Our New York (Food) Trip, was going fantastic. We had cannoli, cheese bread, biscuits, hot dogs, and bagels. But, there was one glaring issue. No pizza. How were we in New York for almost two full days and not had New York Pizza. We were overdue to hit our favorite new york pizza joint, to get us an New York slice.
New York Pizza Showdown
If you have been keeping up with my restaurant reviews, you will see that a rarely write a negative one. This is not because I am overly positive or because I am afraid to write anything negative, because I can. This is because I extensively research where Stephanie and I are going to eat before going on a trip. This may sound OCD (and it may be a little bit), but food is important to me. It is one of the most important aspects of my travels, and I don’t want to waste a meal on a risk. When researching pizza restaurants in New York, there were so many good spots it was extremely hard to choose.
I could only think of one way to solve this, NEW YORK PIZZA SHOWDOWN. Two of the 5 top, cheap pizza joints on my list were about 3 minutes apart. So yes…. we were going to have dinner at both. Please don’t tell my doctor, I am supposed to be limiting my carbs. This challenge was going to be Joe’s Pizza on Carmine Street vs. John’s of Bleecker Street.
Our first stop was Joe’s. We made our way from our Hotel to Greenwich Village to Joe’s. Joe’s Pizza has been in business for over 40 years , and has become one of the most famous New York pizza joints. You will regularly find in almost every top 10 pizza places in New York List, Including, New York Magazine, GQ, and Time Out New York. Given its fame, you will not be shocked to find that Joe’s is almost always crowded. Even on this cold, rainy January evening Joe’s line was out the door. Needless to say we were excited.
Joe’s is a traditional New York pizza by the slice restaurant. It is a standing room only pizza place that serves ginormous slices of Pizza for $3-$5 each depending on the toppings. If you are feeling particularly hungry, or are feeding a small army you can also order a whole pie…. just a warning they are huge.
Since we were going to be having two dinners, we decided to go with just slices and ordered 1 slice each of Pepperoni.
I don’t know if I just built New York Pizza up in my head, but It was not as good as I was expecting. This absolutely shocked me, because the last time I had pizza in New York it seemed like there was nothing better. Joe’s pizza was pretty good, but it wasn’t great. For piping hot pizza, it didn’t seem as fresh as I would like it. As I was eating I was watching them make it, and it seems like they premake their pizzas, maybe in the morning, and just pop them into the oven when they need a specific topping. I have tried better Pizza in Seattle, the challenge was not off to a good start.
John’s of Bleecker Street
It isn’t that Joe’s was bad; it just didn’t meet my expectations. That left us heading to John’s who had a prime opportunity to win the New York Pizza Challenge. John’s has been in business for 90 years, founded by Italian Immigrant John Sasso.
While the pizzeria has changed hands a couple times, it has always been a family owned business that serves traditional coal fire pizza in John Sasso’s original pizza oven.
John’s is the exact opposite of Joes. It is a sit down or take out pizza joint that specifically does not do pizza by the slice. You have to order at least a medium pizza, but the lack of by the slice gives you greater ability to customize the pizza to your taste. Apples to apples John’s is about the same price as Joes $3-4 per slice basis depending on toppings, but John’s it only works if you have enough people to justify a whole Pizza.
Now this was the pizza was expecting. It was hot, fresh, wit the absolute perfect crust. Every single aspect of this pizza was better than Joe’s. Better sauce, better crust, better cheese, and everything tasted extremely fresh. While no one’s pizza is better than my mother’s homemade pizza, this one comes damn close. You could really taste the authenticity and the flavor cooking in a 90 year old coal oven gives the pizza.
John’s of Bleecker Street beat Joe’s Pizza in a landslide in our New York Pizza Challenge. However, it is a hard to go wrong with great New York Pizza.