Another year. Another roundup of some of the best pies I ate. From ramps and pumpkin to crispy chicken cutlets, no topping was left uneaten this past year. Four of my top five pies were consumed in the Greater New York area, with a guest appearance from out West. Let’s count ’em down!
5) MUSHROOM PIZZA
Costa Mesa, CA
In a shopping & dining complex about one hour south of Los Angeles — a few miles from the beaches of Orange County — you’ll find Folks Pizzeria. Nestled between a boutique clothing store and a fitness center, it might not be the likeliest of places to find some of the best pies I’ve had in SoCal. Featuring naturally leavened dough — resulting in a strong pizza bubble game — the pizzeria features ten 14-inch pies which each feed 2-3 people. My favorite was a mushroom pie, which came with mozzarella, fontina, thyme, garlic oil and a strong helping of roasted garlic.
4) BUFFALO CHICKEN / PESTO PIZZA
Hudson & Packard
The first “half and half” pie to ever make this list hails from the Hudson Valley. The square pies at Hudson & Packard rival some of the most renowned Detroit style pizza — both in and out of Detroit. In fact, it’s a borderline destination pizza place that hasn’t yet blown up. And one of the best parts about it is the fact that they’ll combine any of their offerings, which led me to concoct a near perfect combination featuring their Firebird pie (ranch dressing, buffalo sauce, crispy chicken cutlet, red onion) and their PYT pie (tomato relish, mozz, pesto, aged balsamic, parm). Two great offerings for the price of one!
3) VODKA, MARINARA, AND PESTO PIZZA
Andrew Bellucci’s Pizzeria
A battle of epic pizza proportions recently took place in Queens. I’ll spare you all the details right now (they may continue to develop over time) and instead focus on the mouthwatering pies being produced by Andrew Bellucci’s Pizzeria. My favorite is a play on their Vodka-Roni pie (fresh Mozz, pepperoni, vodka sauce, parm, black pepper), but swapping out the pepperoni for pesto. If owner Andrew Bellucci is there, as he often is, he will come over to your table and grate some cheese on your pie by hand. It’s a nice touch.
2) RAMPS & CHEESE PIZZA
Wizard Hat Pizza
Is there anything more 2022 than a pop-up pizzeria inside of a Brooklyn bar? Probably. But I’m a sucker for anything containing ramps and this pie from the folks at Wizard Hat Pizza was mind blowing-ly delicious. Featuring a hefty serving of ramp leaves along with a helping of ramp bulbs, this pie is targeted at those obsessed with this spring leak (guilty as charged!). Wizard Hat Pizza operates out of Any Time bar in Crown Heights, which is attached to a ramen spot named Names. Maybe we can look forward to a ramen pie in 2023?
1) PUMPKIN & GORGONZOLA PIZZA
Basking Ridge, NJ
In October, I found myself at a fall festival in Bedminster, New Jersey where there were slim pickings for food. A mobile pizza operator seemed like the best bet, and boy am I glad with that decision. Testo touts itself as a “Farm To Table Wood Fired Pizza Trailer” that often pops up at farmer’s markets, breweries, and vineyards in the New Jersey area. There were only three pies on the menu at the festival, but the one with pumpkin and gorgonzola was calling my name. The chewy Neapolitan style dough was topped with pumpkin chunks and sauce. The gorgonzola was not too stinky. And a hint of basil was the finishing touch on my favorite pie of the year.