Brooklyn Pizza San Diego
Brooklyn is home to hundreds of pizzerias, from classic corner slice shops to historic coal-burning icons. And adding to the already long list of beloved pizzerias, Brooklyn has experienced a second wave of pizza dominance: new-school spots placing a premium on quality dough and local ingredients, and in turn added a new and delicious dimension to the pizza scene. Old or new, we think that you need to know (and eat) them all. Put this list in your back pocket on your next BK pizza crawl.
Since opening in 1964, Dom DeMarco has handmade every pie at his cult Midwood pizzeria, finishing each with a few snips of fresh basil. Watching the master at work is like stepping into the Brooklyn of the past.
"When I went to to Di Fara’s I was in awe. Just seeing that guy make pizza, me and my business partner kinda just sat there, our mouths open, just staring, " said Sean Berthiaume, co-owner and pizza maker at Vinnie's in Williamsburg. "The way he took pans out of the oven with his bare hands, he just like took hot pans out! He’s been doing it so long. We just sat there like 'Oh my god I could watch this all day.' A hero in action."
Inside the no-frills space, there is nothing going on here beyond pizza eating. Di Fara is as known for its long waits as it is for its slices, but here's a tip: If you get there before it opens at noon, you should be OK.
The sauce, made with San Marzano tomatoes, is tangy and salty, the cheese (mozzarella and Grana Padano) just thick enough and the toppings thoughtful. While some people visit Di Fara and order multiple pies to go, the pro move is to order a few slices with a group of friends, eat quickly and leave. Since it tends to be crowded, you won't want to linger.
Must-order: A plain square (Sicilian) slice
Another classic coal-oven pizzeria like Juliana's, Totonno's was opened out in Coney Island by a Lombardi's alum in 1924. And like Di Fara, to visit Totonno's is an historic trip. Come for the pizza, but absorb the ambiance too. Tip: Make a day out of a trip to Totonno's because they close when the dough runs out, not at a set time.
The thin-crusts of the pizzas here have a slight spring to them, but the underside is nicely charred thanks to the coal oven.
Must-order: Two pies (because you're likely taking a long train ride home): plain with tomatoes and mozzarella and another with your favorite topping.
L&B Spumoni Gardens/Facebook
L&B Spumoni Gardens
The square Sicilian pies here are so iconic that "L&B style" is used by competing pizzerias in an attempt to sell square pies. But what makes the Sicilian pizza here so essential? There are a few factors: the seasoned pizza trays, used so many times that they give the crust a real depth of flavor; the tangy and sweet tomato sauce, and the cheese-under-sauce technique, which helps keep the crust moist.
Round pies are on the menu, but aren't nearly as essential.
Must-order: An entire tray of Sicilian slices. You'll thank yourself later.
Courtesy of John von Pamer/ Franny's
The Brooklyn pizza scene wouldn't be what it is today without Franny's, where the pies are cut into slices tableside with giant scissors. Married couple Francine Stephens and Andrew Feinberg opened their wood-fired pizza restaurant in 2004 (for context, that's four years before Roberta's) on Flatbush Avenue in Prospect Heights. They have since moved locations and opened another restaurant and then sold it, but the pizza at Franny's has been consistently great.
"Basically we’re all grandchildren of Franny’s, " said Matt Hyland, co-owner and chef at Emily and Emmy Squared.