Why New York Pizza Is the Best? (A Surprising Answer)
Ah, the eternal debate: which city has the best pizza?
For many, the answer is simple – New York City. The Big Apple is renowned for its iconic, foldable, and downright delicious slices. But have you ever wondered why New York pizza is the best? What sets it apart from the countless other pizza styles across the globe?
In this article, we’ll take a deep dive into the world of New York pizza. We’ll explore its storied history, unique ingredients, and influence on global pizza culture.
We’ll also compare it to other pizza styles and investigate the ongoing debate surrounding its supremacy. Lastly, we’ll point you in the direction of some of the best New York pizza joints.
So grab a slice, and let’s get started.
The History of New York Pizza
The birth of New York pizza can be traced back to the early 20th century when Italian immigrants brought their culinary traditions to the bustling city. Gennaro Lombardi, an immigrant from Naples, opened the first pizzeria in the United States in 1905 – Lombardi’s, located in Manhattan’s Little Italy. This humble establishment set the stage for what would become one of the world’s most beloved foods.
As more Italian immigrants settled in New York, the city’s pizza scene began to flourish. Pizzerias started popping up in neighbourhoods like Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Queens, allowing the masses to indulge in this tasty and affordable treat. By the mid-20th century, New York pizza had earned a reputation as a must-try dish for both locals and visitors alike.
In the decades since New York pizza has continued to evolve and expand. From classic coal-fired ovens to modern, gas-powered brick ovens, the city’s pizzaiolos have remained committed to perfecting their craft. The result? A mouthwatering slice that’s now synonymous with the city that never sleeps.
The Unique Ingredients: Why New York Pizza Is the Best
Ask any New Yorker, and they’ll tell you that the secret to their city’s pizza superiority lies in the ingredients. Let’s break down the components of a classic New York slice to understand why it’s so darn good.
New York pizza dough is all about achieving the perfect balance between chewy and crispy. The city’s high-gluten flour is what gives the crust its signature texture, while the addition of sugar and oil promotes browning during the baking process. This results in a crust that’s thin, foldable, and strong enough to support a generous helping of toppings.
The sauce on a New York slice is typically made from crushed tomatoes, garlic, oregano, and a touch of sugar. This simple yet flavorful blend allows the natural sweetness of the tomatoes to shine, while the addition of oregano adds a subtle earthiness. The result is a sauce that’s neither too sweet nor too acidic – the perfect complement to the dough and cheese.
Mozzarella is the undisputed star of the New York pizza cheese game. Specifically, it’s low-moisture, part-skim mozzarella that’s used to achieve that iconic, melty, and slightly stretchy topping. This type of cheese is ideal for pizza because it can withstand high oven temperatures without becoming too oily, ensuring a perfectly gooey yet not overly greasy slice.
Believe it or not, New York City’s tap water is often cited as a key ingredient in the city’s pizza prowess. The water’s unique mineral composition is said to contribute to the dough’s flavor and texture, making it, unlike any other pizza dough in the world. Some pizzerias outside of New York have even gone as far as importing NYC water in an attempt to recreate the magic.
The Influence of New York Pizza on Global Pizza Culture
As pizza gained popularity in the United States, New York’s iconic style began to spread far and wide. Today, you can find New York-style pizzerias all across the country and even around the world. This global presence is a testament to the enduring appeal of the city’s signature slice.
The influence of New York pizza can also be seen in the countless spin-off styles it has inspired. From the oversized “Jumbo Slice” of Washington, D.C., to the thin-crust pies of Los Angeles, the New York slice has left its mark on pizza culture everywhere.
Moreover, New York pizza has become a symbol of American culinary ingenuity. Just as the city is a melting pot of cultures and ideas, its pizza scene is a constantly evolving landscape of flavors and techniques. This spirit of innovation has helped cement New York pzza’s status as a global food icon.
New York Pizza vs. Other Pizza Styles
While New York pizza undoubtedly has a special place in the hearts (and stomachs) of many, it’s not the only style of pizza vying for the title of “best.” Let’s take a look at how New York pizza stacks up against some of its stiffest competition:
Chicago Deep Dish
Chicago deep-dish pizza takes an entirely different approach to the classic pie. With its thick, buttery crust, generous layers of cheese, and hearty tomato sauce, the deep dish is more like a casserole than a traditional pizza. While it has its loyal fans, many argue that it lacks the simplicity and balance that defines a great New York slice.
Hailing from the birthplace of pizza itself, Neapolitan pies are characterized by their thin, chewy crust, simple tomato sauce, and fresh mozzarella. While the similarities to New York pizza are apparent, Neapolitan pies are typically smaller and less concerned with achieving a crispy crust. While delicious in their own right, some may find them less satisfying than a hearty New York slice.
Detroit-style pizza is known for its rectangular shape, thick, crispy crust, and layers of cheese that extend all the way to the edges. While this style boasts a unique and satisfying texture, it lacks the foldability and portability of a classic New York slice.
The Ongoing Debate: Why New York Pizza Reigns Supreme
So, why does New York Pizza continue to hold the crown as the best pizza in the world? The answer lies in its perfect harmony of flavors and textures. The thin, foldable crust provides a satisfying crunch without overpowering the toppings, while the simple yet flavorful sauce complements the gooey, melty cheese. And let’s not forget the all-important New York water, which lends a certain je ne sais quoi to the city’s dough.
While other styles of pizza may offer their own unique charms, it’s this balance and simplicity that keeps people coming back for more New York slices. In a sense, New York pizza represents everything that’s great about the city itself – it’s unpretentious, accessible, and undeniably delicious.
Where to Find the Best New York Pizza
Ready to sample some of the best New York pizzas for yourself? The city is home to countless pizzerias, each with its own devoted fanbase. Some of the most iconic spots include:
- – Lombardi’s: As the birthplace of New York pizza, a visit to Lombardi’s is a must for any pizza aficionado.
- – Di Fara: Located in Brooklyn, Di Fara has been serving up mouthwatering slices since 1965. Just be prepared for a bit of a wait – the lines here can be legendary.
- – Joe’s Pizza: With multiple locations across the city, Joe’s Pizza is a classic New York slice joint that’s beloved by both tourists and locals alike.
- – Grimaldi’s: Nestled under the Brooklyn Bridge, Grimaldi’s offers delicious coal-fired pies with a side of stunning views.
- – Prince Street Pizza: Famous for its square, pepperoni-topped “Spicy Spring” slice, Prince Street Pizza is a must-visit for any pepperoni lover.
There’s no denying that New York pizza holds a special place in the world of food. Its rich history, unique ingredients, and global influence have all contributed to its enduring legacy.
While the debate over the best pizza style may never be settled, one thing is for sure – New York pizza will forever be a slice above the rest.