John’s of Bleecker Street

photo by David Frank

You won’t find kale, truffles, fried eggs, or anything else trendy atop the pizzas at John’s of Bleecker Street. Nor can you pay with a credit card or buy by the slice. That doesn’t deter the crowds — a mix of tourists, locals, and celebs like Jon Stewart — from lining up for iconic New York pies. Founded by Italian immigrant John Sasso in 1929, John’s was originally located on Sullivan Street, but it lost its lease and in 1934 moved to the spot where it is today. Since then, not much has changed. Now owned by Sasso’s great-grandnephew, the 80-year-old space shows its age, with stiff wooden booths covered in carvings from customers past, and faded murals of Italian coasts. Regulars from the old days swear the coal-fired brick oven pizzas still taste exactly the same. Sporting a thin, crisp, and slightly charred crust imbued with the flavor of century-old brick, pies here are layered with sweet and tangy tomato sauce and paved with bubbling mozzarella. Like John’s, this is pizza built to stand the test of time.