Pizza is taken seriously in the United States, where the question of which place boasts the best pie is subject to heated debate. Every state, city, and even restaurant has its own distinct spin on the Italian classic. Here are some of the best slices in each state, factoring in price and taste.
ALABAMA: LAKE MARTIN PIZZA
These thin-crust specialists serves up pizza with a side of friendly service. Lake Martin's varied menu of premium pizzas has non-marinara bases such as Alfredo or hot wing sauce starting at $17 for a 14-inch pie, or $9 for plain cheese.
ALASKA: MOOSE'S TOOTH
The choices of pizza are nearly endless at this popular Anchorage haunt.The Tooth has unusual variations of the classics, including Spicy Thai Chicken ($10.75 for a 10-inch), Amazing Apricot ($10.75), and Greek Gyro ($11.75).
ARIZONA: MY SLICE OF THE PIE PIZZERIA
This pizzeria injects regional spice into this Italian specialty with its roasted habanero Southwestern-style sauce, available on any pie in lieu of marinara. Enjoy tabletop games at My Slice Of The Pie while waiting on a self-made pie or specialties such as the Al Pastor ($15 for 12 inches, $24 for 18).
ARKANSAS: ZAZA FINE SALAD AND WOOD OVEN PIZZA CO.
Little Rock and Conway
The Little Rock branch of this pizzeria starts its pies with San Marzano tomato-based sauces. The Italian authenticity doesn't affect prices at Zaza. Here prices start at $12.75 for a Margherita pie and $13 for specialty pies.
CALIFORNIA: BROOKLYN PIZZA
Family-owned Brooklyn Pizza has been making New York-style pizza for 35 years. Start with a $10 medium (14-inch) cheese pie and add toppings for $1.50 each, or try the Brooklyn Works or White Night ($16 for a medium) for something a little different.
COLORADO: BLUE PAN PIZZA
This pizzeria in the Mile High City makes thick, Detroit-style pizzas ($10 for a small that serves two people). Choose from high-end toppings such as naturally cased pepperoni, fresh ricotta, and Anaheim chilies. Blue Pan also makes New York and Chicago-style pies.
CONNECTICUT: ZUPPARDI'S APIZZA
New Haven-style pizza gives New York City a run for its money as the pizza capital of the Northeast with the family-owned Zuppardi's Apizza. The pizza highlights at this neighborhood institution are the meatball marinara ($10 for a small) and the escarole and beans ($11.75 for a small).
DELAWARE: CAFÉ NAPOLI RESTAURANT AND PIZZERIA
This charming Italian eatery serves up authentic pies with great prices. The Sicilian deep dish slices at Café Napoli are hearty and rich (a slice of cheese is $2.50), and those in search of a gourmet pizza can try the artichoke, tomato, and garlic pizza for $13 for a 14-inch medium.
FLORIDA: THE BIG CHEESE
The Big Cheese has been around for 32 years and only uses Baccio mozzarella from Wisconsin, so you know it has to be good. A cheese slice costs $2.95, while a cheese 14-inch large pizza starts at $17.25 (additional toppings are a dollar).
GEORGIA: FELLINI'S PIZZA
Multiple locations in Atlanta
You can grab a New York-style slice at Fellini's for $2.75, or $13 for a medium pie. Traditional toppings are available. Fellini's Special comes in regular or Sicilian crust and includes toppings such as meatballs, green olives, peppers, sausage, and mushrooms ($19 for a medium).
HAWAII: BRICK FIRE TAVERN
The owners of Brick Fire Tavern have trained in the Neapolitan art of pizza-making, and the expertise can be tasted in every bite of the wood-fired, traditional pizzas. Try the Margherita ($15) or pepperoni ($17).
IDAHO: GUIDO'S ORIGINAL NEW YORK STYLE PIZZERIA
Guido's in downtown Boise serves slices ($2.50 for cheese) and pies notable for cheap prices and thin crust. Medium pies are a whopping 18 inches and start at $13.
ILLINOIS: LOU MALNATI'S PIZZERIA
50 locations in Chicago area
In Chicago, you're never far from a deep-dish pizza at Lou Malnati's. A Chicago Classic with sausage goes for $14.75 per small pie, and it's filling enough to feed two.
INDIANA: OLEY'S PIZZA
Oley's Pizza bakes a pie just as delicious as anything served in Chicago. The family-owned restaurant is famous for stuffed "double crust" pies starting at $15 for a small cheese and $12 for specialty pizzas.
IOWA: FONG'S PIZZA
Des Moines and Ankeny
Part tiki bar, part pizza parlor, Fong's Pizza lets customers create their own pizza ($12 for a 16-inch, $1.50 for each topping). But why not try some of the quirky combinations like Mac and Cheese, Fongolian Beef, or Crab Rangoon ($21 for a 16-inch pie)?
KANSAS: AJ'S NY PIZZERIA
Topeka and Manhattan
An unfussy place, AJ's has specialty pies such as the Greek-flavored John Stamos and the Gentleman Jimmy's Taco Pie, starting at $17. But if you're looking for classic pizza, try a 14-inch cheese pie for $13.
Louisville, Elizabethtown, Middletown
Impellizzeri's features "Louisville-style" pizza, each pie baked with two layers of cheese and two layers of toppings. Enjoy a dense, fully loaded pie such as the chicken bacon ranch starting at $15 for a 10-inch.
LOUISIANA: PIZZA DELICIOUS
This pizzeria in the Crescent City’s Bywater neighborhood earned its reputation as the city's premier pizza place with foldable slices as cheap as they are delicious ($2.25 for cheese). Specialty pies and toppings include vegan peppadew, hot coppa, and sriracha pineapple.
Open since 1904, Derosier's sells pizza slices all day starting at less than $3, but if you have the appetite, it's more economical to grab a 14-inch cheese pizza for $11. Or try the Buffalo chicken with blue cheese dressing and chives for $17.
MARYLAND: MATTHEW'S PIZZA
Opened in 1943, Matthew's Pizza claims to be the first pizzeria in Baltimore and has made a multitude of "best of" lists. A 10-inch cheese pizza is $11, and most toppings are $2 each.
This North End institution makes pizza in one size — an extra-large 18-inch — so bring an appetite. Cheese is $16 and toppings are $2. Speciality pizzas include the ZaZa white pizza and Buffalo Chicken Supreme.
MICHIGAN: SUPINO PIZZERIA
Supino Pizzeria offers either red or white specialty pizzas, but diners can also get an 18-inch for $12 and build their own (toppings are $2 each at that size). Premium toppings such as smoked turkey or prosciutto are $1 more.
MINNESOTA: BLACK SHEEP COAL FIRED PIZZA
Minneapolis, St. Paul
With three locations in St. Paul and Minneapolis, Black Sheep uses coal ovens to craft thin pizza crusts to crunchy perfection. The menu includes 12 pizzas and a host of ingredients for guests to design their own 12- or 16-inch sizes. A 16-inch cheese pizza is just $9.25
MISSISSIPPI: SAL AND MOOKIE'S
Jackson and Biloxi
New York pizza is the draw at Sal and Mookie’s. Specialty pizzas are named for various Big Apple landmarks and people, such as the Upper West Side and CBGB. Customers can also build their own 14-inch pies for $13 (toppings extra).
Pizza-A-Go-Go offers nothing but pizza and fountain sodas, but the pizza is a perennial hit with locals. Enjoy small ($7.50 and up) and large ($12.50 and up) pizzas, and remember payment is by cash or check only.
MONTANA: EUGENE'S PIZZA
Eugene's Pizza is a family restaurant that has used the same secret recipe for more than 40 years. Order one of the oddball specialty pizzas, including one with Canadian bacon and sauerkraut and another with tuna, shrimp, and mushroom.
NEBRASKA: LIGHTHOUSE PIZZA AND FRIES
The home of the 9-inch slice ($5.99) lets customers choose five toppings or a specialty pizza. Try to resist Lighthouse’s Mac & Cheese or the Ed & Sal (topped with bacon and Parmesan garlic fries).
NEVADA: DOM DEMARCO'S PIZZERIA
When in Sin City, try Dom Demarco's cheese-and-pepperoni Di Fara special ($30 for the full order) — if you can resist Northeast favorites such as littleneck clam or pesto and grilled chicken. Every pizza can be ordered in New York-style or as a Detroit square-pan pizza.
NEW HAMPSHIRE: TILTON HOUSE OF PIZZA
It's hard to beat the prices at this Granite State restaurant, where most large pies are just over $12. For a heartier pizza, order the chicken and broccoli Alfredo pie ($17.25 for a large).
NEW JERSEY: STAR TAVERN
The Star Tavern measures up to New York City pizzerias with its selection of signature pies. Try the white clam or three-cheese, both under $16.
NEW MEXICO: GIOVANNI'S PIZZERIA
This pizza joint gives New York pizza a Southwestern twist. At Giovanni's Pizzeria, the signature pie is the New Mexican, spiced up with ricotta, chicken, and green chilies ($16.50 for a 12-inch).
NEW YORK: JOE'S PIZZA
Multiple locations in New York City
It doesn't get much simpler than Joe's Pizza, a white-tiled New York institution serving $3 slices. The original Greenwich Village location is always busy and has been in business since 1975.
NORTH CAROLINA: PERI BROTHERS PIZZA
At Peri Brothers, pizza comes New York style or with Sicilian thick crust, and there's a Queens style (upside-down Sicilian), and even a "Grandma Sicilian" with basil, tomatoes, and thin crust. Fresh toppings include buffalo mozzarella, fresh basil, and ground sirloin, and 14-inch New York-style pies start at $12.
NORTH DAKOTA: RHOMBUS GUYS PIZZA
Fargo, Grand Forks, and Mentor
All three Rhombus Guys locations are known for thin-crust pizzas and colorful specialty pies. At the Fargo location, try the T-Rex, loaded with Canadian bacon, bacon, beef, and a few other choice proteins ($10 and up), or the Tater Tot ($11 and up).
A somewhat divey pizzeria in the city’s trendy Tremont neighborhood, Crust has made a name for itself by cooking from scratch with fresh, local ingredients — and with the nearly 1-pound slices it sells for only $4.50. By comparison, a 12-inch cheese pizza is $11.
OKLAHOMA: HIDEAWAY PIZZA
Oklahoma City and multiple locations elsewhere
This 19-location chain (two in Arkansas) has a long list of pizzas starting with a small cheese for $9.25 and almost any topping imaginable. The 13-ingredient large Xtreme is among the most expensive, at $23.25 for a 16-inch. Recommended: the vegetarian Pizza of the Gods, with olive oil and artichoke hearts.
OREGON: LIFE OF PIE PIZZA
Life Of Pie Pizza makes good use of the region’s agricultural bounty, putting all sorts of local ingredients atop its wood-fired, bubbly-crusted 11-inch pizzas. A basic Margherita starts at $10, and specialty pie prices go up to $15.
PENNSYLVANIA: SANTUCCI'S ORIGINAL SQUARE PIZZA
Philadelphians come to Santucci’s for a regional specialty: square pies where the sauce is layered over the cheese. A 9-inch pizza starts at $8, and prices top out at $20 for The Works at 17 inches.
RHODE ISLAND: FIGIDINI WOOD-FIRE EATERY
In addition to baking Neapolitan-style pizzas in a wood-fired oven, Figidini boasts of using powder-fine, European-style "00" flour. Prices begin at $16 for a marinara and never exceed $22 (for a burrata made with San Marzano tomatoes, salametto piccante, and shaved garlic).
SOUTH CAROLINA: D'ALLESANDRO'S PIZZA
D'Allesandro's Pizza offers hand-tossed pizzas with lots of variety for not much money: 10-inch pizzas start as low as $8.25, and the 16-inch Supreme and Greek pizzas top out at $22.25. A menu highlight is the Beetnick ($9.75 for a small) with goat cheese, bacon, rosemary, and golden beets.
SOUTH DAKOTA: THE INDEPENDENT ALE HOUSE
It's a fine bar, but where the Independent Ale House truly shines is its cheap pizzas — large enough to serve two for $11 or less. The mashed potato pizza with bacon bits and garlic-mashed red potatoes is $10, and The Hasselhoff cheeseburger pizza is $11.
TENNESSEE: HOG & HOMINY
Diners at Hog & Hominy get "Italian dining with a Southern drawl," including unique specialty pies such as the Prewitt ($16) with fontina cheese, boudin sausage, and scrambled eggs. A basic pomodoro pizza with tomato sauce, garlic, oregano, and Parmesan (available for lunch only) is $12.
TEXAS: VIA 313
Four trailers and bricks-and-mortar locations bring the crunchy-crust pan pizza of Detroit to Austin. At Via 313, the signature Detroiter pie ($12 for a "small" large enough to serve two) is made with two kinds of pepperoni layered on either side of the mozzarella. There are thin-crust, bar-style pies too.
UTAH: THE PIE PIZZERIA
Salt Lake City
The Pie Pizzeria has several locations and is famed for its fragrant garlic and four kinds of crusts, including a spicy "ApocalyptDough," on a wide-ranging menu starting with a 12-inch cheese pizza for $10. Oh, and it delivers — by mail, anywhere in the United States.
VERMONT: MANHATTAN PIZZA & PUB
There's live music, 20 beers on tap, and food specials every day at the laid-back Manhattan Pizza & Pub. Try a small 9-inch pizza for $8 or sample a specialty pizza, such as those with pulled pork or General Tso's chicken, for $11.
VIRGINIA: PUNGO PIZZA & ICE CREAM
A modest eatery on the outskirts of Virginia Beach, Pungo Pizza has a full game room as well as a few ways to enjoy pizza. Basic pizzas are $10 or $14; there are stuffed pizzas for $14 or $18; and a "roll-up" (different from a $10 calzone) is $8 or $8.50.
WASHINGTON: FLYING SQUIRREL PIZZA
Pairings of blue cheese and roasted potato or prosciutto and arugula sound fancy but are just $16 on a 9-inch pie. Cheese starts at $12. Bring in a cassette mixtape to add to collections at two of the three Seattle locations and get 10 percent off.
WEST VIRGINIA: LOLA'S PIZZA
In a cozy, wood-paneled house, Lola's serves up pizzas from a stone-hearth oven. There are small specialty pies for $13 (large versions are $18 to $20) with fig jam, flank steak, and more, including a Breakfast Pizza with bacon, eggs, mozzarella, scallions, tomatoes, and chives.
WISCONSIN: TRANSFER PIZZERIA CAFÉ
Housed in an old brick, pharmacy building, Transfer has live music and a menu split among traditional pies, ones made with garlic cream sauce, and specials that blend tomato sauce with pesto. Menu pizzas range from $8 for a small to $19 for a large.
WYOMING: CROWBAR & GRILL
Pizzas at the Crowbar & Grill are cracker-thin and crispy, starting at $9 for a 10-inch pie or $15 for an 18-inch starting from any of five sauces: red sauce, ricotta, olive oil and herbs, French onion white, or Baja. The Billhook specialty pizza features ground lamb, tzatziki, and feta for $13 to $20.