15. Nana’s Bakery & Pizza
> Location: Mystic, Connecticut
Noted food writer John Mariani recently reviewed the restaurants of this far-eastern Connecticut shore town and found the pizzas at Nana “close to any I’ve had in Naples and Sicily, with a crust with a crisp but pliant textureâ¦.” Nana’s is the work of James Wayman, former chef and partner at Mystic’s acclaimed Oyster Club. Here, with just a few indoor and outdoor tables, he focuses (as he did at Oyster Club) on local and regional ingredients. One thin-crust organic sourdough pizza is topped with Seacoast mushrooms, organic tomato sauce, and Mystic Cheese Co. Melinda Mae. There are also thick-crust 13-by-18-inch sheet pizzas, one with a bolognese sauce made with pork and beef from Wayman’s nearby Grass & Bone butcher shop and Mystic Cheese Co.’s Finback.
> Location: New York City, New York
Opened in 1905, Lombardi’s stakes a claim to having been the first pizzeria in America. The original closed in 1984, reopening in 1994 a block away by founder Gennaro Lombardi’s grandson. The place is best-known for its classic Margherita pizza, though there are also a number of specialty pies, including one with pesto instead of tomato sauce and a version with breaded eggplant slices and ricotta.
13. Cane Rosso
> Location: Dallas, Texas
This Dallas favorite started from a wood-burning oven mounted on a trailer and has grown into a small chain with six units in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and one in Houston. There are antipasti, salads, sandwiches, and a few pastas, but the focus here is definitely wood-fired pizza — cooked in less than 90 seconds in 900-degree ovens. Build-your-own options and some classics are available, but there are also such imaginative pies as the Billy Ray Valentine (smoked bacon, bacon marmalade, vodka sauce, Sweety Drop peppers, and house-made mozzarella) and the PBR (pepperoni, house-smoked brisket, roasted onions, candied jalapeños, house-made mozzarella, and BBQ sauce). And because this is Texas, diners can kick up the spice level on any pizza with Calabrian chiles and Yellowbird Hot Sauce for an extra two bucks.
12. DeSano Pizza Bakery
> Location: Nashville, Tennessee
The wood-burning ovens here turn out authentic Neapolitan-style pizzas, including a classic Margherita made with San Marzano tomato sauce and mozzarella di bufala. Specialties include the lasagna pizza (San Marzano tomato sauce and mozzarella di bufala plus meatballs, ricotta, and scamorza) and the Diavola (San Marzano tomato sauce, soppressata, pepperoni, scamorza, and Calabrian chiles). There are a number of additional locations around the country, including L.A., Austin, and Nashville.
> Location: Boston, Massachusetts
Boston’s favorite pizzeria, by most accounts, the cash-only Santarpio’s offers an array of choices, all but one made with “Italian cheese.” Specialties combine that cheese with ground beef and onions; chicken, broccoli, and garlic; or sausage, mushrooms, and peppers (among other things). The cheese-less exception is an unusual — and garlicky — shrimp scampi pizza.