Hello party people. While Mom and I head home from our very merry Disney excursion, I figured I’d take the opportunity to introduce you to another one of my bests: Licorice. Licorice and I go way back to college times, and despite all odds, busy lives and crazy travel adventures, still manage to talk on the phone every Sunday night. Sometimes she’s the only person I talk to all day, and whatever horrid mood I might find myself in on the eve of another week, she always manages to lift my spirits. Though her talent is wielding a sewing machine like the craftiest grandma, she is also a pizza expert and of that, she speaks today. Having lived in and around New York, the city, for much of the past decade, she takes us all on her own pizza tour of New York and shares with us her favorites.
As a child in the midwest, fantastic pizza was that free personal pan pizza that I earned each month of the school year for reaching my reading quota as part of the Book It program. That prize guaranteed that our family would head to Pizza Hut for a night out each month. I might have had to turn in my little certificate for the free pizza, but I left with another star on my Book It badge each time. Pizza Hut’s reading program is still going strong after 30+ years. As I grew up, our pizza options were the typical chains like East of Chicago, Little Caesar’s and Pizza Hut, but every so often, we’d get to pick up a pie from Victorio’s. Their brick oven was the start of a pizza revelation that I’d explore more as I moved to the East Coast.
My first job after school took me to Connecticut in 2005 and I picked my apartment wisely, as Stamford’s Colony Grill
was just one street away. My friend Keri recommended it to me and I expected a hip, date night environment. Instead I found a local bar that had been around since 1935, had two beers on tap and the only bar food was a delicious thin pie. The trick is to order it with hot oil baked on top. That place soon became a weekly ritual with my friends at the sports marketing agency.
Stamford was also close to New Haven, Connecticut, where the Neopolitan style of apizza began at Frank Pepe
. A trip to Ikea didn’t seem so awful when it also meant a stop for pie at Pepe’s, Sally’s
, or Bar
, known for its potato pie
. I made a few afternoon friends at Pepe’s over the years as we decided to share a table and slices together after our time in the line.
When I moved to Brooklyn four years ago, my pizza world continued to expand, due in large part to the pizza knowledge of my friend, Isaac. If we weren’t getting together to watch Breaking Bad, we were often meeting over a pie in the city. Three years ago, he pulled a group of friends together for an afternoon of pizza and narrowed it down to square slice joints only. Our group picked a new group of venues last fall for the second square slice tour.
If you’re thinking of enjoying some New York pizza, but don’t know where to start, take a look at some of our favorite stops from both tours:
Great for an afternoon in South Brooklyn with one or two large pies and SPUMONI for dessert. We took my sister and her family there when they visited and it also happened to be my sister’s birthday. If you like complimentary desserts on your birthday, you deserve to visit this place. The spumoni display on a turkey platter that was brought to our table blew our minds.
This has the feel of a newer establishment, so we were surprised by how good and authentic the pizza was. From the little pepperoni to the delicious crust, you can’t go wrong with this spot in the Financial District.
If you ask my pizza friends about this spot, be ready for lots of satisfied moaning about the slices.
This place may be responsible for reigniting my love of Sicilian slices.
A great spot for relaxing with friends while you wait for your pies in the coal oven.
FiDi, Battery Park City, Rockefeller Center
We visited the FiDi location on our second tour, but I was already lucky enough to experience the Battery Park location several times with my coworkers. A medium white pie with arugula and prosciutto is the perfect complement to the traditional pie.
So there you have it, Licorice’s pizza tour of NYC. Let us know if you happen upon any of these gems, and tell us what you think!