In the culinary landscape of the United States, pizza holds a cherished place, and a new wave of pizzaiolos is reshaping the scene. These chefs and bakers, driven by an obsession with oven temperatures and the provenance of ingredients, are elevating pizza-making to an art form. From the historic pizzerias on the East Coast to innovative newcomers on the West Coast, let’s embark on a journey to discover the best places for pizza across the nation.
1. Pizzeria Vetri (Philadelphia): Marc Vetri’s Neapolitan Marvel
Founded by Marc Vetri, a luminary in Italian cuisine, Pizzeria Vetri in Philadelphia stands as a testament to Neapolitan pizza perfection. The crusts here are a symphony of thickness and chewiness, providing the ideal canvas for premium toppings like prosciutto crudo and roasted fennel. The rotolo, a must-try, showcases slices of housemade mortadella and ricotta wrapped in pizza dough, crowned with Sicilian pistachio pesto—a true work of culinary art.
2. A16 Rockridge (Oakland, California): Wood-Fired Excellence
A16 Rockridge in Oakland distinguishes itself with a massive Stefano Ferrara wood-burning oven that crafts pizzas in an astonishing 90 seconds. The Montanara Rockridge, with its lightly fried pizza dough, smoky tomato sauce, burrata, and basil, stands out among the diverse offerings. This pizzeria seamlessly blends tradition with innovation, making it a must-visit for California pizza aficionados.
3. Milo & Olive (Santa Monica, California): Breads and Pies Beyond Convention
Part of Josh Loeb and Zoe Nathan’s culinary empire, Milo & Olive in Santa Monica is not your typical pizzeria. Operating as a bakery cum pizzeria, it offers whole-grain pie dough topped with unconventional combinations. The breakfast pizza, featuring pork belly sausage, roasted potatoes, fontina cream, pickled fresno chiles, mozzarella, and an egg, showcases the creativity that defines this establishment.
4. Pig Ate My Pizza at Nouvelle Brewing (Robbinsdale, Minnesota): Unorthodox Pies with Flair
In Robbinsdale, Minnesota, Pig Ate My Pizza at Nouvelle Brewing pushes the boundaries of traditional pizza-making. This small-batch brewery brings unorthodox pies to life, featuring toppings like chicken tikka masala and tomato curry alongside unexpected elements such as crushed Doritos. A testament to culinary creativity, Pig Ate My Pizza is a delightful deviation from the norm.
5. Del Popolo (San Francisco): Mobile Ingenuity in a Brick-and-Mortar Setting
Jon Darsky, former pizzaiolo at Flour + Water, redefined pizza on the go with Del Popolo. Starting as a 20-foot shipping container with a handmade wood-burning oven from Naples, protected by massive airbags during transit, Del Popolo evolved into a brick-and-mortar establishment in 2015. This San Francisco gem continues to captivate pizza enthusiasts with its innovative approach to mobile pizza-making.
6. Don Antonio by Starita (New York City): A Legacy of Italian Excellence
In the heart of Midtown Manhattan, Don Antonio by Starita brings together the expertise of Roberto Caporuscio, known for Kesté, and his mentor, Antonio Starita. With over 45 pies on the menu, including the famed fried Montana, this pizzeria is a testament to the rich tradition of Italian pizza-making. Now led by Caporuscio’s daughter, Giorgia, it remains a beacon of excellence in the New York pizza scene.
7. 800 Degrees (Los Angeles): Fast Artisanal Pizza Innovation
From the minds behind Umami Burger, 800 Degrees in Los Angeles is a pioneer in fast artisanal pizza. Each pie, made to order and cooked in a remarkable 60 seconds, showcases the marriage of speed and quality. With a commitment to freshness and efficiency, 800 Degrees has carved a niche for itself in the bustling Los Angeles culinary landscape.
8. Al Forno (Providence, Rhode Island): Grilled Pizza Pioneers
Johanne Killeen and George Germon revolutionized pizza in Providence in 1980 with Al Forno. Their thin-crusted grilled pizzas, topped with super-fresh ingredients, introduced a new era of ambitious cooking. The signature margarita pizza, adorned with house-made pomodoro, fresh herbs, two cheeses, and extra-virgin olive oil, remains a symbol of culinary excellence in Rhode Island.
9. Forcella (New York City): Embracing Neapolitan Tradition
Giulio Adriani brought the Neapolitan tradition of Montana, or fried pizza, to Brooklyn’s Forcella in 2011. Despite initial skepticism, this deep-fried and baked delicacy became a sensation. Now with two Manhattan locations, Forcella continues to push the boundaries of Neapolitan pizza-making, offering New Yorkers a unique and flavorful experience.
10. Casey’s Pizza (San Francisco): Street-Made to Brick-and-Mortar Brilliance
East Coast transplant Casey Crynes started making pizza on the streets of San Francisco using a modified grill. In 2011, he upgraded to a gas-fueled oven in a former laundry truck. Since 2017, Casey’s Pizza on 4th Street has been a testament to his journey from street-side innovator to a brick-and-mortar success story.
11. Milo & Olive (Santa Monica, California): A Bread and Pizza Oasis
Milo & Olive, nestled in Santa Monica, California, is not just a pizzeria; it’s a haven for bread and pizza enthusiasts. Founded as part of Josh Loeb and Zoe Nathan’s culinary empire, this establishment offers a unique blend of bakery delights and unconventional pizza combinations.
Operating as a bakery cum pizzeria, Milo & Olive takes pride in its whole-grain pie dough, providing a wholesome foundation for their imaginative pizzas. One standout creation is the breakfast pizza, a symphony of flavors featuring pork belly sausage, roasted potatoes, fontina cream, pickled fresno chiles, mozzarella, and a perfectly cooked egg.
The creativity that defines Milo & Olive goes beyond traditional pizza boundaries. Each slice tells a story of culinary artistry, where the unconventional becomes extraordinary. For those seeking an oasis of flavors in Santa Monica, Milo & Olive stands as a testament to the endless possibilities that emerge when a passion for quality meets culinary innovation.
12. Pig Ate My Pizza at Nouvelle Brewing (Robbinsdale, Minnesota): Brewing Unorthodox Pies
In the charming suburb of Robbinsdale, Minnesota, Pig Ate My Pizza at Nouvelle Brewing is not your average pizza joint—it’s a small-batch brewery pushing the boundaries of pizza creativity. Here, pizza isn’t just a meal; it’s an experience that challenges the norm and delights the taste buds.
What sets Pig Ate My Pizza apart is its commitment to unorthodox pies with flair. The menu reads like a culinary adventure, featuring toppings that range from chicken tikka masala and tomato curry to the unexpected crunch of crushed Doritos. Each bite is a journey into unexpected flavor combinations that somehow harmonize into a delicious ensemble.
The brewery setting adds to the overall experience, creating an ambiance where creativity flows as freely as the craft beer. Pig Ate My Pizza at Nouvelle Brewing is a testament to the idea that great pizza knows no bounds. It’s a place where innovation meets tradition, and where every pie tells a story of culinary daring in the heart of Minnesota.
13. Del Popolo (San Francisco): Mobile Origins, Brick-and-Mortar Success
In the ever-evolving landscape of San Francisco’s culinary scene, Del Popolo has emerged as a symbol of mobile ingenuity turned brick-and-mortar success. Jon Darsky, a former pizzaiolo at Flour + Water, took the concept of on-the-go pizza to new heights by repurposing a 20-foot shipping container.
The container, housing a handmade wood-burning oven from Naples, embarked on a culinary journey protected by massive airbags during transit. The result? A mobile pizza restaurant that captured the imagination of pizza enthusiasts across the city. Del Popolo’s pizzas became synonymous with quality, creativity, and a commitment to the art of pizza-making.
In 2015, Del Popolo transitioned from its mobile origins to a brick-and-mortar location, solidifying its place in San Francisco’s culinary landscape. The commitment to crafting exceptional pizzas remained unchanged, and the restaurant continues to captivate patrons with its innovative approach.
Del Popolo is more than a pizzeria; it’s a testament to the evolving nature of culinary entrepreneurship. It reminds us that success in the food industry requires not only a mastery of flavors but also an understanding of the dynamic ways in which people experience and savor their food.
Conclusion: A Tapestry of Pizza Excellence Across America
As we traverse the diverse landscapes of Salt Lake City, Kansas City, Glenwood, Hot Springs, Anchorage, Washington, D.C., Eastpointe, Buffalo, Charleston, Las Vegas, Philadelphia, Oakland, Santa Monica, Robbinsdale, and San Francisco, a tapestry of pizza excellence unfolds.
Each pizzeria weaves a story of dedication, creativity, and a commitment to crafting unforgettable culinary experiences. Whether it’s the traditional Neapolitan charm of Pizzeria Vetri, the wood-fired elegance of A16 Rockridge, the unconventional delights of Milo & Olive, or the unorthodox creations of Pig Ate My Pizza, these establishments stand as beacons in the ever-evolving world of American pizza-making.
From mobile origins to brick-and-mortar success, from traditional techniques to avant-garde creations, the pizzerias featured in this exploration represent the pinnacle of innovation, tradition, and culinary artistry. As we celebrate the renaissance of pizza across America, one slice at a time, let these establishments inspire a new generation of pizza enthusiasts and culinary adventurers.
Read Also:- The Finest Pizzas In The United States