NYC to Detroit: STFU, We Are Pizza Town, USA

A new ranking of America's best cities for pizza has Motor City ranked at No. 1 and NYC, somehow, at No. 22

A Margherita pie is served at Lombardi's Pizza in New York, New York
A Margherita pie is served at Lombardi's Pizza in New York, New York.
Arturo Holmes/Getty

In a bigger slap in the face than The New York Times once opining that the best pizza in New York is in New Jersey at Dan Richer’s Jersey City pizzeria Razza, a new list of America’s best cities for pizza from Anytime Estimate has Detroit ranked at No. 1 and NYC, somehow, at No. 22.

To be clear, the major reason why the list — which takes into account factors such as Google Trends interest in 20 different pizza variations, pizza restaurants per 100,000 residents and the average price and affordability of cheese and pepperoni pizzas — is a fugazi is not solely because it has the Motor City ranked as No. 1. Detroit’s pizza, including the variety named after the city itself that Buddy’s has popularized, is pretty damn good and is certainly worthy of consideration — especially if you’re willing to overlook that Little Caesars, which is pretty damn bad pizza, is prevalent enough in Motown that the Pistons and Red Wings play their home games in Little Caesars Arena.

The problem with the list is simply that any calculus about the best pizza cities in America that somehow has places like Norfolk (No. 10), Tampa Bay (No. 12) and Cincinnati (No. 19) ranked ahead of New York City for pizza is just inherently flawed at its core. Ranking places like Indianapolis (No. 6), St. Louis (No. 8) and Baltimore (No. 11) ahead of Chicago (No. 14) doesn’t help.

Anticipating some backlash about giving the Big Apple such a small slice of the pie in the rankings, Anytime Estimate included a note about New York that mentions NYC “definitely has many positives for pie-lovers” but “its pizza culture has a fair share of flaws.”

While noting positives like New York having a pizzeria every 1.2 miles and New Yorkers having more dough to spend on pizza on average, the note also mentions three downsides of New York’s pizza scene:

  • New York has a lackluster share of independent pizzerias. With just 1.5 independent pizzerias per 100,000 residents, it’s half the average of 3.1 per 100,000 across the 50 cities we looked at.
  • Locals don’t show much of an interest in different styles of pizza, with a 14.7% lower average Google Trends rating across the 20 pizza variations we analyzed.
  • New York has 7.7 overall pizza shops per 100,000 residents (including chains), lower than the average of eight among all 50 cities we included in our research.

Of course New York has fewer independent and overall pizza shops per 100,000 residents compared to other cities because the city has a population of close to 8.5 million people. Detroit, for comparison’s sake, is home to 3.5 million people at most. As for the Google Trends data, New Yorkers aren’t looking up different styles of pizza online because it’s easier for them to just head out to their local slice shop (there’s an average of one every 1.2 miles after all) and look with their eyes. Newsflash: you can buy pizza, and lots of it, without Google or the internet. No disrespect to Detroit, but Anytime Estimate’s pizza city analytics are just straight-up cheesy.


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