It’s National Pizza Month! These Are America's 25 Best Pizzerias

VeselovaElena/iStock via Getty Images
VeselovaElena/iStock via Getty Images

Not all pizza is created equal, but many people would argue that just about all of it is pretty darn good. While purists might still consider an old-school Neapolitan pie a cut above the rest, the growing diversity in the world of pizza is definitely a good thing for our taste buds.

In honor of National Pizza Month, The Daily Meal combed every corner of the country to find out which pizzerias are serving the most delicious slices of pie. The team researched the newest and best pizzerias across the nation, created a survey that included almost 1000 of them, and then sent that survey to chefs, restaurant critics, bloggers, writers, and other culinary authorities.

The survey asked panelists to vote for their favorite pizzerias based on a rather open-ended definition of “the perfect pie,” which The Daily Meal explains must have a “neither too sweet nor too salty” sauce, “well-distributed cheese,” “sensibly combined toppings,” a “flavorful, savory crust,” and “a judicious, well-balanced and pleasing ratio” of ingredients that “maintains a structural integrity no matter the style.”

Based on that definition, it seems like voters were pretty much asked to follow their hearts. Did their hearts (and other senses) lead them to New York, pizza’s biggest braggart? For many of them, yes: Out of the top 25 pizzerias, 12 of them are located in New York.

Having said that, the list was not without its surprises. The legendary Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana in New Haven, Connecticut, took the top spot, trailed by Brooklyn-based Lucali and Razza Pizza Artigianale in Jersey City, New Jersey.

Though the East Coast undoubtedly dominated, Arizona, Oregon, and California each made the list once, and Illinois claimed a respectable three spots.

The pies themselves ranged from Sicilian-style to Chicago’s polarizing deep dish, and each one is its own unique thing of beauty.

Take a look at the top 25 below, and see The Daily Meal’s comprehensive list of the 101 best pizzerias here.

  1. Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana (New Haven, Connecticut)

  1. Lucali (Brooklyn, New York)

  1. Razza Pizza Artigianale (Jersey City, New Jersey)

  1. Pequod’s (Chicago, Illinois)

  1. Buddy’s Pizza (Detroit, Michigan)

  1. Totonno’s (Brooklyn, New York)

  1. Sally’s Apizza (New Haven, Connecticut)

  1. Patsy’s (New York, New York)

  1. Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria (Chicago, Illinois)

  1. John’s of Bleecker Street (New York, New York)

  1. Joe’s (New York, New York)

  1. Santarpio’s (Boston, Massachusetts)

  1. Una Pizza Napoletana (New York, New York)

  1. Prince St. Pizza (New York, New York)

  1. Pizzeria Beddia (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)

  1. Di Fara (Brooklyn, New York)

  1. Pizzeria Bianco (Phoenix, Arizona)

  1. Grimaldi’s (Brooklyn, New York)

  1. Lombardi’s (New York, New York)

  1. Modern Apizza (New Haven, Connecticut)

  1. Piece (Chicago, Illinois)

  1. Pizzeria Delfina (San Francisco, California)

  1. Lovely’s Fifty Fifty (Portland, Oregon)

  1. Motorino (New York, New York)

  1. Roberta’s (Brooklyn, New York)

By the way: Did you know that the word pizza dates all the way back to 997 CE? Find out more mouthwatering pizza facts here.

[h/t The Daily Meal]

10 'Nuts' That Aren't Actually Nuts

None of these "nuts" are truly nuts.
None of these "nuts" are truly nuts.
margouillatphotos/iStock via Getty Images Plus

Who doesn’t love a pedantic houseguest? Next time you’re at a dinner party and someone breaks out the mixed nuts, seize the moment and let everyone know that a lot of the tasty treats we call nuts don’t actually merit the title. Botanists define a “nut” as a dry, one-seeded fruit encased in a hardened ovary wall (called a pericarp). Genuine nuts are fused to their shells and won’t naturally break open upon reaching maturity. Hazelnuts fit the criteria. So do chestnuts. But these ever-popular snack foods sure don’t.

1. Peanuts

The star ingredient of America's favorite nut butter isn't actually a nut. Instead, peanuts are considered legumes, along with soybeans, lentils, and chickpeas. Unlike nuts, most legumes come in self-opening pods—which may or may not grow underground, depending on the species. 

2. Almonds

A group of almonds in wood bowl atop a rustic table
These almonds formed inside a fleshy fruit.
onairjiw/iStock via Getty Images Plus

Almonds are seeds found within the fleshy, peach-like fruits of the Asian Prunus dulcis tree. They’ve earned a spot on our list because actual nuts don’t come wrapped up in softened fruit matter. So how do botanists classify almonds? As drupe seeds. Briefly stated, a drupe is a soft fruit with a hard inner shell. (Think peach pits.)

3. Cashews

Like almonds, cashews are drupe seeds pulled from soft fruit packages. The trail mix staples poke out of red, yellow, or green “cashew apples” that grow on South American trees. Cashew seeds are naturally protected by a toxin-coated outer shell that's roasted to neutralize the acid. In spite of this defense mechanism, the yummy snacks were soon embraced by Portuguese explorers and distributed across the globe.

4. Walnuts

A squirrel eating walnuts in a park
The walnuts this squirrel is noshing on are drupes, not nuts.
Serhii Ivashchuk/iStock via Getty Images Plus

Hey look, it’s another member of the drupe clan! Walnuts inhabit green fruit on temperate trees in the genus Juglans. Most of the seeds that end up on American dining room tables come from the English walnut tree, Juglans regia [PDF]. Even if you don’t eat the drupes, you can probably find a use for them: Walnut shells have been incorporated into everything from cosmetic products to kitty litter.

5. Pine nuts

About 20 pine tree species—including the Italian stone pine—produce big seeds that get harvested en masse. Those seeds are removed from cones in a meticulous process, which accounts for their high selling prices.

5. Brazil Nuts

You’ll encounter Brazil nuts all over the Amazon rainforest, in such countries as Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, and (of course) Brazil. They come from a hardened 4-to-6-pound pod containing up to two dozen seeds that might become trees someday. The pods are so hefty, getting bonked on the head by a falling one is enough to stun or even kill you.  Surprisingly, Brazil Nuts can also be fairly radioactive thanks to the trees' roots, which grow deep within radium-rich soil.

7. Macadamia Nuts

Rows of trees at an Australian Macadamia orchard
An Australian macadamia orchard filled with the country's native drupe.
oxime/iStock via Getty Images Plus

Gympie, Queensland, has an odd claim to fame: Approximately 70 percent of all the macadamia nuts on Earth are descended from trees grown in the Australian town. Macadamias are an ecological staple in Queensland and New South Wales. But—stop us if this sounds familiar—their so-called “nuts” are drupes.

8. Pistachios

Not only are pistachios drupes, but they’ve got shells that automatically open with a literal popping noise once the contents reach a certain size. When all’s said and done, though, at least pistachios are Frank Drebin-approved.

9. Pecans

The Algonquian term for “nut that requires a stone to crack” gave us the English word pecan. Wild pecans can be gathered in Mexico and the United States—they’re true North American treasures. Name origin aside, they can’t accurately be called nuts. Botanists usually refer to them as drupes, but because of their tough shells, the label “drupaceous nuts” might be more appropriate. Either way, pecans aren’t true nuts. They make for great pies, though.

10. Coconuts

A monkey sticks out its tongue while eating a coconut
This cheeky monkey seems to be enjoying its delicious drupe.
Volga2012/iStock via Getty Images Plus

A drupe of unusual size, the coconut is a fibrous juggernaut that bears a single seed. The whitish fleshy interior can be immersed in hot water and then rung out through a cloth to produce coconut milk. Meanwhile, the outer shells are responsible for some of the most delightfully bizarre Guinness World Records categories, such as “most green coconuts smashed with the head in one minute.” (You can see other unusual Guinness World Record categories here.)

Coming Soon to a KFC Near You: Fried Chicken and Doughnuts

KFC is bringing doughnuts to the table.
KFC is bringing doughnuts to the table.
Kentucky Fried Chicken

You might have noticed that fast food franchises have upped the stakes considerably when it comes to promotion. In 2019, Taco Bell briefly opened a themed hotel in Palm Springs, California. Meanwhile, Wendy’s has become known for a particularly salty Twitter presence that takes swings at the competition, regularly roasting rivals Burger King and McDonald’s.

KFC recently introduced a collaboration with Crocs for shoes with a fried chicken design. In 2016, they offered a chicken-scented sunscreen. Their newest attempt to garner attention is in the form of a new fried chicken and doughnuts platter. But unlike some novelty foods, this one is rolling out nationwide.

KFC enthusiasts can choose either fried chicken on the bone or their boneless crispy chicken tenders that come with one glazed doughnut. (A big basket meal will give you two doughnuts.) If you want to reach Roman Emperor levels of decadency, you can opt for their fried chicken and doughnut sandwich, which uses two doughnuts to bookend a chicken filet.

All the doughnuts are served warm, a touch usually reserved for Krispy Kreme and other premium doughnut dispensaries. If you feel like grabbing a single doughnut, you can, provided you order one of their other meals.

KFC calls the chicken-and-doughnut combo “the newest fried chicken trend” that’s gaining in popularity, with some independently owned storefronts like Federal Donuts in Philadelphia basing their business on the dish.

KFC tested the doughnuts in 2019 and apparently got enough of an enthusiastic response to make them available across the country for a limited time. You can find the doughnut baskets and sandwich at stores beginning Monday, February 24. If you’re in Los Angeles, a special Colonel’s (Chicken and) Donut Shop will pop up two days earlier on Saturday, February 22.

[h/t Hypebeast]

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