The Daily Meal released its list of the Top 101 Best Pizzas in America, and the biggest surprise was that Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana, that New Haven, Connecticut, stalwart, did not claim the No. 1 spot after winning the past four years in a row.
Frank Pepe’s renowned White Clam pie still made it onto the list, and deservedly so, coming in at No. 3. But, perhaps not all that surprisingly, top honors for 2016 went to a one-man show in Brooklyn that every pizza industry insider knows by a single syllable: Dom. Of course we’re talking about Domenico DeMarco, who charges five bucks for a single cheese slice at Di Fara and takes his own sweet time making it. His Classic Round Pie features a plum tomato sauce, mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses, basil, olive oil, sausage, peppers, mushrooms and onions.
“Dom cooks both New York- and Sicilian-style pizza … for hungry New Yorkers and tourists willing to wait in long lines and brave the free-for-all that is the Di Fara counter experience,” The Daily Meal writes. “Yes, you’re better off getting a whole pie than shelling out for the $5 slice. Yes, it’s a trek, and sure, Dom goes through periods when the underside of the pizza can tend toward overdone, but when he’s on, Di Fara can make a very strong case for being America’s best pizza.”
The foodie site makes a pretty strong case as well for its No. 2 choice, John’s of Bleecker Street in New York City, where slices are verboten and the signature menu item, the Boom Pie, is mouthwatering simplicity itself: oven-roasted tomatoes, garlic and basil.
After Di Fara, John’s and Frank Pepe’s, the remaining Top 10 are:
No. 4: Roberta’s, Brooklyn (the Margherita)
No. 5: Totonno’s, Brooklyn (the Margherita)
No. 6: Motorino, New York (the Brussel Sprouts, with fior di latte, garlic, pecorino, smoked pancetta and olive oil)
No. 7: Sally’s Apizza, New Haven (the Tomato Pie, tomato sauce and no cheese)
No. 8: Pizzeria Bianco, Phoenix (the Margherita)
No. 9: Lucali, Brooklyn (the Pepperoni)
No. 10: Rubirosa Ristorante, New York (the Vodka, made with vodka sauce and mozzarella)
The Daily Meal insists that its Top 101 list is far from arbitrary. “These rankings were approached methodically and comprehensively and bring a great deal of pizza expertise to bear,” the article states. "Beyond the various styles that must be considered, from Neapolitan and Sicilian to St. Louis and deep-dish, the article continues, “We believe the following qualities are basic to the platonic pie: a nuanced sauce, neither too sweet nor salty (assuming that it has sauce); good-quality, well-distributed cheese (assuming that it has cheese); good-quality and sensibly combined toppings; a flavorful, savory crust; and perhaps most important, other than the overall quality of ingredients, a judicious, well-balanced and pleasing ratio of sauce, cheese, toppings and crust that maintains a structural integrity no matter the style.”