Pizza. If you’re obsessed with it, you’re not alone. Last year, at the behest of the California Pizza Kitchen chain, the Harris Poll conducted a survey of attitudes towards pizza on the part of more than 2,000 U.S. adults. The study found that, if they could only eat one food for the rest of their lives, 21% of the participants would choose pizza — more than any other food by far.
Approximately 3 billion pizzas are sold in America each year, and we consume an average of 23 pounds (or 46 slices) per capita annually. A lot of that, of course, comes frozen from the supermarket or gets delivered from (or picked up at) one of the big multi-unit pizza purveyors, like Domino’s or Pizza Hut or some slightly smaller local chain. Some of these latter operations do a very good job. These are the regional pizza chains that really should go national.
There were about 77,000 pizzerias and restaurants specializing in pizza in America last year — many of them chains, of course, but many of them also single establishments or mini-chains with just a handful of outposts. These are the ones ranked here.
There are many different styles of pizza around the nation, many of them regionally specific. One estimate mentions as many as 24 — though probably 10 or 12 are common. These include Neapolitan, Sicilian, deep dish, New York-style, Detroit-style, and New Haven-style (named for the Connecticut metropolis that some consider to be the country’s pizza capital).
The pizzerias on our list represent many of the possible styles, some of them serving a number of different styles to please a wide range of customers. Some of these establishments go wild with non-traditional toppings (corn, kale, barbecue sauce), while others specialize in simple cheese pizzas, or pies with only a few additions — like America’s most favorite pizza topping, pepperoni, an addition unknown in Italy. These are examples of famous “Italian” dishes Italians don’t really eat.
Whatever the style and whatever the toppings, pizza is one of the best possible things we have to eat — and these are the best places to get it.
To determine the best pizzerias in America, 24/7 Tempo consulted “best” lists appearing on numerous websites, including those of Food & Wine, Eater, Buzzfeed, Zagat, Thrillist, Departures, TripAdvisor, and The Daily Meal, as well as regional websites. This yielded a list of more than 400 pizzerias, of which 70 were mentioned repeatedly. From this number, drawing on averaged rankings from the sites consulted, reviews, and editorial discretion, we chose the 40 best purveyors of pizza in the country.