Wood-fired pizzas at The Parlor in Phoenix, Arizona. (photo by Patrick Clarke)
Any day is a great day to enjoy your favorite slice of pizza, but every year, the third Friday in May is dedicated to this delicious creation and those who can’t get enough. Friday, May 20 is National Pizza Party Day, and while your favorite local restaurants are likely offering deals and specials to celebrate, this annual tradition should also serve as inspiration to travel to uncover even more great pizza.
While there are sensational pies to be had from coast to coast, passionate pizza eaters in search of their next favorite slice should look no further than these five U.S. cities.
The Best Pizza in Phoenix
The Valley of the Sun is certainly known for its heat, and visitors will encounter plenty when they step into some of this city’s best pizzerias. The Parlor in Midtown, which has been voted the number one pizza in the state of Arizona, is an absolute must for mouthwatering wood-fired pies, but Phoenix offers a remarkably robust selection of worthwhile pizza joints that many swear by, including POMO, Spinato’s, Pizzeria Bianco and Federal Pizza.
A list of some of the best pizza places in the valley wouldn’t be complete without mentioning other standouts such as Freak Brothers, Forno 301 and Ziggys Magic Pizza Shop.
The Best New York City Pizza
Chef cutting focaccia bread pizza in New York City’s Chelsea Market. (photo via ablokhin/iStock Editorial/Getty Images Plus)
The New York-style pizza is iconic, and pizzerias in cities all over the country advertise it for good reason because, quite frankly, NYC pizza is second to none. The five boroughs are home to only the most passionate, creative and perfection-seeking of dough-tossers, sauce-spreaders and cheese-sprinklers, so trying to rank the best spots is a fool’s errand.
Instead, visitors should keep an open mind and open eyes as they explore to see where the longest lines are. Places like John’s of Bleecker Street (coal-fired brick oven pizza dating back to 1929), Best Pizza in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighborhood (the classic NYC slice wood-fired) and Greenwich Village institution Joe’s Pizza (a hit with tourists seeking an authentic New York street slice) are great jumping-off points, but no visit to the Big Apple should be limited to just one slice.
Detroit’s Greatest Pizza Spots
Pizza lovers around the world are familiar with Little Caesars and Domino’s, two massive chains headquartered in Detroit and nearby Ann Arbor, Michigan, respectively. But your next trip to Detroit shouldn’t include either unless you’ve got an endless appetite as the Motor City is pumping out far better pizza at places like Buddy’s Pizza, Loui’s Pizza and Tomatoes Apizza.
Established just after World War II in 1946, Buddy’s is considered the birthplace of the beloved Detroit-style pizza known for its ideal blend of crispy and chewy, and Loui’s is another master of this unique style while Tomatoes Apizza is churning out what it calls Neapolitan-via-New-Haven-style coal-fired brick oven pizza that’s been recognized by numerous well-respected publications as the best in Michigan and one of the best in the country.
Top Pizza Places in Chicago
Deep-dish pizza from Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria in Chicago. (Photo via Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria)
It’s true that Chicago produces amazing deep-dish pizza, but that’s not all travelers can expect from this pizza-crazed Midwest city. Visitors can find any style they want, including tavern or bar-style pizza featuring ultra-thin crust and cut into tiny squares easy for sharing and enjoying while you tour the town.
If it is a delicious deep dish you’re after though, Pequod’s should be your first stop for crispy, cheesy and gooey wonderment. Lou Malnati’s and Giordano’s are also excellent Chicago staples certain to satisfy deep-dish fanatics. For a thin-crust experience that’s certain to have your taste buds jumping, check out Vito & Nick’s on Chicago’s South Side or head to Paulie Gee’s for a heavenly wood-fired pizza.
New Haven’s Premier Pizzas
Even if New Haven can’t compete with big cities like New York and Chicago simply in terms of the volume of pizza available given that its population pales in comparison, Connecticut’s Elm City will overwhelm pizza lovers (in the best way possible) when it comes to quality.
Spots like Da Legna at Nolo and Modern Apizza are not to be missed as diners at the former can choose from wood-fired artisan pies featuring outside-the-box toppings like mashed potato and roasted corn off the cob. The latter, meanwhile, dates all the way back to 1934 and is serving up delectable thin-crust pizzas cooked in a magical oil-fueled brick oven.