By Nathaniel Nelson
Few Manhattan streets can match the pizzeria prowess of 14th. In a city known for its tomato-cheese bread, 14th street, from the East River to the Hudson, has a particularly rich offering of quality and varied brands. But with all these options it can be tough to separate the wheat from the chaff, and if you’re unlucky you can end up at an iffy locale (I’m looking at you, Krust). Here’s a sampling of the highlights, in case you ever find yourself in the area with a few bucks.
Note: All places listed sell by the slice and by the pie, and accept both cash and cards.
328 East 14th St.
Best Slice: Artichoke
Let’s just get this one out of the way first. Artichoke offers the sort of vibes one might expect from a brand founded upon artichoke-topped pizza—young crowd, maybe 32 square feet of space for customers, long lines blocking the sidewalk, draft beer, and brick walls. As for the portions, they’re just right for anyone who’s ever eaten a slice of pizza and thought: “This is great, but I wish it were a four-course meal.”
115 East 14th St.
Best Slice: Baked Ziti
I used to tout myself as a Bravo Man. They rock it with toppings (I think I saw a bacon and broccoli combo once), but you’ll need to step up and say something if you don’t want burnt crust. They leave the pies in the window to attract stoners (smart business, I can attest), and can get a bit pricey, but they always have good sports on the TV.
527 Sixth Ave.
Best Slice: Plain Cheese
The perfect stop for travelers, Slice & Co. is less a restaurant than a one-slice transfer station for those who need to catch the L, F, M, 1, 2 or 3 train, or the m14A or m14D bus. Essentially open-plan, with few chairs and barely wide enough for you to order and pay without one foot out on the sidewalk, it’s the sort of design that politely nudges you out and on your way. The chow’s not half bad, either—good variety of toppings, and always served hot enough that the steam generated between it and the cold air outside is palpable.
122 University Pl.
Best Slice: Mushroom-Olive
Technically between 13th and 14th, Little Italy is the underrated little brother to Joe’s and Bravo for Union Square patrons. With Bravo-level toppings game at two-thirds the price and flaky crust to set it apart, Little Italy may just be the best all-around cheap pizza in the area. Admittedly, I have skin in this game—the head guy there is my homie (then again, he should be, considering how much business I bring in with my daily 2:00 A.M. post-dinner runs).
150 East 14th St.
Best Slice: Spinach-White
Joe’s is an Illuminati front that sells pizza embedded with microscopic surveillance parasites, which send your geographic coordinates directly to a feed at the Rothschild HQ. But if you’ve ever had a slice there, you know this already. I mean their pizza is good—melty cheese, fresh toppings, fluffy crust, etc.—but not Jimmy Fallon-good. Bradley Cooper-good? Kevin Spacey-good! It doesn’t surprise me that NYU students would congregate around some kitsch spot like this—the celebrity thing is out of control. I figured it was all Photoshop or some promotional stunt until I heard Sarah Silverman name-drop it on a podcast (she ordered some pies for a celebrity party, literally). Either being a celebrity makes Joe’s taste better, or there’s some shady business going on here. Their spinach-white slice is dope, though.
Nathaniel Nelson (N8) is a filmmaker and writer.
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