Signature Item: Popeye (with pecorino, Gruyere, mozzarella, spinach, black pepper and garlic).
Sullivan Street Bakery founder Jim Lahey is one of the country's elite bakers, so it makes sense that people can't stop talking about his chewy, crisp, ever-so-slightly tangy pie crusts. Lahey's newest project: He developed the menu for Crust, a soon-to-open Neapolitan-style pie spot at LaGuardia Airport. co-pane.com.
Copyright Squire Fox (Lahey).
Signature Item: Tomato, homemade fresh mozzarella, Dante aged cheese, fresh herb.
Detroit native Nick Lessins assembles pies to order and then masterfully chars them in his beloved gas oven. Some toppings are baked onto the ethereally crisp crust; others - like the Mona cheese on the spinach pie - are added when the pizza is just out of the oven.
Copyright Robyn Lee (Pizza with zucchini).
Signature Item: Homemade Sausage Pie.
This super traditional pizzeria, with wood paneled walls covered with pictures of famous athletes, has been around for more than a century. santarpiospizza.com.
Photo Copyright Amy Swan.
Signature Item: Squash blossoms, tomato and burrata.
Powerhouse team Mario Batali, Joseph Bastianich and Nancy Silverton combine the best California ingredients (squash blossoms and trumpet mushrooms) with Italian tradition (big wood-burning ovens and house-made mozzarella) to form some of L.A.'s best pies. mozza-la.com.
Photo Copyright Larry Sales.
Signature Item: Margherita (with tomato sauce, Fior di Latte and extra-virgin olive oil).
The puffy, charred cornicione (end crust) is the result of just two minutes in the 800-degree wood-burning oven imported from Italy. flourandwater.com.
Photo Copyright Lesley Kao.
Signature Item: Margarita (with house-made pomodoro, fresh herbs, two cheeses and extra virgin olive oil).
In 1980, Johanne Killeen and George Germon launched a new era of ambitious cooking in Providence with their thin-crusted grilled pizzas topped with superfresh ingredients. alforno.com.
Photo courtesy of Al Forno Restaurant.
Signature Item: Plain pie.
72-year-old owner Domenico DeMarco makes all the pies at this Brooklyn pizza mecca, so they come out with the perfect balance of tomato sauce (made fresh daily), mozzarella and Grana Padano cheeses. A Di Fara spin-off called Tagliare opened in LaGuardia Airport in the fall of 2010. difara.com.
Photo Copyright Shane Mitchell.
Signature Item: White Clam pizza.
This longstanding classic, considered ground zero for New Haven-style "apizza," was started by Frank Pepe in 1925, and is now run by his grandchildren. The Original Tomato Pie (without mozzarella) is still on the menu. pepespizzeria.com.
Photo Copyright Doug Schneider Photography.
Signature Item: Apizza Amore (with tomato sauce, both fresh and aged mozzarella, pecorino, grana, olive oil, cured pork shoulder and fresh basil).
Pizzaiolos Brian Spangler, Dan Roberts and Jon Ullrich are so exacting about their craft that they mix their dough by hand daily and won't let customers put any more than three toppings on the nicely charred pies. apizzascholls.com.
Photo Copyright John Sowell, Roseburg, Ore.
Signature Item: Marinara pizza (star pizzaiolo Chris Bianco's favorite).
The pizzas here are arguably America's best, with beautiful, wood-fired crusts made with organic flour, fresh mozzarella and house-made sausage. There's almost always a line out the door. pizzeriabianco.com.
Photo Copyright Robyn Lee.
Signature Item: Lombarda pie (with baked egg, Cotechino sausage, mozzarella and bitto cheese, made from a blend of cow's milk and goat's milk).
The phenomenal pizzas at star chef Marc Vetri's casual spot are fired in an oak-burning stone oven. osteriaphilly.com.
Photo Copyright Tam Ngo.
Signature Item: Margherita (with house-pulled mozzarella).
Pizzeria Picco's wood-fired Neopolitan pies are rumored to be Mario Batali's favorite. Another draw: the quirky olive oil and sea salt soft serve ice cream. pizzeriapicco.com.
Photo Copyright Adam Kuban.
Signature Item: Deep Dish Pizza with Caramelized Cheese Crust.
At this landmark Chicago eatery, Sharon Katz enforces the strict call-ahead reservation policy and husband Burt works the oven, pulling out pies with a lighter crust and less cheese than most Chicago deep-dish pizzas.
Photo Copyright Nancy Heller.
Signature Item: Pizza with brussels sprouts, smoked pancetta, mozzarella and garlic.
Mathieu Palombino cooked at BLT Fish before he embarked on his pizza tasting tour, traveling from Italy to California, trying pies to perfect his bready, well-salted crust. Toppings vary at his two Motorino outposts—burrata with broccolini and sausage can be found at the original in Williamsburg in Brooklyn, while cherrystone clams with parsley butter are on offer at the second, in Manhattan's East Village. motorinopizza.com.
Photo courtesy of Motorino.
Signature Item: Regina (with Fior di Latte, tomatoes, Pecorino Romano, olive oil and fresh basil).
Gregarious pizza legend Paulie Gee serves Neapolitan pies with inspired toppings like sweet fennel cream sauce. pauliegee.com.
Photo Copyright Katie Sokoler/Gothamist
Signature Item: Margherita.
An offshoot of Delfina restaurant, from Craig and Anne Stoll, with Neapolitan-inspired pies with inventive toppings like salt cod. pizzeriadelfina.com.
Photo Copyright Eric Wolfinger.
Signature Item: Two Amys (plum tomato sauce and fresh mozzarella).
2Amys follows the strict standards of VPN, the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana, like using "00" flour, milled to an extremely fine grain. 2amyspizza.com.
Photo Copyright tvol.
Signature Item: Tomato Pie (no cheese).
This Philly pizza institution hasn't changed the recipe for its tomato pies since Italian immigrant Giovanni Tacconelli opened it in 1918. tacconellispizzeria.com.
Photo Copyright Harriet Cohen.
Signature Item: Bacon Pie.
The wildly popular -- and still going strong -- Monday Night Pizza events at Ken's Artisan Bakery prompted supertalented baker Ken Forkish to open a stand-alone spot in 2006. kensartisan.com.
Photo Copyright Adam Kuban.
Signature Item: Regina Margherita (with tomato sauce, buffalo mozzarella, grape tomatoes, basil and extra-virgin olive oil).
Chef-co-owner Roberto Caporuscio worked as a cheese salesman in Italy before he opened Keste, one of the newest -- and best -- Neapolitan pizza spots in New York City. kestepizzeria.com.
Photo courtesy of Keste Pizza and Vino.
Signature Item: The Super (with pepperoni, mushrooms, onion, green peppers and ham).
This fabled pizzeria specializes in Detroit-style square pies—and even uses some of the same seasoned pans from when they opened more than 50 years ago. buddyspizza.com.
Photo courtesy of Buddy's Pizza.
Signature Item: Marinara.
For chef-co-owner Charlie Hallowell, a Chez Panisse alum, seasonality and local ingredients are key-even the flour is milled in Oakland. pizzaiolooakland.com.
Photo Copyright Deborah Sherman.
Signature Item: Plain Pie.
Chef-owner Mark Iacono's pies are served in a no-frills dining room, which was packed before he was even able to officially open and pull the brown paper off the windows.
Photo Copyright Eric Mueller.
Signature Item: Siciliana (with smoked mozzarella, eggplant, basil and chopped tomatoes).
This unassuming strip-mall spot follows traditional Neapolitan pizza standards and doubles as a gourmet store selling incredible imported cheeses and pastas. anticapizzeria.net.
Photo courtesy of Antica Pizzeria.
Signature Item: Margherita.
The Coney Island institution made its name with big, saucy Neapolitan pies, and has since expanded to three other locations in New York. After a fire in early 2009, the original closed for nearly a year but has since reopened. 1524 Neptune Ave. Brooklyn, NY; 718-372-8606.
Photo Coyright Robyn Lee.