A New Yorker's Response to TripAdvisor's Best Pizza Survey: Seriously?

DiFaraline.jpg
Di Fara Pizza
The line outside Di Fara's, one the many iconic pizzerias that call New York City home
On August 7, TripAdvisor proclaimed New York City the fourth best city in the United States for pizza. That means that based on a survey of its members, the greatest city in the world lost supremacy of one of its iconic images to a beach town, a strip in the desert, and, worst of all, Boston.

According to TripAdvisor's press release, "Top spots were determined based on the highest average rating by city for all restaurants that serve pizza."

Seems pretty straightforward. San Diego and Las Vegas are fun, lovely cities. Why shouldn't they have fun, lovely pizza? And Boston? Well it does have a lovely Italian section, and it's been around for ages, so it's about time it was recognized for its food scene, right? TripAdvisor claims to be "the world's most trusted source of travel advice," so it must be accurate. Yes, this all seems to make sense.

Except for the fact that I'm a New Yorker. Pizza (along with cheesecake and bagels) is sacred, and surveys are a mere formality when you know you're on top. Announcing that New York City lost out to San Diego and Vegas for pizza is like stating Miami has the best New England clam chowder: It's just not right. I've been stewing on this for the past couple of weeks, and now I'd like to explore why not.

Leaving aside for a second the fact that user reviews are inherently problematic (on TripAdvisor, personal vendetta user Ihatethispizzeria2013 holds the same weight as only-gives-five-stars voter SuperFoodieLOL), let's examine the premise here. What exactly defines a great "restaurant that serves pizza?" Because that clearly failed to capture what makes New York City the undisputed leader when it comes to various combinations of bread, sauce, and mozzarella.

It clearly failed to account for the range of this town's pies: New York has some kick-ass parlors, but it also has some shitty $1 slice joints--which love to compete with other shitty $1 slice joints for supremacy--beloved by drunk Big Apple residents but not exactly impressive to tourists. You can get your pizza fried at Forcella and coal-fired at the U.S.'s first pizzeria Lombardi's. (If you want it microwaved, though, get out of town). And let's not forget Sicilian pies (disclaimer: I am part Sicilian). We're pushing boundaries and feeding the drunk masses that have spent the last of their cash on beer. But if you're looking for a New York-style pizza that's a better version of the pie served up in your suburban strip mall, it can be somewhat elusive, which means that travelers are likely taking their inability to do their research out on us. How does that factor into the algorithm, TripAdvisor?

I partially blame New Yorkers for voting like assholes. New Yorkers have extremely high standards. No one is a bigger critic of New York pizza than the city's hometown residents, not to mention the pizza-makers themselves. Domeneco DeMarco, owner of Di Fara Pizza, won't even open his shop unless he's physically there to make the pies. He and he alone is the judge of whether his pizza is ready to be served because he knows his customers only want the best. He's nearly 80 years old. Would that happen in any other city?

I also blame New Yorkers for being assholes. In fact, if TripAdvisor had a survey for assholes, I'm sure we'd come out on top. People visiting are put off by our attitudes. The cost of a slice, an hour wait, and curt service are natural to locals, but for sensitive travelers on a tight budget and even tighter schedule, these are major flaws. When the hyped pie they've been promised doesn't overcompensate for our attitude problems, it's off to the online review sites.


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12 comments
nychzck
nychzck

Hmmm, Trip Advisor's survey sounds like a big load of Bullsh*t..... I'm a NYC transplant in MI. Been here 23 yrs. and I've found two places that serve a decent pie, but by no means is it a N.Y. pie. I've traveled across the U.S. and have had a lot of pizza along the way, but New York is, and always will  be tops for pizza!


one.finefellow
one.finefellow

What's this New York attitude you're talking about? Further more, who is TripAdvisor? I thought they went out in the Dot Com bubble? Does the internet really care who has the best pizza? These are several landscapes I could give a fuck less about. Yeah, go to Las Vegas for the pizza. Sure. Anything that New York once made is gone now. Now it's a bunch of fucking chain stores like a goddamn shopping mall. Don't like one store on the street? Go to the other store down the next fucking street. It's all of the same garbage. What, you need a computer to tell you where the good food is? Get the fuck out of here. Seriously, this is the bullshit things like Yelp get you. Several reviews for a single fucking Starbucks? It's a store with a machine that makes the exact same coffee. The only thing I care about is which ones have a bathroom when I have to take a shit. New York pizza's no good? Says who? The armies of morons who came flocking across the Hudson in search of whatever the fuck they saw on TV? The passive pieces of shit who raise the last word? Of every sentence? Like it's a question? Suck my balls? The last thing I'll believe is anyone telling me where to get something you can find anywhere.

peppertree5706
peppertree5706

1. New York City (DiFara's, Johh's and Patsy's)

2. New Haven (Pepe's and Sally's et. al.)

3. Palm Beach County, Florida. You must try some pizza in Palm Beach County.

estarr31
estarr31

I'm a NY transplant living in Boston and I'm still trying to wrap my head around how Boston could even be in the top 10. There's only two good spots for pizza here and one is becoming too big of a chain and the other is hard to get to (Regina's and Santarpio's). The rest are all greek-owned sub shops that try their best but come no where near NY pizza. Some places don't even use real pizza ovens but rather the factory-line style. 

The tourist traps in NY is most likely bringing this vote down. 

starvinmarvinpb
starvinmarvinpb

I'm a little surprised you guys fell for this - the only plausible explanation is a PR ploy...and it worked.  It'll be a while, but their next one will crown Phoenix as bialy capital of the world, or spew on about some deli in Mississippi having better smoked salmon than Russ&Daughters.

Ignore these dopes and marginalize them.

hybridjose
hybridjose

"I partially blame New Yorkers for voting like assholes..." - Man I miss NY. 

Christopher Brown
Christopher Brown

The best I've had is actually St Marks Bros. Pizza $1 slices. Last time I had Ray's, it was SHIT compared to the Bros. Now stop your bitchin' & whinin' and live up to the fact that others can be better.

Nickoooch
Nickoooch

As a NYER, this may be true.

Since NY is such a capitalist city, coupled with being a "melting pot", you have people making pizza that shouldnt be.  Hence, the Rays Famous chain.  

Thinking about all the garbage pizzerias in manhattan (time square) that are weighing down this survey.  The best pizza is in the outter boros and LI.  period.

chameleonz123
chameleonz123

BOSTON??? For Pizza??? wtf is that all about.

New York is and always be the best pizza town in the USA

and Connecticut isn't even on the list.

tinareg1999
tinareg1999

I signed up to this blog just to Like your comment.

avinnitsky
avinnitsky

@Christopher Brown except Bro's is shit pizza, too. So STFU when you don't know what you're talking about :D 

avinnitsky
avinnitsky

@Nickoooch umm NYC includes the outer boroughs. Brooklyn alone contains LnBs (eww), Grimaldi's (at least it's historic), and the very best in DiFara's. 

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