New York has a pizza place on every block, but which ones are worth your time? We scoured the city to bring you some of the best slice places by borough. By Yvo Sin.
Lucia Pizza’s location – just off the main drag of Flushing, an area dominated by Asian establishments – may surprise some as the home to some of Queens’ best pizza by the slice, but there it is: a slice ordered, $2.25 handed to the counterman, and soon enough, a piping hot slice in your hand. The crisp crust is uniformly thin without venturing into cracker territory, a layer of slightly sweet sauce, gooey cheese, only the slightest bit of oil… all of this adds up to what can only be described as near pizza nirvana. Enjoy the step off the Asian food path in Flushing, but don’t linger: there aren’t any seats in this hole in the wall, and you’re blocking someone else from enjoying the pizza.
Walking into Brother’s Pizza is a throwback to days of yore: a long counter with bar stools, narrow aisle, but the back opens up with more seats if you choose to stay. Sitting at the bar, you find the same guy who’s been slinging pies for at least the past 12 years, his hands working over the dough easily, muscle memory kicking in so he can chat pleasantly with customers as he preps the next pie. $2.25 gets you a slice heated quickly in the oven, with an evenly thin crust, a slightly soft tip, stretchy cheese and a perfectly balanced red sauce. The overall slice is a little floppy, chewy even, and the oil will pour off as you eat, but the extra crunchy heel will leave you munching away as you debate ordering an entire pie just for yourself. Pro tip: fresh garlic is offered as a topping here. Get it (but not with a date).
No list of the best pizza slices in Queens would be complete without a nod to New Park Pizzeria; its colorful history certainly places it in the history books, and its pizza has received its fair share of accolades. Though the quality has slipped in recent years, on a good day, you’d be hard pressed to find better pizza: the key is to ask for your slice or pie to be well-done, to crisp the bottom a bit, and almost caramelize the cheese on top to a sweet finish. At $2.50 a slice, with chewy cheese and crust, sweet sauce, a little oil, the balance is there – if only they were consistent. Pro tip: there’s a separate seating area in the back – enter through the door off the parking lot.
John’s Pizzeria sits on a stretch of Grand Avenue that isn’t quite that well traveled, but is well worth the trip off the beaten path. The friendly woman behind the counter will take your $2.40 in exchange for a slice: very crispy thin crust, bordering on crunchy, even; well seasoned sauce – the oregano is visible as you eat, though it isn’t quite as bold as one might expect, with a slightly muted flavor; the perfect amount of sauce and cheese with the perfect thickness… yes, this is indeed an excellent slice. Sit at the counter on one of the bar stools and have a friendly chat, and enjoy.
A&J Pizza is exactly the type of place you’d expect to find in your neighborhood: large seating area, glass cases of different pizza you can get by the slice, with interesting toppings (including slices topped with HUGE mounds of lettuce; curiously, the salad slices make one wonder if they get heated before being served?), and the clientele is all locals grabbing a quick bite to fuel up for more shopping, or before they go back to work. The line moves fast during the lunch rush, and $2.50 scores you a slice that’s fluffy, chewy, a little oily, with cheese that slides right off if you’re not careful. There’s only the slightest slick of sauce under the cheese, with a nice tang to balance, making this a great local slice joint.