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Joe’s Pizza

photo by Robert Menzer

Naples-born Joe Pozzuoli opened venerable slice joint Joe’s Pizza on Bleecker Street in 1975, forever marking the West Village with one of the city’s best versions of its iconic foodstuff (though he moved his restaurant a few doors down to Carmine Street nine years ago). The plain and pepperoni pizzas are standard-bearers, with thin but pliant crusts, a sweet herb-tinged sauce, and enough cheese to leave an oil stain or three on your paper plate. And forget about ordering non-pie pizzeria staples like calzones and chicken rolls — Joe’s only offers three basic items (which can be customized with toppings): shredded mozzarella pizza, fresh mozzarella pizza, and a slightly puffy Sicilian pie. The institution recently expanded to the East Village, but the newer storefront can’t match the charm of the original location, which is littered with celebrity photos and numerous accolades from past and present, and whose façade practically bleeds tomato sauce, so pungent is the smell that wafts onto the street. When you want a quintessential New York slice, Joe’s is it.