All of the Pizza: A Regional Pizza Style Guide

Whether you're trekking through the wilds of New York, Chicago, New Haven or points beyond, here's a handy guide to regional pizza styles to help you identify great pizzas in their native habitat. 

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Photo By: Deidre Schoo

Photo By: Dimo Raychev

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What: Small, wood-fired-oven pies (about 10 inches) with a thin, chewy, flexible crust that ends in a puffy, blistered rim that pizza nerds call the "cornicione." Toppings such as crushed tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and basil are applied with a light hand. Cooked at super-hot temperatures, these pies are done in minutes. Softer and moister than other styles. Eat with knife and fork.


Where: Pizzeria Bianco (Phoenix); Una Pizza Napoletana (San Francisco); Motorino (New York); Keste (New York); Spacca Napoli (Chicago); Cane Rosso (Dallas)

Photo courtesy of Motorino

New York-Neapolitan

What: Coal-oven pies, similar to Neapolitan — light on sauce, light on cheese (fresh mozzarella) — but larger in diameter, with a thinner, crispier crust that gets sooty and charred on the bottom and only slightly raised at the edges. Oil is added to the dough for tenderness, sugar to aid browning. Seldom found outside New York City.


Where: Totonno's (Brooklyn); Lombardi's (New York); Juliana's (Brooklyn); John's Pizzeria (New York); Arturo's (New York)

Photo courtesy of Lombardi's

New York

What: The quintessential New York slice. Gas-oven pies blanketed in cheese (low-moisture mozzarella) nearly to the edge. Similar dough to New York-Neapolitan. Lower temperatures and longer cook times yield a golden crust that is crispy and chewy, and sturdy enough to be eaten by the slice out of hand. 


Where: Best Pizza (Brooklyn); Joe's Pizza (New York); Di Fara (Brooklyn); Sal & Carmine's (New York); Bleecker Street Pizza (New York); Apizza Scholls (Portland, Ore.)

Photo courtesy of Di Fara

New Haven

What: Coal-oven pizza referred to locally as "apizza." Oblong shape, with a thinner, more heavily charred crust than the New York coal-oven style. New Haven pies are topped with marinara and dusted with pecorino; mozzarella must be requested as a topping. Drier and less melty than New York styles.


Where: Sally's (New Haven, Conn.); Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana (New Haven, Conn.); Modern Apizza (New Haven, Conn.); Zuppardi's (West Haven, Conn.); Pete's New Haven-Style Apizza (Washington, D.C.); Nick’s New Haven Style Pizzeria and Bar (Boca Raton, Fla.)

Photo courtesy of Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana


What: A thick-crusted, rectangular pie descended from the bakeries (not the pizzerias) of Sicily. Baked in well-oiled sheet trays, which lend a fried quality to the bottom of the crust. Bready, 1-inch-thick slabs are topped with garlicky tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese. Sold as square slices.


Where: L&B Spumoni Gardens (Brooklyn); New Park Pizza (Brooklyn); Rizzo's (Queens, N.Y.); D'Amato's Bakery (Chicago); DiPrima Dolci (Portland, Ore.)

Photo courtesy of L&B Spumoni Gardens


What: The cheesiest pizza on the planet. The flaky, buttery, biscuit-like crust is strong and thick enough to house a massive layer of molten mozzarella. Chunky tomato sauce is ladled over the top. Baked in deep, round pans for 30 to 40 minutes.


Where: Pizano's (Chicago); Lou Malnati's (Chicago); Pequod's (Chicago); Burt's Place (Chicago); The Art of Pizza (Chicago); Delfino's (Seattle); Pi Pizzeria (St. Louis)

Photo courtesy of Pizano's


What: A cross between Chicago deep-dish and Sicilian styles. Baked in square steel pans. The thick crust is enriched with lard or another fat, and bakes up chewy and deeply caramelized at the edges — Detroit pies are often baked twice to maximize browning. As in Chicago, the sauce comes last.


Where: Buddy's Pizza (Detroit); Niki's Pizza (Detroit); Loui's Pizza (Hazel Park, Mich.); Cloverleaf Pizza (Macomb, Mich.); Detroit-Style Pizza Company (St. Clair Shores, Mich.); Tony's Pizza Napoletana (San Francisco); Via 313 (Austin)

Photo courtesy of Buddy's Pizza

St. Louis

What: Thin, unleavened cracker crust topped with Provel (a gooey processed fusion of cheddar, mozzarella and provolone). Generally loaded with toppings right to the edge — so weighed down, in fact, that these circular pies must be cut into squares, known as tavern cut or party cut.


Where: Imo's (St. Louis); Speedy Romeo (Brooklyn) 

Photo courtesy of Imo's

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