In cities without built-in foot traffic, social media is also helping to drive customers to pizzerias that otherwise don’t receive enough business to stay busy and sell by the slice. This mainstream cultural interest in the New York slice was already underway when the pandemic hit, but the closure of dine-in restaurants acted as a sort of super-charge. People needed takeout options, and New York-style pies, which are easily reheatable, suddenly made perfect sense outside of New York.
From Asheville to Los Angeles, here are eight New York-inspired pizzerias that exemplify why there’s never been a better time to grab a slice—or a few.
Outta Sight Pizza
Chef Eric Ehler and his business partner Peter Dorrance met while working at the contemporary Chinese restaurant Mister Jiu’s, before switching gears to pizza. Their brick-and-mortar slice shop opened last September, sandwiched between San Francisco’s Tenderloin and Civic Center neighborhoods. The shop is on the way to and from work for construction workers, government employees, port laborers, bartenders, and line cooks, who often stop in for a cheesy slice with a flavorful, golden-brown crust. Outta Sight’s signature slice is the Madonna, a cross between a margarita and a plain cheese pie, finished with grated dry Jack cheese and torn basil. The pizzeria itself is relatively bare-bones with white walls, grayish wood floors, and scattered artwork, allowing the pies to take the spotlight.
“I don’t want to call [the pizza] New York-style because I don’t want to offend anybody, but I want the pizza to be thin and crispy. We like a little flop over here,” says Ehler. He uses a poolish (a pre-ferment made with yeast) instead of sourdough but still treats his dough like an artisanal bread product. “We fold it, rest it, and shape it exactly how you would go about making a baguette,” he says. The end result is a crust that has similar characteristics to a rustic loaf: spongy and fluffy in the middle, with eggshell-crisp outsides. Ehler and his team also make their own mozzarella in-house. All of Outta Sight’s slices are excellent, but the mushroom slice—a white pie featuring cremini, oyster, shiitake, and king trumpet mushrooms—is not to be missed.