The 38 Essential Pizzas Across the Country

The 38 Essential Pizzas Across the Country

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The appeal of the pizza seems to know no bounds.

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    Houston's most admired pizzas come out of the wood-fired brick ovens at Pizaro's Pizza Napoletana, yet another pizzeria that focuses solely on traditional Neapolitan pies. Food writer and former Eater Houston editor Amber Ambrose writes, "The best part about this place is that it's slightly hidden in a suburban area of Houston. There's no fancy decorations, no valet out front, no extensive wine list, no pretension whatsoever. What there is, however, is a family-run place with a real focus on authenticity. ... the owner is so concerned about everyone having the freshest pizza that he refuses to do take-out or delivery." [Photo]
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    The best pizza coming out of Austin right now actually happens to be from the Detroit-style Via 313. Slice founder Adam Kuban verifies the legitimacy of these square pies, noting that they are "as good as Buddy's, if not better." Meanwhile former Eater Austin editor Andrea Grimes writes that these pies "are the kind of non-fussy drinking fuel you'd expect from a couple of bearded brothers in a trailer outside a dive bar. And yet, this isn't just drunk food: these guys use high-quality ingredients they've specially selected for the perfect meaty, savory Detroit pizza taste. You don't eat Via 313 pizza. Via 313 pizza happens to your mouth." [Photo]
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    Chicagoans revere the traditional Neapolitan pizzas coming out of the wood-burning ovens at the 10-year-old Spacca Napoli. Food writer and former Eater Chicago editor Ari Bendersky explains, "Spacca deserves to be on any top pizza list, Chicago or otherwise. It was really the place that started the Neapolitan movement here and has held its place at the top. The crust is perfectly crispy and doughy and wet in the middle. While they have their staples like the margherita with mozzarella, basil and pecorino, I love their funghi e salsiccia and the prosciutto e rucola — the fresh arugula adds a perfect pepperiness. This is one of the few places in town that makes you feel like you've actually traveled to Naples for dinner." [Photo]
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    Slice founder Adam Kuban declares Totonno's the best iteration of coal-oven style pizza in New York. This Coney Island pizzeria was recently closed for nearly five months as a result of Hurricane Sandy's devastation, but demand is as high as ever for the thin-crust wonder that is Totonno's pizza. Mario Batali writes, "I go to Coney Island once or twice a year…just for this pizza!" [Photo: Prince Roy/Flickr]
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    Serious Pie is the Neapolitan-inspired brainchild of Seattle's expert baker and restaurateur Tom Douglas. Tasting Table's Jonathan Kauffman writes that Douglas "made sure it was uniquely Seattle: The oblong pies, cooked in an applewood-fired oven, are assertively crackly and airy, but not tough. Douglas uses local clams, local mushrooms, and a variety of salumi the cooks make in house." Seattle Met's Allecia Vermillion adds, "I'm a sucker for the crust, which engages in some serious salt brinksmanship. ... Toppings hit that sweet spot between overly simple Neapolitan and 'let's pile a bunch of random shit on top' excess." [Photo]
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    In November 2006, dream team Nancy Silverton, Mario Batali, and Joe Bastianich opened Pizzeria Mozza in Los Angeles, where it has since become an absolute staple for the locals. (Not to mention a must-stop for pizza snobs passing through the City of Angels.) Zach Brooks of Midtown Lunch and the Food Is the New Rock podcast writes, "Selling massive amounts of carbs to a restaurant packed with Angelenos day in day out is a feat worthy of praise in and of itself. They're doing god's work." [Photo]
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    Settebello has a few locations spread out through the West, including two in Utah and two in California. Scott Wiener of Scott's Pizza Tours is a fan of the Henderson location, writing, "This is beyond a doubt one of the best Neapolitan pizzas I've eaten ever. That includes San Francisco, New York and Naples itself. Settebello is incredible and completely unexpected in a place like Las Vegas." These traditional Neapolitan pies are also a mainstay on the Las Vegas Eater 38. [Photo]
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    Star Tavern is a go-to pizzeria for thin-crust bar-style pies, which it has been serving in Orange, New Jersey, for the past 65 years. I Dream of Pizza's Jason Feirman writes, "This place serves the best bar pies I've had. ... They're super thin and super cheap and always satisfying." Varieties include cheese, Sicilian tomato, eggplant, white clam, pesto, and more. [Photo]
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    New York City pizzaiolo Anthony Mangieri moved his highly respected Una Pizza Napoletana to San Francisco back in 2010 and set off to dominate the local Neapolitan pizza scene. Tasting Table San Francisco editor Jonathan Kauffman writes, "This may be the best Neapolitan-style pizza in America — certainly on the West Coast — because Anthony Mangieri is so damn single-minded. His minimalist approach (5 pies, no salad) pisses off a lot of people, but also rewards close attention. The crust bubbles where it wants to bubble, chars in just the right spots, and never seems to be the same pie as the last one you ordered." [Photo]
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    Santarpio's is one of Boston's classic pizzerias, constantly voted to best-of lists for the New York-style pizza they've been slinging since 1933. I Dream of Pizza's Jason Feirman writes, "Their pies were great and this place really encompasses 'tough and gritty' Boston. It's no frills — there isn't even at TV at the bar — and you sort of feel like you're an extra in a Mark Wahlberg film." [Photo]
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    Pupatella got its start as a food truck and later opened a brick-and-mortar in Arlington, Virginia, just outside of DC. Chef Enzo Algarme adheres strictly to the Neapolitan pizza style in his casual 45-seat pizzeria. He bakes his pies for one minute in a scorching hot wood-burning oven to the point where they are leopard-spotted and wet in the middle just as it should be. [Photo]
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    Another thin-crust New Haven entry, Sally's is much loved especially for its red pies. There are fierce rivalries between this and Frank Pepe's, but Eater Boston's Rachel Leah Blumenthal is Team Sally's. She offers up a few tips for anyone looking for one of these legendary pies, writing, "The cool/terrible thing about Sally's is that you wait hours for a seat and then hours again once you're inside because they only cook one pizza at a time. And there's a special reservation and takeout phone number that only friends/family know." [Photo]
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