Americans love their pizza, whether it's thin-crust, New York, deep dish, Detroit, bar, New Haven, Chicago, grilled, California, tomato pies, or Neapolitan-style. Fortunately, there are pizzerias across the country catering to all of these styles and more, at just about every price point. But which of these restaurants qualify as absolute must-stop pizzerias for the novice as well as the pizza snob? Last Fall, Eater unveiled the first-ever Eater National Pizza 38 in the grand tradition of the lists local sites have been putting out for years. And now, ladies and gentlemen, it is time to revisit and update this guide to the 38 essential pizzerias (and restaurant pizzas) across the country.
There are thousands of decent-to-excellent pizza across the country, and getting the list down to mere 38 was not an easy task. Much like the 38 Essential Restaurants lists on the local sites, the list has been tailored to allow for both geographic diversity and a variety of pizza styles. While this list focuses on the new classics, there's room as well for the landmarks that are still influencing pizzerias of today. The Pizza 38 focuses on the pies themselves: fancy ovens and ambiance are nice but were not deal-breakers.
For the first iteration of this list, Eater consulted with a panel of curators consisting of chefs, television hosts, book authors, food festival organizers, food writers of all stripes, current and former Eater editors, and other folks who are simply well-traveled pizza fans. In this second iteration, a smaller panel of these pizza fans looked back over the existing Pizza 38 to suggest tweaks that keep up with the relentless pace of the restaurant industry. Therefore, this time around, we say goodbye to Iggie's in Baltimore, Osteria in Philadelphia, and Mani Osteria & Bar in Ann Arbor — not because they're not great, but simply because time marches on. They are replaced by the newly eligible Pastaria in St. Louis, Pizza Delicious in New Orleans, and Pizzeria Beddia in Philadelphia.
If the panel couldn't always agree on which restaurants to include in the 38, Eater certainly doesn't expect you to do so. Take a deep breath and air your grievances in the comments.
Special thanks to all of those who helped inform this list: Mario Batali, Adam Kuban, Lockhart Steele, Amanda Kludt, Michael Berman, Pizzablogger, Scott Wiener, Jonathan Kauffman, Ian Froeb, Michael Nagrant, Jason Feirman, Zach Brooks, Mike Thelin, Jessica Voelker, Jackie Gutierrez-Jones, Amber Ambrose, Ari Bendersky, Allecia Vermillion, Aaron Kagan, Alexander Hancock, Andrea Grimes, and current Eater editors.
And now, in alphabetical order, the Eater National Pizza 38.