December 14, 2018

Respecting the Craft: New York Slices

I ask some other pros for their take on the quintessential slice

“How many slices should my New York slice pie be cut into, and what size should this pie actually be?”

I get questions about this all the time. Can it be an 18-inch cut into six slices? Or should it be a 20-inch cut into eight slices? Maybe even a 22-inch cut into four slices? I asked a few of our industry heavyweights and here is what they had to say.

Salvatore Vitale
Joe’s Pizza, New York City, NY

This place is legendary in our industry. Many operators around the world look at Joe’s as the example of true New York-style pizza. I sat down with Salvatore Vitale.

Q: When did Joe’s open and when did you start working there?

A: My grandfather started in 1975. I have been going and helping since I could remember. I’m 32 and started full time at 17. But I worked weekends since way before that.

Q: What size are your whole, round, slice pies — and how many slices are they cut into?

A: Our house is 21 inches with eight slices each.

Q: What do you hate when you go into other slice concepts or see what other concepts are doing?

A: Pineapple on pizza. My grandfather would smack me upside the head just for thinking about it.

John Arena
Metro Pizza, Las Vegas, Nevada

John is a pizza industry guru, New York native, pizzaiolo, consultant and contributor to Pizza Today.

Q: When did you get into the pizza business?

A: I started making pizzas professionally in 1967.

Q: What size are your whole, round, slice pies — how many slices are they cut into?

A: When I started a large pizza was 16 inches. Our current slice size is 18 inches, cut into six or eight slices depending on location.

Q: What would you call the standard New York-sized slice?

A: Today standard is 18 to 20 inches.

A: What other sizes do you see in NY?

Q: In the old days most places that sold slices made one size. If you needed more or less you could order slices. The no-slice places, including bars and restaurants that served pizza, would often have a 12- or 14-inch available.

Scott Weiner
Scott’s Pizza Tours
New York City, NY

Pizza Today’s “Man on the Street”, Scott is an all-around pizza enthusiast. This New Jersey native celebrates all things pizza.

Q: When did you get into the pizza industry and what is your occupation?

A: I officially entered the pizza industry when I launched my company, Scott’s Pizza Tours, in April 2008. I currently run Scott’s Pizza Tours, a tour company featuring over 50 independent pizzerias in NYC. I also run the nonprofit Slice Out Hunger, which funds hunger relief organizations through events and campaigns at pizzerias around the U.S.

Q: What would you call the standard NY size slice?

A: A standard NYC pie is 18 to 20 inches round (and) cut into 8 slices.

Q: What do you hate when you go into slice concepts or see what other concepts are doing?

A: Not much hate, but it’s not typical New York to have a thick triangle slice or one that isn’t foldable. Heat lamps are not legit. There has to be a cheese slice. Pepperoni is NOT the default in NYC. I think that’s about it.”

Thanks to these three for sharing their experiences on NY slices. At my Slice Houses, I prefer a 20-inch cut into six slices. I like my slices a little bigger. As for pet peeves, adding pepperoni and cheese on top of a slice that’s already been cooked and then reheating it for a minute is a no-no for me.

RESPECTING THE CRAFT features World Pizza Champion Tony Gemignani, owner of Tony’s Pizza Napoletana in San Francisco and Pizza Rock in Sacramento. Tony compiles the column with the help of his trusty assistants, Laura Meyer and Thiago Vasconcelos. If you have questions on any kitchen topic ranging from prep to finish, Tony’s your guy. Send questions via Twitter @PizzaToday, Facebook (search: Pizza Today) or e-mail and we’ll pass the best ones on to Tony.