold claim, indeed, but there are over 160 pizzerias in the city, so there's something to it. Old Forge-style pizza has cuts, not slices, and a whole pizza is called a tray. It has a light crust and a chewy center. Check out Mary Lou’s Pizza, Revello's Pizza Cafe, or Cali's Don Tomaso Peatza. You'll thank us.
The Motor City is passionate about pizza—many pizzerias cater to residents (you'll find one every mile and a half) and it's not just Domino's. There are loads of independent mom-and-pop stores. Popular pizza types include BBQ chicken pizza, taco pizza, and the city's signature pie. Rectangular Detroit-style pan pizza is inspired by Sicily but has thick dough, crispy bottoms, and extra cheesy corners made from tangy Wisconsin brick cheese. Buddy's Pizza baked it first and there's an urban myth that the distinctive crust was achieved by using trays meant to hold automobile parts—you'll have to ask the folks at Buddy's what they think about that. Pepperoni pizzas are also relatively cheap in the city, which is something else to sing about in Motown. Try the Papalis Gourmet at PizzaPapalis.
Providence doesn't exactly spring to mind when you think of pizza, but this city has got it going on, and the folks like the OG version of pizza straight out of the Naples handbook. We're talking wood-fired Margheritas with classic tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, and little else. Yes, you can get other kinds of pizza, but Rhode Islanders know what's good—the basics. They're also keen on bakery pizza or red strips, which is just dough and tomato paste, perfect for the lactose intolerant. Grilled pizzas from Al Forno are the stuff of legend, and Fellini Pizzeria serves some delicious 'za too—there's pasta on the Kitchen Sink and the Wickenden is a memorable veggie pie.
There have been rumblings that the best pizza in New York is actually in New Jersey. Ouch. We'll get to New York in a bit, but let's take a look at Razza, the joint that's given Jersey City pizza street cred. Dan Richer serves up innovative pizzas and the charred dough and local toppings are to die for. The Modernist Cuisine chefs gave it a lofty second place in their rankings. Check out Bread and Salt, ITA Kitchen, and Renato's Pizza Master's too.
Fun fact—there's more to New Haven than Yale University. Pie is called apizza here, and it's often delightful. The clam pie at Frank Pepe's Pizzeria Napoletana is molto bene, with clams, olive oil, Pecorino Romano, and garlic. The locals frequent Modern Apizza for toppings, toppings, and more toppings. And Zuppardi's Apizza is another highlight.
Chicago has a style all its own. Deep dish pizza doesn't get much deeper or more famous than this, and the ingredient order is a bit topsy turvy with cheese on the bottom and sauce on the top, but it works, especially when the pizzas are stuffed. You'll also find Neapolitan-style slices, thin crust tavern-style pizza, and Pilsen-style pizza using beer in the dough. The Windy City's residents love some comforting sausage pizza on cold winter days or just about any day, and Lou Malnati's and Giordano's are among the faves. And the famous pizza pot pies at Chicago Pizza & Oven Grinder Co. are hunger busters.
Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Columbus form a pizza trifecta that makes Ohio a serious contender for best state ever. Clevelanders are among the top searchers for veggie pizza, so olive-lovers won't go without in C-Land, and pizza bagels are winners here too. You'll find Columbus-style pizza, similar to Chicago tavern-style pizza, at Donato's. It has a slightly sweetish sauce that goes down a treat. You can watch the chefs whirl the dough at Pizza Whirl.
Boston's North End is a Little Italy that will transport you to southern Europe on the back of a slice of pie. People wait in queues for Galleria Umberto's lunchtime slices, and Regina Pizzeria has been dubbed the best pizza in the country. This is rarified air, seasoned with herbs. Bostonians also have a thing for Greek-style pizza with crispy crusts and oregano-heavy tomato sauce.
You can have an A-plus pizza party in the City of Angels, with varieties from the East Coast to the Midwest, along with Roman-style pizza and Tokyo-style pizza at Pizzeria Sei. There's also the more avant-garde, with the pizzaiolo at Echo Park's Quarter Sheets including pineapple (controversial!) and pickled jalapeños. Sounds yum if you ask us. Be sure to check out Pizzeria Mozza and Pizzana. And Pitfire Pizza is a great option, especially if you have vegan or vegetarian friends.
Pizza from Philly is legit. The country's first Italian restaurant opened in the City of Brotherly Love. Ralph's sure knew how to show its neighbors some cheesy love, and it's been doing so since 1900. Other highlights include Santucci's in the Pizza Hall of Fame, and Tacconelli's, a fifth-gen family-run institution where you won't go wrong. From white pies and parmesan-topped room-temperature tomato pies to grandma-style pizza, you'll find it all in "The Sixth Borough."
St Louis-style pizza is, erm, unique. It's covered in Provel which isn't strictly cheese, and it's rather nacho-ey with a super thin crust, but the people here adore it, and we could get used to it, fake cheese aside. The city also sells other kinds of pizzas if you're not in the mood for nachos. And the best part? It's some of the most affordable pie in the nation. Check out Imo's.
Chefs Francisco Migoya and Nathan Myhrvold of Modernist Cuisine traveled from sea to shining sea, tasting 400 pizzas as they traversed the land. Their verdict? Portland is the best pizza city in these United States. They wrote a 1,700-page book about their journey and lauded Ken’s Artisan Pizza, Apizza Scholls, Scottie's Pizza Parlor, Nostrana, and Lovely’s Fifty Fifty, five stand-outs from a city with many exceptional choices. The pizza here is creatively made and infused with flavor and texture.
The first-ever pizzeria in the U.S. opened in the City That Never Sleeps. NYC is a major pizza city that has spawned its own slick style of pie. But the home of the dollar slice has been resting on its laurels. Complacency has crept into pizzerias with 'secret family recipes' and even the straightforward is being botched in some quarters. Never fear, though. You won't go pizza hungry, because there are solid options at Roberta's, Lucali, Patsy's Pizzeria, and Mama's Too, among others. Say hi to Dom at Di Fara Pizza—he's in his 80s.
San Francisco is home to a World Pizza Cup awardee in the form of Tony Gemignani, head chef at Tony's Pizza Napoletana in North Beach. In the Marina district, Norcina serves San Francisco sourdough pizzas. And Francis Ford Coppola of The Godfather fame dined at Tommaso's Ristorante Italiano on the regular. If it's good enough for the Sicilian-mafia-adjacent, it's good enough for us.