From $180,000 pizza trucks to deep-fried crusts, here’s a roundup of openings, innovations and trends in the world of sauce, cheese and dough.
Best New Pizza Places in the West
Ciccio; Yountville, CA
Winemaker-turned-restaurateur Frank Altamura uses ingredients from his nearby Napa ranch—tomatoes for sauce, pork for sausages—to make wood-fired pizzas. The wine list is all local and includes Altamura’s stellar Sangiovese. 6770 Washington St.; ciccionapavalley.com.
Redd Wood; Yountville, CA
Richard Reddington, who runs the elegant Redd down the street, goes casual at this industrial-chic Napa trattoria. The focus is on salumi, antipasti, well-priced wines and rustic pizzas with crispy, ultra-thin crusts. “It’s a place for an impromptu meal or a reprieve from wine tasting,” says Reddington. 6755 Washington St.; redd-wood.com.
Del Popolo, San Francisco
Jon Darsky, a former pizzaiolo at San Francisco’s excellent Flour & Water, has repurposed a 20-foot shipping container to create his impressive mobile pizza restaurant. The setup includes a handmade wood-burning oven from Naples that’s protected with massive air bags during transit. Various locations; delpopolosf.com.
Casey’s Pizza Truck, San Francisco
East Coast transplant Casey Crynes was making pizza on the street, using a modified 18-inch Weber grill, before outfitting a former laundry truck with a gas-fueled oven last year. His crust, a recipe two years in the making, gets perfectly crispy after four minutes in the 700-degree oven. Various locations; caseyspizzas.com.
Stella Rossa; Santa Monica, CA
Mathematician-turned-chef Jeff Mahin tested 30 dough recipes before he settled on his salty, puffy crust. He’s no traditionalist, topping his pies with purple kale, chèvre and fennel. 2000 Main St.; stellarossapizzabar.com.
800 Degrees, Los Angeles
Oven and Shaker; Portland, OR
Pizza and cocktails get equal thought at this serious pizza bar. The Neapolitan-style pies pair with cocktails in three categories: Fresh, Dry and Strong. 1134 NW Everett St.; ovenandshaker.com.
Best New Pizza Places in the South
Garage Bar; Louisville, KY
Chef Michael Paley, owner of local favorite Proof on Main, serves Italian-meets-Southern pizzas—like Margherita topped with country ham—inside a renovated auto-repair garage. 700 E. Market St.; garageonmarket.com.
The Backspace, Austin
The wood-burning oven heats to 1,000 degrees, producing a super-blistered crust at this spot behind Parkside restaurant. The chefs spent months developing a special dough to stand up to the heat. 507 San Jacinto Blvd.; thebackspace-austin.com.
Harry’s Pizzeria, Miami
Chef Michael Schwartz has always been great with a wood-burning oven; now he’s making pizzas in one at his new Design District outpost. His go-to cheese is Trugole, which melts like mozzarella but is more stretchy and gooey. 3918 N. Miami Ave.; harryspizzeria.com.
Best New Pizza Places in the Midwest
Bar Toma, Chicago
Chef Tony Mantuano lets his dough rise for 48 hours, which he says makes it lighter. Unusual toppings include goat cheese and dates. 110 E. Pearson St.; bartomachicago.com.
Mani Osteria; Ann Arbor, MI
Adam Baru worked under restaurateur Danny Meyer before returning to his hometown to open his first restaurant. Wood-fired ovens turn out pies like the Farmers’ Market, loaded with local vegetables. 341 E. Liberty St.; maniosteria.com.
Coming Soon: Pastaria by Niche, St. Louis
Gerard Craft spent time in Italy before opening this new pizza-and-pasta spot. Aspiring pizzaiolos can also buy his pizza flour. 7734 Forsyth Blvd.; pastariastl.com.
Best New Pizza Places in New York City
Midwestern-Style Pizza in NYC: Nicoletta
New York pizzerias love to tout their Italian bonafides, but chef Michael White’s new restaurant references a far less famous pizza destination: Wisconsin. White worked at Domenico’s in Beloit as a teenager and says the pies at his soon-to-open Nicoletta will resemble the crisp-crusted versions he ate there. “There won’t be any need to fold over the slice, like you do with floppy New York–style pizza,” says White. Even the mozzarella will be from Wisconsin. “We’re all trying to capture those childhood tastes, right? I’m chasing the pizza of my youth.” 160 E. Second Ave.; nicolettanyc.com
Though it sounds like an abomination, montanara, or fried pizza, is a Neapolitan tradition. The dough is deep-fried, then topped and baked, adding a depth of flavor. Last year, Giulio Adriani introduced New Yorkers to the delicacy at Brooklyn’s Forcella; he’s since opened a Manhattan location. 334 Bowery; forcellaeatery.com.
Don Antonio by Starita
Roberto Caporuscio, of New York’s Kesté, has partnered with his mentor, Antonio Starita, a third-generation Italian pizzaiolo. Their pizzeria serves 50 different pies—including fried montanara. 309 W. 50th St.; donantoniopizza.com.
The first US location of an Italian chain has three ovens—a wood one for Napoletana, a convection one for Roman-style pizza and a brick one for other styles. It will also be home to New York’s first branch of Scuola Italiana Pizzaioli, Italy’s famed pizza school. 48 E. 12th St.; ribaltapizzarestaurant.com.
Hard to believe, but it can be tough to find good Italian food in and around Little Italy. No more: Rubirosa, run by Angelo “AJ” Pappalardo, specializes in a thin-crusted pie that dates back to a 51-year-old family recipe from Staten Island. The Pappalardos also added a gluten-free pizza dough to the menu. 235 Mulberry St.; rubirosanyc.com.
The old floors of this Brooklyn pizzeria couldn’t handle the weight of the 4,000-pound pizza oven that owner Luca Arrigoni had ordered, so he hired a crane to lift it three stories over the building and into the backyard. Arrigoni then built walls around the hearth, where he now makes the Neapolitan-style pies he mastered at Kesté. 298 Atlantic Ave.; sottocasanyc.com.
Seattle espresso-and-pizza-empire builder Mike McConnell just opened branches of his Caffé Vita espresso bar and Via Tribunali pizzeria in New York City. The Neapolitan-style pizzas have puffy crusts that cook in just 45 seconds in an oven made with imported bricks—from Naples, of course. The house specialty is a stuffed pizza: dough wrapped around sausage, mozzarella, smoked provolone, spinach, cherry tomatoes and broccoli rabe. 122 Ludlow St.; viatribunali.net.
Coming Soon: Franny’s
This Brooklyn favorite will move to a new, larger home nearby this fall, which will also offer lunch and takeout. This will hopefully cut down on the two-hour waits for the featherlight pizzas. 348 Flatbush Ave.; frannysbrooklyn.com.
Global Pizza Hit List
Jon Rimmerman, the founder of wine purveyor Garagiste.com, travels the world looking for unusual bottles for his customers—and mind-blowing pizzas for himself. Here, some of the pizza obsessive’s favorites:
Da Michele, Naples
“A perfect Margherita in the spot where, arguably, pizza was born.” damichele.net.
Franco Manca, London
“Local ingredients and attention to detail are on par with Brooklyn’s Franny’s.” francomanca.co.uk.
La Briciola, Paris
A perfectly thin, blistered crust. “Don’t ask for directions; locals want to keep it for themselves and will deny it exists,” he says. 64 Rue Charlot, 3rd arr.
La Mezzetta, Buenos Aires
“A torrent of bubbling cheese over a thick crust with hardly any sauce.” Avenida Alvarez Thomas 1321.
“I came here with a family from Rome, and it was so good, they actually cried.” 2-7-10 Kamimeguro, Meguro-ku.
12 New Pizza Classics
The artisanal pizza boom has spread from coast to coast. Below, a list of our favorites, many run by star chefs who have become pizza fanatics themselves.
New York City