Just a few miles north of Paris (the casino, that is), you’ll find a true taste of Italy on the original Vegas Strip: Pizza Rock. Don’t be fooled by this 185-seat pizzeria’s rock ’n’ roll vibe, the tricked-out truck turned DJ booth, or the Vegas showmanship. Co-owner and chef Tony Gemignani is one of the most acclaimed pizzaiolos in the world, and he has not 1 but 9 ovens at his disposal.
What to Order: The Mob Boss
This Sicilian-style pizza is made in a New York-style East Coast pan, and it is BIG. Beneath the behemoth lies the “greatest dough on Earth,” which, at 72 hours old, has had a long time to ferment and rise, creating a light, airy crust with a delicious, complex flavor. And since this is The Boss we’re talking about, it’s topped with meat, meat and more meat — Italian salami, pepperoni, Portuguese pork sausage and bacon, to be exact.
Brooklyn is known for having the best pizza in the country, and Paulie Gee's in Greenpoint is the best in Brooklyn. Chef Paulie Gee, who says he is a “pizza enthusiast first and foremost,” built his 1,000-degree, wood-fire pizza oven in 2007 and has been serving up blazing-hot slices ever since.
What to Order: The Ricotta Be Kiddin’ Me and the Feel Like Bacon Love
Two of the chef’s favorites are the Ricotta Be Kiddin’ Me, a white pie with Italian fennel sausage, fresh basil, Canadian bacon and ricotta cheese, and the Feel Like Bacon Love, “because it combines some of my favorite things in life — tomatoes, butter and bacon.” But Paulie doesn’t use any old basil or tomatoes; he takes great care to keep his ingredients’ origins secret, including removing and burning the labels from the cans of tomatoes used in his red sauce.
Matthew’s Pizza (Baltimore)
On the banks of the Chesapeake, Matthew’s Pizza in Highlandtown has been cranking out deep-dish, double-stuffed pies since 1943. It has its own breed of Maryland-style deep-dish, which you won’t get anywhere else in the country.
What to Order: Anna’s Stuffed Pie and the Crab Pie
Anna’s Stuffed Pie has not 1 but 2 layers of light, airy dough, tomato sauce (made with a secret, 71-year-old recipe), 2 kinds of Italian meet and lots of mozzarella — think of it as a stuffed pizza, not just a stuffed crust. And because Maryland means crab, you have to try the Crab Pie, which is made with chunks of Maryland’s famously sweet blue-crab meat, Old Bay, onions, shredded mozzarella and Argentine Reggianito cheese for a bit of tang.
Apizza Scholls (Portland, OR)
Apizza Scholls’ Neapolitan-style pies have old-country authenticity a-popping. Owner Brian Spangler is a savvy foodie, just like his Portland clientele, and he serves elevated takes on the classics that have them lining up outside the door.
What to Order: The Bacon Bianca
To call the Bacon Bianca a mere pizza is like saying a Lamborghini is just a car. Its signature dough — topped with house-cured bacon, slices of 100% whole-milk, aged mozzarella, pecorino-Romano cheese, chopped garlic and mixed herbs — gets put into the oven and rotated a quarter turn every 30 to 40 seconds to ensure the perfect bake.
Pizza Luce (Minneapolis)
In the frequently frozen tundra of the Twin Cities, they emphasize the 3 C’s — care, comfort and carbs — and you can have all 3 with Pizza Luce’s hot, fluffy, can’t-get-enough pizza. After all, it gets very cold in Minneapolis, and this pizza was designed by chef Danny O’Brien as “something to keep you alive.”
What to Order: Baked Potato Pizza
The chef’s signature whole-wheat dough is topped with a bushel of boiled baby red potatoes whipped to deliciousness, heavy whipping cream, salt, pepper and fresh-roasted garlic — and that’s just to make the garlic-butter sauce. To make it a proper “baked potato” pizza, it’s also stuffed with broccoli, Roma tomatoes, shredded cheddar and, of course, applewood-smoked bacon to give it that sweet, salty, bacon-y goodness.
Via 313 (Austin)
Deep in the heart of Texas, on the back patio of a bustling beer joint called Craft Pride, 2 Motown brothers are serving Detroit-style pizza at Via 313. What makes a Detroit pizza different from, say, a New York-style pizza? For starters, it’s square, not round, and it’s topped upside down — dough, cheese and then sauce, instead of dough, sauce, cheese.
What to order: The Detroiter and the Cadillac
Its biggest seller, the Detroiter, looks simple but is a thing of beauty, from the cast-iron pans that come straight from the auto factory floor to the double dose of pepperoni. Another favorite, the top-shelf Cadillac pie, is a luxurious mix of sweet, salty and tangy that’s not traditionally “Detroit,” with prosciutto imported straight from Italy, Gorgonzola, fig jam, fresh Parmesan and balsamic glaze.