US Cities With The Best Pizza

From childhood pizza parties to delivery orders and date nights, few things are as crowd-pleasing as a warm slice of pizza right out of the oven. In fact, Americans love the dish so much that the average person will eat 6,000 slices of it in their lifetime, according to a survey conducted by CiCi's Pizza in 2015 (via Daily News). 

While pizza in its modern form is associated with Italian cuisine, humans have had a love affair with pizza-type foods since the Stone Age. That being said, pizza's history in the United States is a bit more recent. The first record of the dish being served in the U.S. is said to be in 1904 in Boston, soon followed by the opening of a New York-based pizzeria (via Slice).

You can now find pizza in essentially every corner of the country but a few cities stand out for their rich history with the cheesy pies. From interesting regional styles to exceptional pizzerias, here are the cities to visit for the best pizza in the United States.

Chicago, Illinois

While the eternal debate rages about Chicago's deep dish pizza — is it pizza or a pizza-ish casserole? — there's no denying that the Windy City is full of hot spots for all types of pizza lovers. In fact, many Chicagoans would point out that tourists miss the best of the city's pizza scene if they only try deep-dish pies, Eater reports.

For example, tavern-style pizza featuring a crispy, cracker-thin crust cut into squares is as much of a local staple. Head to Southside institution Vito and Nick's to sample a classic version, or try newcomer Crust Fund Pizza for a limited-edition pie only available via Instagram. Designed for sharing, tavern-style pizza is the perfect accompaniment to a night out drinking Old Style beer with friends. If you're looking for more of a traditional Italian pie, try Spacca Napoli in the Ravenswood neighborhood. The restaurant is beloved for its Neapolitan-style crust topped with classic ingredients like prosciutto, olives, and — of course — mozzarella.

Then there's the bready, decadent goodness of a deep-dish pizza, which you can find at famous local chains like Lou Malnati's, Giordano's, and Bartoli's. If you don't think you can manage a whole pie, Art of Pizza in the Lakeview neighborhood offers individual slices. Local favorite Pequod's is renowned for its caramelized crust and for offering the best deal in the city: a personal pie lunch special that will put you out a mere $7.

New York City, NY

It's impossible to have a conversation about the best pizza in the U.S. without including New York City. The Big Apple, after all, claims to be home to the country's first pizzeria: Lombardi's in Lower Manhattan (via Untapped Cities). While you can still find the over a century-old institution on Spring Street, there are many other delicious pies across the five boroughs.

According to The New York Times food critic Pete Wells, the house slice at Mama's Too on the Upper West Side is one of the best in the city. The restaurant's square slices feature a frico crust, which is browned on the edges where cheese meets the pan. Another top slice can be found at Patsy's Pizzeria in East Harlem, where the pizzas are still cooked in a coal-fired oven.

Roberta's in Brooklyn is beloved for its Neapolitan-style pies, though be ready to wait in line to eat at the original Bushwick location. Locals love the Bee Sting pizza, which features house-cured soppressata and honey. Lucali in Carroll Gardens is another Brooklyn institution, but The Infatuation warns you'll have to line up at 4 p.m. to enjoy the restaurant's classic pizza topped with plenty of mozzarella, minced garlic, and basil.

New York is also infamous for its dollar slice institutions peppered throughout the city. The foldable slices are a cheap and easy dinner — though their days of costing you only $1 may be numbered due to inflation, The New York Times reports.

New Haven, Connecticut

The New England college town of New Haven, Connecticut, may only be home to around 130,000 people, but it has some of the country's top-ranked pizza joints, Eater reports. What makes New Haven-style pizza unique — or apizza, as it is commonly called in the city — are its deep ties to traditional Neapolitan-style pies (via Eater). The dough is fermented for a longer period of time and is typically charred in a coal oven. The result is a crispy, chewy, thin-crust pie.

Founded in 1925, Frank Pepe's Pizzeria Napoletana is the original here, and its signature white clam pizza continues to be celebrated. The white pie — meaning no tomato sauce — is topped with clams, garlic, oregano, Pecorino Romano, and olive oil. It has even been chosen as the top pizza in the U.S. by USA Today. Sally's Apizza also made the USA Today list for its tomato pie, which is all about the sauce minus mozzarella.

Another classic spot founded in 1934, Modern Apizza is said to be where the locals go instead of Pepe's or Sally's. The spotlight is on toppings, so it's a safe bet to try the Italian Bomb loaded with sausage, bacon, pepperoni, mushroom, pepper, onion, and garlic (via USA Today).

Portland, Oregon

Portland, Oregon, made waves across the food world when it was selected as the top pizza city in the country over New York or Chicago by the authors of "Modernist Pizza" in 2021 (via CNN). The rationale was that Portland topped other sampled cities in terms of creativity and passion.

The authors even called out Lovely's Fifty Fifty as one of the top two pizza spots in the U. S. (per CNN). The restaurant's Instagrammable pies are topped with seasonal vegetables, mostly sourced in the Pacific Northwest and sometimes even garnished with flowers, per Eater. If you want to sample Lovely's Fifty Fifty's famous whole grain crust, keep an eye on chef Sarah Minnick's Instagram, where pizzas are available for takeout from Thursday through Saturday — though they often sell out. 

Counter-serve Gracie's Apizza is another city highlight. The joint's crust is tangy, naturally leavened, and covered with house-made mozzarella and creative toppings like harissa breadcrumbs. If the weather cooperates, you can enjoy a slice along with a drink on the patio Gracie's shares with The Garrison cocktail bar.

Portland's reputation for farm-to-table cuisine is alive at Handsome Pizza, where even the flour is sourced locally and freshly milled. Specials are often named after local celebrities or former staff, like the Rebecca Zimbel pie topped with brassica shoots, preserved lemon, garlic, hot sauce, shallots, parsley, mozzarella, Parmesan, and tomato sauce.

Detroit, Michigan

Historically, Detroit has been known for Motown music and cars, but pizza has recently joined the list. According to Eater, Detroit-style pizza's closest cousin might be Sicilian focaccia. It features a thick, porous dough cooked in a steel pan and topped with Wisconsin brick cheese, resulting in a chewy crust and cheesy caramelized edges. Detroit-style pizza is a relatively new phenomenon, Food & Wine reports, but you can now find the city's rectangular thick-crust pies at restaurants across the country, including at major chains like Pizza Hut.

Of course, the best versions of Detroit-style pizza are found in the Motor City itself. If you want to try the original, head to Buddy's Pizza. Since opening in 1946, the restaurant has expanded to 10 locations but has stayed true to its traditional recipe. Loui's Pizza is another delicious option for Detroit-style 'za. The restaurant is notorious for using a pound of cheese on every pizza, as well as for refusing to franchise, expand, or sell (via Eater).

Outside of Detroit-style, the city has a lot of great pizzas to offer. A standout is Pie-Sci, a self-proclaimed science laboratory crafting pies with unexpected flavors. The menu changes seasonally but current varieties include Toum Raider (with garlic oil, zaatar crust, hummus, mozzarella, chicken, red onion, feta cheese, and a lemon garlic drizzle) and Pickle Rick (featuring red sauce, mozzarella, ground beef, bacon, red onion, cheddar cheese, and pickles).

St. Louis, Missouri

Some of St. Louis' cuisine has a reputation for being divisive — as in the Twitter outcry over how bagels are cut vertically — and its pizza is no exception. The St. Louis style of pizza features yeast-free dough topped with Provel, a processed cheese product that the FDA doesn't classify as cheese because it fails to meet required moisture levels (per Spoon University). One food writer for Serious Eats even referred to the dish as pizza-flavored nachos.

However, many St. Louisans love Provel and see its low melting point and gooey texture as an ideal pairing with the local cracker-thin pizza crust. You can find a classic version at Imo's Pizza — a chain that's been around since 1964 and has expanded to 100 stores across Missouri, Kansas, and Illinois. Try a Deluxe pizza with sausage, mushrooms, onions, bell peppers, bacon, and Provel.

The city's pizza offerings extend well beyond Provel-laden pies (and locals would be quick to point out that St. Louis-style pizza is more about the ultra-thin crust than the Provel). Head to divey Blackthorn Pub and Pizza for a Chicago-style slice or one of Pi Pizzeria's locations for deep-dish cornmeal crust pies. St. Louis Magazine reports that Union Loafers serves a pizza with Neapolitan-style char and an NYC-style texture. Meanwhile, newcomer Pizza Champ offers up creative pies like taco pizza and a Buffalo fried chicken pizza at its drive-thru or walk-up window (via Sauce).

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

With Wisconsin's cheese reputation, it's not shocking that the state's largest city would end up on our list. But did you know there's actually a Milwaukee-style pizza? The ultra-thin crust combines a rectangular-cut Sicilian thick crust pizza with thin-crust Neapolitan pies and was invented by the city's first pizzeria — the Caradaro Club (per Milwaukee Magazine).

Another quintessential Milwaukee-style pizza joint is Zaffiro's, which is run by a family of Sicilian immigrants, per Thrillist. The outlet recommends sticking with popular Milwaukee toppings here: sausage, mushroom, and onion. Ned's Pizza is another old-school choice for thin-crust gooey pies loaded up with sauce and cheese.

You might not think to head to a coffee shop for pizza, but some of the best pies in the city can be found at Anodyne Coffee Roasting Company (via Visit Milwaukee). The coffee roaster's innovative pizza options include an artichoke and manchego variety and The Beet, which features roasted beets and goat cheese.

Jersey City, New Jersey

Pete Wells recently wrote in The New York Times that the best pizza in New York City might actually be in New Jersey at Razza. He noted that the restaurant is a standout for both its dough which is charred in a wood-fired oven and its locally sourced toppings. Wells isn't alone in celebrating the Jersey City pizzeria; Nathan Myhrvold author of "Modernist Pizza" recently lauded Razza as one of the top two pizza places in the country (via CNN).

But Razza isn't all that Jersey City has to offer, and a visit to Bread and Salt for Roman-style pizza by the slice is in order. Food & Wine says the restaurant's pizza dough is so flavorful that it could be enjoyed with only olive oil and salt on top.

Another highlight is ITA Kitchen, an Italian gastropub that serves up slightly charred pizzas with hearty crusts (per Jersey City Upfront). Meanwhile, Renato's Pizza Master's is a local staple that offers slices that can be enjoyed on the go, as well as a range of classic Italian dishes.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

The City of Brotherly Love may be known for its cheesesteaks, but its pizza selections are nothing to shrug at. According to Food & Wine, Philadelphia actually has a fair bit of history with pizza being home to many Italian immigrants. After all, the first Italian joint in the United States still in existence — Ralph's — opened there in 1900 (via Philly Mag).

If you want to try an old-school classic, head to Santucci's Pizza, a member of the Pizza Hall of Fame known for square pizzas with sauce on top. Another traditional favorite, BYOB Tacconelli's Pizzeria is now run by the family's fifth generation. On the menu, you'll find a tomato pie (sauce and no cheese), a regular pie (sauce and cheese), a white pie (salt, black pepper, cheese, and garlic), or a Margherita (fresh basil and fresh mozzarella), as well as a small list of toppings.

Considering the city's buzzy foodie scene, newer restaurants are home to some of Philly's best pizza. Check out Eeva for wood-fired pies and natural wines. Feeling indecisive? You'll find a little bit of everything at Pizza Jawn, which offers grandma-style pizza, Detroit-style pizza, and round pies — a combination of Neapolitan and New York City styles (per Eater). And if you want to support a good cause, Down North not only cooks up delicious pizzas but also hires formerly incarcerated folks and pays a fair wage.

Old Forge, Pennsylvania

Most pizza lovers are aware of Chicago's deep dish and New York City's thin crust, but an 8,000-person mining town in northeast Pennsylvania is also home to a regional style of pizza. Head to Old Forge near Scranton to sample the town's signature pies, which are cooked in rectangular trays and feature a medium crust (via USA Today). A red version comes with a slightly sweet sauce topped with various cheeses and onions, whereas the white style is a stuffed pizza with no sauce featuring cheese and toppings in a pocket of dough.

While Ghigiarelli's, founded in 1925, is believed to be the original in town, it closed a few years back after the owner tragically disappeared (per NBC). USA Today recommends trying out the regional style at local institution Arcaro & Genell, or else stop by Cafe Rinaldi, a family-run joint famous for Old Forge-style pies.

Los Angeles, California

Tokyo-style Neapolitan pizza was first brought to attention via "Ugly Delicious," but now Americans have a chance to taste the variety stateside at the newly launched Pizzeria Sei in Los Angeles. This particular style of pizza is unique for its dough, which features an indented crust to add an interesting textural experience. The restaurant's owners have big goals: Chef Wiliam Joo says he wants it to be "the best pizzeria in Los Angeles" (per Eater).

Pizzeria Sei has a lot of competition as it works toward pizza dominance. It joins an already vibrant scene in LA, including heavy hitters like Pizzana and Pizzeria Mozza. Pizzana's long list of awards includes a Michelin Bib Gourmand award and a spot on Jonathan Gold's list of Top 101 Restaurants in Los Angeles. Pizzeria Mozza, run by renowned California chef Nancy Silverton, has been a celebrated mainstay in the city since 2006 (via Michelin Guide).

Another highlight is Ospi in Venice Beach, which serves up Roman-style ultra-thin crust pizzas with a California twist, according to Food & Wine. If you're trying to host a small gathering, Speak Cheezy's pizza van is available to cater micro pizza parties with its fermented sourdough pies — though the chef might be busy cooking for celebrities.

Boston, Massachusetts

Back in 2018, Boston's Regina Pizzeria took the crown for the best pizza in the United States according to Trip Advisor's list of the country's top 10 pizzerias. From its opening in 1926, the restaurant has been celebrated for its thin-crust pizzas cooked to perfection in brick ovens, as well as its use of seasonal local ingredients. One Trip Advisor reviewer even wrote that it was reminiscent of pizza in Naples, and they hadn't tasted anything comparable in the U.S.

The pizzeria is one of many infamous pizza joints and Italian restaurants that call the North End neighborhood of Boston, also known as Little Italy, home. If you're hungry, try Ernesto's, where ordering a slice will reward you with a quarter of a pizza, Eater describes. For a grab-and-go dining option, slice joint Rina's Pizzeria & Cafe offers authentic Neapolitan-style slices and build-your-own pizzas at affordable prices.

Galleria Umberto, named an American classic by the James Beard Foundation in 2018, is also well worth the visit. However, the joint only serves lunch so be prepared to wait in line to sample its Sicilian-style slices (via Eater).

Providence, Rhode Island

Providence's Al Forno made waves when it opened in 1980 and introduced grilled pizza to the masses. The buzzy restaurant attracted foodies from all over the globe to sample its Italian cuisine, as well as top chefs like Wylie Dufresne to work in the kitchen (per Boston Globe). Over 40 years later, people still rave about Al Forno's grilled pizza, which is prepared by draping dough over a grill, adding toppings, and then flipping the pizza to finish it on the grill.

Rhode Island's capital city is home to many other delicious pizza spots. According to a 2021 Stacker article, the top-rated pizzeria in the city on Trip Advisor is Providence Coal-Fired Pizza, where you can find — you guessed it — pies cooked up in a coal oven. Another popular option is figidini in downtown Providence, where you can enjoy wood-fired Neapolitan-style pizza. The small restaurant sources many of its ingredients directly from Italy and features an open kitchen.

San Francisco, California

According to Eater, in the not-so-distant past, San Franciscans bemoaned the lack of quality pizza options in their city. Luckily, that is no longer the case. The city's pizza can stand up against the top in the world, as evidenced when Tony's Pizza Napoletana's head chef won Best Pizza Margherita at the World Pizza Cup in Naples.

A recent option is Norcina, which opened in 2021 in the Marina District, offering pies made with the infamous San Francisco sourdough. The dough features a drizzle of olive oil that makes the pizza crust both light and crunchy, Eater reports. Meanwhile, the outlet notes that Tommaso's Ristorante Italiano was a favorite of director Francis Ford Coppola, so you know it must be good. The nearly 90-year-old restaurant features classic Italian pies along with other traditional Italian recipes.

If you're searching for that stereotypical Californian attention to seasonal cuisine, check out tiny Pizzetta 211 in the Richmond District. The menu changes weekly to embrace the best of what's currently growing.