American Pie

Thin crust or thick, round or square, nothing has become a culinary fetish like pizza. Hot at night, cold in the morning and eaten on the run during the day, it’s an obsession that can’t be fully fed. Here’s where to go for the perfect pie.



Photography by Nat Rea

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NEAPOLITAN

Commonly referred to as “thin crust,” Neapolitan uses “0” or “00” flour, a particularly refined variety that renders a delicate crust. Pies are cooked in wood-burning or coal ovens that impart a smoky flavor to the crackling dough, which is topped with restrained amounts of San Marzano tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella and a host of other traditional and innovative ingredients. Too much topping and a Neapolitan crust will buckle under the pressure.

Village Hearth Bakery
It may happen only once a week (more often in the summer), but Village Hearth’s Sunday night wood-fired pizza is well worth the drive. Paper thin with equal parts sauce and cheese, take your pie to go or scarf it down immediately.
2 Watson Ave., Jamestown,
423-9282, villagehearthbakerycafe.com


Pasta Beach
Inside this unassuming storefront lies the heart of Italy, sprinkled with crushed tomatoes and fresh basil. Service can be spotty, but the cracker-like crust and bright, bold toppings are an addiction in the making.
7 Memorial Blvd.,
Newport, 847-2222


Mews Tavern
With its dim lighting and pages-long beer list, Mews offers the college version of Neapolitan pizza. It’s a little thicker, a little less refined and it’s largely served to a crowd of co-eds. How many other places put garden burger crumbles in their calzones?
456 Main St., Wakefield,
783-9370, mewstavern.comF


Federal Hill pizzaFederal Hill Pizza
With a dough that’s won international competitions, Federal Hill offers a Neapolitan with bite. The “owner’s favorite” — mozzarella, mushrooms, prosciutto, basil and goat cheese, well done — is aptly named.
495 Main St., Warren,
245-0045, federalhillpizza.com

 

 

CHICAGO

 

Created (guess where?) during WWII, this is about as far from Neapolitan as you can get. The ultra thick dough is generously oiled to give it a firm exterior that can hold the weight of ample ingredients. Gobs of cheese, meats and veggies are piled in with a hefty dose of sauce. Where thin crust pizzas are done in ten minutes, some Chicago pies can take nearly an hour to bake.
 
Sicilia’s
More is better. Sicilia’s calls their pie “stuffed,” which is true, but a bit of an understatement. Their large deep dish is more than a meal, it’s a quest. The slightly sweet, super thick dough manages to cradle a week’s worth of tomato and cheese.
181 Atwells Ave., Providence, 
273-9222, siciliapizzeria.com
 
Tomato City Pizza
Tomato City’s pies celebrate the chunkiest of tomato sauces, but it’s the incredible volume of cheese that dominates their deep dish. In fact, the “cheese lovers” is more like a mozzarella (and feta and cheddar and Parmesan and Romano) brick floating on dough. Bring. It. On. 
1041 Douglas Ave., Providence, 
273-7700, tcpprov.com 
 
 
NEW YORK
 
No style of pizza is more hotly contested than New York, a thin, hand-tossed version baked in commercial rather than wood- burning ovens. What’s the defining characteristic? Tough to commit, but native New Yorkers will say that it has to be foldable and it’s got to be eaten in single slices, not as a pie. If a steady stream of oil oozes off the top, all the better. 
 
Carmella’s
Hand tossed like it oughta be, Carmella’s makes a super thin crust pizza as well, but it’s the loaded New York-style that drives Brooklyn transplants crazy. Thought tomato sauce was de rigueur? Try the garlic butter. 
330 West Main Rd., Middletown, 847-2424; 
3001 East Main Rd., Portsmouth, 683-0880
carmellasri.net 
 
Via Via
It might be gone from the late-night Providence scene, but Via Via is still serving up NY pies in Newport. Technically, it’s brick and not commercial oven cooking, but its pliable crust refuses to be classified as Neapolitan. The extra-large eighteen-incher is a pizza freak show. 
372 Thames St., Newport, 
846-4074, viaviari.com 
 
AntoniosAntonio’s Pizza
The quintessential college pizza: extra large slices, soft but sturdy crust and toppings only a drunken football player could dream up. Spicy chicken, tortilla chips and sour cream? Yeeaah, buddy. 
258 Thayer St., Providence, 
455-3600
 
Pizza Pie-er 
With four crusts and almost a dozen sauces, Pizza Pie-er has universal appeal. You can go rustic with the walnut and Parmesan sauce, but it’s tough to beat the pesto pizza with fresh tomato slices. 
374 Wickenden St., Providence, 
351-3663, pizzapieer.com
 
Neo Pizza 
Sold by the slice during lunch hour, Neo’s makes its award-winning “Gian” pizza in nearly two dozen varieties. Our favorite? The simply named Neo, with grape tomatoes, olives and fresh basil. 
2244 Plainfield Pike, Cranston, 
942-4636, neopizzari.net
 
Fellini 
Fellini is almost too thin to be considered true New York, but its broad slices and foldable crust make it too close for exclusion. It’s also one of the only pizzas that pools almost no grease, making it a favorite light slice. 
166 Wickenden St., Providence, 
751-6737, fellinipizzeria.com
 
 

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