Illustration: Naomi Otsu
A certain type of New Yorker will tell you that the city’s only Real Pizza can be found south of Prospect Park and across Staten Island — with just a few quality places sprinkled around Manhattan. The time has come to correct this narrative. The best pizza neighborhood in New York is actually Williamsburg, where excellent pizzerias are as concentrated as a heavily reduced tomato sauce. The Williamsburg Pizza Corridor provides Sicilian-ish pieces topped with barbecue chicken, nuevo New York slices and classic New York slices, grandma pies of the Long Island school, Detroit style with frico crust, and, as if that weren’t enough, Roman squares. It’s not just that there’s so much good pizza so close together but that it spans so many pizza genres.
Start at Mo’s General (620 Lorimer St.), at the BQE-adjacent end of the strip, where you can get puffy squares by the slice, as well as a thin, reasonably sized bar pie with the killer one-two of pepperoni and banana peppers. Fini (305 Bedford Ave.), a few blocks from the Williamsburg Bridge, serves a luxe version of the New York slice. The rich white pie — with a trio of mozzarella, Parmesan, and fontina plus the essential addition of lemon zest — makes as strong a case as any for going tomato free.
Between them, you have L’industrie (254 S. 2nd St.), which manages to achieve the unthinkable: an actually worthwhile, not soggy-wet burrata slice. There are thin, crispy squares at Leo (123 Havemeyer St.) topped with potato, a starch-on-starch duet; Detroit-style pizza at Emmy Squared (364 Grand St.) that tastes like gourmet Pizza Hut and makes you feel accordingly; and traditional New York slices at Joe’s (216 Bedford Ave.) with its sweet sauce. Then there’s the aptly named Best Pizza (33 Havemeyer St.), a forerunner to New York’s slice-shop renaissance that ushered in the Williamsburg pizza era. And if you stray south of the district proper, there’s more — Williamsburg Pizza (265 Union Ave.), a cornucopia of grandma slices. Fittingly, it was opened by a pizza chef who migrated from Gravesend in the greater region of Real Pizza.