The Best Pizzas in America's Biggest Cities

Here are the top spots for a good pie in the 52 largest cities in the country, including Chicago and New York City.

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New York City: Roberta's

Picking the best pizza in New York is like choosing the most-beautiful beach in the world — it's impossible. The city's pizza offerings range from dollar slices to meticulously wood-fired Neapolitans, with a pie for every occasion. Dive into our dedicated guide or just scout out a table at Roberta’s in Bushwick. The New York-Neapolitan hybrid-style pies creatively combine local ingredients for unique and comparably affordable pies like the chile oil-topped Famous Original, with tomato sauce, mozzarella and caciocavallo cheese.

Los Angeles: Pizzeria Mozza

Pizzeria Mozza is unlike any other pizza joint. Chef Nancy Silverton runs the kitchen using the same techniques that made her La Brea Bakery world-renowned, creating a crust that's the perfect crisp, barely charred vessel for pies with creative toppings like squash blossoms. For those that feel like splurging, pizzas can be topped with black truffles, and the wine cellar has no ceiling. For a full meal, start with a chopped salad and finish with a silky butterscotch budino.

Chicago: Pequod's

Chicago pizza is the stuff of legend and although Gino's East's reputation might have spread nationally with franchised locations, it doesn't come more authentic and storied than Pequod's. The Pequod's legend began in 1970 in Morton Grove, Illinois, with a pan-style caramelized crust pizza. They added a thin crust in 1986, and although a fire at their Chicago location in 2006 set the business back five months, they rebuilt updating the interior, but keeping a neighborhood atmosphere that fits right in with their Lincoln Park community. And that pizza? It's not as deep as some Chi pies, but what it lacks in depth it makes up in the crust, perfectly crisp with an almost-burnt exterior. And they don't skimp on the cheese — there's way too much of it, it's so stringy that it's almost problematic, but also, perfect.

Houston: Pi Pizza

Houston is the most-diverse city in the country, so it only makes sense that their best pizzeria would think beyond just Italian-American classics. What began as a food truck evolved into an '80s rock and roll neighborhood joint with skate boards hanging from the wall and some of the most-innovative pies in the Lone Star State. Toppings like bacon and mac and cheese aren’t all that unique, but who else puts wild Texas venison sausage on pizza? And a soft egg isn't unusual for Neapolitan joints, but you'll never see them scrambled, especially alongside breakfast sausage, potatoes, cheddar cheese, and cream gravy in their AM/PM, proof you don't need it to be on a bagel to eat pizza anytime.

Philadelphia: Square Pie

Tucked just across the river from New Jersey, Philadelphia has many great pies, but none are quite as distinctive as the ones at Square Pie. Chef-Owner Gene Giuffi, a native Brooklynite who’s long called Philadelphia home, prepares namesake square pan pizzas with crisp edges and legions of fans. The plain pie’s always a winner, but the house specialties are clever, including porchetta with garlic, spinach, provolone and cream.

Phoenix: Pizzeria Bianco

Chris Bianco wrote the book on pizza. Well, one of them. Bianco: Pizza, Pasta and Other Food I Like was a huge hit, drawing an invite to Jimmy Kimmel’s show, where Bianco taught Aziz Ansari the fine art of wood-fired pizza. He launched his first operation 30 years ago out of an old corner grocery store and has since expanded to two pizzerias and three other restaurant concepts. The perfection of his margherita earned him a James Beard Foundation Award back in 2003, but he's also pushing the bar with innovative combinations like the Rosa, with Parmigiano Reggiano, Arizona pistachios, onions and rosemary.

San Antonio: Dough Pizzeria Napoletana

Fresh mozzarella made daily, an authentic wood-burning oven from Italy and seasonal pies crafted by a chef with a Culinary Institute of America pedigree all help make Dough stand out in the booming San Antonio restaurant scene. Founded with just 10 employees in 2007, the restaurant now has over a decade under its belt in a space nearly three times the size of the original, plus a new location in Plano. They boast the best all-Italian wine list in the city, with crisp southern whites making an excellent pairing for the spring pie, with spicy sausage, leeks, kale, roasted mushrooms, creamy fontina and house-pulled mozz.

San Diego: Blind Lady Ale House

San Diego is an oasis for beer lovers, and nothing goes better with a pint than a slice. Blind Lady excels at both. One of their founders has a degree in brewing science, another is certified by the Associazione Vera Pizza Napoletana, and the third, well, he's an artist who did an album cover for Blind 182 (and has also studied beer for 20 years). Since they are a brew-pub, there must be bar snacks (Belgian frites, spicy beer nuts), but the pizza is king, from the classic margherita to more experimental options like the house chorizo with poblano chiles, fontina, epazote, and cotija (soyrizo swaps available upon request).

Dallas: Cane Rosso

This locally beloved pizza fired its way into locals’ hearts with just 90 seconds and 900 degrees. Also, house-made burrata and a spinach-artichoke dip in a bread bowl named in honor of former Cowboys coach Jimmy Johnson. But mostly, this place is about the pizza. The Neapolitan recipes were envisioned by owner Jay Jerrior, who fell in love with pizza on his honeymoon to Italy (Don't tell his wife!), then trained under master pizzaiolos and started a slice catering business. It was so successful, it launched a brick-and-mortar space in Dallas's hip Deep Ellum neighborhood, eventually expanding to six locations in the Dallas area (plus outposts in Houston, Austin and Fort Worth).

Austin: Via 313

Between classic New York-style (Home Slice) and Neapolitan (Bufalina), Austin has two of the main pizza bases covered, but the most-craved of them all is Via 313, a gluttonous Midwestern Detroit-style alternate. The four-slice square pies aren't quite Windy City-style casseroles, but three are enough to destroy the biggest appetites (finish all 4 and get ready for a nap). Every pizza has a perfect pillowy crust with just a hint of cheesy caramelization on the outside. And since the only thing better than pepperoni is more pepperoni, the Detroiter has you covered with two styles, one over the cheese and one hiding underneath.

Mesa, Arizona: Venezia's Pizza

Ever wonder what kind of pizza Walter White threw on his roof during Breaking Bad? It came from Arizona (where the show was filmed), but more specifically Venezia's, a family-friendly joint that's consistently voted Best in the Valley. For the best deal go with the New York-style slice of the day (you can't go wrong with the spicy, meaty Italian Stallion on Monday and Wednesday), but aside from the classic big slices they also experiment with a dish designed specifically for the carb-averse and gluten free: zero crust pizza bowls.

New Orleans: Pizza Delicious

Started by a pair of New Yorkers, these phenomenal pies were actually born at a Sunday night alleyway pop-up. They became so successful that they sold 100 pizzas every week until opening their proper restaurant in 2012. Legit Italian meats like prosciutto, speck and pancetta are stand-out toppings, but in addition to serving authentic classics, the duo is not afraid to go wild with a combination of sriracha and pineapple. Bonus points for their homemade cookies.

Washington, D.C.: Timber Pizza

Timber Pizza Co. wouldn't exist without farmers’ markets. First, their local-only approach to ingredients relies heavily on D.C.-area purveyors. Second, they actually got their start serving their “Neapolitan-ish” pies out of a 1967 Chevy C10 at those very same markets. Working with farmers led to unique creations like the Norman, a white pie topped with nectarines, jalapenos, bacon, spicy jam and cilantro. Their unique pizzas earned them such a following that it only took two years for them to graduate to a brick-and-mortar operation, where ovens don't just burn during lunch and dinner: they also serve wood-fired breakfast biscuits and bagels.

San Jose, California: A Slice of NY

When the owner of A Slice of NY couldn't find a decent piece of pizza in San Jose, he took matters into his own hands and went back to his childhood pizza shop in Manhattan to learn the secrets of a perfect New York City pie. He doesn't import NYC water, but otherwise his resulting pie is as close as it gets. Pepperoni is the most-popular and classic cheese is excellent, but they're the only place in the world to find the ASONY Margarita, their own spin on the Italian classic which includes a garlic and olive oil base, pureed Italian plum tomatoes, basil, garlic, Parmesan, and olive oil. The pies taste amazing, but ASONY also prides themselves on treating their employees right: As of July 2017, they became the first South Bay-area worker-owned cooperative.

Detroit: Buddy's

The secret of Detroit-style pizza is out and although it doesn't get the love of New York or Chicago, the Motor City's signature style deserves just as much attention. Buddy's is the innovator, selling square pies since 1946. The city's working-class character is built into the pie — each is cooked in a steel pan that was originally used to hold nuts and bolts at manufacturing plants, resulting in a pizza that resembles thicker Sicilian-style pies. Their pride and joy is the Detroiter, which blends fontinella, Wisconsin brick and Parmesan cheeses with tomato-basil sauce, pepperoni and Buddy's special Sicilian spice blend. And although Buddy's is as old-school as it gets, they're not afraid to change with the times, offering both vegan and gluten-free pizzas that are endorsed by the Tri-City Celiac Support Group.

Atlanta: Amalfi Pizza

You know a pizzeria means business when its ovens must be installed via crane. It took a serious crew to get Amalfi Pizza's two 6000-pound wood-burning ovens into the second-story restaurant, but all that effort would be a waste if they didn't know how to use them. So the operating partners staged at a pair of legendary Napoli pizzerias to perfect their craft. The pies are traditional, sometimes to the point of obscurity, like with their Carnavale pizza formed in the shape of a star with a ricotta-stuffed crust. It might sound like something dreamed up for Instagram, but it's actually a special occasion pie served in Italy during Easter.

Indianapolis: Jockamo

Jockamo's most-popular pie celebrates local native son Kurt Vonnegut. Named for his novel Slaughterhouse Five, it has everything a meat-lover could want: pepperoni, sausage, ham, sliced beef and bacon. The family-friendly pizzeria isn't just for hardcore carnivores: They cater to all tastes, including international crowds with the Bollywood (spicy masala sauce), and Louisiana ex-pats with the Creole (crawfish and etouffee sauce), all curated with the care of an owner who spent 16 years training in another local pizzeria before breaking out on his own.

Seattle: Serious Pie

Sometimes we forget that every pizza maker is actually a baker. Serious Pie started from that mentality, growing out of revered local chef Tom Douglas' Dahlia Bakery. Take an Applewood-fired stone-encased oven, plus that baking mindset and the result is a lightly textured pie with just the proper char, topped with imported and well-chosen ingredients like buffalo mozzarella and sweet fennel sausage. Plus, their dedication to meat, cheese and bread extends beyond just pizza to excellent charcuterie boards.

Denver: Hops & Pie

Colorado has an incredible number of craft beer bars, but only one serves a pizza topped with fried chicken and waffles. Hops & Pie laughs at mere pepperoni pies, coming up with insane creations out of a 100 percent scratch kitchen, where they even make their own sausages and pickles. The dining room looks inspired by a hip thrift store, full of Denverites chomping on those creative signature pies, including a duck confit pizza with cherries, goat cheese, rosemary, caramelized onions, bacon and baby arugula, which is even better paired with the nearly 30 carefully curated craft beer taps.

Tucson, Arizona: Grandma Tony's

Grandma Tony's nearly has a monopoly on Tucson pizza. Their pies, made with brewer's yeast dough and all-natural Italian grande mozzarella cheese, are available not only at their three locations, but also their 1950's-themed diner (Little Anthony's), as well as the Gaslight Theatre and Gaslight Music Hall. In addition to being able to find their pizza just about anywhere, customers seem to want everything when they order - the supreme pie is the hands-down favorite.

Nashville: DeSano

DeSano believes that ingredients make the pie, which is why the kitchen uses barely processed ingredients direct from the Campania region around Naples, Italy, including buffalo mozzarella, San Marzano and Pomodorini tomatoes grown in volcanic soil, Neapolitan olive oil and even an oven made by the revered craftsmen of the Acunto family. They're all ingredients that the owner's great-grandparents grew up eating, except in their most popular pie, the San Gennaro, which uses sausage, caramelized cippolini onions and hard-to-find spicy South African peppadew peppers.

Fort Worth: Pizza Snob

If you're claiming to be a snob, you’d better have chops to back it up. Pizza Snob has the cred thanks to a food science PhD with a degree from the NY Culinary School who scoured the globe for the very best ingredients. It's led to a dough made in-house that proofs for 72 hours to create a golden, buttery textured canvas for ingredients like beer-glazed onions, candied jalapenos and baby portabella mushrooms sautéed in red wine. And maybe the best part? Pies are ready in two minutes or less.

Portland: Scottie's Pizza Parlor

Not many pizza parlors hold a world record. Inspired by a 99-cheese pizza in the 2014 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie, Scottie’s went two better with 101. The stunt pie was only available for a week, but Scottie's is about more than just clever gimmicks. They pay homage to old-school pizzerias with a collection of vintage pizza boxes from around the world, and honor New York with pies inspired by the owner's Brooklyn childhood. Their most-popular pizza is the DeFino, a square pizza named after the owner's grandmother, topped with tomato sauce over fresh mozzarella, then finished with fresh basil, pecorino Romano and garlic-infused olive oil. In addition to the pizza, they're also proud of their employees, each of whom earns a living wage of at least $15 per hour.

Memphis: Aldo's Pizza Pies

Memphis goes whole hog on pork, with no food group untouched by slow-smoked swine. Aldo's does the city proud with a pie topped with pulled pork, barbecue sauce, mozz, red onion and a side of cole slaw, for good measure. Aside from ’cue-based pies, locals love the Willie, Cheech and Bob, which goes international with jerk chicken and mango chutney. Toppings are key, but the real star is the dough, which is made with a 50/50 mix of New York and Naples flours blending the best of both worlds.

Milwaukee: Pizza Man

Started nearly 50 years ago as a way to cure the late-night munchies (with delivery until 4 a.m.!), Pizza Man's built itself into an institution that was nearly derailed by a fire in 2010, but revived by a new group of investors honoring the business' legacy. The most-popular order is the Pizza Man Special, a supreme pie with locally processed Uncle Vinny's sausage and a small garden's worth of veggies all on the standard cracker-thin crust. Specialty pies feature oddball ingredients like cream cheese and giardiniera, but no matter what the order, it should be accompanied by a glass of wine. Pizza Man offers more than 100 bottles, each available by the glass.

Columbus, Ohio: Rubino's

Rubino's is 1954, inside and out. The cash-only Columbus institution doesn't have a computer in sight — they write every order on paper and even have a rotary phone. The service is also old-school, with so many 3rd- and 4th-generation customers that the typical greeting includes a friendly insult. The regulars wouldn't have it any other way: It's worth some friendly ribbing for such a delicious pizza. The crust is as thin as it gets, with just a sprinkling of cheese so as not to hide the flavor of the sauce, which they simmer for four hours.

Fresno, California: Mike's Pizzeria Lounge

Generations-old techniques just seem to make pizzas taste better, so Mike's — which has been at it for almost 60 years — is pretty superlative. The restaurant is a Fresno destination for traditional pizzas, not too thick, not too thin and just what their loyal fan base likes. The secret is simply fresh herbs and quality tomatoes, served in an old school dining room crossed with a sports bar lounge that looks straight out of Goodfellas. It might not sound like anything too complicated, but that simplicity helps them earn regular nods as the best pizza in the valley.

Tulsa, Oklahoma: Andolini's Pizzeria

The owner of Andolini's isn't some pizza newbie — he started his first pizzeria six months out of college, then trained at the International School of Pizza and now partners with his brother on a pizza empire that's expanded all over Oklahoma thanks to an obsession with cornering the market on nearly every pizza style. “Tulsa-style” practices West Coast freshness combined with an East Coast process in a 550-degree oven; they go Napoletana in a 900-degree oven; they rock an electric oven for Roman style; and they honor New York City with both street slices and an homage to Brooklyn classic Di Fara.

El Paso, Texas: Grimaldi's

Known throughout the country for its signature coal-burning ovens, Grimaldi's began under the Brooklyn Bridge in 1990. The restaurant has been a mainstay in El Paso since opening in 2014. That coal oven weighs in at 24 tons, burning 100 pounds of coal per day at 1200 degrees to create a crust that's smokier and crispier than its wood-fired counterparts. The menu stays fairly traditional — pepperoni is the most popular — but for a change of pace, fans go with their garlic white pizza, topped with hand-sliced pizza and mozzarella and a drizzle of olive oil.

Wichita, Kansas: Picasso's Pizzeria

Although New York-style pizza has spread all over the world, there are still a few pizza deserts out there. Wichita was one, until the owner of Picasso's stepped up and filled the Manhattan-shaped hole in the city's culinary landscape with 26-inch pies served by the slice. They call their signature pizzas “slices of art,” with unique combinations like the Kansan, with spinach, blue cheese, red onion and sunflower seeds. In addition to the pizzas, they also take their beer seriously, with 10 brews on tap and more than 110 bottles and cans.

Charlotte: Inizio Pizza Napoletana

Inizio in Charlotte respects Neapolitan tradition by using only 00 flour, San Marzano tomatoes and real buffalo milk mozzarella, all cooked in a wood-burning oven in 90 seconds or less. But the diavola is in the details. The owner spent 15 years perfecting his process in a backyard oven, traveling far and wide studying dough before opening his restaurant, in March of 2016. Since it has such a classic philosophy, you can't go wrong with a margherita, but those looking for something different should experiment with their pistachio pie, a pesto and rosemary creation that's become a hit on social media.

Oklahoma City: Empire Slice House

Empire Slice House describes itself as a pizza baby conceived by David Bowie and Frank Sinatra, and although it may be hard to taste Old Blue Eyes and Starman in the pies, the pizzaiolos are definitely doing things their way. Until they opened, OKC was missing a by-the-slice joint, so Empire Slice House filled that gap, taking over an old laundromat in the up-and-coming Plaza District to serve big NY-style slices named after local heroes (Brussell Westbrook) and musical icons like Wu-Tang rapper Ghostface Killah, who gives his name to a popular pie topped with pepperoni, poblano, BBQ chips and of course, ghost pepper marinara.

Albuquerque, New Mexico: Amore Neapolitan Pizzeria

The owner of Amore Neapolitan Pizzeria spent three years living in Naples where he met his wife. Together, they brought their shared love of pizza to New Mexico, opening a true family restaurant that honors Italian tradition while incorporating local flavors. His wife, mother and two sons all chip in, cooking with local ingredients in two locations – one upscale and one in a shipping container park. You can't go wrong with one of their nine San Marzano tomato-sauced pizza rosse, but the New Mexico pies are what make them really stand out, with blue corn as well as the iconic red and green chiles.

Long Beach, California: Michael's Pizzeria

Spun off of beloved Italian fine-dining spot Michael's on Naples, the two locations of this popular pizzeria crank out wood-fired pies that draw inspiration from Naples, but don't follow all the rules. Instead of the typical San Marzano tomatoes, they go local, drawing from California's rich produce bounty. They also offer a selection of pastas and even burgers, but the pizza is naturally the draw, especially the Margherita. It's so popular that it's inspired Margherita Mondays, when every pizza order comes with a second pie for free.

Colorado Springs, Colorado: Pizzeria Rustica

Take a historic building from 1889 (the state's very first capitol), a reverence for the slow-food movement, a love of craft beer and wine and a commitment to the environment, and you'll get Pizzeria Rustica. Adapting Neapolitan style to the altitude took some work, but mixing in local gluten and Italian Ischian yeast with classic Caputo 00 flour makes for a crust that honors tradition while keeping things local. The namesake pie features a garlic ricotta pocket baked into the crust, and toppings of prosciutto, arugula, crushed San Marzanos, house-made mozzarella and parmesan, but they also offer toppings you'll almost never see elsewhere, including house-cured bresaola.

Minneapolis: Young Joni

Chef Ann Kim of Young Joni has racked up back-to-back James Beard nominations for a fine dining approach to pizza that's still welcoming and accessible… if you can score a reservation. The vibe is lively, fueled by craft cocktails in a speakeasy atmosphere, and the wood-fired pies aren't afraid to think outside the Neapolitan box with ingredients like French feta, sweet potatoes and Spanish chorizo. Their most-popular is something you won't find anywhere else: a take on Korean barbecue topped with kalbi-marinated short ribs, mozzarella, scallions and arugula in a spicy chile-sesame vinaigrette.

Boston: Ciao Pizza and Pasta

Boston's best pizza isn't technically in Boston. Just a few minutes away in Chelsea, Ciao has earned a huge following and critical acclaim for its Neapolitan-style pizzas. There are only eight seats, but their popularity has led to a second location focusing on their equally popular handcrafted pasta. The pies cook in an 800-degree oven, and the owner rings an old-fashioned dinner bell for every order. You can't go wrong with their Uovo pizza, featuring roasted onions, potatoes, bacon, mozzarella and a soft egg, but be sure to save room for dessert pizza, coated in Nutella.

San Francisco: Tony's Pizza Napoletana

Twelve-time World Pizza Champion Tony Gemignani makes two appearances on this list because he literally wrote the book on pizza, publishing a guide that's become required reading for any pizza professional. His eponymous San Francisco joint recently scored a Michelin Guide recommendation for a menu featuring not just award-winning pies of nearly every style, but also house specials like fried dough balls — called coccoli — topped with prosciutto and burrata or spicy 'nduja salami. Also don't miss the Meatballs Gigante, a meaty blend of veal, pork and beef that's limited to 25 orders per day.

Durham, North Carolina: Lilly's Pizza

Started in 1994 by a group of punk rock musicians who wanted to bring some â damn good pizzaâ to Raleigh, Lilly's developed such a following that itâ s expanded to a second location, in downtown Durham. True to the ownersâ punk roots, they support the arts by decking the walls with a rotating array of affordable paintings and further support their community with local produce from a trio of North Carolina suppliers (Melvin's Garden, Blue Sky Farms and Touch of Green). Although they do offer plenty of vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options, the menu isn't totally hippied-out: The most-popular order is actually a bacon-topped sweet barbecue chicken pie.

Oakland, California: A16

A16 all revolves around its oven. It was imported from the Naples region, crafted by legendary artisan Stefano Ferrera. They were one of the first pizzerias in the country to be certified by the AVPN (Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana), an international non-profit dedicated to preserving old-world pizza-making techniques. That means you'll find San Marzano tomato sauce, fior di latte mozzarella and the freshest local basil, from Mariquita Farms. Although they're known for their classic margherita, you'll also find a unique fried pizza called the montanara topped with smoked mozzarella, as well as a calzone-like stuffed pie called the racchetta. Also, don't miss the James Beard Foundation Award-winning wine list.

Omaha, Nebraska: Orsi's

Omaha's Little Italy may have faded over the years, but Orsi's still flies the green, white and red flag proudly. It started as a wood-fired bread bakery, then converted to gas and started making pizzas for friends in 1960, eventually selling the prized pies to customers. Fans love the fresh-baked pies in classic combos and less-common creations like the Goudarooni, a double-crusted pizza featuring hamburger, broccoli, spinach, and potatoes. Not in the mood for a pizza? They've still got you covered with a full deli.

Baltimore: HomeSlyce

An offshoot of Baltimore's first Turkish restaurant, HomeSlyce was dreamed up when its owner realized the similarities between his native cuisine and pizza, specifically in the boat-shaped crust of pide pastries. The restaurant makes Italian-style pizzas, but this isn't your typical slice joint: Their Classic is anything but traditional, topped with goat cheese, walnuts, eggplant, spinach, caramelized onions and roasted peppers, but to really experience what makes them special, try the Spice featuring Middle Eastern spicy soujuk sausage.

Virginia Beach, Virginia: Windy City Pizza

Two Chicago transplants brought a taste of home to the Chesapeake Bay when they opened Windy City Pizza. This spot offers both deep-dish and thin-crust styles made with ingredients shipped from Chicago, naturally. To create the gaping deep-dish pizza, the chefs use a staggering pound and a half of cheese, plus fresh Italian sausage baked right into the pie.

Louisville, Kentucky: Wick€™s Pizza

This lively pub and bar specializes bubbling, well-topped pies with satisfyingly thick, chewy crusts. Ranging in size from 10 to 18 inches, the Big Wick is a specialty, and comes with a veritable truckload of toppings. On the roster: Italian sausage, ground beef, pepperoni, tomatoes, black olives, mushrooms, green peppers and more.

Tampa, Florida: Eddie & Sam's

Many New Yorkers believe that the secret to an authentic pizza is the water used for its dough. Eddie & Sam agree, importing H20 from the Catskill Mountains all the way to Tampa. They serve pies by the slice with all the hustle and bustle of a true New York joint, so the natural first order is the cheese, but adventurous eaters know to go deeper into the menu with something you'll only find in Tampa – a lasagna pizza topped with ricotta, ground beef, mozzarell, and Parmigiana cheese.

Irvine, California: Square One Pizza Cafe

Ever since their first date, the owners behind Square One dreamed of running their own pizzeria. After a journey through the restaurant world — taking jobs in critically lauded fine dining establishments and as wine buyers to learn the business — they opened Square One, with the mission of serving amazing pizza and setting an example as one of the few family-operated restaurants in Irvine. Their chef pedigree and creativity comes out in an array of scratch-made pastas and appetizers like Bolognese fries, but especially so in the their chef's specialty pizza, which rotates daily and includes ingredients ranging from braised short ribs to homemade pork carnitas.

Miami: Andiamo

Before it was cool to operate out of older refurnished buildings, Andiamo was there, serving brick oven pizzas from a converted tire and service shop that's also a historical landmark. They've been at it since 2001, honoring the not-too-thick, not-too-thin philosophy of classic Northeastern pizza joints. They don't sell slices (a 10-inch personal is as close as it gets), but still do volume: They average 500 to 600 pies a day. All the classics make appearances on the menu, as well as unlikely ingredients like tuna and New Haven-style chopped clams. But the ultimate topping might just be their homemade meatballs.

Jacksonville, Florida: V Pizza

Combine an old paint store, a love of Neapolitan pizzas and three Jacksonville natives, and you get V Pizza, which took over an industrial-looking space that reminded the owners of Italy and introduced their hometown to the joys of buffalo mozzarella and dough made from finely textured 00 flour. They pride themselves on their margherita, but aren't afraid to go outside the box with weekly specials like a Philly cheesesteak pie (made with rib roasts cooked for hours and genuine Cheez Whiz) or the beloved Mac Attack, with cavatappi noodles in gouda and parmesan cream sauce. It's earned them lines out the door, with a loyal following that's helped build a mini empire of five locations across Florida.

Cleveland: Crust

Looking for a pizza that weighs 12 pounds? You'll find one at Crust, where they're known for a 32-by-32 inch pizza with massive 15-inch slices sold for only $4.50. The dough is brushed with garlic oil and dusted with Pecorino cheese and kosher salt to ensure that no one throws away the crust at the end (They recommend a side of marinara for dipping!). The atmosphere is pure Cleveland, with a mix of patrons, including a ton of kids, who naturally love that gigantic pie.

Las Vegas: Pizza Rock

You know a pizza place means business when its owner is a 12-time World Pizza Champion. Tony Gemignani has built an empire, with the Las Vegas location as one of the crown jewels, complete with nine ovens specifically calibrated to regional styles from California to Sicily. If you must choose one, go with the rarest, the Sausage & Stout, featuring stout beer in the dough, hand-pulled mozzarella, caramelized onions, beer salt, a stout reduction, fontina and house fennel sausage. Better act quick though: They only make 23 per day.

Sacramento, California: Roma II Pizzeria

Anyone in the restaurant industry will tell you that staying in business for 30 years is a real accomplishment. Roma II Pizzeria just had their diamond anniversary, operated the entire time by a female Italian owner straight from Puglia. She keeps it old-school, playing Dean Martin and Neapolitan ballads in the background while cooking the red sauce herself. The style is a hybrid, not deep dish but not cracker thin, with an aged crust that appeals to a local blue collar crowd, but she also plays with less-common ingredients like duck and figs. Still after all these years, Roma strives to maintain a neighborhood atmosphere, with regulars pulling up a bar stool for a beer or glass of wine to pair with their now legendary pizzas and Southern Italian-style pastas.

Corpus Christi, Texas: Authentic New York Pizza

The Texas coastline is a world away from the five boroughs of New York City, but it doesn't have to taste that way. Authentic New York Pizza is the real deal, a true Mom-and-Pop spot from a New Yorker who spent more than 30 years working in the city's best kitchens before flying south to Corpus Christi. It's a family-friendly establishment, so much so that you'll find a man blowing up balloon animals for the kids, but that doesn't mean their slices are kids’ stuff. The Brooklyn Bomber would make any grown man wish for a second stomach, thanks to a buffet of typical veggies and meats plus a quartet of smoked barbecue (brisket, turkey, sausage and bacon) that weighs in at a total of 15 pounds.