When I left New York for boarding school at 14, I was astounded to hear that in other parts of the country, “a pie” does not refer to a pizza but rather to a dessert.
Pizza is a staple of NYC eating. We regularly consume dollar slices for lunch, served on a paper plate, to be topped with Parmesan or chili flakes from a shaker, folded in half and wolfed down as we walk. Everyone has their favorite delivery place to call at all hours of the evening. And, of course, there are the places you actually travel to for a pie: I’m an anomaly in my family, as for me, that place is John’s.
I’m sure I’ll eventually review the paper-thin pies at Patsy’s on the Upper East Side, where the rest of my family fills their pizza cravings, but for me, there’s nothing better than the massive pizzas at John’s on Bleecker, with their blistered yet still chewy crusts, their perfectly tangy tomato sauce, and my favorite topping: Italian sausage with fennel.
John’s is a New York institution: there are signed photos all over the walls (and signing on the walls themselves, as well, the wood engraved with countless “I was here”s). You’re not allowed to order pizza by the slice, which is an invitation to eat far more pizza than one should ever eat in one sitting. (I accept.)
They regularly forget the salad I order, and they tend towards surliness, but you know what? That’s New York for you. And I love it.
I have, of course, made a convert of the Country Boy, who is partial to pepperoni on his half of the pie. However you slice it, John’s is always on my to-visit list whenever I make it back to New York.
John’s on Bleecker – 278 Bleecker St, New York