Pizza Paradise

We've zeroed in on some of the best pizza in the United States.
By: Laurel D'Agenais

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Photo by: Joe Gough

Joe Gough

From thin crust to deep dish, this Italian import has remained a staple in the American diet for over 100 years. Whether you top yours off with vegetables, meat or even caviar, pizza remains a culinary canvas for personal preference and taste. We've zeroed in on some of the best pizza in the US.

Lombardi's Pizzeria
New York, New York

It all started back in 1905, when Italian immigrant Gennaro Lombardi established America's first pizzeria in Little Italy, about 3 miles from Ellis Island. Lombardi's began as a grocery store, but soon morphed into a full-fledged pizzeria selling tomato pies to Italian workers. Today the coal-fired ovens are still burning, and folks wait in long lines to get a taste of the pizza that started it all.

Ray's Pizzeria
New York, New York

Where is the original Ray's? With 32 locations currently serving up steaming hot, New York style pizza, who cares? Ray's is famous for its Neapolitan style pizza, served piping hot. The secret to this delectable pizza may be in the water. According to the current owners, the minerals in New York City tap water are credited for giving the pizza dough an extra "kick."

Pepe's Pizzeria Napoletana
New Haven, Connecticut

For some authentic, New Haven-style pizza, head to Pepe's Pizzeria Napoletana. The pizza crust is thin and flaky but not, well, round. According to its founder, Frank Pepe, the pizzas are not perfectly round because they are hand-crafted, then baked in a coal-fired, brick oven. Is Pepe's the best place to grab a slice in New Haven? It depends on whom you ask. Sally's Apizza, located just a block away has been in competition with Pepe's for decades. So sample a slice from both places and decide for yourself.

Sally's Apizza
New Haven, Connecticut
While half of New Haven locals name Pepe's Pizzeria as the "best pizza in New Haven," others swear that Sally's Apizza is as authentic as it gets. Sally's is famous for its coal-fired brick oven which stays lit at a constant and steamy 700 degrees. The result? Pizza with a touch of smoky flavor. No wonder 'Old Blue Eyes' kept coming back for more.

Pizzeria Uno
Chicago, Illinois

In 1943, former Texas Football star Ike Sewell opened the first Pizzeria Uno in Chicago. Ike took the concept of ordinary pizza and created a hearty meal in a crust too deep to be folded. Two-hundred restaurants and 60 years later, Uno's is still the ultimate place to grab some one-of-a-kind deep dish pizza.

Lou Malnati's Pizzeria
Chicago, Illinois

The Malnati family takes great pride in its homemade, all-in-the-family pizza. What's the secret to Malnati's flaky, buttery crust? The answer: the waters of Lake Michigan. The Malnati family swears that the minerals in the waters of Lake Michigan make the crust extra delicious. For dessert, sample their signature 'dessert pizza' -- chocolate chip cookie dough rolled out like a pizza, topped with whip cream and a cherry.

Giordano's Pizzeria
Chicago, Illinois

If you enjoy your pizza more "pie-like," head over to Giordano's. The concept for their stuffed pizza originated in Torino, Italy, where the mother of the pizzeria's founders -- the Bollier brothers -- was born. Stuff yours with meat, vegetables or simply cheese.  After a few slices you won't have much room for dessert!

Caioti Pizza Cafe
Studio City, California

Are you looking for something more creative? Head over to Caioti Pizza Cafe where each pie is a work of art. From whole baby clams to apples and bacon, the limit is your own imagination as far as your pizza is concerned.

California Pizza Kitchen
throughout the US

If you want the best in California-style pizza, check out the place that started it all.  Known for its famous BBQ chicken pizza, California Pizza Kitchen has been serving up its Italian/American pizza creations since 1985.

Nino's Bellissima
New York, New York
If you'd like to give your platinum card a workout, grab a slice of pizza heaven at Nino's Bellissima in New York City. Nino's is home to the $1,000 pizza.  How can a pizza pie cost that much? Top it off with fresh lobster meat and caviar, and you'll have yourself a finger-food feast fit for a king.  

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