2021 was another rough year for many of us — a roller coaster of COVID surges layered between moments in which it seemed like a return to some semblance of normalcy was within reach. Pizza remained a constant in my life throughout the year and it’s time to once again look back on some of my favorite pies from the past 12 months. Here we go:
5) MUSHROOM & TALLEGIO
(Mushrooms, Tallegio, Truffle Oil)
This pizza made my “Top 5” for its taste. But the view didn’t hurt either. Overlooking the Delaware River, this Catskills pizza place serves 10 pizzas, my favorite of which was this mushroom pie. Simply made — with only three ingredients – the mushrooms were cooked to perfection and the truffle oil added an additional kick.
4) TOMATO PIE
(Tomato Sauce, Fresh Mozz, Oregano, Chili Flake, Two Cheeses)
Brooklyn Pan Pie
The Detroit-inspired pan pies at this Brooklyn pizza shop (with locations in Crown Heights and Williamsburg) are a nice twist on the overly-trendy pizzas modeled after those from the Motor City. Although it’s called a “Tomato Pie,” it has plenty of cheese and the chili flakes provide a nice bit of added flavor. There are six pies on the menu at Brooklyn Pan Pie and each one can be split between two people.
3) EGGPLANT PIE
(Tomatoes, Lemon Ricotta, Garlic Breadcrumbs)
The only pizzeria that made this list from outside the State of New York, Inferno is located in a non-descript shopping mall in suburban Maryland. They have a limited menu and limited hours right now, but a takeout order I placed in late summer held up particularly well. This eggplant pie was unique — with the lemon ricotta cheese standing out among other flavors. The puffy crust was the perfect base for this top notch pie.
2) PESTO MARGHERITA PIE
(Cheese, Tomato Sauce, Pesto)
Austin Street Pizza
My favorite new pizza place to open within the five boroughs, Austin Street Pizza is located on a commercial stretch in Forest Hills, Queens. This pesto margherita pie — available in a personal, round or square size — knocks it out of the park. Reminiscent of the retro or “neoclassist” slice shops that are becoming more prevalent these days, everything at Austin Street Pizza is a step above what you would expect from a standard New York pizza spot.
1) PESTO PIE
(Pesto, Mozzarella, Parmesan and Red Onion)
Kingston Standard Brewing
My favorite pie of 2021 was served at this microbrewery just outside of the heart of Kingston. A small food menu of about 4 pies and some snacks accompanies a more robust drink menu. But the brewery makes up for its lack of options with high quality pies including this pesto one — which was only made better by the addition of some red onions. Sitting at their picnic tables, drinking a beer, and digging into this pie was my favorite pizza experience this past year.