Growing up in New York in the 80’s, pizza had a name; Ray, Ben or John. It was the budding of NYC’s reputation as the pizza capital of the world, and it was really good pizza. Flash forward to 2018, and the reputation still holds strong, but the landscape has changed significantly. Ask any New Yorker where to get the best pizza, and you’ll get a different answer from every one of them. That’s why, when I need to know where to go, I ask Cozy.
Most people know Cozy from Cozys Cuts for Kids the only place in NYC to get your kid’s hair cut -including the offspring of New York’s most famous celebs. But what people might not know is that Cozy spends a good amount of her weekends, seeking out the next best pie or slice. She generously shares her research with my readers today. Here are some excerpts from our interview. Enjoy!
New York is the gastronomical center of the planet. Why Pizza?
My family’s quest to find the best pizza in NY began very innocently when my kids were little, as a fun family outing that we would all enjoy. Gradually, it developed into a passion/obsession.
Speaking of pizza on the planet, where did you eat the best pizza outside of New York?
In a tiny restaurant in the old town of Marbella, Spain. I would give anything to find out the name of that restaurant.
Are you an extra-cheese girl?
Not at all
What do you think of the honey on pizza trend?
I’m ok with it, when done right. I think Pizza Loves Emily in Brooklyn has perfected it.
Square vs. Round?
It totally depends on where. For example, if you go to Prince Street Pizza you have to get the “spicy square,” it’s their specialty. But if you go to Joe’s Pizza , the regular slice is what it’s all about.
Do you ever order the white option?
It’s not usually my first choice, but Rubirosa does it right. Their vodka pie is amazing too.
Wood burning vs. gas oven?
I don’t really pay attention to the oven, just the pizza.
Let’s get down to what readers really want to know…
Favorite NYC spots?
Rubirosa Incredible pizza, pastas, salads and more. Get the vodka pie (see above pic). Hard to score a reservation, but worth planning ahead. Walk-in wait can be really long, so I always reserve in advance.
Joe’s Pizza Old school pizza by the slice. Some consider it to be one of the very best slices in the city. It’s definitely up there.
Prince Street Pizza Old school, but here you must get the spicy square, which has the most out of this world pepperoni. Trust me on this one.
Artichoke Pizza This is pretty old school, though here you should get the namesake-artichoke pizza, which is thick and hearty, yet not overly filling as it appears.
Emily Loves Pizza I couldn’t have been happier when this Brooklyn spot opened in NYC. This is definitely in my top 3. This is farm to table pizza, with incredibly creative combinations using the freshest ingredients. And, despite the fact that this is all about pizza, I would be at fault if I didn’t insist that you get the burger too. We usually get one to split, as an appetizer. Also, their salads and veggies are fresh off the farm and fantastic.
Patsy’s Original in East Harlem -The pizza at their original Harlem spot is totally different from the other Patsy’s you see around the city. This restaurant (and they have a take-out shop next door) is like stepping back in time. It’s a giant restaurant with red & white checked table cloths and old school Italian waiters. The pizza here is the thinnest crust pizza you’ve ever had, and light like clouds. The sauce and cheese is the real deal here. Secret tip- they have a party room if you want to have an old school bash!
Favorite borough spots?
Di Fara This is the mothership of all pizza. This is #1, hands down. This is old-school, pizza by the slice (but you would never, ever order anything less than a pie). The debate in my family over which is better here- round or square- lives on. They are both off the charts! This is a tiny little dumpy pizza place, where you can expect to wait on line for minimum of an hour, but it’s worth every minute. When you finally get up to the counter and see the owner, Dom DeMarco cutting fresh basil on every handmade pie he’s made, you know it’s worth it.
L & B Spumoni I love this place. Hard to describe because it’s different than all the rest. They have upside down pizza, meaning the sauce is on top of the cheese, and here you get the square pie. What I love about this pizza is that it’s so light, which is unusual for a square pie. Also, the ingredients they use are top notch. The best time to go is in the spring or fall and sit outside at the picnic tables. Wait time can be long if you go prime time, but worth it.
Ignazio’s a hidden gem. This is old school pizza in a restaurant setting. I love the meatball or pepperoni pizza here, either square or round. I can never decide so we always get both. Surprisingly, the salads taste like they are fresh off the farm and there’s always an interesting selection. Look for the owner Louis, he’s the hippy hanging out at the bar.
Emmy Squared This is the Detroit style pizza offshoot of Emily (see above), and I adore this place. As mentioned previously, they have mastered the honey pizza, along with all different amazing combinations. My fave is the Roni. They serve the burger here too, but only downstairs.
New Park Pizza Old school, by the slice. Queens. Good if you are going to the airport.
Zero Otto Nove Old school Arthur Avenue restaurant, Bronx. Expect to wait- no reservations. Get the pasta of the day in the foil while you are there.
Is there a place that has ruined you for all other pizza?
Nope, love them all.
* These are just MY favorites SO FAR. I still have a great list of others to try- that’s the beauty of it!
Thanks so much Cozy!!! Readers – now that you have a pizza to-do list, keep an eye out for Cozy! And if you have a favorite pizza place, please share it here! We can add it to Cozy’s future pizza jaunts!