Having done the Pizza Snob blog for almost two years now, I thought it was a good time to summarize the things I look for when searching for my next great slice of New York-style pie. Here is my step-by-step guide:
1. The name of the joint is simple and appealing.
This is ground that I have covered in detail in my Naming Your Pizza Joint post. I like seeing just the first name of the owner followed by the word “pizza.” And, of course, an Italian name is best (see step #2).
2. The joint is run by Italians.
OK, I know that the pizza we know and love was developed here in America. But, its roots are in Italy. Let’s face it, Italians make the best pie. Don’t give me crap for saying it, either. Do you expect a guy named Luigi to sell you tacos or make a curry?
3. They sell their pizza by the slice.
New York-style pizza is all about slices. If they aren’t selling slices, it is a red flag that the joint might not be authentic.
4. There are slices on the counter waiting for you.
We all know how great leftover pizza tastes. The true delight in eating pizza comes from it being hot and fresh out of the oven. The best places know how to do slices just right. They are sitting there just short of being fully-cooked; then, they are popped in a hot oven for those last few minutes. Makes them taste exactly the way they should.
5. They reheat it for you in a conventional pizza oven.
Pizza needs to be cooked fast in a hot oven to get the desired melt of the cheese and crispness of the crust. This can only be done properly in a CPO.
6. A plain cheese offering is the first thing on the menu.
Look at the menu if the slices are not sitting out there for you to view. If plain cheese is not at the top of the menu as the baseline upon which everything else is built, be aware. Many places simply try to cover up their bad pizza with a multitude of toppings.
7. Thick or thin is not an option.
Finally, New York-style pizza is meant to have thin crust. If thick or thin is a choice, you may want to be look elsewhere.
It is always fun to seek out new pizza joints when I travel to unfamiliar places. With my time usually limited, the above steps have helped me narrow down my selection process. I hope they do the same for you. Happy eating!