#85 Emmy Squared

July 21st, 2017

Brooklyn, NYC

If you follow our instagram at all, you know that we are frequent visitors at Emily, in Brooklyn. Well, recently, the owners of Emily decided to test out Detroit-style pizza in NYC.  They opened Emmy Squared. “Squared”, we assume, because of both the style of pizza and because it is the second installment of the Emily brand.

We first went to Emmy Squared with a friend, getting there soon after it opened. It didn’t have much of a dinner crowd when we went on a weeknight, but I imagine that the crowds have picked up since then. The focus is obviously on the Detroit-style pizza, although they do also serve sandwiches and the famous Emmy Burger.

**Side note: we’ve just recently tried the Emmy burger. Yes, it is worth $26, and yes, it is massive. It really is hard for us to tell you   to get a burger at a restaurant as famous for its pizza as Emily is, but you really should get the burger. Get one for the table and split it, if you want. The fries are good as well, but you won’t have room for them.

So, you may be wondering: how does Emmy Squared’s Detroit-style compare to other Detroit-style pizzas that we’ve had. Well, you may notice one thing right off the bat – the size. The pizzas at Emmy Squared are SMALL (and there is only one size). They are cut in 6 slices. If you go with a group of 3 people, and all get a burger, than one pizza is enough for you. But don’t go with 3 people and order only 2 pizzas and think that you will have enough food (telling you this from experience).

The pizza here is also EXPENSIVE. Think of it as artisan Detroit-style. You wouldn’t find these topping combinations in Detroit, but you also wouldn’t find pizzas costing half as much. Via313 comes close to Emmy Squared, but isn’t quite as creative.

We’ve tried one of the white pizzas (the Marn Blanc), a meatball special, and most recently, the Colony at Emmy Squared. They all taste delicious. The crust is spot-on to what a Detroit-style pie should be. We just wish the slices were a bit bigger.

If you didn’t hear – Emmy Squared should be opening a second installment in Manhattan, in the East Village. Emily also has a new location in the West Village, which means that we can go there more often! West Village Emily also serves the Detroit-style pies, but I’m not sure if this will continue with the opening of the new Emmy Squared? We will have to wait and see!

To visit:

Emmy Squared
364 Grand St
Brooklyn, NY 11211

#50 Pizzeria Paradiso

July 23rd, 2016

Washington, D.C.

Last summer we had friends who were living in D.C. who kindly offered to let us stay in their spare room for a weekend so that we could eat pizza. And also, so that we could hang out with them. But, mainly to eat pizza. We drove down to Washington, D.C. on a Saturday morning. As usual, Eric missed our exit getting into town. Let’s just say that we were both very hungry (hangry?) by the time we got to our first pizza stop, Pizzeria Paradiso.

You may not think of D.C. as a pizza town. We didn’t. Neither, apparently, did the owners of Pizzeria Paradiso, who opened this restaurant in 1991 because there was a lack of Neapolitan pizzerias in the city. The restaurant has expanded over the years and now has three locations around the D.C. area. They’ve also added in birrerias (“beer halls” in English) to keep up with the microbrewing scene that is growing around the D.C.area. These beer halls can be found at the Dupont and Georgetown locations. We’d recommend going for happy hour, because they have a lot of great options. And everyone knows that pizza and beer go great together.

 

It was hard to choose pizzas here to share. We ended up ordering one of the Siciliana pizzas, which was just a veggie pie, and then one of the specials which came with heirloom tomatoes and fresh mozzarella and thinly sliced red onion. They also had a large selection of salads and paninis here. Pizzas also come in two sizes, so you can pick small or large depending on if you feel like sharing and also how many other pizzas you are going to be trying that day (we obviously went with smalls – this was not our only pizza stop for the day).

The pizzas here are wood-fired. As with many Neapolitan-style pizzas, the crust here is the focus. It was crispy around the edges, but not too well done.This isn’t the place to come if you want a good char on your crust. It was also a little droopy in the center with the weight of the toppings, but that’s just Neapolitan-style for you. We wouldn’t say it was the best Neapolitan in D.C., but it certainly gets props for being the first!

To visit:

Pizzeria Paradiso
2003 P Street NW
Washington DC

 

#23 Prince Street Pizza

December 16th, 2017

Manhattan, NYC

One of our favorite slice joints around Manhattan is Prince Street Pizza. We stumbled upon Prince Street pizza back when we started working our way around NYC, even though it wasn’t on the original 2015 Daily Meal list that we started working from. We kept coming across the name on other “Best of” lists, so we knew that we had to make it a stop, especially because it was within walking distance of our offices. AND THEN it made it on the 2016 list, and again on the 2017 list. It was about time.

If you are walking around SoHo/Nolita and looking for a slice of pizza, this is one of the best. (Williamsburg Pizza would be another good bet.)  It has an old-school charm, even though it is a relatively new establishment. It’s location, though, is pizza history: it is half of the original location of Ray’s Pizza (of traditional NY pizza fame). These days, you may find a “Ray’s Original” on a number of NY street corners, but the “original” Ray’s no longer exists, having given in to a rent/lease dispute back in 2011.

 

Prince Street Pizza is known mainly for their square slices. THE slice to order is the spicy square pepperoni slice with a fresh Fra diavolo sauce. You just have to do it. And not just because those little tiny cups of pepperoni are so darn instagrammable. It just tastes amazing (and this is coming from someone who is not the biggest fan of pepperoni).  The plain cheese slices and margherita slices are also good. You could get one of those too. We would never just stop at one slice!

The crust on the square slices here isn’t thick and heavy like some Sicilian slices. It is pretty light and airy, making it easy to eat more than one slice.

You won’t get a seat to eat in Prince Street, especially if you come for slices during the lunch or dinner rush. You should be prepared to take your slices to go. There is a small counter inside, but it is pretty tight to sit if you aren’t by yourself.  This isn’t a place to linger – get in, order, and move on.

Eric has recently recruited a bunch of people from his office to take trips over to Prince Street for lunch. It makes me really sad that my office has moved out of SoHo and I can’t regularly join them.

I mean, just look at those ronis! Right?

To visit:

Prince Street Pizza
27 Prince St
New York, NY 10012

#48 Juliana’s Pizza

December 6th, 2017

Brooklyn, NY

When our grand plans to hit Totonno’s were busted yesterday, we decided to make another trip to Juliana’s instead.  I’ve mentioned Juliana’s before because we’ve been there several times now, but 2017 is the first year that it officially made it on to the 101 Best Pizza Places list since we’ve started traveling cross-country for pizza. We thought that we should go back to document it officially as part of our pizza journey.

As I previously mentioned, Juliana’s is located in Brooklyn right next door to the classic pizzeria Grimaldi’s. It’s Grimaldi’s fancier, more expensive, and somewhat less popular little sister pizzeria. It ranked in 2017 at #48, which is pretty high for a new appearance (although it DID make the previous list in 2014, but then it disappeared for two years). It ranks lower than Grimaldi’s, though, which usually falls around the top 25. Strangely, Juliana’s also came up as the top pizza place in the US according to TripAdvisor? We’d like someone to explain that to us.

The comparisons of this pizza with Grimaldi’s are valid, because Juliana’s was also opened by Patsy Grimaldi in 2012 after he had sold the rights to the original Grimaldi’s name. Juliana’s is named after Patsy Grimaldi’s mother, and is actually located in the original location of Grimaldi’s, using the original brick oven. So obviously, there is a sort of rivalry that has arisen between the two restaurants.

We usually go for the same order at Juliana’s – the Margherita. We alternate between a large and a small. Honestly, they are about the same size and almost the exact same price, so we usually go for the large. This time we went for the small, but only because we also ordered the meatballs for an appetizer, and we have way too many Christmas cookies sitting on the counter at home.

We end up at Juliana’s when we are either a) too tired or cold to wait in line for Grimaldi’s (although sometimes the line at Juliana’s can be just as long), or b) wanting a more romantic dinner.

Juliana’s is the nicer of the two restaurants, but is also smaller. The waiters are (generally) more friendly, and the options on the menu are trendier and less traditional. It is a great date-night restaurant. Grimaldi’s is more classic NY with it’s old school booths, crowded atmosphere, and the old Brooklyn man who makes you wait at the door until your seat is ready. The pizza is essentially the same, though. Both are good. Grimaldi’s is cheaper. This head-to-head review gives Juliana’s the edge, but honestly, we think that it depends on the day. We’ve been to both places multiple times now, and it is really hit or miss for both of them.

To visit:

Juliana’s Pizza
19 Old Fulton Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201

 

 

 

 

 

#14 Totonno’s

July 3rd, 2016

Coney Island, NY

Last year, we were on our way back from Connecticut and we were craving some pizza. We decided to stop at Totonno’s, in Coney Island, since it was on our way home (and honestly, it is such a pain toget to Coney Island from Manhattan via the subway). Looking back on it, it was probably a mistake to try and drive to Coney Island on 4th of July weekend. We spent about an hour trying to find a parking space! We were already committed, though, so we had to follow through. Eric ended up dropping me off at the front of Totonno’s (where there was a bit of a line) and he eventually did find a space about a mile away.

Luckily, the line moved quickly and I was able to snag a table before Eric made it back from parking the car. I was getting a little anxious saving his seat given the long line forming out front, but I ordered a large cheese pie for us and he showed up right as it was served.

Totonno’s is another one of the NYC classics. It was opened almost 90 years ago (1924) near Coney Island. The pizzas are still made in the same way that they were then. The founder of Totonno’s came from Naples, and started making pizzas for Lombardi’s on Spring Street when it became the first licensed pizzeria in America. Totonno’s is still family-operated, which makes it the oldest continually-run, family-owned pizzeria in the US (at least, according to their website – I did not fact check this).

The pizzeria has seen plenty of hardships in the past 90 years. It’s had two fires that closed it down, the most recent in 2009, and then Hurricane Sandy, which closed the restaurant for 5 months.

The pizza here is coal-fired using one of the original ovens (see more info about coal fired ovens in NYC in our previous post here). This gives it a crispy, thinner crust that is made from fresh dough every day. The sauce tastes good and the homemade mozzarella is also a plus. This is one of those restaurants where a good cheese pie is all you need, and you really shouldn’t bother ordering anything else. Also, they don’t serve slices, so you’ll have to come hungry.

We actually were going to try and go back to Totonno’s tonight after work, until we realized that it is only open from Thurs-Sunday. We’ll have to pick another night to take the hour long subway ride out to Coney Island. Hopefully still in the middle of winter, when hopefully no one will be there to make us wait in line.

 

To visit:

Totonno’s
1524 Neptune Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11224

#32 Al Forno

July 2nd, 2016

Providence, RI

Not much tastes better than pizza after sitting in holiday traffic for hours. We had one more stop for pizza in Providence, so we drove out to Rhode Island to Al Forno. We actually drove out to Newport (mainly for this), but stopped in Providence on the way for lunch.

The restaurant has been open since 1980, and is situated in an old stable near the waterfront. While they serve plenty of Italian food, the pizza is what everyone talks about. Primarily because Al Forno serves a completely unique style of pizza. I mean, just look at it! Does that look like any pizza that you’ve had before?

Al Forno is considered the birthplace of grilled pizza. The owners wanted to take advantage of their wood-fired grill, so they used it to cook the pizza dough as hot and as fast as possible. The result is an unusually shaped dough with visible charred grill lines, which they top with a variety of toppings.

We love making pizza on the grill, but we had never seen a restaurant grill pizza before! We tried two pizzas here, the “spicy” Margarita and the Tuscan Kale Pesto. Overall, the flavors were great and we loved the grilled crust. Our one complaint was that the pizzas were a bit on the oily side. The amount of cheese and tomato on top was perfect and not too heavy, but the oil really ruined the light taste. We looked into the crust itself a bit more (so that we could perfect our pizza grilling technique at home) and found that the dough here is hardly proofed, which helps it to keep its structure over the grill. The dough is also soaked in olive oil before being put on the grill to keep it crispy.

You should note that the pizzas are actually considered appetizers here, although we (and many others) obviously order them as main dishes. We also ordered the bruschetta to start. You should note that bruschetta here is not served with tomatoes. It is really just thick, Italian bread covered with a generous portion of olive oil and garlic. More like garlic bread to us? The waitress assured us that this is the “most traditional” form of bruschetta. Turns out, she’s right, but we prefer the non-traditional kind with tomatoes.

Overall, we liked these pizzas a lot, but mainly for their individuality. It was really nice to sit outside and enjoy them, but they didn’t make it to the top of our lists.

We did take away some handy tips to use for grilling our own pizzas, though! Which we can put to use now since Eric finally bought himself a grill.

To visit:

Al Forno
577 South Water Street
Providence, RI 02903

#28 Lucali

June 23rd, 2016

Brooklyn, NYC

After getting back from our pizza weekend, we had to take a short (one week) hiatus from eating pizza. When we were sufficiently recovered, we visited another of the top-ranking Brooklyn pizzerias on the list, Lucali.

Lucali may be the most romantic pizza place that we went to on the list, and there is a good reason why it is ranked so high. Tucked away in Carroll Gardens, the restaurant only seats a few tables at time, and it has a quiet ambiance, and makes amazing pizza.

The pizza here is kind of like if you were to smush all of the other NY greats together. The fresh basil on top from Di Fara,  minimal available toppings, like the classic slice joints (Joe’s), and a soft, Neapolitan-like crust.

Recommendations if you want to try the pizza here (and you really should!):

  1. Do NOT come here with a group of people – bring your husband, date, or best friend, but keep it small. Or you may never get a table.
  2. The restaurant officially opens at 6, but they start taking names for tables at 5:30. We didn’t realize this and showed up right before 6, and had over an hour wait to get a table. If you are on a time crunch, make sure to get your name in for the first seating. Like many of the other Brooklyn greats (see Emily or Paulie Gee’s), the line can be long. Otherwise, be prepared to wait AT LEAST an hour. We went on a Wednesday night. I’ve read about people who show up at 5:30 on a Friday and don’t get a table until 8 pm (just warning you!).
  3. BYOB! Do I have to say more? You probably have plenty of time after you put your name in to go find a bottle of wine.

When you have to wait for your pizza, your anticipation really grows. The longer the wait, the more you feel like the pizza has to live up to the wait. Well, you really don’t have to worry about that here. This pizza really lived up to the wait. We both rated this on our personal lists much higher in the top 20.

We ended up ordering half plain, half pepperoni. The pizza is expensive, and so we didn’t want to order two. We also were happy to not have too many topping selections – simple is sometimes best. We left happily full, but not stuffed.

After writing this, I think we need to go back here as soon as possible. We’d wait over an hour again for this pizza if we had to.

To visit:

Lucali
575 Henry Street
Brooklyn, NY 11231

#36 Santarpio’s

June 5th, 2016

Boston, MA

If you’ve been following my posts on our birthday camping pizza road trip, you will know that we spent the weekend in Portland, Maine, eating pizza and trying out our brand new (hand-me-down) canoe. That Sunday was Eric’s birthday (!!) and so as we drove back down to NJ, we stopped in Boston for our last Boston pizza stop of the weekend at Santarpio’s.

Even though I spent several years in Boston for college, I had never been to (or actually, heard of) Santarpio’s. I realized that this was mainly because it isn’t located downtown and is found in an area of Boston where I never, ever visited ( East Boston, out near the airport). East Boston is actually an island, and only connected to the main city by tunnels (not walkable). Any Boston local will have heard of Santarpio’s, though, because it has been serving pizzas since 1933 and has a pretty solid following.

It was kind of nice that Santarpio’s was outside of downtown – we didn’t have to fight any crowds to get there, we didn’t have to struggle to find parking (like we would have in the North End), and we got a table quickly for lunch! And since it was Eric’s birthday, he talked one of his Boston-resident friends into joining us out in Eastie.

We ended up with the cheese, sausage, and garlic pie. We heard that you had to try the sausage here, and I was outnumbered by meat eaters. Also, it was Eric’s birthday, and he loves a good sausage pizza. You should know that the pizzas here start with the toppings on the bottom. Don’t expect an even distribution of toppings, either. They don’t make a lot of exceptions, so don’t expect them to. The sauce was good, and the crust was even better. Nice and crispy, but sturdy to hold up to the cheese and toppings.

The pizza here is made in it’s own, old-school style, which kind of reminded us of Lombardi’s in NYC (but bigger, and cheaper). It is just as good as Pizzeria Regina, and you don’t have to fight the crowds for it. Although you do have to figure out the best way to get over to East Boston.

To visit:

Santarpio’s
111 Chelsea Street
East Boston, MA 02128

#96 Micucci’s Grocery (+ an extra)

June 4th, 2016

Portland, ME

You really don’t know what a “slab” of pizza is until you go up to Portland. When we were on our camping trip last year for Eric’s birthday, we made some day trips into Portland (in between trying to steer our canoe without capsizing and also trying to start a fire with wet wood).

Walking up to Miccuci’s Grocery, we weren’t sure if we were in the right place. The grocery is sort of near the outskirts of downtown and from first glance looks like a regular local Italian market. It sells fresh and dried pastas, homemade sauce, imported olives and specialty goods, and it has a counter for sandwiches and pre-made sides. Everything smelled and looked great, but we didn’t see any pizza.

We walked around the back of the store, though, and we saw these slices. You might think that a “slab” of pizza is the same thing as a “sicilian” slice of pizza (we did). After seeing these slices, though, it is easy to see that they are two totally different types of slice. We think we like “slabs” better.

Micucci’s has a few stools inside to eat your pizza, or else you can take it to go and eat at one of the small tables outside. They generally have only two styles of slab – plain and pepperoni. They don’t take advance orders. The pizzas are made throughout the day, so you always seem to get a fresh slice waiting for you. Sometimes you have to wait a little while for a new pizza to come out of the oven, but we didn’t have to. We got two slabs of cheese, and grabbed seats at the bench.

The crust on these slices is SO fluffy. It is really like a giant slice of freshly baked bread. You’d think that having that much bread would overwhelm the pizza, but that wasn’t the case at all. The sauce steals the show on these slices. So much so that we took home 3 jars of the sauce from the store so that we could use it on our pizza at home. There isn’t too much cheese, either, so the sauce and crust were really the stars here. We loved it.

I was back in Portland this past summer and stopped in again at Micucci’s Grocery, to buy another slab of pizza AND more sauce. While I was in town, I made another stop for another slice at Slab

  

Slab was started by the original baker and creator of the slab at Micucci’s back in 2013.  He was fired from Micucci’s in June of that year, so opened his own restaurant in the Portland Public Market space right downtown. I made it a double-slab day and tried grabbed a slice (a “hand slab”) to take outside.

The two slabs are very similar. This slab was even bigger than the one at Micucci’s and had even more crust, which I actually thought was a bit too much. I didn’t end up finishing it (Eric would have, though). I didn’t think there was enough sauce, and the sauce wasn’t as good as the sauce at Micucci’s.

I don’t know if I’d recommend eating these two slabs back-to-back like I did, but they are both excellent choices if you are in Portland. This was one time when I really wished Eric had been with me because I hated having any part of these two slices go to waste.

To visit:

Micucci’s Grocery
45 India St
Portland, ME 04101

Slab
25 Preble Street Extension
Portland, ME 04101

#88 Sofia Pizza Shoppe

November 13th, 2017

Manhattan, NYC

We have been to Sofia Pizza Shoppe a couple of times now. It is super inconvenient to get to via subway from our offices, but worth it for the slices every time. Our first trip up here was probably around 6 months ago.  The small restaurant just opened in 2016.

It must be hard to open a new slice shop in NYC. For a city that has such ingrained pizza traditions and so many famous slice joints, it is really surprising (and amazing!) that a newcomer like Sofia Pizza Shoppe could open its doors and make it on to the 2017 Daily Meal list while primarily selling no-frills, traditional NY slices. It just goes to show that location is everything – it is really hard to find a decent slice in this area of Midtown.

The other reason that Sofia Pizza Shoppe got so famous? The DoughDici. The best way to get food-famous in NYC is to create something outrageously expensive that everyone will want to instagram. A $38 pizza available only a few days during the week that you have to buy tickets for? I think that fits the bill exactly.

There’s been some debate on if the DoughDici is worth the money. We bet it probably is. It is a style of pizza all its own: a 2 inch, fluffy crust, topped with sauce and cheese, with a crusty edge reminiscent of Detroit-style pizzas. The crust is cold-fermented for 3 days and then risen in the pan for 12 hours to get the super-tall rise. Honestly, we’d love to try it, but after our previous experiences with pizza ticket buying (cough..Margot…cough) we didn’t (and still don’t) feel like trying to fight our way in.

So, while we can’t say how good the DoughDici is, we can talk about the rest of the slices here. The first time we came we tried a variety of slices, including the spinach dip slice, which is a bit more spinach-y than the spinach artichoke slice at Artichoke, and is slightly less filling (although maybe just because it is a little bit smaller).

This time, we tried a classic slice, a Sicilian, and our new favorite slice, the upside down. They were all really solid NY slices. Our favorite upside-down slice is still from NY Pizza Suprema, but this one was really good.

Between the two of us, we had 5 slices. The lady sitting next to us said that she’d be impressed if we could eat all of them. She obviously didn’t know us.

While we won’t usually take the trip up to get slices here, we’d highly recommend it if you are in the area.

Also, if you want to get tickets to try a DoughDici and want to invite company, we’d be thrilled to join you.

To visit:

Sofia Pizza Shoppe
989 1st Avenue
New York, NY 10022