Italy may have invented pizza, but the United States has definitely perfected it through focused innovation and attention to craft by dedicated pizza chefs across the country. We are in the middle of a pizza renaissance, so put down the Pizza Hut menu and get yourself to one of the best pizza places in the country.
Di Fara is a place of pilgrimage for true pizza purists who don't mind a lengthy wait for the perfect slice. All of the pies here are handmade, one by one, by seventy-something year old Dom DeMarco. Like Dom himself, all the ingredients are imported from Italy, and each pie is carefully crafted to yield the perfect crunchy crust and rich sauce. It's not cheap pizza; it was the first place in the city to charge $5 a slice. If nothing else, the line outside should prove it's worth the price.
First opened in the Mission District in 2009, Flour + Water is still one of the hottest tickets in town, and visitors can expect to wait at least an hour for a table. As you may guess from the name, the restaurant specializes in basic pizzas and pastas with fresh ingredients. The pizza is thin crust, baked in a wood-fired oven. Try the Margherita for a snapshot of true, delicious simplicity.
Providence might not be a well-known culinary hotspot but they are home to one of the most innovative pizza places in the country. How innovative? The chefs were the recipients of the rare Insegna del Ristorante Italiano from the Italian government, something few Americans can claim. They received the award for their invention of grilled pizza. This quick cooking method, along with their olive oil soaked dough, leads to a unique and mega-tasty pie. At Al Forno you can have your pie baked in a wood oven or grilled over a charcoal fire.
Co-owned by Mario Batali and Nancy Silverton, Pizzeria Mozzo attracts major star wattage in LA, but despite the glamor, the pizza here is the real deal. The thick pizzas are Neapolitan style with thicker, bread-like dough and a variety of traditional and unique ingredients. For something opulent try the squash blossom, tomato and burrata pizza.
We won't get into the ethical morass that is Chicago-style pizza here. Instead, let's talk about CoalFire's Neapolitan style-meets American ingenuity-meets a really, really hot coal oven. While other restaurants import ingredients from Italy, CoalFire goes out of their way to find all-local facsimile's to create truly American, truly delicious pizzas.
The Seattle culinary scene is synonymous with celebrity chef Tom Douglas, so naturally his take on the classic pizza place is a serious favorite. Here the concentration is on high quality Pacific Northwest ingredients, piled onto foot-long oval pizzas and fired in an apple wood oven. The Yukon Gold potato pizza is a crowd pleaser, as is the sweet fennel sausage, roasted pepper and provolone pie.
In a city of foodies, Apizza Scholls is incredibly popular, despite the fact that they use an electric oven to cook their many varieties of pizza. The emphasis here is really on the toppings anyways. Apizza specializes in Neapolitan style pies with a huge variety of toppings from house-cured Canadian bacon to Greek olives to truffle oil.
You're probably familiar with Chicago-style pizza, New York-style pizza and even New Haven-style, but what about Detroit-style pizza? It's a deep-dish pizza, twice baked in a square pan and ladled with tomato sauce. It originated with Buddy's in 1940's, and this local chain is still the best place to try it.
Where in the US is your favorite pizza?
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Stephanie Yoder is a girl who can't sit still! Since graduating college in 2007 she has either been traveling or planning to travel. She's lived on four continents and visited everywhere from the Great Wall of China to the Great Barrier Reef. She now writes and travels full time, blogging about her adventures on Why Wait To See The World? (formerly Twenty-Something Travel). Follow Stephanie on Twitter or visit her on Facebook.
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