Let's get real: Pizza is the unofficial dish of childhood. You find it at pretty much every birthday party and school event, and even then kids just can't get enough of it—if it was up to them, every night would be pizza night.
Good thing New York has some of the best pizzerias around. The spots on this list not only turn out delicious food, they're also great family restaurants with kid-friendly scenes.
After all, getting pizza with the crew is one of the best things to do with kids in NYC. Some of these spots are laser-focused on pizzas, while others offer a broader selection of dishes. All of them will please children and adults alike.
What do you do if your kid is set on pizza but you couldn't face another bite of a margherita? Easy: Head to Juliana's, listed below—it's in the Time Out Market New York, where you can browse the food stalls and get some oysters on the half-shell, or a bowl of ramen, or just about anything else your hungry heart desires.
The best New York pizza for families
This rustic Greenpoint joint has become one of the standouts of the NY pizza scene—the pies are deliciousness from crust to topping. You can go for a classic, or for something more out-there like the Hometown Brisket, a beautiful marriage of fresh mozzarella, beef brisket from Red Hook’s Hometown Bar-B-Que, house-pickled red onions and a drizzle of Hometown Bar-B-Que sauce. You’ll want to grab a seat in the back to watch the custom-built white-tiled domed oven making magic at 1,000 degrees. 60 Greenpoint Ave, Greenpoint, Brooklyn (347-987-3747, pauliegee.com). Pies from $14.
Roey's is an offshoot of Rosemary’s, the scene-y Italian restaurant in the West Village. There are delicious pizzas from the wood-fired oven, plus a wide range of other modern Italian dishes from the large menu that range from rustic and simple to urbane and sophisticated: Everybody wins! The room is big, and lively, and family-friendly. 1 Perry Street, Greenwich Village, (646-864-1200, roeysnyc.com). Pies from $15.
Roberta's gritty industrial scene shaped how this generation eats—this restaurant pretty much defines Brooklyn food. It's also a great place to bring the fam, especially if you show up on the early side before the lines form. The menu changes its offerings depending on seasonal ingredients, and long tables plus bench-style seating makes the cozy place feel like you’re one big family enjoy a delicious meal together. The original in Bushwick is a good place to hang with the fam, while the two locations in midtown market halls are for grabbing a quick bite. 261 Moore St, Bushwick, Brooklyn (718-417-1118, robertaspizza.com), Urbanspace Vanderbilt at 230 Park Ave, Midtown, and Urbanspace Lexington at 570 Lexington Ave., Midtown East. Pies from $14.
This Bushwick pizzeria dishes out fluffy, inch-thick rounds of the Greek variety—think Chicago-style light. Baked in a shallow pan, Archie’s serves pizza by the pie or slice. Cash-strapped customers massive quarter-pie slices for only $4, while a 10-inch pie is a budget-friendly $10.50. There's a full bar for the grownups—the place turns into a scene at night, long, long, long after you and the kids have gone to bed. 128 Central Ave, Bushwick, Brooklyn (archiesbrooklyn.com). Pies from $10.50.
This is the pizza version of Marvel's Avengers: Frank Castronovo and Frank Falcinelli of the Frankie's Spuntino empire joined forces with Chris Bianco of Phoenix's Pizzeria Bianco and Chad Robertson of San Francisco's Tartine to create what is basically a slice joint. You can keep it simple, and carry a slice out to the garden in back, or you can order a whole pie, and make a meal of it. 459 Court Street, Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn (franks.pizza).
Don't bother with the famously long lines at Grimaldi’s—when Patsy Grimaldi sold his namesake joint, he opened Juliana’s and started slinging his famous coal-fired pies right next door. The place has a concise menu of blistered Margherita, marinara and white pizzas for diners to top as they please, plus special pies, simply labeled No. 1 through No. 6. A second location in the Time Out Market New York makes it that much easier to enjoy this NYC classic. 19 Old Fulton St and 55 Water Street, DUMBO, Brooklyn (718-596-6700, julianaspizza.com). Classic pies from $21, special pies from $24.
This family-owned pizzeria on the outskirts of Little Italy is hands-down one of the best in the city. It's a classic that can keep up with the new generation of pizza-makers: Pile on toppings like house-made mozzarella, roasted peppers, prosciutto and anything else your tummy desires onto the perfectly-crusty pies. Bonus: the gluten-free pizza is just as yummy. 235 Mulberry St, NoLIta (212-965-0500, rubirosanyc.com). Pies $18–$28, additional toppings $2–$4/additional topping
Culinary legend Domenico De Marco hand-crafts each pizza in this family-run business with ingredients imported from Italy. The dough is made fresh every day and herbs grown on-site are used to season the sauces. Kids can help create their own cheesy masterpiece with any of the specialty toppings or keep things simple (and slightly less messy) with a yummy calzone. A second location in Williamsburg continues the legacy. 1424 Avenue J, Midwood, Brooklyn (718-258-1367), and 103 N 3rd St, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (929-924-9464, difarany.com). Pies from $30.
There’s a pie for everyone at this shabby-chic Neapolitan-style wood-fired pizza joint that started in Williamsburg and has since expanded to the East Village and the Upper West Side. Picky tots can go for the classic Margherita, while parents may want to try the pizza bianaca with shaved Brussels sprout and pancetta. 139 Broadway, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (718-599-8899, motorinopizza.com), 349 E 12th St, East Village (212-777-2644), and 510 Columbus Avenue, Upper West Side (917-675-7581). Pies from $12.50.
Dollar-slice spots are everywhere in the East Village, but this cozy restaurant is the go-to place for real-deal Neapolitan pies. Pizzaiolo Michele Iuliano emigrated from Italy to NYC, bringing knowledge of the craft straight from his hometown of Naples. Families will appreciate the old-world decor and the energy of this cool spot: Luzzo’s definitely doesn’t deliver a passive dining experience, since kids get to watch the mozzarella-studded pies make their way out of the coal-fired oven in the back. Luzzo's BK in Brooklyn offers the same delicious pizzas in a more relaxed and spacious dining room. 211–13 First Ave, East Village (212-473-7447, luzzosgroup.com), and 145 Atlantic Ave., Brooklyn Heights (718-855-6400). Pies from $17.
This Bensonhurst standby, famous for its thick Sicilian slices, has been in the same spot since 1939. It’s still going strong. Make sure the kids come hungry—the square pies, built atop pillowy dough with a crunchy crust, are swiped with sweet tomato sauce, layered with sliced mozzarella and dusted generously with Parmesan. Round pies are also on offer, but nothing beats eating a hefty corner slice of the classic square on the patio, followed by spumoni or Italian ice for dessert. 2725 86th St, Gravesend, Brooklyn (718-449-1230, spumonigardens.com). Sicilian pie from $24, round pie from $16.
Heading to a broadway show with the family? John's Pizzeria is one of the best dinner options in Times Square. Custom-made pies can be made using any combo of 26 toppings, and small pies of six slices mean the crew can try a few different medleys. Curious tykes can also pick from other Italian staples like baked ziti and chicken parmigiana served with spaghetti. Don’t forget a bowl of gelato to sweeten the evening. 260 W 44th St, Theater District (212-391-7560, johnspizzerianyc.com). Pies from $17.50.
When it comes to great pizza, consistency is key! Many Staten Island families have been getting their slices here since 1951, and from the decor to the dynamite pies, not much has changed decades later. The crumbly sausage is a customer favorite, but adventurous eaters might like to try seafood spins with clams or shrimp, or the mysterious-sounding Garbage Pie (with sausage, meatballs, pepperoni, mushrooms and onions). If you’re not in a rush, dine in to show the kids the old-timey photos of Staten Island that decorate the restaurant’s walls. 524 Port Richmond Ave, Staten Island (718-442-9401, deninossi.com). Pies from $15.50.
Protip if you visit the dinosaurs at the American Museum of Natural History: take your family's mammoth appetite to the Upper West Side outpost of this legendary pizzeria that traces its history to the 1930s. Grab a booth, order a coal-fired pie dappled with toppings like mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, sausage or meatballs, and get ready to taste a bit of culinary history. 61 W 74th St, Upper West Side (212-579-3000, patsyspizzeria.us), and 801 Second Ave, Turtle Bay (212-878-9600). Pies from $19.
Cap off an afternoon of wandering through the New York Botanical Garden or checking out awe-inspiring exotic critters at the Bronx Zoo with dinner in Arthur Avenue, the borough’s answer to Little Italy. Zero Otto Nove isn't so much Italian-American as super-authentic Italian, with Naples-style thin-crust pizzas chared in blistering-hot ovens in a matter of seconds. A second location in Manhattan turns out pies that are just as supple and delicious. 2357 Arthur Ave, the Bronx (718-220-1027, zeroottonove.com), and 15 W 21st St, Flatiron District (212-242-0899). Pies from $14.95.
The pizza dough at this old-school family-owned parlor on Staten Island is patted down by hand, instead of stretched, to keep it thin and bubble-free. Tempt young taste buds with typical white and red to square Sicilian, or slices slathered with vodka sauce, or even topped with some tasty fried calamari. Bring cash. (Credit cards are accepted, sometimes—it's complicated.) 1758 Victory Blvd, Staten Island (718-981-0887, joeandpatsny.com). Pies from $14.
This Forest Hills favorite doesn’t have a century-old coal brick oven to brag about, but it doesn’t need one. The pizza—charred to perfection in a simple gas-fired number—speaks for itself. Nick’s provides high chairs for your half-pints, plus a straightforward roster of pizzas to suit everyone’s fancy. You can go half red, half white to get a taste for two styles or dig into calzones stuffed with fresh mozzarella. Come hungry—Nick’s sells whole pies only. And bring cash! 108-26 Ascan Ave (718-263-1126). Pies from $16.75
Branch out and try (gasp!) a Midwestern-style pie—even if it’s only once. The flour-dusted couple behind Clinton Hill’s Emily embraces Detroit’s square, deep-dish pies at this Williamsburg joint. Youngsters who usually leave their crusts for Mom and Dad will have no problem finishing off slices of the red-sauce smothered Roni Supreme or the white-sauced Marn Blanc. The shatteringly crisp outer edge of caramelized, cheesy crust that gives way to a soft and chewy inside will have your tykes totally hooked, though it’s best to leave your tiniest tots at home since the long and narrow layout isn’t ideal for strollers. 364 Grand St, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (718-360-4535, emmysquaredbk.com), and 83 First Ave, East Village (917-463-3737). Pies from $16.
No matter how many artisanal pizzerias pop up, it’s tough to compete with time-honored favorites like this family-owned Bronx spot. Louie & Ernie’s aces the basics, whipping up round and square pies with golden-brown crust, textbook sauce and gobs of mozzarella. Regulars swear by the sausage pie that’s loaded up with fennel-studded chunks made fresh by a butcher just down the street. The tiny shop is in the lower level of a Schuylerville home, and the no-frills decor only adds to the laid-back vibe. 1300 Crosby Ave (718-829-6230, louieanderniespizza.com). Pies from $15.
If Howard Beach is merely a transfer point on your way to JFK, you might want to consider a pit stop on your next trip. This joint, located off the Belt Parkway, has been in business for more than 55 years, cementing its spot in the community and hearts of pizza lovers; the owners even offered free slices when many locals were suffering post–Superstorm Sandy. Regulars know to ask for their slice “well done,” which means it gets popped into the oven until the cheese is extra bubbly and starting to brown. 156-71 Cross Bay Blvd, Howard Beach, Queens (718-641-3082, newparkpizza.com). Pies from $17.50.