Everyone knows New York is a pizza town. Pizza in the Big Apple always makes headlines, especially when the rising cost of a classic slice is tied to the city’s economics. New York’s five boroughs are home to thousands of pies of varying styles, shapes, origin stories, and symbiotic roots. Neapolitan, Detroit-style, Roman-style, Sicilian, grandma, square, deep-dish, coal-fired, bar, and the classic New York slice all have audiences, even when they’re less than great.
Here’s good news for pizza enthusiasts who are willing to give a new pie a chance. The past year has brought the debuts of a handful of exciting joints, a number of them backed by seasoned chefs and restaurateurs. They’re re-conceiving the classics, and bringing some lesser-known (to NY) styles to the forefront. “We had wanted to open a pizzeria way before the pandemic happened,” says Jeff Katz, co-owner of Mel’s with chef Melissa Rodriguez. “But I think Mel’s might have caught on so quickly because a pizzeria can also be the center of a neighborhood. And I think pizzerias give the communities around them a familiar way back to dining out in full service restaurants.”