Yelp’s new list of the top 100 pizza spots for 2024 ranked Chicago deep-dish joint Pequod’s Pizza in the No. 1 spot, but another survey based on Yelp’s data has yielded very different results. Taking the top spot in a study of the highest-rated independent pizzerias by OnDeck, an online small business lender, was a single-unit independent operator in the Washington, D.C. area named Z&Z Manoushe Bakery.

And Z&Z offers a very different kind of pizza. In fact, the owners don’t even like to call it “pizza.”

Z&Z, owned by brothers Danny and Johnny Dubbaneh, serves a Middle Eastern flatbread dish called manoushe. It looks a lot like pizza, but the owners say it’s much more ancient, dating back long before pizza was officially introduced in Italy in the 19th century.

Read more about Z&Z Manoushe Bakery here.

Regardless of what you call their food, the Dubbanehs’ single-unit restaurant scored an impressive 4.9 rating on Yelp in the pizza category, making Z&Z the country’s highest-rated independent pizzeria in OnDeck’s ranking.

That’s not the only variation between Yelp’s 2024 listing and OnDeck’s findings. In fact, none of the top 10 independents in the latter survey made it into the former’s top 10. Why the difference? According to OnDeck’s research team, their list focuses solely on independent restaurants receiving the highest Yelp rating out of 5 stars, while Yelp bases its list on recommendations from its Yelp Elite Squad, the platform’s trusted reviewers and influencers.

In other words, according to OnDeck, Z&Z has the highest overall Yelp rating for an independent restaurant in the pizza category, regardless of what the Yelp Elite Squad thinks.

Z&Z was followed closely by several other indie pizza shops that averaged a 4.9 online rating.

This photo shows the brightly lit exterior of Hillcrust Pizza as seen at night, with its neon signs lit up.

Hillcrust Pizza / Instagram

The No. 2 spot went to Hillcrust Pizza, which opened in San Diego in early 2023 and offers Neapolitan pies using a five-day fermentation process and certified San Marzano tomatoes. “I’m going after quality without the ridiculous price,” co-owner Zia Quadiri told What’s Now San Diego in January 2023.

Third on the list from OnDeck was Los Angeles Pizzeria Company in—you guessed it—L.A. This 4.9-rated company is a wood-fired pizza catering business founded in 2018.

Coming in at No. 4, also with a 4.9 rating on Yelp, is Acqua e Farina by Ciro Esposito, a Neapolitan pizza stand in Miami that took seventh place in Yelp’s own Top 100 list a year ago.

No. 5 on the list is Brewability & Pizzability, a brewery and pizzeria with a 4.9 rating. This Englewood, Colorado, brewpub hires adults with disabilities to brew its craft beer.

Rounding out OnDeck’s top 10 are:

No. 6: Siamo Napoli, San Diego (4.8)
No. 7: Ciao! Pizza & Pasta, Boston (4.8)
No. 8: Smiling With Hope Pizza, Reno, Nevada (4.8)
No. 9: Zeneli Pizzeria & Cucina Napoletana, New Haven, Connecticut (4.8)
No. 10: A Dopo Sourdough Pizza, Knoxville, Tennessee (4.8)

OnDeck’s survey also spotlighted independent vegan restaurants, burger joints, breakfast eateries and international cuisine. Here’s how the list was compiled, according to OnDeck:

“We used to retrieve publicly available ratings and review numbers for 149,099 independent restaurants within the most populated cities in every state and across the following categories of cuisine served: pizza, vegan, burgers, breakfast and international cuisine (e.g., Chinese food). We could then rank restaurants within each state and within each category overall based on average ratings, breaking any ties by placing a restaurant higher if it had the greatest number of reviews.”

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