For as many tourists that visit the Great White Way, Times Square has long been a wasteland for good pizza. I don’t know what’s worse, bedbug Elmos or that tourists grabbing a slice at La Famiglia or Little Italy Pizza (God forbid, 2 Bros), think they’ve tasted the legit pizza New York is known for. Sure there’s the Midtown John’s outpost, but as far as good slicerias go, you used to have to walk down to New York Pizza Suprema across from the Garden. Things have improved. You can walk over to Corner Slice on 11th Avenue or crosstown to Sofia Pizza Shoppe but until recently, if you wanted a great slice right there in Times Square… fuggedaboutit. No longer. Today, Joe’s Pizza opened at 1435 Broadway just two blocks south of where the ball drops. It immediately took the mantle of Times Square’s best pizza.
“You’re always nervous when you move into a new neighborhood,” Joey Vitale told me. Joey is the grandson of the original Pino ‘Joe’ Pozzuoli, famed pizza operator of Joe’s Pizza in the West Village.
By the looks of things, he’s got nothing to worry about. The new Joe’s Pizza on 1435 Broadway literally a block from Bryant Park and just a few steps up and out of the Times Square NQR station has the look and feel of the 14th Street East Village expansion. Unlike the West Village original, it’s roomy with stools and counters on either side of the pizza counter, behind which, three new deck ovens are being broken in.
“The ovens are going to need to get seasoned, but we’ll get there,” Joey said, noting on an Instagram post that the “neighborhood took us in with open arms.”
I’ve done same-day comparisons of slices at the 14th Street and West Village Joe’s Pizza locations, something that I’m not prepared to do this early on until they’ve had a chance to break in the ovens. Judging by the number of folks likely to swing through, that shouldn’t take long. (Good luck on New Year’s Eve, guys.) For now, I can say that there’s that classic Joe’s super-thin crust with the crispy, almost toasted undercarriage, lightly sweet sauce and just as thin a layer of cheese. I’d argue that there’s a little less cheese on this slice, but you have to give them a minute to get settled and a chance for these ovens to be broken in.
There’s that classic Joe’s super-thin crust with the crispy, almost toasted undercarriage, lightly sweet sauce and just as thin a layer of cheese. I’d argue that there’s a little less cheese on this slice, but you have to give them a minute to get settled and a chance for these ovens to be broken in.
It’s a great slice, I’m sure they’ll hone until they get it right, and even now I’d say I’d be proud to have folks from out of town hit it up and leave with it as their impression of New York City pizza.
For the uninitiated (whatsamattayou), here’s what I’ve said about Joe’s Pizza in The Daily Meal’s list of 101 Best Pizzas in America and in Phaidon’s Where to Eat Pizza in the past:
Since 1975, Joe’s Pizza has served fresh, hot, cheesy slices to tourists and residents alike, making it a truly iconic New York City landmark. It’s as synonymous with New York City as the Statue of Liberty or the Empire State Building. Everyone has a favorite slice joint, but if the city were to have just one, this would be it. It’s made every conceivable best-of list (many of them tacked on the walls and in the windows), and for good reason. The key to Joe’s success is their traditional New York City-style pizza with thin crust, great sauce, and just the right ratio of cheese, sauce, and crust (just a bit less of the first two). It took about 38 years for Joe’s to try to capitalize on its West Village success, opening an East Village location on 14th Street a few years ago that turns out a similar-quality product — if with slightly less demand (consider this side-by-side comparison). That was followed pretty quickly by their first location in Brooklyn (in Williamsburg), where they promised not to lose sight of their blue-collar virtues — they’ll still sell pizza for $2.75 a slice.
Joey said that he’s managing the Williamsburg location, that his uncle would continue to run the West Village spot, that his cousin would be taking over Times Square, and that “We’re going to have to come up with some new family members to open up other locations.”
Might be time to have some more kids too. In the meanwhile, God’s work, guys. Thanks for fixing the Times Square pizza problem, finally.
New York, NY 10018
Phone: (347) 312-4955
Subway: N, Q, R, W, 7, B, D, F, M, A, C, E