The 11 oldest pizza places in New York City are where it all began for New York style pizza. New Yorkers are extremely proud (and a little bit possessive) of their beloved city’s pizza. And I don’t blame them. The dish that traveled from Italy to America first lay its foundation in the city of New York, from where it slowly dispersed to other states and cities of the US.
So why is the pizza “New York style” in New York but plain old pizza everywhere else in the country? That is a question I set out to answer and found that, ironically, New York style pizza is actually quite similar to the traditional Italian pizza, so it’s not something that is native to the Big Apple. A New York style pizza has two very distinct features. First, it is absolutely huge, mostly 18 inches. Passersby usually purchase pizza by the slice, which they fold in half to be able to eat with ease because of its size. This brings us to the second major characteristic: the crust of a New York-style pizza is super thin. It should be flexible enough to be able to double over but too doughy is definitely not acceptable. It should be sufficiently crispy, especially at the edges. As Goldilocks would say, it should be “just right!”
Most of the old pizza places in New York use coal fired ovens, making the pizzas even more scrumptious, with an almost charred look and bubbling cheese over the top. Some say the taste in a New York style pizza comes from the water of New York. Obviously, that is not true, but as far as the citizens of New York are concerned, New York style pizza is available only in NYC. A person could cook up an exact replica of the pizza of the most famous pizzeria in New York, but if he is not in New York, the pizza in his oven is not New York-style pizza. Strange, but that’s how it goes.
Another pro of having pizza in NYC is that there are so many options that you end up with a wide array of prices available to you. From inexpensive to super pricey, it’s all available in New York. If you want to try a few of the latter ones, check out the Most Expensive Pizzas in New York City, and leave some comments below on whether they’re worth the price.
Getting back to the history of pizza, let me list the oldest pizza places in New York City, which I collected from a number of sources on the internet. However, since there was no one credible source, I picked up the founding year of each pizzeria from their respective websites or other sources where the website wasn’t available and ranked accordingly. Can you guess some of the places on our list?