Despite the onslaught of dollar-slice joints on one end of the spectrum and fancy-pants Neapolitan pizzerias on the other, neighborhood pizza parlors persist, peddling delicious and sometimes unique slices in an ever expanding range of styles.
The Golden Slice Awards were founded last year to commemorate those hard-working pizzerias in every city neighborhood. So join us in celebrating the sainted two-slices-and-a-soda lunch in the fourth edition of the awards. And please nominate your own favorite neighborhood pizzeria in the comments below.
Cheesy Pizza — The name says it all at this Upper West Side institution dedicated to the dairy component of the classic slice. The cheese here is so profuse, it threatens to roll off the pie. Sure, the crust is a bit doughy and pale ensuring the sauce recedes into the background. But gradually as you eat it, you’ll realize the other components have been formulated so you can better worship the molten cheese. 2640 Broadway, 212-662-5223
Georgio’s Pizzeria — Founded in 2011, Georgio’s is master of the thick, lush pie, so expect to be fully fed on a single slice. The chicken and spinach, for example, matches breaded, fried, and diced bird with swirls of dense, dark spinach. This favorite of FiDi office workers is mobbed at lunch, nearly empty in the evening. 20 Beaver St. 212-361-6160
Luigi’s Gourmet Pizza — This commodious pizzeria just south of Central Park has deep Sicilian roots and the slices show it magnificently. The best offerings fall among the square-slices including the musketa, which features chopped tomatoes and onions on a thick bed of cheese; and the oxymoronic Sicilian margarita slice, which melts artisanal mozzarella and shoots splotches of tomato sauce over an exceedingly well-browned crust. 936 8th Ave., 212-265-7159
Xochil Pizzeria — This delightful Sunset Park pizzeria has been taken over by Pueblans, who have mounted a griddle in the window — actually, sticking out of the window — where tlaycoyos are grilled and then topped with queso seco and salsa. The conventional pizza slices are fine, too, especially an unusual stuffed-crust pie. Filled with sausage and potatoes, it probably originated in Abruzzo, where such pizzas are common. 4613 5th Ave., Brooklyn, 718-435-2288
Polito’s — Though it was established in 1981 and not long ago appeared timeworn, a recent renovation has left this Astorian stalwart handsome and comfortable, a place you might want to linger. The grandma the slice is the one to get. Perfect for its type, it sports a lush and deep red tomato sauce, flecked with little bits of garlic and onion that add sweetness, and the cheese is exemplary, too. 38-12 Broadway, Queens, 917- 924-1360
Gino’s Pizza — Since 1968, this quaint pizzeria has lingered beside Elmhurst’s busiest bus stop. Quaint because the limestone-faced walls and carriage lamps make it seem a bit like a village inside. Vegetarian is the way to go here, via a series of pies in a separate case of slightly smaller circumference, including an eggplant slice that looks to be almost a quarter of a pie — a bit more expensive than most slices, but also encompassing square inches of pizza territory. 86-35 Broadway, Queens, 718-672-8515
Silver Beach Deli & Pizza — Even the tiniest of hamlets concealed around the edges of the great metropolis are not without their pizzerias. Located in the hilltop enclave of Silver Beach overlooking the Long Island Sound, this modest deli in a small cottage has a pizza oven stack in the back, from which fly very conventional cheese pies, with other topping choices rarely offered in the glass case. The slices are cheesy and satisfying, and little fuss has been made over either the crust or the sauce. This is pizza that takes itself for granted and doesn’t try too hard, and is all the better for it. 4 Plaza Pl, Bronx, 718-597-0192
Luigi’s Pizza — Just how many pizzerias named Luigi’s are there in the five boroughs? Plenty, we’re sure. Located in Greenwood Heights, this one (founded in 1973) functions as a sort of community center in a neighborhood increasingly uncertain how to define itself. The pizzas are especially good, with some relatively unusual toppings, including a wonderful pie with soppressata and jalapenos, fusing old and new aspects of the neighborhood. 686 5th Ave., Brooklyn, 718-499-3857
Pizza Bella — Flaunting a nautical theme, Pizza Bella stands out on Elmhurst’s Broadway among the mainly Southeast Asian cafes. The plain cheese slice is plain as plain can be, with a precise and carefully calculated inter-relationship of cheese, sauce, and crust. The crust itself is done to a premeditated brownness. This is pizza for folks that don’t like bells and whistles. 81-30 Broadway, Queens, 718-507-1009
Delizia 73 Ristorante Pizza — A mural of Venice graces one wall of this venerable Upper East Side pizzeria — with superman flying overhead, looking for criminals. If you want to feel like you’re sitting in a real restaurant while scarfing your two slices and a soft drink, this is your place. And the quality of the pies makes it a destination spot, too. Our favorite is the grandma slice: In the square format, it displays cheese-on-the-bottom pizza-tecture, with splotches of herb-y sauce on top. 1374 1st Ave., 212-517-8888
Take a gander at the previous three induction ceremonies of the Golden Slice Awards: