If you haven’t already, prepare to fall in love with Action Bronson’s singularly wonderful food prose and recipes. His new book, F*ck, That’s Delicious, is everything you’ve ever wanted from the food-obsessed rapper, chef and TV host (and much more). Pull up a stool and enjoy Bronson’s ode to the New York slice.
In New York, tell me where you can’t get a decent slice. Any neighborhood, anywhere, you can pretty much get a decent slice. But let me take you to the back blocks, where the locals walk, for my six favorite slices.
#1 New Park Pizza: Howard Beach, Queens
This slice is incredible. They know pizza is a very delicate creature, the dough is a living thing, and you have to treat it as you would treat a child. The ovens have probably been there since it opened in 1956 — so those ovens are seasoned for years and years and years. You place that living organism into that hot oven with all that seasoning, and it just gives it that incomparable burnt bottom, the best you can get on a New York slice. It has freckles of texture on the bottom. Usually you get a slice of the regular — the round pie, not the square, though it’s good too. You get it toasted. One rule: Even if it’s a fresh pie, I want you to put that slice back in the oven and toast it. If it’s not crunchy on the bottom, I get angry. I found out about this place because Body lives nearby. Howard Beach is all Italians — this was all heavy-duty wise guys back in the day, everyone was connected.
#2 Alfie’s Pizza, Richmond Hill Queens
This is the best square slice in Queens: You bite in, it’s like a pillow. There’s a lightness to the crust like a French pastry chef made it. My boy Warren put me on to Alfie’s — this and Golden Fountain. He would always tell me Alfie’s had the best square in the world, but I didn’t believe him until I tried it. They’re from Catania, and they’ve been making that slice since 1974.
#3 Dani’s House of Pizza: Kew Gardens, Queens
At Dani’s it’s the sweet sauce that gives it that incredible flavor — that’s what it says on the T-shirts, “it’s the sweet sauce” — and also the burnt pockets of beautiful cheese and that dope crust they make. Plus the owner’s Albanian. It’s just a great, big, thin slice — made since 1959. Sometimes I just need that sweet flavor of their sauce. It’s like being a fucking cokehead.
#4 Lucia Pizza: Flushing, Queens
When I was kicked out of Bayside High School, I had to take the bus to Flushing to the school for fuckups instead. The bus stops right in front of Lucia’s, which has been there since 1962. It’s just up the hill from Main Street, across the street from Macy’s, and you could order from a little window right on the sidewalk. The bus would leave me off right there, so how could I not? It’s just a corner slice — but it’s the perfect corner slice: Salty, greasy, and the cheese and sauce all melt together to become one.
#5 Napoli Pizzeria & Restaurant: Flushing Meadows, Queens
Here it’s all about the baked ziti slice. It’s two things in one that I love — baked ziti and pizza — and it blew my mind the first time I had it, which was when I was twelve or thirteen years old. It was like when I saw Terminator 2 for the first time — that’s what that slice means to me. It’s sauce mixed with pasta, a good ricotta, and a crust crisp enough to support it all — all those details are important. I passed this love down to my child, and my daughter also likes that slice. Napoli is just across from my mother’s house, and now it’s owned by an Afghani dude, though my uncle once had the chance to take it over. We probably should have, because a pizzeria might be the longest-lasting food establishment in New York: Pizzerias never crash. If you find a storefront with an unused pizza oven, it’s like finding gold.
#6 L&B Spumoni Gardens: Bensonhurst, Brooklyn
Growing up we stayed local for pizzerias — we didn’t start to explore till later. My cousins from Brooklyn introduced me to L&B, which is an icon for their Sicilian square pizzas in huge sheet pans. Here, the corner slice is the key to life: This slice has more crust, and I love the crust — especially when they add a little bit of cheese and let it ride the crust up a little bit, which they do. At L&B you also must double-park, and you must get the spumoni. It’s called Gardens because it’s like a beer garden in front.