237 Wooster Street, New Haven, Connecticut,
The late Sally Consiglio learned his craft at his uncle Frank Pepe's joint down the block before opening his own place in 1938. Over the next 68 years, only Consiglio and his sons, Richard and Robert, made the pizza. The pies-made with or without mozzarella, a dusting of Romano cheese, and, in the summer, slices of local tomato-are works of art. Lucky loyalists skip the slow-moving line and dial the secret reservations number, handed down through generations like Giants season tickets. How do I know about the number? I plead the Fifth.
577 South Main Street, Providence,
Chef-owners George Germon and Johanne Killeen grill pizza over a 1,000-degree wood fire. (Why it doesn't incinerate the dough is beyond me.) The supermodel-thin pizzas are discs of crunchy, smoky pleasure topped with items like fresh-picked Rhode Island corn, homemade sausage, and just enough cheese to remind you it's a pizza.
513 Tremont Street, Boston,
Rick Katz, a former pastry chef, hit upon a winning formula that's familiar to any 4-year-old who's attended a decent birthday party: pizza and ice cream. But it's not what you think. A full meal here means a highly appealing puffy-crusted pizza adorned with fresh mozzarella-a rarity in Boston, where aged yellow cheese is the norm-followed by a phenomenal array of ice-cream flavors. Even in a town obsessed with ice cream, Katz's selection rivals anything you might find there.
3715 Macomb Street NW, Washington, D.C.,
2 Amys (named after the two owners' wives) has introduced world-class pizza to the nation's capital. Co-owner Tim Giamette's pizza-making philosophy: "Everything is in the dough." He also credits his pizzaiolo, Edan MacQuaid, who, he says, "probably came out of his mother's womb making great pizza." MacQuaid's pies have crust with the fine hole structure found in great bread, plus the right amount of char.
PUNCH NEAPOLITAN PIZZA
704 Cleveland Avenue South, St. Paul (and three other locations),
Owner John Sorrano was born in Boston but spent his formative years in Milan, where he begged the owner of a Neapolitan-style pizzeria to teach him his secrets. When Sorrano moved to Minnesota, he brought terrific pies. His mozzarella comes from New York and Campana, his sauce is made of crushed San Marzano tomatoes, and his sea salt took him half a year to track down.
1401 SE Morrison, Portland, Oregon,
Nostrana's inspiration? A Roman pizzeria in Trastevere. Chef-owners Cathy Whims and Deb Accuardi are doing superb work with pork sausage made from heritage breeds of pigs, creamy house-made mozzarella, and a 750-degree wood-burning oven fueled in part by dried oak from Accuardi's farm in the Willamette Valley.