My new obsession is Sicilian Pizza. I can’t get enough of the delicious square pizza slice topped with bubbling cheese, a sauce with a kick, and pepperoni cups. Not to mention, pizza is a great cheap eat, and even gourmet slices are usually under $5. Saving money is high on my to-do list, so when friends want to meet up, grabbing a slice is a great frugal suggestion!
I have made the bold statement that Mama’s Too has the best square Manhattan has to offer. The upper west side spot serves pies with the perfectly crispy, yet soft, crust that is layered with flavorful sauces and ample toppings. It’s one of those foods I eat in silence besides exclaiming ,“Oh my god this is just so good” a few times and finishing with a “how I deserve to exist when something this delicious is in the world?” What can I say, I just really love Mama’s!
Followers on instragram have argued otherwise, so I took off to the Lower East Side with my friend Amber to see if the suggested spots were in fact superior to Mamas.
Let the pizza eating begin!
Stop One: Prince Street Pizza
This spot is frequented by celebrities and bloggers who post mouth watering closeups of melting cheese and glistening ronicups. The itty-bitty store front is no stranger to a line, made obvious by the unused scansion to the side, but luckily we got through in under 10 minutes and took it outside for the obligatory photoshoot before digging in.
While cheese, bread, and peperoni gets my dopamine pumping, I was disappointed with the slice. The peperoni was spicy and there was the perfect amount of cheese, but the base was too bready. It was like someone slathered some toppings on a loaf and threw it in the oven. Each flavor was competing against one another rather than coming together for a cohesive, taste bud journey.
Worth the hype? Nope
Better than Mama’s too? Nope
Fine for if you are passing by and in the mood for convenient pizza? Absolutely!
Stop Two : Scarrs
We headed towards the questionable lower east side/Chinatown line to hit up Scarrs, another “must try” according to the gram. The small restaurant has a to-go storefront as well as a bar and tables in the back. While Prince Street Pizza is an influencer/bucket-list destination, Scarrs attracts the locals with it’s authentic, grungy vibe of loud music and politically driven posters.
The squares didn’t look great, but we got one anyways along with a regular slice of margherita and plopped down on a couple of bar stools. First things first, the sauce at Scarrs is phenomenal. The herbs pop through the tomato and there is a low heat that even spice-haters will enjoy. The square slice was too bready and didn’t have enough peperoni. The margherita slice, however, was everything you’d want from a New York slice of pizza with a thin, yet sturdy crust, amazing sauce, and just enough mozzarella that all tied together with basil. What really set it over the edge was drizzling the hot honey on top, a product I could see myself putting on anything and everything.
Scarrs has gained traction on IG, and I think the classic pizza is certainly #worthit.
If you’re looking for a Sicilian, perhaps take the search elsewhere.
Stop Three: Village Square Pizza
A few months ago, Jeremy and I were on a taco crawl on the lower east side and we passed a pizza place that deserved a head turn. Alas, we were on a taco journey and couldn’t spare the stomach room. Well today I set out on a mission to find it, and Amber was happily along for the ride.
If you find friends willing to walk miles and miles looking for pizza, they are keepers.
No store front was ringing any bells, and I disappointingly settled on one final slice from Village Square Pizza. Perhaps one day I’ll find the elusive, potential pizza mecca that I should have never passed up.
Village Square had an LED “Pizza is Life” sign up that could be arguably tacky or trendy depending on who you are, and our pepperoni Sicilian slice was quickly served. It was fairly yawn inducing with standard flavor profiles of basic cheese, peperoni, and sauce on top of, once again, too much bread.
In a city of pizza, this joint isn’t the worst, but I wouldn’t seek it out again.
Perhaps the pizza search wasn’t the most successful culinary adventure, but the beauty of food is the experience you have around it. Amber is my longest, closest friend who has been there for me through all the obstacles and triumphs life has thrown. Two impossibly nerdy Virginia girls somehow wound up in the Big Apple together, and it’s important to have a rock amidst the hurricane of life. Walking a few miles around New York and chatting about good times in the past and reassuring each other on stipulations of the future in between slices is what made the venture worthwhile.
We didn’t find a slice better than Mama’s… but don’t worry, I’ll continue the search. #NotAllHerosWearCapes
As always, stay frugal.