Wow! What a welcome! Thank you all for so many thoughtful responses!
I can see you guys know exactly what I mean as well. To be honest, I approached this question with a good deal of trepidation as I once asked a similar question on yelp and the responses that varied from “Try Round Table” to “Go back to NY”!
I can say with reasonable confidence I’m going to try all of the recommendations here…flying back for pizza being the one possible exception!
(Although I once drove from NJ to Chicago to try Giordano’s so I’m not ruling flying out!)
I am guilty of some variations on even this theme as I have driven 3 hours to Spirito’s in Carlsbad for takeout. Indeed, they are a NJ classic. I doubt few who grew up in the NJ/NY area didn’t know about Spirito’s in Elizabeth NJ. I’m 65 and my parents would take us there when we were kids! When they relocated to Carlsbad it was the only vehicle that we were aware of to get such a thing at all. A classic, NY style cooked down sauce, ‘brewing’ all night for serving the following day.
Although now I’m seeing there’s hope for more!
In all candor, I knew of none of your recommendations, so this is very exciting. I think that picture you’ve posted from Danny’s says volumes. You can ‘see’ it.
Thus far, around here, I’ve only seen perfectly ‘manufactured’ (I.E., too round to be homemade) pies that were little different than frozen supermarket pies or things like this, whatever this is supposed to be:
I don’t know what that is but it’s not pizza!
My longest pilgrimages so far have been to the above mentioned Spirito’s in Carlsbad and a trek to what might be described as: *“A 3-hour drive, to the 2nd location, of the world’s 1st pizzeria” in Los Angeles, * L’antica Pizzeria da Michele. Neapolitan of course.
As it turns out, the original in Naples was featured in the film, “Eat, Pray, Love”. But there’s some contention over which pizzeria is actually the world’s oldest as a claim to “first” belongs to another, “Antica Pizzeria Port’Alba”. Apparently these two pizzerias dispute who was first as the latter was closed for some 80 years and reopened and the former has been open continuously for some 150 years so I’ll leave that argument to them! But nonetheless, the allure of trying a pizzeria which adheres to the VAR code (Vera Pizza Napoletana) was simply too great a temptation.
But yes, I had since learned that Fuoco in Fullerton does indeed adhere to the VPN and as you said, it’s top shelf Neapolitan which is just wonderful to be sure.
Paradoxically, although we’ve so far done poorly seeking NY style, we have found Chicago quality deep dish in Placentia, Tony’s Little Italy, which is so well executed, IMO it apologizes to none, even in Chicago itself. Easily on par with Ginos, Giordano’s or even Lou Malnatti’s.
But prior to this post, I had given up on NY style. Not to compare with flying to NY for pizza, we do regularly order pies from NY via Goldbelly. A bit expensive and of course frozen, but it provides a vehicle for classics like Joe’s in The Village, or Roberta’s or DeFara’s in Brooklyn.
And I fully agree. If you’re not up to a long drive, mail order, have little time, or are a ‘burn water cook’ like me, Rao’s is the way to go (I worked in the city for some 20 years and was never successful in getting a seat in Rao’s!)!
I can’t thank you all enough for this wonderful plethora of suggestions. I knew of next to none of these. I guess I better get gas in my car!