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The Great Eater NY Pizza Delivery Challenge

Eater's senior critic assembles the team for a taste test to determine Midtown's best delivery pizza

It’s New York City, so everyone has a strong opinion about pizza. "I love salty cheese, and lots of it, so that no red shows" one colleague enthused, while another noted, "There should be a little sugar in the tomato sauce, but not too much." Here, where pizza as we know it was invented, some obsess on the crust — whether it be crisp and paper thin or thick and squishy — while others prefer a nice dark sheen to the sauce and cheese that turns crisp on the edges. Whatever your thoughts about pizza, you’ll agree there’s no city in the world where it has evolved so far, and where pies are so nuanced.

And there is probably no foodstuff that gets delivered as often to offices, apartments, schools, galleries, and factories as pizza; not hamburgers, burritos, or Chinese food. So, in observance of Delivery Week, the staff of Eater NY decided to issue a Pizza Delivery Challenge, whereby we would order 10 pies from pizzerias in the vicinity of our office on Bryant Park, and compare them based on taste, cost, and speed of delivery.

We compiled a list of 20 pizzerias, ranging from 0.2 to 1.1 miles, and called them in order of increasing distance. We began at the top of the list at 11 a.m., a time when office workers experience their first pizza pangs, and worked our way down until 10 simple cheese pies had been ordered, keeping careful note of the time. We skipped some places on the list: one refused to accept an order before 12:30 p.m., while another, despite a distance of only a few blocks, refused to deliver to the West Side.

When the pizzas began arriving, we invited our officemates from Eater and other Vox publications to come down to the conference room and tear into the 80 or so slices that were rapidly accumulating. It will not surprise you that the very presence of pizza inspires conviviality, and a rollicking pizza party was soon in full swing. Each guest was invited to try at least a sliver of each pie, and rate it from 1 to 100 points. Many recorded some comments, too.

Here, then, are the results of our Eater NY Pizza Delivery Challenge, from best-rated pie to worst.

Little Italy (55 W 45th St, 212-730-7575) — Distance: 0.8 mi; Ordered At: 11:23 a.m.; Arrived At: 12:28 p.m.; Promised Delivery Time: 35 mins; Actual Delivery Time: 1 hr, 5 mins; Pie Dimensions: 19" round, 8 slices; Surface Temp: 150 degrees F; Cost: $22.86; Average Score: 82; Comments: "Great crust and great cheese-to-sauce ratio," "Love! Burnt cheese, nice sauce," "Amazingly garlicky, greasy — but in a good way."

Bravo (1367 Broadway, 212-268-4499) — Distance: 0.4 mi; Ordered At: 11:09 a.m.; Arrived At: 11:30 a.m.; Promised Delivery Time: 30 to 40 mins; Actual Delivery Time: 21 mins; Pie Dimensions: 18.5" round, 8 slices; Surface Temp: 133 degrees F; Cost: $22.80 (partly due to kosher ingredients); Average Score: 77; Comments: "Great crust, savory and tart sauce," "This is delicious, maybe because I’m so hungry," "So greasy, OMG."

John’s of Times Square (260 W 44th St, 212-391-7560) — Distance: 0.6 mi; Ordered At: 11:13 a.m.; Arrived At: 12:01 p.m.; Promised Delivery Time: 50 mins; Actual Delivery Time: 48 mins; Pie Dimensions: 16" round, 8 slices; Surface Temp: 130 degrees F; Cost: $20.15; Average Score: 72; Comments: "Flavorful crust, kind of plain sauce," "I expected way better cheese, this being related to John’s of Bleecker Street," "The crust is chewy but pizza is good overall."

Abitino’s (1435 Broadway, 212-768-0043) — Distance: 0.2 mi; Ordered At: 11 a.m.; Arrived At: 11:20 a.m.; Promised Delivery Time: 20 mins; Actual Delivery Time: 20 mins; Pie Dimensions: 18" round, 8 slices; Surface Temp: 160 degrees F; Cost: $19.05; Average Score: 68; Comments: "Much better mouth feel here vs. Bravo’s, not as greasy," "Nice tart sauce," "Doughy, chewy crust, not sure how I feel about it."

Clockwise from the top left: Little Italy, Bravo, John’s, Kiss My Slice

Kiss My Slice (274 W 40th St, 212-391-9524) — Distance: 0.6 mi; Ordered At: 11:10 a.m.; Arrived At: 11:31 a.m.; Promised Delivery Time: 30 mins; Actual Delivery Time: 21 mins; Pie Dimensions: 17.5" round, 8 slices; Surface Temp: 159 degrees F; Cost: $15.25; Average Score: 65; Comments: "A little glassine pouch of garlic came alongside, it looked like cocaine," "Good amount of cheese, sauce was nice and salty," "Tastes like school cafeteria pizza, only lacking pepperoni."

Claudio (598 10th Ave, 212-586-3145) — Distance: 0.9 mi; Ordered At: 11:26 a.m.; Arrived At: 12:15 p.m.; Promised Delivery Time: 20 mins; Actual Delivery Time: 49 mins; Pie Dimensions: 17.5" round, 8 slices; Surface Temp: 115 degrees F; Cost: $16.30; Average Score: 62; Comments: "Misshapen, nicely browned, normal looking," "I love basic pizza and this is prime standard NYC cheese pizza," "Undercooked crust, tastes of cheap bread."

Lazzara’s (221 W 38th St #2, 212-944-7792) — Distance: 0.8 mi; Ordered At: 11:21 a.m.; Arrived At: 11:39 a.m.; Promised Delivery Time: 30 to 45 mins; Actual Delivery Time: 19 mins; Pie Dimensions: 10" X 12" rectangular, 6 slices; Surface Temp: 135 degrees F; Cost: $15.25; Average Score: 61; Comments: "The rectangular shape, and cracker-like crust were unusual," "Nice rosemary flavor, way too sweet," "A little burnt, good chew."

Pizza Suprema (413 8th Ave, 212-594-8939) — Distance: 1.1 mi; Ordered At: 11:27 a.m.; Arrived At: 12:28 p.m.; Promised Delivery Time: 45 to 60 mins; Actual Delivery Time: 61 mins; Pie Dimensions: 19" round, 8 slices; Surface Temp: 118 degrees F; Cost: $15.25; Average Score: 53; Comments: "Weird parm flavor," "That is so sweet, bitter crust," "So cheesy — hated it and I’ve never hated a slice in my life."

Bravo pizzeria packaging fail; the Lazzara's pie

Patzeria (231 W 46th St, 212-575-7646) — Distance: 0.7 mi; Ordered At: 11:17 a.m.; Arrived At: 12:30 p.m.; Promised Delivery Time: 45 mins; Actual Delivery Time: 1 hr 13 mins. Pie Dimensions: 16" round, 6 slices; Surface Temp: 150 degrees F; Cost: $18; Average Score: 49; Comments: "The pizza was very dark and tasted of rancid powdered garlic," "Tasted like roller rink pizza, very salty and garlicky," "Love a garlicky sauce, but too oily and mealy crust."

The 10th pie was ordered from Previti Pizza (123 E 41st St, 212-557-4992) at 11:11 a.m., but due to some mix-ups, had not arrived by the time we finished the challenge at 1 p.m. It finally appeared at 1:28 p.m.

Thanks to the Eater NY Pizza Loving Crew: Serena Dai, Patty Diez, Jenny Zhang, Nick Solares, Ryan Sutton, Greg Morabito, Amanda Kludt

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