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Where to Get The Best Slice of Pizza in America, According to Chefs

From coast to coast, the U.S. is blessed with incredibly talented pizza makers. Just ask their fellow chefs.

The only thing more Americana than pizza is debating about the best pizza. Some people prefer thin, foldable New York-style slices. Others like thick, ultra-cheesy Chicago-style squares. Oftentimes, it's simply a matter of which delicious kind of pizza is served up at the coziest spot near you.

If you want an informed opinion about which pizza is best, just ask a professional chef. In the past, Eat This, Not That! has asked chefs to pinpoint the best pizza chains in the U.S. and also where to find the best regional styles. So naturally, the next step is to expand the pool nationwide, and see what slices chefs are turning to.

For some, nostalgia plays a major role, while others seek out craft, cultural tradition, or artisanal ingredients. Whatever the metric, these are the best slices of pizza in America, according to chefs.

L'Industrie in New York City

a slice of pizza with burratta and fresh basil on a wood table.
Photo: L'Industrie

The owner of newly minted pizza hot spot Bambino in Austin, Texas, Fiore Tedesco raves about the margherita slice with burrata from L'Industrie in New York. "I have had a few moments in my life where my path of existence was forever altered by a slice of pizza," says the chef. "No slice has left quite the impact on me in recent memory as the first slices I ate from Williamsburg, Brooklyn's L'Industrie. The pizzas are a textural masterpiece." Tedesco adds that these pizzas are "crispy and airy, and the clean bright wheatiness flavor of the dough is superb. The little glob of burrata on top of the slice really sings."

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Ian's Pizza in Madison, Wis.

a slice of macaroni and cheese pizza on a white background.
Photo: Ian's Pizza

"Due to the fact that my first job in a kitchen was making pizza at Jolly Rogers in New London, Wis., I feel as though I would not be the chef I am now if it weren't for what I consider the greatest food of all time." So says Sean Pharr, chef of Mint Mark, Hanks, and Muskellounge in Madison. "Aside from my alma mater, my go-to in the Madison area to satiate my cravings is Ian's Pizza. Not only has this institution saved me on many a late night, but it has also become a staple at the Pharr household for our weekly meal of pizza. Ian's dedication to dough, top notch ingredients, and consistency is what keeps me coming back."

Tivoli in Seattle

A slice of pizza on a plate from Tivoli in Seattle
Photo: Tivoli Pizza / Instagram

Renee Erickson, the prolific chef/owner of Sea Creatures group in Seattle, favors a newer spot in her city called Tivoli. "It's a simple Italian American-ish spot that serves whole pies, great salads, side dishes like smoked trout dip or black garlic cheese knots, and delicious slices!" She recommends stopping for slices for lunch, and saving room for pistachio stracciatella ice cream.

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Wells Brothers Pizza in Racine, Wisc.

The Chipotle Chicken pie at Wells Brothers Pizza
Photo: Wells Brothers Pizza/Facebook

It's all about the nostalgia for Kevin Coulter, chef at the Hotel Verdant in Racine, Wis. His local favorite, Wells Brother Pizza, "is like stepping into a time machine with an amazing atmosphere and the feel of a pizzeria that has been open for almost 100 years," he says. Coulter likes that this tavern-style pizza spot features flavors you don't see at most pizza places, like the recently featured pizza of the month: Chipotle Chicken (pictured). "The chef does an amazing job creating flavors you wouldn't think of until you try them, and then you just want more."

Umberto's in New Hyde Park, N.Y.

a slice of regular pizza next to a sicilian slice.
Photo: Mikeck88 / reddit

Sicilian-style is the slice of choice for Matthew Accarrino, chef of SPQR and Mattina in San Francisco. Specifically, he likes the Sicilian-style pizza at Umberto's in New Hyde Park, N.Y.  "Whenever I'm in New York, I stop by there on the way to the airport and grab a few slices for the flight home. You can't beat it!"

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Providence Pizzeria Co. in Oklahoma City

Pizza topped with chunky tomato sauce, burrata, and balsamic glaze at Providence Pizzeria
Photo: Providence Pizzeria CO. LLC/Facebook

Detroit-style is the go-to for Eric Smith, chef/owner of The Crown in Oklahoma City. "Honestly, the Detroit-style deep-dish at Providence Pizza in Parlor Food Hall is the best I've ever had," says Smith. "It has parmesan laced into the dough, and almost burns on the bottom in their high-temperature oven. They also offer a vegan version of this, which is insane. My favorite is topped with chunky tomato sauce, burrata, and balsamic glaze."

Rosalee's Pizzeria in Longmont, Colo.

Triple Pepper, Pepperoni, Provolone Pie at Rosalee's Pizzeria
Photo: Rosalee's Pizzeria/Facebook

Born and raised in upstate New York, Shawn Bergin got his start tossing pizza at his neighborhood pizzeria before pursuing baking full-time. Now, he's the founder of Bakery Four in Denver, where he raves about nearby Rosalee's in suburban Longmont and its pizza-making proprietor James Ross. "James has been able to capture the flavor and texture of NY-style pizza, unlike anything I've had since leaving New York," says Bergin. "In chatting with the owners, they shoot for almost a combo of New York and New Haven-style." He describes the pizza as having the perfect thickness, and the sauce and cheese are always on point. "Bonus pick for their Sicilian slice, which isn't as thick as a traditional Sicilian, but is a little thicker than a grandma square slice. It's light and crunchy in all the right spots, and is a cannot-miss option."

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Pequod's in Chicago

Pequod's pizza
Photo: Pequod's Pizza Chicago / Facebook

Controversial as it might be, Chicago deep-dish has its stans. Especially those who love Pequod's in particular. Among the fans are Dan Jacobs, owner of DanDan and EsterEv in Milwaukee, who says "it's a perfect Chicago-style deep-dish pizza with an unreal caramelized crust." Sean Thompson, executive chef of Porter House Bar and Grill in New York, agrees. "I might not gain any popularity by saying this, but I love Chicago-style deep-dish," claims Thompson. "A dear friend of mine, chef Andrew Brochu, recommended Pequods' in the Lincoln Park area of Chicago years ago when I visited, and I go back every time I'm in the Windy City. They've been serving up Chicago since 1970, and I'm quite certain that not a single bit of the decor has been updated since (which I love)."

Joanie's Pizza in Chelmsford, Mass.

a pizza with eggplant, onions and hot honey at Joanie's Pizza
Photo: Joanie's Pizza/Facebook

Calling it "hands down the best pizza I've had in Massachusetts," Brendan Pelley is a big fan of Joanie's Pizza in Chelmsford, Mass. The culinary director of Xenia Greek Hospitality, Pelley likes how owners Daniel Rodriguez and Anne Thompson use locally milled flour for their thin-crust slices. "My favorite pie is called 'The Truth.' It has eggplant parm, ricotta, caramelized onions, and hot honey."

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Serious Pie in Seattle

a pizza pie with eggs and sausage.
Photo: Serious Pie / Facebook

As the chef-owner of two of his own pizza concepts, Tyler Fenton knows his way around a good slice. The operator of Reilly Craft Pizza and Fentonelli's Pizzeria in Tuscon, Ariz.,  is a big fan of Serious Pie in Seattle — a slice so significant that he says it forever changed his perspective on pizza. "It was the first time I had pizza that was made with true commitment and attention to detail, and made using a dough that was unlike anything I had previously tasted," says Fenton. "They had a guanciale and egg pizza that was so insanely good. This pizza joint inspired me to open a pizza place myself."

Pizzeria Beddia in Philadelphia

Pizza on a pedestal at Pizzeria Beddia
Photo: Pizzeria Beddia/Facebook

It's all about the quintessential Americana at Pizzeria Beddia in Philadelphia, home to Mario LaPosta's favorite slice in the country. The chef, owner, and pizzaiolo of his own Da LaPosta in Newton, Mass., describes the pies at Beddia as "on another level," and "crisp, light, soft, and full of flavor at the same time."

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Pearl's Pizza in Lexington, Ky.

a wood fired pizza coming out of a pizza oven.
Photo: Pearl's Pizza

Come for the bagels, stay for the pizza. That's the M.O. for Lawrence Weeks, chef of North of Bourbon and Ensō in Louisville, who loves the food at Pearl's Pizza in Lexington, Ky. "It's a woman-owned pizza shop that has the best pizza I've ever had for dinner and beautiful bagels for breakfast," says Weeks. "I enjoy their pizza because it's wood-fired and has the perfect crust with seasonal topping and fermented peppers on the side that you can add on each slice."

Tiny Champions in Houston

A pizza with sliced fresh jalapeno and pepperoni at Tiny Champions.
Photo: Tiny Champions/Facebook

At Tiny Champions in Houston, Michelle Wallace likes to keep things classic. The chef, owner, and pitmaster behind B'tween Sandwich Co., Wallace says her go-to is the cheese and pepperoni pizza, followed closely by the ricotta cream and seasonal greens. "The crust has a great crunch and a pleasant chew to it," she says. "The toppings are top-notch and well-seasoned. Chef's kiss every time!"

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Roma Pizza in New York City

a margarita style pizza on a marble slab.
Photo: Roma Pizza

Among his favorite pizzas in the world, the grandma slice from Roma Pizza in Manhattan is near and dear to Bobby Will, chef/owner of Thistle & Grouse in Portland, Maine. "That pizza saved my life on many occasions," he explains. "Sometimes, as a chef, after working a 14-hour shift on a chaotic Mother's Day, you forget to eat. It happened. So on the way home, I realized I had nothing to eat at 11:45 p.m. and was too exhausted to make something." After Googling, he found that it was three blocks from his apartment, and open late. "The mozzarella compliments the robust sauce beautifully. The fresh basil torn on top, and drizzle of olive oil, makes me feel like I am in Italy. The crust is perfectly crisp on the outside and light and fluffy on the inside, kind of what I imagine clouds in heaven are like."

Totonno's in New York City

a slice of pepperoni pizza on a checkered background.
Photo: Goldbelly

It's all about the coal-fired pizza for Michael Lomonaco, founding chef of New York's Porter House Bar & Grill. And by that, he means it's all about the coal-fired pizza at Totonno's on Coney Island in Brooklyn, N.Y. "For over 120 years, they have crafted each pizza by hand using only fresh mozzarella, crushed tomatoes, and olive oil," he says. "With just a few toppings to add, the emphasis is on perfection. And that's what you get here."

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Pizzeria Bianco in Phoenix and Los Angeles

a pizza with fresh basil.
Photo: TripAdvisor

When Lomonaco is out of New York, his pick is Pizzeria Bianco, the Phoenix-based gem from Chris Bianco, with a second outpost in Los Angeles. Describing Bianco as "America's greatest pizzaiolo" and a "master chef-craftsman," Lomonaco adds that his restaurants serve some of the best pizza in the nation. "From wood-burning ovens, Bianco's pizza inspired the artisanal pizza movement across the nation. His focus on ingredients gives us his signature pizza with toppings of fennel sausage, marinara sauce, olives, and more. This is only where I eat pizza west of the Mississippi."

L&B Spumoni Gardens in New York City

a sicilian pie on a cuting board.
Photo: L & B Spumoni Gardens

Back in the pizza epicenter of New York, Rich Parente likes to keep things old-school at L&B Spumoni Gardens. The chef and owner of Clock Tower Grill in Brewster, N.Y., Parente describes the classic Brooklyn haunt as having "hands down the most magical Sicilian pizza I have ever encountered. The squares are like cheesy, saucy clouds."

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Imo's Pizza in St. Louis

a pizza in a pizza box loaded with toppings.
Photo: TripAdvisor

When Aaron Phillips is feeling homesick, he heads to Imo's Pizza in his hometown of St. Louis. The executive chef and partner of Lazy Betty in Atlanta, Phillips details Imo's as a "thin-crust family-owned and -operated longtime pizzeria chain in St. Louis," and an absolute must-eat any time he's back home.

Spacca Napoli in Chicago

a mushroom pizza next to a bowl of truffles and an oil decanter.
Photo: Spacca Napoli

For a different take on Chicago-style pizza, Amando Auleley heads to Spacca Napoli. The Neapolitan icon is a favorite for the executive chef of The Smith Chicago, who notes the restaurant's focus on authenticity. "Some of my favorites are the Funghi and the Puttanesca, and the San Marzano tomatoes they use make the perfect sauce that sets them apart." As a bonus, Auleley commends the Spacca Napoli chef for giving out slices of pizza to guests waiting for a table. "Its definitely my favorite spot for pizza in Chicago."

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Maruca's Tomato Pies in Seaside Heights, N.J.

a pizza in a box.
Photo: Maruca's

Since he was a kid, Anthony Mangieri has been frequenting Maruca's Tomato Pies in Seaside Heights, N.J. The founder of Genio Della Pizza, and chef/owner of New York's Una Pizza Napoletana, Mangieri recalls visiting with his mom at least once a week. "Sometimes, when the weather was nice, she would let me skip school, and we'd get slices and lay on the beach and get tan," he muses, fondly.

Oven & Shaker in Portland, Ore.

a pizza with sausage and colorful peppers.
Photo: DoorDash

It may not get the renown that New York or Chicago does, but Tyler Malek speaks enthusiastically about the pizza styles in Portland, Ore. According to the head ice cream maker at Salt & Straw, "Portland has become this incredible melting pot of infinite pizza styles, from wood-fired to Detroit-style." Always on a mission to try new places, Malek says his favorite spot is Oven & Shaker. "Executive chef Cathy Whims is a legend in the game. My family and I always order the Nostrana salad and the Italian sausage pizza."

Velma in New York City

Slice of pizza at Velma's
Photo: Velma's/Instagram

And for one last reminder that New York is indeed the center of the pizza universe, Silver Apricot's executive chef Joseph Bliffen throws his vote behind Velma in Queens. Describing it as "a truly beautiful restaurant with classic but modern Italian fare," Bliffen says you can get a plain New York-style slice at the bar, or opt for something…less plain. "I would recommend springing for the Vodka-roni, which is a thick square with vodka sauce and crispy pepperoni. The dough is crunchy and airy, the sauce has just the right amount of heat. What more could you ask for?"

Matt Kirouac
Matt Kirouac is a travel and food writer and culinary school graduate, with a passion for national parks, all things Disney, and road trip restaurants. Read more about Matt
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