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New York–Style Pizza: Big Slices from the Big Apple
Prepare to chow down with Groupon’s study of the most famous foldable food: the New York–style pizza.
Crispy yet chewy. Thin with protruding pockets of bubbling cheese. Like New Yorkers themselves, New York–style pizza is both contradictory and dependable. And just as there are rules to be followed in New York City, so are there rules for it’s pizza: each wide, triangular slice should be folded, trapping the thin layers of sauce, cheese, and grease in its groove. Toppings should be sparse; a proper, “plain” slice relies on nothing but sauce and cheese. And the crust should be baked just right—the bottom slightly charred, the center chewy and soft—in an extremely hot oven.
The classic New York–style pie is technically a descendant of the traditional Neapolitan pizza—though the Americanized version doesn’t quite pass muster with the Naples Pizza Association, whose rules dictate that “authentic” pies should be smaller with a thicker crust and bushier mustache. In 1905, an Italian immigrant named Gennaro Lombardi started selling pizzas out of his grocery store in Manhattan’s Little Italy, and he spent much of his life sharing the secrets of his craft with a select clan of chefs around the city. Soon, pizzerias slowly began to crop up, churning out coal-fired pies instilled with the unique character of New York. By 1958, 117 pizzerias populated New York’s five boroughs, according to the Wall Street Journal. By 2011, that number had sizzled to 1,676.
Of course, New York–style pizza is popular outside the Big Apple, too, soaking paper plates all across North America, but some die-hard New Yorkers swear by the singular taste of their hometown pie. Aficionados insist that it’s New York City’s tap water that gives the dough its unique flavor, reportedly leading some restaurants in Los Angeles to ship water across the country—a much easier feat than hiring people to smuggle it in their cheeks past airport security.