It’s all in the water. That’s what some New Yorkers say makes New York City pizza the best you can find. Maybe there’s some truth to that idea or maybe the city created this myth to throw other areas off the trail of creating a pie with the perfect crust crispiness, fresh ingredients and amazing taste of a New York one. New Yorkers visit other states and just can’t find the pizza they love (except maybe in New Jersey, but that doesn’t count). So what is it about New York City pizza that makes it so good? Is it really the water, or something else? We made it our business to find out.

Is the Water Thing Just a Myth?

There seems to really be something to the water idea. Food scientist Chris Loss explains in a Wired article that the minerals and chemicals within the water contribute to the New York City pizza dough’s flavor by affecting the chemical reactions during the pizza-making process. So water from NYC can really create a different flavor than water from another area.

Village Pizzeria in California believes in the water so much that it pays $10,000 a year to bring New York City water to its restaurant for its pizza dough. The restaurant even did blind taste tests, which came to the conclusion that New York City water made dough better than San Diego water.

Characteristics Specific to the City

In the Wired article, Chef Mario Batali and Food-Development Consultant David Tisi both support an idea that the older ovens many New York pizzerias use add flavor to their pizzas. Just like a steel pan gains flavor from each time you cook in it, these old pizza ovens have captured particles from the many pizzas cooked in them over the years. They then add some of that flavor to each new pizza cooked. Pizzerias who have newer ovens simply miss this flavor. Since New York City has a long history of pizza, they have a leg up over other states that are newer to the pizza world.

Of course, the pizza of this city has a certain type of crust, which is mimicked in “New York-style” pizza around the country. This crust is thin and tossed by hand, for an ideal ratio of crust to sauce and cheese, as well as the perfect crisp texture to every bite. That’s just another characteristic that makes New York City pizza so great.

The Best Ingredients for New York City Pizza

Many New York pizzerias make their pies with top-notch ingredients straight from Italy — that’s got to contribute to the quality. You can find some cheaper pies in New York that don’t have imported ingredients, but many of the best spots use them. Some pizzerias even use real Naples pizza ovens to create amazing pizza. Motorino has an oven that was shipped from Naples (used by Una Pizza Napoletana before this establishment got it) and Keste brought artisans from Naples to create a pizza oven here.

As you can see, a lot of different factors contribute to making New York City pizza as special as it is. That’s why other states may never be able to replicate the unique consistency and flavor that you can get in a NYC pizzeria. Let us know in the comments if you’ve ever found a slice in another state that compared to the famous pies of New York City.

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About The Author

Profile photo of Hayden
Passive Eater

I am quiet when I eat and loud when I write. On the streets and in the field calling it like I see it

  • Vladimir Martinez

    I have found a pizzaria in Groton CT that comes really close to new york pizza, its the best i have had outside of new york. It is called New York Family pizza.