Best pizza places in America

Pizza should be its own food group. There are so many different types and flavors, from thin crust to deep dish. The pizzerias on this list are known for making some of the best pizza in the country. Be prepared to drool!

Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana, New Haven

Frank Pepe, originally from the Italian town of Maiori, came to America in 1909 when he was just 16 years old. He opened a bakery in 1925 in New Haven, and 12 years later, expanded it to a pizzeria.

Today, his grandson Gary Bimonte runs Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana, widely known as the best pizza joint in New Haven (and, according to The Daily Meal, the best pizza place in the country). The family has expanded their pizzeria to eight locations, all in the Northeast.

They still use the same pizza dough recipe after over 90 years, and their sausage recipe is 45 years old. But they're best known for their clam pie, made from fresh littleneck clams, garlic, olive oil, and Parmesan cheese.

When asked why people still line up to get pizza there, Bimonte told Eater, "We offer the best product, the best-quality product we can — because that's the way my grandfather did it. We don't cut any corners."

Di Fara, Brooklyn

To get to Di Fara Pizza, you have to travel deep into Brooklyn, changing trains at least twice, and then wait, possibly for hours, while owner Domenico DeMarco painstakingly makes each pizza himself. But it's well worth the wait, and the high price tag (it's $5 for a plain slice of cheese and $30 a pie).

DeMarco opened Di Fara in 1965, and has been making each pie by hand ever since. He uses only the freshest ingredients, including tomatoes, mozzarella, and Parmesan cheese shipped in from Italy.

DeMarco told The New York Times, "Nobody taught me to make the pizza. You gotta pick it up for yourself. All of these 40 years, I keep experimenting."

Pizzeria Bianco, Phoenix

You're probably scratching your head right about now, wondering if one of the best pizzerias in the country could really be in Phoenix. The answer is a resounding yes.

Chris Bianco, a Bronx transplant, opened his pizzeria in 1987, to the delight of the locals. Bianco won the regional James Beard Award in 2003 for his misshapen, Italian inspired pies topped with smoked cheese and other delectable ingredients. By 2006, you had to wait over an hour to get a taste of Bianco's legendary pizza. There was no take out and no reservations allowed.

Bianco has since opened four other locations, all in Arizona, and all worth visiting. Now you don't have to wait for hours. Unfortunately, your pizza won't be made by Bianco himself, but it will still be better than pretty much any other pie you can get your hands on. Especially in Arizona.

Pizzeria Mozza, Los Angeles

In 2006, Nancy Silverton planned to open a restaurant in LA, and the space she found happened to have a pizzeria attached to it. So she added a pizzeria to her plans. Within months, Pizzeria Mozza had become wildly popular. It's now an LA staple, and has even been featured on SNL.

Silverton, a former pastry chef, is known for her incredible dough. She lets the dough, which is denser than typical Italian pizza dough, sit for 36 hours before baking it in an Italian oven at 700 degrees for four minutes. The result is an airy, chewy, and bubbly pizza crust. She tops it with ingredients like squash blossoms and fennel sausage.

If you go to Pizzeria Mozza, try to save room for dessert. Silverton's butterscotch pudding is supposed to be amazing, too.

Lou Malnati's Pizzeria, Chicago

Lou Malnati's father, Rudy Malnati Sr., played a part in the invention of deep dish pizza, and his son Lou followed in his footsteps, opening his now famous Chicago pizzeria in Lincolnwood in 1971.

The deep dish pizza here has a thick, deep crust. You can order it in a number of varieties, including gluten-free and the much loved butter crust. The crust is topped with a mixture of mozzarella, Romano, and cheddar cheese, covered with toppings, and then topped with Malnati's sauce, a chunky, sweet tomato sauce.

There are now over 30 locations throughout the Chicago area, and if you don't live in the area, you can even get a Lou Malnati pizza delivered to you anywhere in the U.S.

Al Forno, Providence

Al Forno, the birthplace of grilled pizza, was opened by husband and wife, Johanne Killeen and George Germon, in 1980. They initially wanted to keep it a lunch-only restaurant so they could work on their art for the rest of the day. Alas, it was not to be. The restaurant soon became famous for their grilled pizza, and they switched to serving dinner soon thereafter.

Supposedly Germon got the idea to make grilled pizza after hearing someone rave about the grilled pizza he'd eaten in Florence. The idea of grilled pizza stuck with Germon (even though the storyteller had actually meant to say "wood-fired pizza"), and when he and Killeen experimented with putting pizza on the grill, they loved the results — a crisp, chewy crust with grill marks.

Germon told Eater, "When the crust explodes and the inside is pully and chewy. There's a real magic."

Lucali, Brooklyn

Mark Iacono is one of the more unlikely pizzeria owners on this list. He's never even been to Italy. He opened Lucali in Brooklyn in 2006. At the time, he'd never made a pizza. Unlike most pizza restaurants, Lucali offers upscale ambiance. In fact, men come here to propose, and Jay Z and Beyonce skipped the Grammys to go here in 2012.

At Lucali, the pizza comes by the pie only. Iacono makes the pies by hand, spreads tomato sauce on top, and then rhythmically adds two types of mozzarella — low moisture and buffalo mozzarella. After sliding the pie out of the oven, he tops it with a liberal serving of basil.

Roberta's, Brooklyn

Roberta's, opened in 2008 in Bushwick, is a clear contrast to Lucali's. You won't find cloth napkins or comfortable seating here. What you will find is an incredible pizza. Over the years, it's grown from a mere warehouse that served amazing pizza to an entire block compound, complete with its own garden and bakery. They've expanded their menu to include more than just pizza, but the pizza still brings in customers from all walks of life.  

Their Bee Sting is their most famous pizza. Its slightly charred Italian-style crust is topped with tomato, mozzarella, sopressata, chili, and honey. Pull up a chair next to the hipsters and hobos and order one for yourself.

Buddy's Pizza, Detroit

Have you ever heard of Detroit style pizza? It's kind of like New York Style Sicilian — square, and with thick crust. But the pizzas here are smaller, so there are more corner pieces to enjoy. One of the best places to grab a slice is Buddy's Pizza in Detroit.

The original Buddy's opened as, of all things, a speakeasy, in the 1930s. They added pizza to their menu in 1946 and have been serving delicious Detroit style pies ever since. If you're not into square pizza, you can order thin crust here, too. The toppings are mainly meat, but you can also go healthy with a gluten-free crust and toppings like kale and artichoke.

Unlike a lot of the more trendy pizzerias, the pizza here is cheap (it's $10 for a small cheese pizza) and the atmosphere exudes Midwestern warmth.

Post Office Pies, Birmingham

In the same space in Birmingham where postal workers once sold stamps, you can now watch pizza dough being made and gobble down a delicious Italian style pie.  Post Office Pies was opened in 2014 by John Hall, an Alabama native who had spent time in New York and was inspired to open a New York style pizzeria in his home state.

They keep their menu simple so they can focus on what they do best — make pizza. Hall told Pizza Today, "We have a small menu and there's no smoke and mirrors. All of the hard work we put into the pizza, we want to showcase that."

They make everything from scratch, including some of their cheeses, and peel thousands of cherry tomatoes a day. Their focus on making a limited variety of items well has definitely paid off — they've already opened another location in Tuscaloosa.