NYC Pizza: A Day in the Life

By James Mulcahy  |  September 27, 2013

New York City is the city that never sleeps, and at any given hour, it's likely that you can find a slice being served. The pizza clock never stops in the Big Apple, and we thought we'd take a look and see how it ticks. We traveled throughout the city to see what was up at some iconic pizza slingers at all hours of the day. Take a look at what we found in the video here, and check out the slide show to see who got a shout-out and, more importantly, why they're worth a visit. - James Mulcahy and Kirsten Stamn

  • Ben's Pizzeria

    Like countless NYC slice shops, Ben's gets an early start, opening their gates and firing up the ovens around 9 AM. Then, the doors open to the public at 10 AM and it's a steady stream of New York City style slices until the joint closes at 11. 

    123 MacDougal St., 212-677-0976

  • Motorino

    Chef Mathieu Palombino’s global pizza phenom (there are locations in both Hong Kong and NYC) always has amazing gourmet pies; one of our favorites has got to be the Brussels sprouts and pancetta version. The recipe for success is simple: great ingredients, fresh dough (made every morning in Williamsburg) and a screamingly hot wood-fired brick oven.

    139 Broadway; 718-599-8899

  • Pulino's

    Another pie shop to score pizza for breakfast is this Keith McNally gem on the Bowery, which starts serving up a series of AM pizzas at 8:30 AM. Pies are topped with sausage, eggs and other standard breakfast fare. 

    282 Bowery; 212-226-1966

  • Roberta’s

    With pizza this good, Roberta’s manages to lure even die-hard Manhattanites into the (admittedly trendier-than-thou) Bushwick neighborhood. Their artisanal, creative wood-oven pies are perfect for sharing and they have a great space out in the backyard for downing a couple beers while you inevitably wait for a table. One time of day where you don't have to wait - the morning. The Bushwick favorite opens at 11 AM and you can score a breakfast pie in a hot minute. 

    261 Moore St.; 718-417-1118

  • Joe’s

    If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. This West Village institution has created consistently amazing pies and slices for years. Just don’t expect fancy toppings and sit-down service. Instead, grab a slice of some of the simplest, most perfect pizza New York has to offer, with a thin crust, just enough sauce, and delicious, piping hot cheese.

    7 Carmine St.; 212-366-1182

  • John’s of Bleecker St.

    It’s a New York standby for a reason. John’s has gained a reputation for excellence in its pizza; it’s got a thin crust, perfectly crisped from the brick oven, and reasonable prices. Inevitably, it also has a line - which is thankfully fast-moving, so you never have to wait too long to get your fresh slice.

    278 Bleecker St.; 212-243-1680

  • Lombardi’s

    The first pizzeria to open in the U.S., Lombardi’s has been slinging ‘za since 1905. And over the past 100 years, they’ve perfected their model: cash only, exclusively whole pies, and packed with tourists. But their always epic lines are worth toughing out when you finally get your hands on their crispy coal oven pizza.

    32 Spring St.; 212-941-7994

  • Grimaldi’s

    Grimaldi’s is one of those rare pizza joints that appeals to both the locals and the pizza-loving tourist hordes. Why? Their pies consistently deliver with fresh, quality toppings (especially the creamy mozzerella) and a crispy crust straight from the coal oven. Due to their popularity (and longstanding no-reservations and no-delivery policies), their lines are long but definitely worth the wait. The Manhattan location is definitely more low-key than the DUMBO Brooklyn original.

    656 Avenue of the Americas; 646-484-5665

  • Eddie’s Pizza Truck

    Thanks to the immense popularity of Eddie’s bar pizza in Long Island, this truck is now peddling its cheesy personal pies to the masses all over Manhattan. In true bar pie fashion, expect super thin, almost tortilla-like pies and a liberal dousing of sauce. It's perfect for lunch.

    locations vary; @eddiespizzaNY

  • Pala

    Diners who crave gluten-free offerings can get their pizza fix any time of day at this Lower East Side joint, which offers all of their pies in varieties that will please Celiac sufferers. There are also many vegan and organic toppings, making this some of the healthiest pie that you can get in the Big Apple. 

    198 Allen St.; 212-614-7252

  • Forcella

    Pizza master Giulio Adriani knows a thing or two about making some excellent pie. (The man did win four pizza world championships, you know.) He’s taken pizza to a whole new level over at Forcella, where his montanara pie takes center stage. It’s a classic margherita with a twist, specifically a crust that is flash-fried before being topped. It’s not to be missed for pizzaphiles.

    485 Lorimer St.; 718-388-8820

  • Paulie Gee’s

    It’s all about the toppings at this Greenpoint instution. Paul Giannone’s Neopolitan pies are always topped with some sort of ridiculously decadent cheese (three words: fior di latte) and - whenever possible - use fresh, local ingredients. Plus, they’re not afraid to get creative: you can find bing cherries, grapes and even Nutella on these pies.

    60 Greenpoint Ave.; 347-987-3747

  • Rubirosa

    Here's a tip that's almost as hot as the thin crust pies coming out of this NoLita gem: you can get their pizza by the slice if you stop by before 5 PM. After that it's pies only, but why would you want to grab a slice and go? The hot spot is as known for its scene as for its crispy crusts, so you can't go wrong regardless of what time you stop by. 

    235 Mulberry St.; 212-965-0500

  • Co. 

    The fluffy, personal pies at this Chelsea eatery come courtesy of Jim Lahey, and the joint is always hoppin' especially in the later hours of the evening when the communal table is full of folks looking for some meatball pizza before painting the town red. You know, like the sauce. 

    230 9th Ave.; 212-243-1105

  • Two Boots

    This popular chain is beloved for many reasons, among them being their always satisfying, spicy, thin-crusted slices. And with their obvious love of toppings (the more the merrier!), it’s a great choice for those late-night eats, whether you hang around outside the shop or get it delivered straight to your door.

    Multiple locations

  • Crocodile Lounge

    Buy a beer, get a pizza - is there any better deal than what this dive bar has to offer? Didn't think so. Even if you may have moved on from your college days, the offering is still good for those low-budget days. Which would be impossible without the joint's secret threat: the pizza is actually good. 

    325 East 14th St.; 212-477-7747

  • Rosario Pizza

    This may be New York City's mecca for drunken pizza. First, it's on the Lower East Side. Second, it's open late. Third, the slices are greasy and delicious and they have fully loaded options full of pepperoni, sausage and the rest of it 'til the wee hours. It gets busy late night and the crowd is blitzed. It's the drunken twenty something's version of a pizza party. 

    173 Orchard St.; 212-777-9813

  • Port Authority Pizza 

    And before you stumble home (or stumble back to new Jersey) you gotta find that 1 AM slice. These no-name joints are all over town, but we chose to make our last stand under the shadows of Port Authority, where you can get hooked up with cheese slices for a dollar. The fare ain't fancy - these are the type of pies that seem like they've been sitting out for hours each day. But when we visited one spot on the corner of 41st and 9th and another on 43rd and 9th, we found them crowded of folks tipsily chowing down. No judgment here.