25 Iconic Old-School Pizzerias Across America Still Serving Excellent Pies

Old School Pizzerias Cover

Cheapism / Doug H./Yelp / Colony Grill / Buddy's Pizza/Yelp

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Old School Pizzerias Cover
Cheapism / Doug H./Yelp / Colony Grill / Buddy's Pizza/Yelp

When the Moon Hits Your Eye...

Is there any single food that is as universally beloved as pizza? Probably not. There’s just something poetic about the combination of salty dough, acidic tomato sauce, and a gooey cheese — you can’t beat it.

These days there’s a pizzeria to suit just about any taste and dietary requirement — from vegan-friendly and gluten-free joints to seafood-topped pies — but for those who still prefer the old-school classic there are plenty to be found across the country, many of which have been serving excellent pies since before most of us were born.

The following pizzerias pay homage to times past with original recipes, retro dining rooms, and more old-school goodness. Oh, and they all serve a really good pie.

Patsy's Special Pizza in a Pizza Tray, Patsy’s Pizzeria, New York City, Selective Focus
Christopher P./Yelp

Patsy’s Pizzeria

Harlem, New York
Self-described as the undisputed premier pizza dynasty in New York, Patsy’s Pizzeria in East Harlem (otherwise known as Italian Harlem) serves up delicious coal-fired pizzas and has since it was first established in 1933. Patsy’s is considered to be one of New York's original pizzerias due to its traditional New York-style thin-crust recipe.

Chicken & Bacon Pizza in a Pizza Box, Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana, New Haven, Connecticut
Lee M./Yelp

Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana

New Haven, Connecticut
Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana in New Haven will be celebrating its 100th anniversary next year, having opened its doors in 1925. The old-school joint is famous for its New Haven-style coal-fired pizza and wood-panelled and leather-boothed dining space that looks and feels exactly like how you’d envision a classic old-school pizzeria.

Related: Beloved Local Pizza Chains the Rest of the Country Needs

Personal-Sized Chicago-Style Pizza on a White Porcelain Plate, Lou Malnati’s, Lincolnwood, Illinois, Selective Focus
Ann S./Yelp

Lou Malnati’s

Lincolnwood, Illinois
This family-owned local chain has been serving up indulgent Chicago-style pies since 1971 when Lou Malnati decided to take what he learned working with his father and one of the original Chicago-style recipe developers, Rudy Malnati, and open his own joint. These days there are over sixty locations across Illinois and the Midwest but despite the expansion, the pizza remains delicious and satisfying.

Related: 57 Iconic U.S. Restaurants to Try Before You Die

Cheese Detroit-Style Pizza, Buddy’s, Detroit, Michigan, Selective Focus
Buddy's Pizza/Yelp


Detroit-style pizza was conceptualized over 75 years ago at Buddy’s Pizza — and the historic pizzeria is still serving the square-shaped pizza with pride. The thick and pleasantly crispy crust and crumbly cheese has since become a staple all across Detroit but Buddy’s continues to reign supreme.

Related: This Is the Most Beloved Restaurant Chain in Your State

Onion and Mushroom Pizza, Benny Tudino’s, Hoboken, New Jersey
Sara B./Yelp

Benny Tudino’s

Hoboken, New Jersey

You’ll want to arrive at Benny Tudino’s hungry. The classic Hoboken pizzeria is self-described as being home to the largest slice in the area — and we believe it. Benny Tudino’s slices are massive (and delicious) while the dining room looks exactly as it might have when the restaurant first opened its doors over fifty years ago.

Pepperoni, Sausage, and Ham Pizza in a Pizza Box, Frank & Helens, University City, Missouri
Karma L./Yelp

Frank & Helens

University City, Missouri
Frank & Helens is a household name in University City but it also has a very loyal fan base all over the country—and for good reason. The restaurant opened its doors in 1956 and continues to serve the same great pies and broasted chicken that made it so well-loved all those years ago.

Sausage, Bell Pepper and Mushroom Pizza, Carl’s Pizza, Denver, Colorado
Nicole T./Yelp

Carl’s Pizza

Dating back more than fifty years, Carl’s Pizza in Denver, Colorado is still considered to be one of the best pizza joints in the state. The red-boothed interior dining room evokes tender memories of birthday parties past while the pie itself is simple and delicious.

Closeup of Half of Pepperoni and Sausage Pizza on a Serving Tray, Folliero's Italian Food and Pizza, Los Angeles, California, Selective Focus
Liquid J./Yelp

Folliero's Italian Food and Pizza

Los Angeles
The West Coast isn’t quite as synonymous with old-school pizza — but Folliero's Italian Food and Pizza in Los Angeles proves that you can in fact find classic pizza joints in California. The restaurant was opened by the Folliero family in 1968 and the retro dining space feels like traveling back in time (with a really good pizza in-hand).

Mushroom and Sausage Pizza on Elevated Tray, Tacconelli's Pizzeria, Philadelphia
Stephanie T./Yelp

Tacconelli's Pizzeria

Tacconelli's Pizzeria in Philadelphia is a fifth-generation family-run restaurant having opened its doors back in 1946 when Italian immigrant Giovanni Tacconelli began making the “tomato pies” his mother had taught him how to make back in Italy. The heritage restaurant is still a one-man, one-oven operation still baking its pies “the Giovanni Tacconelli way.”

Margherita Pizza in Pizza Box, John’s of Bleecker Street, Manhattan, New York, Selective Focus
Doug H./Yelp

John’s of Bleecker Street

John’s of Bleecker Street in Manhattan is one of the most famous pizza joints in New York — and it’s easy to see why. The old-school pizzeria has been churning out delicious traditional coal-fired pizza (no slices!) since 1929 and still uses the same tried-and-true recipe and method to this day.

Top-View of Slices of Onion Pizza, Colony Grill, Stamford, Connecticut
Colony Grill

Colony Grill

Stamford, Connecticut
Colony Grill is far from its roots as a humble pizza joint — the 89-year-old brand has since expanded to multiple locations — but it has retained its charm and decadence despite its status as local chain. The thin-crust pizza joint is known for its hot oil which adds a pleasant kick without being overpowering.

Related: Oldest Restaurant in Every State

Five Slices of Pepperoni, Regular, White, Margherita Slices in a Pizza Box, J&V Pizzeria, Brooklyn, New York
Sergio P./Yelp

J&V Pizzeria

Brooklyn has no shortage of great pizza joints — but J&V Pizzeria stands out for its perfectly chewy and crispy pies and calzones. The corner restaurant opened its doors over 70 years ago in 1950 and hasn’t changed much. The recipes and interior decor are more or less the same; perfectly suited for a quick slice to-go or a casual sit-down meal.

Closeup of Pepperoni Pizza, Conte’s, Princeton, New Jersey
Aisha F./Yelp


Princeton, New Jersey
This Princeton establishment has been churning out pies since opening its doors in 1950 — and it has only gotten better with age. The old-school restaurant looks pretty much the same as it did when Sebastiano Conte first opened its doors while the thin-crust pizza remains perfectly chewy and crispy. It’s also worth noting that Conte’s has begun offering gluten-free crust for those with dietary restrictions.

Closeup of Rectangular Pepperoni Pizza in a White Tray, Ledo Pizza, Washington, D.C., Selective Focus
Ledo Pizza/Yelp

Ledo Pizza

Washington, D.C.
Ledo Pizza first opened its doors in 1955 when, as the original owners said, pizza seemed to be a passing trend. The restaurant has since become a local chain — but it’s still a family-run business and despite its commercial success, is still committed to using the original recipes and high-quality ingredients (even if it means taking a little longer than your average takeout pizza joint).

Half Pepperoni and Mushrooms and Half Sausage Pizza, Amore Pizzeria, Queens, New York
Hillary P./Yelp

Amore Pizzeria

Queens, New York
Considered by many to be the “best pizza in the world” according to its social media fanbase, Amore Pizzeria has been feeding New Yorkers since opening its doors back in the 1970s. The unassuming joint is quietly located in a strip mall in Flushing and — despite the bare-bones interior — serves up a perfect slice of New York pie every time.

Deluxe Pizza on a Serving Tray, Imo’s Pizza, St. Louis, Missouri
Matt C./Yelp

Imo’s Pizza

St. Louis
These days Imo’s Pizza has more than a hundred locations across Missouri, Illinois, and Kansas but the original pizzeria — named after owners Ed and Margie Imo — first opened its doors in 1964 with just $1000 in their pockets. The original location on Shaw Boulevard is commemorated with a special plaque but it’s easy to find a classic Imo’s pie across the Midwest.

Margherita Pie on a Serving Plate, Denino’s, Staten Island, New York
Denino’s Pizzeria & Tavern


Staten Island, New York
Denino’s first opened its doors in 1937 when it functioned as a tavern — but it really hit its stride when it began introducing pizza in 1951. The family restaurant has continued functioning as a bar and restaurant to this day and has since expanded to several locations across New York and New Jersey.

Closeup of Pepperoni and Sausage Pizza on a Serving Tray, Ernie’s, New Haven, Connecticut, Selective Focus
William P./Yelp


New Haven, Connecticut
Ernie’s in New Haven opened its doors back in 1971 and is still a family-run business with Ernie’s son, Pat DeRiso, at the helm. The classic pizza joint offers gluten-free and whole wheat options for those with dietary restrictions—but its original recipe is also delicious.

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Two Slices of Pepperoni Pizza in Box, Old Town Pizza, Portland, Oregon
Chris S./Yelp

Old Town Pizza

Portland, Oregon
Old Town Pizza in Portland has changed a bit since opening in 1974 (it’s actually known as Old Town Brewing today!) but the pizzeria and brewery still uses the same secret family recipe for its famous thin-crust pizza. Interestingly, it was built directly above Portland's infamous Shanghai tunnels and the restaurant offers guided tours of the so-called haunted tunnel system.

Cheese Pizza in Box, Marie’s Pizza & Liquors, Chicago
Matthew K./Yelp

Marie’s Pizza & Liquors

Marie’s Pizza & Liquors is the definition of a family restaurant — and is has been since it first opened its doors in 1940. The thin-crust pizza joint comes complete with an incredible casual dining room that kind of feels like your grandparent’s basement bar and even features weekly live music for patrons to enjoy.

Small Meat Lovers Detroit-Style Pizza on a Round Pizza Tray with Serving Spatula Underneath It, Loui’s Pizza, Hazel Park, Michigan
Anthony B./Yelp

Loui’s Pizza

Hazel Park, Michigan
Loui’s Pizza is easily one of the most well-loved spots in Michigan; it was opened by former Buddy’s chef Louis Tourtois in 1977 and his family still runs the joint to this day. The award-winning Detroit-style square pies are perfectly crispy while the casual dining room probably hasn’t changed since the restaurant first opened its doors.

Closeup of Pepperoni and Chicken Parm Pizza Slices, New York Pizza Suprema, Manhattan
Susan B./Yelp

New York Pizza Suprema

New York Pizza Suprema is located in Madison Square Garden and therefore has become a popular tourist spot — but it’s just as popular with local New Yorkers thanks to the tried-and-true recipe and high-quality ingredients. It first opened its doors in 1964 and is still run by the same Italian family.

Top-View of Half Pepperoni, Half Sausage Chicago Pizza in Oven Tray, Pequod's Pizza, Chicago
Pequod's Pizza - Chicago/Yelp

Pequod's Pizza

Pequod's Pizza in Chicago is known for its deep dish pizza with a perfectly caramelized crust and is considered by many to be the best deep dish in Illinois. The first restaurant was opened by Burt Katz back in 1971 and his infamous pies are so well-loved around the country you can actually have them shipped across the U.S.

Related: Eating America: Signature Cheap Eats From Every State

Large Special Pizza with Homemade Sausage, Pepperoni, Mushroom, Onion and Green Peppers on Pizza Tray, Pizza-A-Go-Go, St. Louis
TY Y./Yelp


St. Louis
This St. Louis classic is well-loved across Missouri for its thin-crust pizza and has been since it first opened in 1967. The no-frills dining room is charming and evokes a sense of family dinners past thanks to its charming brick walls and basic white tables.

Closeup of E Everything Pizza in a White Pizza Box, Zaffiro’s, Milwaukee
Viv P./Yelp


Milwaukee-based Zaffiro’s first opened in 1954 by two first-generation Sicilian-American brothers. Back then it was little more than a couple of tables and a service bar. These days the family-run restaurant is one of the most popular spots in Milwaukee thanks to its charming story and of course, expert-made thin-crust pizzas.