The best New York pizza for families
Italian owner 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 slight less messy) with a yummy calzone. 1424 Avenue J (718-258-1367, difarany.com). Pies $28-$38
This rustic Greenpoint pizzeria dishes out deliciousness from crust to topping. The Greenpoint Benedict features fresh mozzarella, baby spinach, sliced Canadian bacon and a post-oven hollandaise drizzle. Or go with another homegrown goodness with 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 (347-987-3747, pauliegee.com). Pies $12-$19
Little Italy is a no-brainer for pizza hunters and this family-owned pizzeria on the outskirts of the neighborhood is hands down one of the best. Pile on toppings like house-made mozzarella, roasted peppers, prosciutto and anything else your tummy desires onto the perfectly-crusty pies. The Classic is made from a 50-year-old secret family recipe. Those hoping for gluten-free options will be happy to find the same options just made with gluten-free pizza dough. 235 Mulberry St (212-965-0500, rubirosanyc.com). Pies $18–$28, additional toppings $2–$4/additional topping
The husband-and-wife team behind this popular Park Slope restaurant truly prioritizes the quality of ingredients that go into its pizza. The produce and dairy is largely local or organic, and the meats are from sustainable sources, so you can trust that you’re serving the kids wholesome slices. Neighborhood families fill the tables regularly to chow down on wood-fired, Neapolitan-style pies with light, airy crust that’s complemented by flavorful homemade sauce and loaded with just the right ratio of toppings. Expect some noise during your dinner, because Franny’s is packed with pint-size patrons. 348 Flatbush Ave (718-230-0221, frannysbrooklyn.com). Pies $20–22.
Families looking for Times Square dinner options when heading to a show should consider this pizza spot. 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 (212-391-7560, johnspizzerianyc.com). Pies $15–$24
Don’t let this restaurant’s gritty industrial look keep you from giving it a chance because you’ll soon realize why this Bushwick spot is a hit with pizza-lovers. 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. When things get to cramped with the kids, head out back to the courtyard on a sunny day or beat the wait by grabbing a pie to go. 261 Moore St (718-417-1118, robertaspizza.com). Pies $12–$19, $1–$5/additional topping
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 (718-442-9401, deninossi.com). Pies $13.50–$22, additional toppings start at $2.
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 $15.50–$18.50, $3–$4.25/additional topping.
There’s a pie for everyone at this laid-back Neapolitan wood-fired pizza joint, which has locations in the East Village and Williamsburg. Picky tots can go for the classic Margherita ($15), while parents may want to try the Brussels sprout pie with pancetta ($16). Stop in for a midday meal with the kids and get the prixe-fixe lunch special (Mon through Fri; 11am–4pm) including their choice of pizza, plus a green salad ($17.07). (motorinopizza.com)
Branch out and try (gasp!) a Midwestern-style pie—even if it’s only once. The flour-dusted couple behind Clinton Hill’s Emily (919 Fulton St; 347-844-9588, pizzalovesemily.com) embraces Detroit’s square, deep-dish–esque 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 (718-360-4535, emmysquaredbk.com). Pies $15–$21, additional toppings $2–$5/additional topping.
Eataly offers shoppers a marketplace of fresh ingredients to take back to their kitchens, but if you’d rather sit down with the family for a satisfying meal, La Pizza & La Pasta restaurant will not disappoint. Diners will be transported to Naples with a menu of pies and pasta made just they way they’re done in Italy: seasonal ingredients like sweet San Marzano tomatoes and fresh mozzarella, regional Italian sauces and a perfectly charred crust. Le Rosse menu includes selections like the Margherita Versace TSG with mozzarella di bufala from Napoli, tomato sauce, fresh basil and extra virgin olive oil straight from Sorrento. 200 Fifth Ave (212-229-2560, eataly.com). Pies $16–$21
Dollar-slice spots are everywhere in the East Village, but this cozy restaurant is the go-to place for real-deal Neapolitan pies. If you want authentic, you’ve got it! 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 round, mozzarella-studded pies make their way out of the coal-fired oven in the back. To change things up from typical choices, try rolled-up pizza a frusta (it’s like stromboli…so how can you go wrong?) or a pizza cone, stuffed with toppings like prosciutto and arugula. Make sure to bring bills, since credit cards are not accepted. 211–13 First Ave (212-473-7447, luzzosgroup.com). Pies $17–$25.
This Bensonhurst standby, famous for its thick Sicilian slices, has been in the same spot since 1939, and it’s still going strong among the young-gun joints that dominate the borough. 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 (718-449-1230, spumonigardens.com). Sicilian pie $24, round pie $16, $4.25–$5.95/additional topping (whole pies only), $2.75/slice.
Swerve around the famously long lines at Grimaldi’s in Dumbo and find fine pies just a few feet away. 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. Grab counter seats so the bambinos can watch the pizzaiolos at work. 19 Old Fulton St (718-596-6700, julianaspizza.com). Classic pies $18–$22, $2–$6/additional topping, special pies $22–$32
The pizza dough at this family-owned parlor is patted down by hand, instead of stretched, to keep it thin and bubble-free, and every pie nails that perfect collage of tangy sauce and melty mozzarella. 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 because credit cards are only accepted for dine-in customers on select days, so things can get a little complicated. There’s also a $2 fee for delivery, but that includes use of the warming ovens that keep the pies super toasty on their way to your door—and who can argue with that? Hot pizza is the best pizza. 1758 Victory Blvd (718-981-0887). Pies $10–$16, $2–$3/topping; $2.50–$3.40/slice, $.75/topping.
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, (718-641-3082, newparkpizza.com). Pies $17.50, $3.50/additional topping; $2.75/slice, $.75/additional topping.
Visit the dinosaurs at the American Museum of Natural History, and work up a mammoth appetite before stopping in for a bite at the Upper West Side outpost of this legendary pizzeria. The first shop opened in East Harlem in the ’30s, serving Sicilian, coal-oven–fired pies. Grab a booth and share a large pie: they come in old-fashioned–square, thin-crust pie, or round varieties, dappled with toppings like mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, sausage and meatballs.
61 W 74th St (212-579-3000, patsyspizzeria.us). 13” pies $18, 17” pies $21, square pies $23.50, $1–$3.95/additional topping.
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 the borough’s own Little Italy: Arthur Avenue. The Belmont neighborhood has long been home to many Italian eateries, and this high-ceilinged spot will make your brood feel like they’re dining at a real-deal trattoria. The Salerno, Italy–born chef serves mouthwatering thin-crust pies with a crispier texture than Neapolitan-style, which sometimes gets deliciously soupy in the center. 2357 Arthur Ave (718-220-1027). Pies $8.95–$17.95.
Don’t be intimidated by the no-reservations policy at this modern pizzeria; it’s a hidden gem that’s still easily accessible, even with its dedicated following. Hand-tossed house pies like Calabrese—which is loaded with thick-cut pepperoni, sausage and onions—are family favorites. Let budding chefs get creative and build a custom pie with their choice of veggies, meats and cheeses. Build your own gelato sundaes to satisfy your sweet tooth. 160 Second Ave (212-432-1600, nicolettapizza.com/new_york). Pies $18–$24, $1.50–$3/additional topping
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 brick-arched shop is in the lower level of a Schuylerville home, and the no-frills decor only adds to the laid-back, old-school vibe. 1300 Crosby Ave (718-829-6230). Pies $14–$16, $3–$4/additional topping, $3/slice.