NYC pizza primer


33 Responses to “NYC pizza primer”

  1. Thad Boyd says:

    I think there’s a Grimaldi’s in downtown Scottsdale.

    Definitely a coal-fired pizza joint, anyway.

  2. Jacasimov says:

    in my city we had a place that advertised “wood burning pizza.” I don’t think it ever got that hot honestly.

    Also: damn I love pizza, and that photo is killing me.

  3. Teirhan says:

    I can’t help it; when i read “coal-fired pizza” i see it instead as “pizza more directly interested in securing your demise.”

    I’m sure it’s really not any worse for you than wood-fired pizza but something about all the baggage that comes along with “coal” makes it seem so… well, sinister. 

    also: being gluten intolerant, this picture makes me so sad. I wants it… i wants it so bad.

  4. ibiubu says:

    While coal fired may be common in NYC, most are wood fired, due to the availability of wood.  Boingboing should know of a great website, which does sell kits, but has a forum for those inclined to make their own. Members show step by step how to build a wood fired pizza oven.  It can be done quite inexpensively and makes a great addition to your back yard.  By the way, roast chicken is almost better than pizza. The number of home built wood ovens on this site must number in the many thousands by now. 

  5. sdmikev says:

    My favorite in NYC is John’s on Bleeker Street.  best pie I have had in the city.
    THANKFULLY, there are a lot of enterprising people out there and we can get good pizza on the west coast now.  It’s not rocket science, you just have to be willing to do it the right way.
    We have one (and only one) great philly cheesesteak place, too.  Some friends of mine on the east coast laughed when I told them about it.   “Yea, right!  a good cheesesteak in San Diego!”  Same thing.  It ain’t flying the space shuttle.  It’s whether you want to make it good or not.

    • Weeble says:

      Where would the cheesesteak place in SD be?  (Transplanted Philadelphian, now living in America’s finest city…)

      • sdmikev says:

        Sorry for the late reply (cheesesteak in San Diego for weeble) I didn’t see it.
        The best place I have been is called Alex’s Brown Bag.  It’s near the west side of Balboa Park in Banker’s Hill.  If you go for lunch, get there early.  They get super busy.

  6. zombiebob says:

    If you are ever in Spanish HArlem, check out Sal’s on 116 and Lex, and Patsy’s on 119th and I think 1st or York, both are good, though Patsy’s is perhaps more ‘classy’. Patsy’s is a holdover when Spanish Harlem used to be a little Italy.. with Patsy’s, a few Italian restaurants that you can only really get into if youse knows a guy whos knows a guy, and Pleasant Avenue the only holdovers. 

  7. Tdawwg says:

    No look at NYC pizza would be complete without a trip to the Tumblr of Vinnie’s Pizza, the best place for pizza in the best place in the world, Greenpoint, Brooklyn.

  8. Tom Karches says:

    I learned a lot of this Scott’s Pizza Tours in NYC. Highly reccomended.

  9. Brad H. says:

    I’ve seen footage of New York’s mayor and most likely next president of the USA eat a slice with a fork. This goes against everything I learnt about pizza watching Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

    Could Michelangelo be wrong?

  10. Marky says:

    Here’s the Daily Shows take on New York pizza and how to eat it.

  11. My local fish and chip shop in England (Botesdale, Suffolk) used to have a coal fired fryer. It made the food taste amazing.
    But hygiene laws made them replace it with a “modern” machine.
    Even now, I could weep.

  12. Avram Grumer says:

    There’s a link in that article to another site, Scott’s Pizza Chronicles, which disputes (perhaps even refutes) the often-told story about coal pizza ovens being illegal in NYC, except for those predating the supposed ban. 

  13. archmagetrexasaurus says:

    Okay, going to college with new yorkers makes me feel the need to say this, (they just don’t shut up about the quality of the local pizza (or bagels) in such a situation).


    Mine’s better.

    • Donald Petersen says:

      I’m a real pizza heretic.  I like pizza a lot, and generally speaking, the cheaper the better.  As a kid, I was a fan of Godfather’s pizzas (though I’m still not voting for Herman Cain).  Real cheap, and real good.  Now that I’m a grown-up, my favorite “presentable” pizza (the one I order for family and friends) is Georgee’s in La Cañada.  Overpriced, but man, they know what they’re doing.  My buddy Dan and I used to go to Johnnie’s New York Pizza over in Sherman Oaks, but though they’d go to ridiculous lengths to tell you how it’s all about the dough and it’s the water that makes New York pizza dough so special, so they use, like, imported New York tap water to make their dough, blah blah blah… in the end, I just didn’t love their pies.  Too greasy, too salty, too thin.

      I worked for too many years at a Pizza Hut Delivery when I was in college, and I never quite got sick of their pizza.  It really makes a difference who’s working there on any particular night.  It’ll never be sublime, and sometimes it could be fairly wretched (particularly if the dough is overproofed or the sauce is old or the conveyor oven improperly adjusted or the pepperonis poorly-distributed), but it’s usually just peachy.  

      These days, I’m perfectly happy with a $5 “Hot & Ready” pepperoni pizza from Little Caesar’s, though I hasten to point out that though the boxes say “Hot” and “Ready” all over them, there is no actual text testifying to how good the pizza’s going to be.  They pretty much guarantee in writing that it’ll be sitting there under a heat lamp ready to go when you walk in the door (without even an order), but as for how it tastes, they leave that judgment entirely up to you.  But I kinda like it.  So now you know just how much value my food opinions carry.

      Two places I can’t stand: California Pizza Kitchen, and the place my production office orders from every week because it’s right across the street from Warner Bros: Ciao Cristina.  Goddamn, but that place puts out some inedibly awful offal.  I don’t know if we keep going there because it’s conveniently close or because some high-ranking producer genuinely likes it, but on the days when Production picks up pizza for lunch, I hit the Taco Bell.

      (Oh, and as far as I know, all the places I like just cook with natural gas.)

  14. frankieboy says:

    With all due respect Donald, you’d be the last guy I’d ask for a restaurant recommendation. Wait, maybe the sardine and Triscuit guy, then you.

  15. pjcamp says:

    I beg to differ.

    There’s no such thing as “too much cheese.”

    • Could not agree more!  I grew up around Chicago.  NYC makes pie (not enough sauce or cheese), not pizza.  Give me the classic Chicago, super thin crust cut into squares, sausage, mushrooms and onion with half an inch or more of mozzarella on top.

  16. MeOnBoingBoing says:

    How is pizza a “downfall” Cory?  Take away the crust and everything else is pretty healthy.  Nice healthy fats and meats.  True it’s hard to make a pizza without a crust but a “meatza” comes pretty close and has even more healthy meat in it.

  17. wibbled_pig says:

    Yo, grill your fish (especially breaded) over coal.. cook your pizza with wood.

  18. Latente says:

    coal as a tradition? Perhaps because it was difficult to find wood for furnaces at the time of immigration.In Italy we only use wood or  mixed natural gas/wood to cook the pizza. Is the first time I’ve heard of coal-oven pizzeria.

  19. bbonyx says:

    Pizzeria Regina, Boston.
    Don’t know how they cook it, don’t care. The first three words of this post end this thread.


  20. TheKaz1969 says:

    I’ll stick with my New Haven coal-fired pizza.. I, personally, think it is better and much closer (10 min drive v. almost 2 hr train ride)

  21. Beth J says:

    Glad you enjoy your coal-fired pizza! Hope you appreciate the sacrifice of lives and mountaintops that give you your chewy yet crispy crust. :)

  22. Guest says:

    What’s wrong with sauce?

  23. penguinchris says:

    The article was good – I love pizza, and am from the opposite end of the state from NYC (Buffalo) where pizza isn’t so great. I always seek out pizza when I go to NYC, but I’m generally not too picky (the chain with $1 slices is great IMO – it’s a price/convenience/taste/quality tradeoff). I’ve been meaning to check out some of the well-known great pizza places, but never get around to it.

    Now though I live in Orange County CA, and the pizza situation here is dire. There is one great but pricy place in Fullerton (definitely not NY style) and a few “decent” places scattered throughout the rest of OC. Honestly though? At Ikea they have a pizza combo where for $2 you get a large plain slice (NY style but yeah, it came out of a freezer I presume) and a soda with free refills and I eat there all the time since I live nearby. I mean, I stop in there just for a quick slice, which probably sounds weird since it’s Ikea (the swedish meatballs and other stuff in the restaurant are all great too and only slightly more expensive).

    Anyway though, what I came to comment about is the article. It’s a great start but seems to stop at like 1/2 done – as a pizza “primer” I suppose it’s OK, but it leaves a heck of a lot for future articles and just kind of stops without wrapping anything up.

  24. I’d love a mythbusters style test where they try to re-create the flavor and taste of anthracite coal baked pizza with other stuff. Maybe propane burners or electric ovens.

    I’m guessing they would have to properly copy the temperature, humidity and the elements emitted by the anthracite coal

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