Introduction to Long Island Pizza

New York’s pizza game is strong, but Long Island’s got its own slice of the action. As a pizza fanatic, I’m on a mission to find the best pizza in Long Island. Before we hit up the local spots, let’s rewind and see how pizza made its way to New York and eventually to Long Island.

Pizza’s Roots in New York

The pizza journey in New York started in 1905 when Gennaro Lombardi, a grocer from Naples, opened the first U.S. pizzeria in Manhattan’s Little Italy. Lombardi’s pizzeria initially sold whole pizzas for five cents each. To cater to the city’s struggling immigrants, Lombardi later introduced individual slices wrapped in paper.

You might wonder, “How did pizza become the legend it is today?” Enter Antonio Totonno Pero, a Lombardi employee who decided to go solo. Totonno opened his pizzeria, Totonno’s, on Coney Island and pioneered what we now know as the original New York-style pizza. This style features a hand-tossed base with cheese on the bottom and sauce on top, baked in brick ovens for that crispy crust.

New York pizza stands out with its hand-tossed base and light sauce. Traditional toppings include fresh mozzarella, pepperoni, sausage, mushrooms, bell peppers, onions, and anchovies. Italian immigrants also introduced more exotic toppings like calamari, sheep’s tongue, sweetbreads, offal, and tripe (Bodrum NYC).

PizzeriaEstablishedSpecialty
Lombardi’s1905Whole pizzas, individual slices
Totonno’sEarly 1900sCheese on the bottom, sauce on top

As New York City became a pizza haven, the love for this doughy delight spread to the surrounding areas, including Long Island. By 1930, Long Island had flourishing Italian immigrant populations in places like Port Washington, Glen Cove, Patchogue, and smaller neighborhoods such as San Remo and Marconiville (The Pizza Cowboy). These communities played a big role in introducing and popularizing pizza in Long Island.

Some of the oldest pizzerias in Long Island include Eddie’s (founded in 1931), Umberto’s (founded in 1965), and Gino’s of Long Beach (founded in 1962) (The Pizza Cowboy). Each of these pizzerias has its own unique take on the New York style, contributing to the diverse and rich pizza culture in Long Island.

If you’re a pizza lover like me, you’ll appreciate the history and traditions that have shaped the best pizza in Long Island. Now that we’ve covered the roots, get ready to embark on a delicious adventure as we explore the famous pizzerias and unique offerings that Long Island has to offer. And if you’re curious about the best pizza spots in other cities, check out our guides on the best pizza in Brooklyn and the best pizza in Manhattan.

Famous Pizzerias in Long Island

Oldest Pizzerias in Long Island

When it comes to the best pizza in Long Island, you gotta start with the classics. Some of the oldest pizzerias have been serving delicious pies for decades, becoming local legends. Here are a few of the most iconic:

  • Eddie’s: Founded in 1931, Eddie’s has been a staple in the Long Island pizza scene for nearly a century.
  • Umberto’s: This pizzeria opened its doors in 1965 and has been a favorite ever since.
  • Gino’s of Long Beach: Established in 1962, Gino’s has been serving up delicious slices for over 60 years.

These pizzerias are not just old; they are institutions that have shaped the pizza culture in Long Island. For more on other famous pizzas, check out the best pizza in Brooklyn.

Grandpa Tony’s Wood Fired Pizza

Ah, Grandpa Tony’s—a name that makes me drool just thinking about it. This place isn’t just popular; it’s legendary. Voted as the best pizza in Long Island for years running (2020, 2021, 2022, 2023, and 2024), Grandpa Tony’s has earned its reputation.

Why People Love Grandpa Tony’s

So, why do people go nuts over Grandpa Tony’s? Let’s break it down:

  • Wood Fired Goodness: The pizzas here are cooked in a wood-fired oven, giving them that perfect crispy crust.
  • Diverse Menu: Whether you’re craving a classic Margherita or something more adventurous like pizza alla vodka or buffalo chicken pizza, Grandpa Tony’s has you covered.
  • Consistency: This place has been consistently delicious, which is why it keeps winning those best pizza awards.

Here are some of the standout varieties you can find at Grandpa Tony’s:

Pizza TypeDescription
Pizza alla VodkaCreamy vodka sauce, mozzarella, and basil.
Smoking Goodfellas PizzaSmoky BBQ sauce, chicken, onions, and mozzarella.
Buffalo Chicken PizzaSpicy buffalo sauce, chicken, and blue cheese.
Baked Clam PizzaGarlic, clams, mozzarella, and a sprinkle of parsley.

For those wanting to explore more of the best pizzas around, you might want to check out the best pizza in Chicago or best pizza in Miami.

If you haven’t been to Grandpa Tony’s yet, what are you waiting for? This place is a must-visit for any pizza lover looking for the best pizza in Long Island. And if you need some tips on how to enjoy your pizza adventures, don’t forget to read our guide on the best pizza in Manhattan.

Unique Pizza Offerings

Long Island is a paradise for pizza lovers, especially those seeking unique and delicious options. In this section, I’ll take you on a flavorful journey through the diverse menu at Vinny’s Pizzeria and the exciting pizza varieties at Grandpa Tony’s.

Diverse Menu at Vinny’s Pizzeria

Vinny’s Pizzeria, formerly known as That Pizza Place, is a gem in Long Island, offering a diverse menu that caters to a wide range of dietary preferences. From plant-based delights to classic favorites, Vinny’s has something for everyone.

Here are some of the standout items on Vinny’s menu:

  • Garlic Knot Slice: A slice of heaven topped with garlic knots that are both soft and crispy.
  • Mac and Cheese Slice: Comfort food at its best, combining the creaminess of mac and cheese with the crispy crust of pizza.
  • Penne A la Vodka Slice: A fusion of Italian pasta and pizza, featuring creamy vodka sauce and penne pasta.

If you’re ever in Long Island, Vinny’s Pizzeria is a must-visit for anyone looking to experience the best pizza in Long Island. Their menu is not only diverse but also caters to those with dietary restrictions, making it a top choice for plant-based pizza lovers.

Grandpa Tony’s Pizza Varieties

Grandpa Tony’s Wood Fired Pizza is another fantastic spot in Long Island, known for its extensive and unique pizza offerings. They have mastered the art of pizza-making, and their menu reflects their commitment to variety and flavor.

Here are some of the popular pizza varieties at Grandpa Tony’s:

Pizza VarietyDescription
Pizza alla VodkaA gourmet pizza topped with creamy vodka sauce, mozzarella, and a hint of basil.
Smoking Goodfellas PizzaA smoky and savory option with a mix of meats and cheeses that will leave you craving more.
Buffalo Chicken PizzaSpicy buffalo chicken topped with mozzarella and a drizzle of ranch or blue cheese dressing.
Baked Clam PizzaA seafood lover’s dream, featuring baked clams, garlic, parsley, and a sprinkle of parmesan.

Grandpa Tony’s is the place to be if you’re in search of the best pizza in Long Island. Their diverse pizza varieties cater to various tastes and preferences, ensuring that there’s something for everyone.

Both Vinny’s Pizzeria and Grandpa Tony’s offer exceptional pizza experiences that are sure to satisfy any pizza lover’s cravings. Whether you’re a fan of plant-based options or unique and gourmet varieties, Long Island has it all. For more pizza adventures, check out our articles on the best pizza in Brooklyn and the best pizza in Chicago.

Long Island Pizza Culture

Long Island, a haven for pizza lovers, boasts a rich pizza culture that has evolved over the years. The magic lies in the Italian-American influence and the remarkable growth of pizzerias in the area.

Italian-American Influence

Long Island’s pizza culture is deeply rooted in its Italian-American heritage. The first pizzeria in the United States was opened in 1905 by Gennaro Lombardi in Manhattan’s Little Italy neighborhood (Bodrum NYC). This legacy paved the way for the spread of pizzerias across the region.

By 1930, flourishing Italian immigrant populations had settled in various Long Island locations like Port Washington, Glen Cove, Patchogue, and smaller neighborhoods such as San Remo and Marconiville. These communities brought with them traditional pizza-making techniques, infusing the local pizza scene with authentic Italian flavors.

The influence of Italian-American pioneers like Antonio Totonno Pero, an employee of Gennaro Lombardi who opened Totonno’s on Coney Island, cannot be overlooked. Totonno’s is credited with pioneering the original New York style of baking pizza with cheese on the bottom and sauce on top using brick ovens to create a crispy crust. This style quickly became a success and spread throughout the Northeast, leading to the presence of over 400 pizzerias in New York City alone.

Growth of Pizzerias in Long Island

The growth of pizzerias in Long Island is nothing short of a pizza lover’s dream. Starting with some of the oldest pizzerias like Eddie’s (founded in 1931), Umberto’s (founded in 1965), and Gino’s of Long Beach (founded in 1962), the island has seen an explosion of pizza joints over the decades.

By the 1980s, new players entered the scene, adding to the island’s rich pizza culture. Establishments like Sal’s Pizza in Sayville, Emilio’s in Commack, and Carlo’s Pizza Oven in Port Jefferson became local favorites.

One cannot discuss the best pizza in Long Island without mentioning Grandpa Tony’s. Voted the best pizza on the island from 2020 to 2024, Grandpa Tony’s has earned a reputation for its unique pizza offerings and dedication to traditional Italian cuisine (Best of Long Island). For more on pizza adventures in other cities, check out articles on best pizza in Brooklyn and best pizza in Chicago.

Pizzeria NameEstablished Year
Eddie’s1931
Umberto’s1965
Gino’s of Long Beach1962
Sal’s Pizza1980
Emilio’s1980
Carlo’s Pizza Oven1980

The vibrant pizza culture in Long Island continues to grow, with new pizzerias popping up and old favorites maintaining their loyal customer base. Whether you’re a local or just passing through, the island’s pizza offerings are sure to satisfy your cravings. For more pizza destinations, explore the best pizza in Boston and best pizza in Houston.

Best Pizza in Long Island

When it comes to the best pizza in Long Island, Grandpa Tony’s stands out as a crowd favorite. This section dives into why Grandpa Tony’s has garnered such popularity and the unique pizza-making techniques that set it apart from the rest.

Grandpa Tony’s Popularity

Grandpa Tony’s Wood Fired Pizza has been voted the best pizza on Long Island for five consecutive years (2020-2024). The pizzeria’s consistent quality and unique offerings have made it a beloved spot among locals and visitors alike.

YearAward
2020Best Pizza in Long Island
2021Best Pizza in Long Island
2022Best Pizza in Long Island
2023Best Pizza in Long Island
2024Best Pizza in Long Island

Grandpa Tony’s menu is diverse, catering to various tastes and preferences. Some of their standout varieties include:

  • Pizza Alla Vodka
  • Smoking Goodfellas Pizza
  • Buffalo Chicken Pizza
  • Baked Clam Pizza

These unique offerings add to the pizzeria’s popularity and keep customers coming back for more. If you’re a pizza lover, consider checking out the best pizza in Chicago or the best pizza in Brooklyn for more delicious options.

Grandpa Tony’s Pizza-Making Techniques

Grandpa Tony’s is not just about great toppings; it’s also about the pizza-making techniques that elevate the flavors. One of the key techniques they use is a rotating wood-fire oven, unique in the area. This oven helps cook pies quicker and more evenly, resulting in a perfect charred crust with a slightly smoked flavor.

  • High Heat Cooking: The wood-fire oven reaches high temperatures, which is essential for capturing the unique flavors that make Grandpa Tony’s pizzas stand out.
  • Rotating Oven: This ensures even cooking, so every slice is as delicious as the next.

The innovative approach doesn’t stop at the oven. Grandpa Tony’s also features a variety of daily specials and themed nights, making every visit a new experience. You can check out their Sunday brunch, Sunday pizza night, Wednesday chicken night, and Thursday pasta night for more than just pizza (Best of Long Island).

For more pizza adventures, explore the best pizza in the world or discover the best pizza in Manhattan.

Grandpa Tony’s combines traditional Italian techniques with innovative approaches, making it a must-visit for anyone seeking the best pizza in Long Island. Whether you’re in the mood for a classic Margherita or something more adventurous like Pizza Alla Vodka, Grandpa Tony’s has something to satisfy your pizza cravings.