Grimaldi's, which just opened an outpost in Coney Island, or Michael White's new joint Nicoletta. So, which defines this pizza town - should the Big Apple change its name to the Big Slice or the Big Pie?
Our recently published Pizza Survey found that the matter is settled, at least throughout the US. 64% of respondents claim that pizza is better when ordered by the whole pie. But, is this true in the pizza laden streets of NYC? Not so, at least according to the local chefs that we polled (and who better than to ask than industry pros - after a shift in the kitchen, pizza is a mainstay). In fact, we found that no New York toque agrees with this stat, even those who sell pies for a living.
Perilla and Kin Shop chef, and Top Chef winner, Harold Dieterle heads to Bleecker Street when “looking for a regular slice. It’s great, quick, and inexpensive. That said, I do love the pies at Motorino, but that’s a different experience. If we’re talking traditional New York pizza, I’d say the slice joint.”
Michele Iuliano, the owner & Executive Pizzaiolo for the Luzzo's Group, chimes in that “The 'New York' pizza, as opposed to the Italian pizza, is truly a by-the-slice pie. It represents everything New York stands for - on the go, fast paced and delicious. A good New York slice is a great fast food. The best, in fact.”
Though he recently opened the aforementioned Nicoletta, a pie-only production with fancy toppings and creative combinations, Michael White (Marea) is also on the slice board: “New York pizza is a NY Slice. You can grab one on any corner for as little as a buck and it will still be good.”
In fact, we could not find one chef who didn’t agree. Even Donatella Arpaia, another pie purveyor (her restaurant Donatella boasts a blinged-out golden pizza oven...seriously) jumps on the bandwagon: "When I think of NY pizza the slice comes to mind. It's definitely a part of the New York culture - people grabbing a slice between business meetings, groups of party-goers refueling at 3 AM, moms taking their kids for an after-school snack - NY wouldn't be the same without it!"
Though the slice is the populist pick among chefs, the survey results disagree and so do the lines at joints like Grimaldi’s or Lombardi’s. You certainly don't see anyone lining up at Joe’s on Carmine Street (perhaps the creme de la creme of slices). This got us thinking - maybe it's the pie vs. slice in NYC is a tourist vs. local issue. The out of towners flock to the classic pie-shops to get a taste of city history, while the locals are busy stuffing their face with a slice as they go about their business.
What do you think? Does the pie or slice define this great city? Leave your comments below.
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