A New York-style slice at Anthony's on the Hill (Photo by Jay Paul)
New York-style pizza may be the original American street food and it’s all thanks to the crust. Surfacing in the state in the early 20th century, it’s slightly crunchy along the edge with a softer, pliable interior — perfect for folding in half to keep all the toppings in place. Hand-tossing might seem like a movie cliché but without it the crust would be flat; the tossing helps preserve air pockets in the dough and keeps the thickness uniform.
- ANTHONY’S ON THE HILL > Long the pizza of discerning Church Hill denizens, especially for this restaurant’s Sunday special: $3 off pizza. Well worth the drive for everyone else.
- PAPA’S PIZZA > If you have a hankering for fold-and-eat pizza, this is it in Manchester. Grab extra napkins to sop up the goodness running down your chin.
- JO-JO’S FAMOUS NY STYLE > Step inside for rows of pizzas by the slice available in a New York minute. It’s the pizza of choice for downtown workers and dwellers.
A Neapolitan pie from Nota Bene (Photo by Beth Furgurson)
The OCD purist of crusts is Neapolitan. No variation from the ingredients — 0 or 00 flour, water, yeast and salt — is permitted, and it must be baked in a wood-fired oven. The resulting crust is sublime, but despite the strict regimen, can vary wildly. What it should be is soft and tender, a little elastic with air pockets that are often slightly charred.
- NOTA BENE > Wood-fired mobile oven Pizza Tonight grew up and got a brick-and-mortar space with a new name, but still cranks out amazing pizza.
- STUZZI > Peter Caserta, one of the city’s more colorful restaurateurs, made a splash when he introduced Richmond to certified Neapolitan pizza in 2010 from an oven right in the dining room.
- MATCHBOX > This D.C.-based chain recently opened in Short Pump, pumping out wood-fired, Neapolitan-inspired pies that are wonderfully crispy and a little thicker — a modern take on the classic crust.
Sicilian-style slices from Capriccio's Italian Restaurant (Photo by Steve Hedberg)
Most pizza dough is made fresh daily. Not Sicilian. To achieve the right texture, the dough must ferment for at least one day or as many as three. The result after baking should be light and airy, like a baguette or a focaccia, while the bottom of this traditionally square pizza should be crusty, almost fried, from the generous coating of olive oil in the deep-dish baking pan. Come with an appetite; one or two “squares” is often all you need.
- ANNA’S ITALIAN RESTAURANT & PIZZERIA > This is a hopping, family friendly spot deep in Midlothian serving up massive Sicilian pizza. Come hungry with a friend or two and you’ll still have leftovers.
- CAPRICCIO’S ITALIAN RESTAURANT > Tender and cake-like, this West End pie is surprisingly light despite the thick crust, and arguably the most authentic example of the style in Richmond.
- MARY ANGELA’S > When was the last time you enjoyed this Carytown spot’s seriously dense Sicilian crust? The veggie version is stellar.