Something in the Water – New York City’s Best Pizza

Slice of New York Style pizza

Something in the Water – New York City’s Best Pizza

One of the best ways to get acquainted with a new place is to sample the local fare.

Food plays such an integral role in the local culture of so many destinations that it’s hard to think of those places without immediately associating them with a certain type of food: Maine Lobster. Florida Key Lime Pie. Missouri BBQ. Rhode Island Clam Chowder.

And of course, New York Pizza. So what exactly is “New York” style pizza? And who has the best in town?

New York Pizza as we currently know it is based on the Neapolitan style, which was brought to New York City by Italian immigrants in the early 1900s. These trailblazing immigrants put their own twist on the traditional Neopolitan style by adding new ingredients. Sugar and olive oil were added to high-gluten bread flour, yeast, and water used to create the hand-tossed dough.

But still, there is something about New York Pizza, in addition to just a few more choice ingredients, that make it something really special. It’s not a secret sauce or proprietary blend of spices. It’s the water.

New Yorkers will tell you that the unique flavor and chewy texture of the New York Pizza crust comes from the specific mineral content of New York City’s tap water.

And not only does our magnesium and calcium-rich tap water make for great pizza, but for bagels as well (of course a discussion on the New York Bagel deserves its own post). New York City’s water is so revered in the pizza world that one company has even developed a system for restauranteurs in other locations to replicate it.

Then there’s the slice size and the toppings.

The New York Pizza slice is large, wide and thanks to that magic water, has a crust that is foldable yet crispy.

A true New York Pizza will be topped with tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese. Want to get a little fancier? Add on toppings like olives, jalapenos, sausage, and pepperoni. But that’s where the fanciness ends.

Expect your slice to come out on a paper plate (or two staggered plates if you’re lucky enough to get a really big slice). Grab some napkins and post up at a standing counter or on a high top table. Better yet, take your slice to go. You’ve got some sightseeing to do!

Here are a few of our picks for some classic New York Pizza:

Joe’s Pizza

As an Italian immigrant, Joe Pozzuoli knows his pizza. After 20 years of working in pizza shops, Joe opened the very first Joe’s Pizza at the intersection of Bleecker and Carmine streets in Greenwich Village. And if there is one way to describe Joe’s Pizza, it’s “keep it simple”. Joe knows good, classic New York style pizza and he knows it well. Today, nearly 40 years after he served his first slice, Joe’s Pizza is just as popular as ever and still located just about 50 feet from their original location, serving up the same great pizza.


As one of the disciples of Lombardi’s, the first pizzeria in New York City, Totonno’s has been serving up slices of New York style pizza since 1924, so you could say they know what they’re doing. While the entire menu is to die for, you can never go wrong with their classic margherita pizza.

Prince Street Pizza

After a few bites of Prince Street Pizza, you’ll notice a pattern: Each crispy bite will be better than the last. There’s truly nothing quite like it. We recommend the spicy pepperoni!

Two Brothers Pizza

Who says pizza after midnight is a bad thing? If you’re heading home from your favorite New York nightclub and need a slice at 2 a.m., 2 Brothers is your spot. Open late & standing-room only, 2 Brothers will scratch the itch for pizza before calling it a night. Buy a slice of pizza with a can of soda to wash it down. No one ever regretted eating pizza before bed, right?

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