The Best Pizza in America Right Now

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From Bangladeshi Fish Paste to Korean Kimchi, America’s Pizza Renaissance Is Thriving

Across the United States, a craft pizza renaissance is transforming the nation’s culinary landscape. This movement, driven by a growing demand for quality and inspired by a global exchange of ideas, has led to a new era of creative pizza-making. It’s more than just finding the perfect Neapolitan pie; it’s about chefs and restaurateurs using their unique backgrounds and experiences to reimagine pizza as a blank canvas for diverse culinary traditions. From Louisiana’s Cajun influences to the Pacific Northwest’s farm-to-table ethos, this culinary revolution is pushing the boundaries of what a pizza can be.

Key Takeaways:

  • A tapestry of flavors: Across the country, from small-town eateries to bustling metropolitan hubs, restaurants are using pizza as a platform to celebrate their local culture and heritage.
  • Beyond Neapolitan: While wood-fired, Neapolitan-style pizzas still hold a prominent place, the craft pizza movement embraces a diverse range of dough types, cooking methods, and toppings.
  • The farm-to-table revolution hits pizza: Chefs are increasingly sourcing local ingredients, creating pizzas that are not only delicious but also reflect the region’s seasonal produce and agricultural bounty.
  • Pizza as a storytelling medium: From a Bangladeshi fish paste topping in Hamtramck, Michigan to soft-shell crab on a white pizza in Baltimore, each restaurant tells its own story through its unique pizza creations.

Hamtramck, Michigan: Amar Pizza

Amar Pizza, founded in 2010, has carved a unique niche in the Hamtramck community by embracing the flavors of Bangladesh. Owner Khurshed Ahmed, drawing upon his childhood memories, has created pizzas featuring dried fish paste, a staple in his family’s cuisine, and Naga chiles, adding a distinct heat to the mix. Amar Pizza has become a local institution, demonstrating the potential for bringing cultural flavors to a beloved American staple.

Charlotte, North Carolina: Bird

Kerrel Thompson, the chef behind Bird in Charlotte, is pushing the boundaries of New York-style pizza. Inspired by the pies he grew up with in Cleveland, he creates generous portions with browned, caramelized crusts and toppings that highlight seasonal and local ingredients like dandelion pesto and local mushrooms. Bird’s success, transitioning from a pop-up to a thriving takeout business and now a sit-down restaurant, reflects the growing demand for high-quality, creative pizza experiences.

Chicago, Illinois: Middle Brow Beer Company

The connection between brewing and baking has led many brewers to explore the world of pizza, and Middle Brow Beer Company in Chicago is a prime example. Their pizzas feature fragrant and flavorful crusts with sturdy undercarriages, showcasing a range of Neapolitan styles, from minimalist toppings to a unique take on German potato salad pizza. Middle Brow also serves their own Michigan-made wine alongside their craft beer, making it a destination for food and drink enthusiasts alike.

Nashville, Tennessee: City House

Chef Tandy Wilson’s City House in Nashville has pioneered the pizzeria-as-Italian-American-trattoria concept. The restaurant blends a Southern sensibility with Italian cuisine, showcasing the versatility of both while supporting local farmers and producers. City House’s tomato sandwich pizza, inspired by Wilson’s mother’s favorite recipe, highlights the best of Tennessee’s seasonal produce.

Beaverton, Oregon: Hapa

Portland, Oregon, is widely regarded as a pizza mecca, but a few miles west in Beaverton, Hapa is adding to the city’s already impressive pizza scene. The restaurant, started as a farmer’s market pop-up, takes inspiration from Asian culinary traditions, incorporating flavors from pho and Thai green curry into its Neapolitan-style pizza. Hapa’s innovative approach demonstrates the potential for fusion cuisine within the craft pizza movement.

Juneau, Alaska: Lupo

Nestled in Juneau, Alaska’s downtown, Lupo is a cozy haven for pizza lovers. Chef Beau Schooler, a James Beard Award nominee, champions Pacific Northwest flours and Caputo Brothers Creamery cheese from Pennsylvania for his pizzas. Lupo’s menu offers classic toppings like fennel sausage, bacon, and mushrooms while showcasing seasonal specialties like halibut and asparagus, reflecting the bounty of Alaska’s waters and farms.

Cleveland, Mississippi: Leña

Leña, owned and operated by Marisol Doyle and her husband Rory, is a testament to the power of blending cultural influences. Doyle, who trained in pizza making in Naples, Italy, has brought her Mexican heritage to the table, creating pizzas like the al pastor and the Sonoran, which replaces traditional tomato sauce with refried beans and a homemade roasted jalapeño salsa. Leña, located on a small-town main street, is proof that world-class pizza experiences can be found even in unexpected locations.

These are just a few examples of the many exciting pizza destinations emerging across the country. The craft pizza movement is a testament to the versatility of this beloved dish and its ability to embrace culinary creativity and cultural diversity. It’s a reminder that the best pizza isn’t simply about following a recipe, but about telling a story and sharing a passion for good food.

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Anthony Harris
Anthony Harris
Anthony Harris is a data analyst and content strategist. He writes about trending topics and popular content, providing insights into what captures audience interest. Anthony's ability to identify and analyze popular content makes his articles highly engaging.