The best new pizza slices in NYC are square

By | April 17, 2019

It’s hip to be square — at least when it comes to pizza.

Square slices are slowly gaining traction on the classic triangle — and some are ranking among the best pizza in NYC.

International pizza consultant Anthony Falco says the square’s appeal lies in its structure. “They’re very light and airy,” he tells The Post, “but also substantial.”

From the classic square Sicilian-style slice to the crisp, bubbly focaccia, consider this your field guide to four-cornered pies. Here are the best square pizza slices to try in NYC:

The Sicilian:

Slices at Upside Pizza
Slices at Upside PizzaStefano Giovannini

This classic New York slice began in Palermo, Italy as sfincione: a focaccia loaded with herbs, cheese and other toppings. Typically, it’s topped off with sauce, though some NYC spots swap the cheese and sauce layers.

Upside Pizza chef Noam Grossman, who opened up his pizza shop near Times Square this past January, built on tradition for his Sicilian-esque slice, the Upside Don ($ 4), but added a buttery, cheesy crust.

“Tradition is great, but if everyone stuck to tradition, we’d all be doing the same exact thing,” he says.

His square features fragrant Sicilian oregano, cheese, seasoned breadcrumbs and a top layer of thick tomato sauce on a 2-inch thick crust made with wheat flour — a trick some pizza makers use to give their dough flavor a little more earthiness.

Where to eat it: Upside Pizza (598 Eighth Ave.); L&B Spumoni Gardens (2725 86th St., Brooklyn); Joe’s Pizza (7 Carmine St.); Prince Street Pizza (27 Prince St.); Mama’s Too (2750 Broadway)

The Grandma:

Williamsburg Pizza
A Williamsburg Pizza slice@JessAnotherSlice

Nino Coniglio, owner of that square-slice mainstay, Williamsburg Pizza, claims that good Grandma pies go heavy on the grease.

“One of the things that makes the Grandma pie so great is it’s kind of a lot of oil you’re putting [on the dough] to stretch it out,” says Coniglio, who says Grandma pies have thinner, crispier crusts than that of their Sicilian siblings’. “During the cooking process, it’s almost lightly fried.”

Coniglio, who recently opened a fifth Williamsburg Pizza on the Upper East Side, slings Grandma pies with a classic tomato sauce, mozzarella and basil combo ($ 4), as well as with more inventive flavors, such as the Apple Bacon slice ($ 4.75) with mozzarella, Parmigiano-Reggiano, walnuts and gorgonzola.

Where to eat it: Williamsburg Pizza (multiple locations); Luigi’s Pizza (686 Fifth Ave., Brooklyn); Best Pizza (33 Havemeyer St., Brooklyn); Adrienne’s Pizza Bar (54 Stone St.)

The Detroit:

Hungry hands reach for slices at the Lower East Side location of Sauce Pizzeria.
Hungry hands reach for slices at the Lower East Side location of Sauce Pizzeria.Heidi’s Bridge

For his new square slice, Sauce Pizzeria owner Adam Elzer found inspiration from an unlikely sauce: hamburgers.

“I love potato buns,” says Elzer, who started working mashed potatoes into his pizza dough. Then, per Detroit tradition, he baked the dough in a sharp-cornered, deep-dish pan he lined with cheese.

After some three months of tinkering, he found a dough that — while soft and squishy — manages to stand up to many toppings, including the pork, jalapeno, cilantro, cheese and a pineapple-tomato sauce that makes up the former Mexican-food chef’s Al Pastor specialty ($ 5.50).

Where to eat it: Sauce Pizzeria (multiple locations); Emmy Squared (multiple locations); Lions & Tigers & Squares Detroit Pizza (268 W. 23rd St.); Massoni (11 E. 31st St.)

Al taglio:

Leti, a server at Princi, shows off one of the restaurant's thick pies.
Leti, a server at Princi, shows off one of the restaurant’s thick pies.Stefano Giovannini

Roman-style pizza al taglio — or “pizza by the cut” — resembles a rectangular focaccia loaf that’s studded with hunks of cheese, cured meats and fresh vegetables, and baked in a shallow pan.

“Pizza al taglio tends to have more of a crisp, golden brown crust with a softer interior and is typically up to an inch thick,” says Matthew Brandsey, executive chef at the NYC location of Princi, a famous Milanese bakery. His Midtown outpost features show-stopping squares such as the Verdur Grigliate ($ 8), which evokes the Mediterranean with grilled zucchini, red peppers and eggplant.

Where to eat it: Princi (1633 Broadway); Mani in Pasta (multiple locations); PQR (1631 Second Ave.); Leonelli Focacceria e Pasticceria (7 E. 27th St.); Sullivan Street Bakery (multiple locations)

Alla pala:

Pizza by the slice at Alla Pala Pizza & Enoteca
Pizza by the slice at Alla Pala Pizza & EnotecaStefano Giovannini

Pizza alla pala also hails from Rome, but instead of being cooked in a rectangular pan, the dough is stretched into an oblong shape on a wooden pizza peel, or pala, then cooked right on the stone hearth.

Alla Pala Pizza & Enoteca, a pop-up slice shop inside Eataly’s Flatiron location, uses a blend of three flours from Italy. Says head baker Erin Flinn, “The flavor of our dough is the base of the flavor of our pizza, rather than looked at as a blank canvas, as is the case with many pizza doughs.”

The result is a slice that’s thinner than its al taglio relative: light and crispy, with just enough chew. Slices range from simple — the vegan-friendly tomato-sauce-and-basil Rossa slice ($ 3.90) — to hardy cremini mushrooms, globs of fresh mozzarella and a blanket of provolone.

Where to eat it: Alla Pala Pizza & Enoteca (200 Fifth Ave.); Eataly Downtown (101 Liberty St.); Farinella Italian Bakery (multiple locations); Ribalta (48 E. 12th St.)

Living | New York Post