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Worst slice?

  • j

Everyone has their favorite slice, that amazing wedge of cheese and sauce that keeps them tethered to the city. But what about the dark side of the slice? How bad can New York pizza be? Anyone have any tips on New York’s worst?

Full disclosure: I’ m a freelance writer and depending on what I find, I may pitch a story on this. That said, any thoughts, anecdotes or tips are greatly appreciated.


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  1. Ha! Great thread. I'm sure there are worse, but I'd try Boston Pizza in Astoria at Bway and 37th. The guy there (who I think is Turkish) is so nice, but the pizza reminds me the kind I used to get in my h.s. cafeteria.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Dag

      How about worst vibe in a pizza joint? Slice isn't all that bad at Joe's on Essex below Grand, but, hang on, what am I listening to? It's some agressively xenophobic Christian radio station. And what's the deal with those anti-Arab, anti-South Asian cartoons taped up on the wall? I got my ass out of there as soon as I could, for fear the owner would give me the evil eye.

      1. re: Dag

        That place has the worst pizza I've ever had, PERIOD. The pizza in California is better. Heck, the pizza in Thailand is better.

      2. Oooh, can I pick more than one? The pizza at Village Restaurant on 1st Avenue at 2nd Street is truly inedible. Joe's Pizza, I think it's called, on the east side of 2nd Avenue (around 8th street?) is particularly bad. I don't think they use cheese, just something that resembles cheese. And, this one saddens me to say, but a place that has taken such a terrible turn is my formerly beloved Rosario's. It's not the worst slice, but it doesn't resemble its former self.

        2 Replies
        1. re: evg

          Totally agree with Village Restaurant. Even when I'm bombed it's nasty.

          1. re: LES Resident

            Village Restaurant! This is the place with the chicken carcasses in the front window,right? I made that mistake years ago and have never forgotten it. Utterly wretched pizza! You may be tempted when you stagger out of d/b/a after several pints, but for God's sake, keep walking. Two Boots isnt far!

        2. Dominoes, Papa Johns, Pizza Hut - any of the chains, really. The sauce tastes like oily Chef Boyardee, the cheese like velveeta and the crust like bad wonder bread. Awful awful stuff - but that goes without saying, I suppose.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Offbalance

            I used to eat all of those chains in college and loved it. A couple of years ago, some friends and I went to Uno to try to recreate the old days. Oh my god, it was bad. In every way. We ended up going to Joe's on Bleecker to "clear our palates." :)

            1. re: Offbalance

              Yeah have to agree with Dag... I mean, does it really "go without saying" that those places are the WORST slice just because they're chains? No. For a chain to work, the pizza has to be at least passable before the marketing can kick in.

              I will concede that the chains have gotten worse over the years as more and more of the ingredients are frozen and pre-made, but they're not automatically the worst (especially in light of the other posts in this thread!).

            2. d
              david sprague

              it's definitely a great thread (and/or article) idea.

              i'd nominate the "ray's" on 7th avenue at 48th street, which serves up something that resembles tomato sauce on an old sponge. there's also the joint (name of which i cannot remember for the life of me) on 14th street, right near where irving place dead ends. sauce reminded me of watered down ketchup and toppings of all sorts seem to've been provided by a dumpster diver.

              5 Replies
              1. re: david sprague

                MAn, you could do a whole article just on the terrible slices available at all the incarnations of Rays. I'm voting for the actual, original Rays on 6th AVe and 12th St. TRuly disgusting. Gloppy cheese that comes off all at once.

                1. re: xavier

                  Xavier, My sentiments exactly! I'd have to be at starvation level to have one of those disgusting specimens that give pizza a bad name at any of the places that have a "Ray's Original Pizza" sign on the door. On second thought, maybe I'd prefer to just pass out. :-))

                  1. re: xavier

                    X-man, so wrong on this one, yes there's gloppy cheese and lots of it and it's good quality and tastes good, and doesn't fall of on me when I eat it. That said, the crust is way too tough, and the tomato sauce is just above average, but overall flavor is good (certainly when compared to all the other Ray's-come-lately), and then there's the 'Famous Meat Slice' - some meat under there somewhere, but the kicker is the load of peppers and onions and, yes, extra cheese they pile on. Get it re-heated 5-6 minutes, maybe throw on a little garlic powder, and it's one of the most savory cheap and filling meals in NYC.

                    1. re: xavier

                      I'm pretty sure the actual, original Ray's is the one on Prince...

                    2. re: david sprague

                      i think you mean cafe amore's; bad idea--pricey for a slice like that, too.

                    3. Ben's Pizzeria (I think that's the name of it) on the corner of West 3rd and MacDougal. A vile slice, and particularly sad in light of its prime location. Have tried it three times (just in case I was wrong the first two), and regretted it each and every time.

                      7 Replies
                      1. re: foodE

                        Agreed, I had heard great things about Ben's. Ordered my slice and was extremely disappointed. Horrible sauce.

                        1. re: foodE

                          This is the place with the awning that says they have outposts in London, Tokyo and Jerusalem, right? I've always found that hilariously unlikely. :)

                          1. re: Dan

                            my thoughts exactly-- I giggle every time I pass at the "world famous"ness of it.

                          2. re: foodE

                            How are they still in business?
                            I guess location makes all the difference. Such a shame a place like Joe's Pizza has to leave and Ben's gets to stick around!

                            1. re: foodE

                              Yes, Ben's is horrible! (I think there might be another Ben's in SOHO that is supposed to be good though, not sure). Particularly vile is their sicilian slice, slab o cheese on top of nasty crust.

                              1. re: D-NY

                                Famous Ben's, on Spring, is the one you're thinking of. It's good -- particularly the Sicilian slice with fresh mozz.

                                1. re: big o

                                  the one on spring has a ok onion, but the rest are really gross, but I am sure it is not the worst in the city.

                            2. Zesty Pizzeria, 95th and 3rd, and the name gives it a special frisson of terribleness.

                              1. Is there really a need to nominate the worst slice? I use the term horribly average for just about every slice I've tried in NYC; the average slice is so terrible that you don't have to try too hard to make a better one. Very few rise above. I've had countless bad slices. On 5th & 7th Avenues in Park Slope alone there are probably 10 terrible pizza joints.

                                1. Penalty points for anyone who uses the words "vile", "disgusting", or "gloppy" on this thread.

                                  Just like all good pizza is not "amazing", all bad pizza is not "disgusting."

                                  About 30 years back I lived on City Island in the Bronx. At the time the pizza pickings were slim there - only about 3 pizzarias served the whole island so I was really happy when a new one opened up.

                                  On a Friday night I phoned in an order and then picked it up. My wife and I each had a slice and thought it was pretty good. When I then opened the box to get out 2 more slices I made a discovery.

                                  There, in the center of the slice, was a dead large roach embedded in the cheese. We ate no more pizza that night.

                                  The next day I took the remaining pizza - box, roach and all - back to the pizza place to get my money back. The new pizzaria was full of people eating slices and waiting for take out pies. I opened the box, pointed to the roach, and asked for a refund.

                                  The owner had balls of brass:

                                  "Maybe the roach crawled on after you brought it home."

                                  This remark attracted the attention of the other patrons.

                                  "Sure," I said, "and after he crawled on he covered himself in cheese just before he died."

                                  I got my money back and the new pizzaria closed about a month later.

                                  Now *that* was a disgusting slice.

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: Bob Martinez

                                    "Vile", "disgusting", and "gloppy" pretty much sums up most slices in nyc.

                                    1. re: josh L

                                      Including, apparently, one consumed by Bob himself.

                                      1. re: a&w

                                        If you use the strong words for everything, you've got nothing left for the times when you truly need them. That's my problem with the overuse of the words "vile" and "disgusting."

                                        I use the Roach Standard to evaluate pizza. If it has a bug in it, it qualifies as disgusting. If you buy a slice where the cheese is tasteless, it is merely bad.

                                        BTW, just as there is only a single prize in each box of Crackerjack, I believe the pizzaria in City Island limited itself to a single roach per pie. Thankfully, the one I returned to the store was intact.

                                  2. Oh no, no ,no I'm sorry but this is definitive - The Pizza Place on Roosevelt Island, officially called Capri, but really doesn't even deserve a name is the worst pizza ever. I live on Roosevelt Island which, while a nice place to live, should be nominated for the worst neighborhood in NYC Food Wise. Please note this includes any food items - restaurants or groceries. But this particular pizza place literally takes the big tin canasters of tomato sauce & puts it on dough. It's completely devoid of any herbs, spices, anything. Blahhh.

                                    1. Are outer borough entries allowed? Or is that opening too big a can of worms?

                                      The one pizza place in all of NY that stands out in my mind as having the worst slice is the one on Queens Blvd. which was the focus of the big French Connection/Pizza Connection FBI investigation, now known as Al Dente. It's at 103-15 Q.B., the north side of Q.B. around two blocks west of Yellowstone Blvd. I'm not sure if that's the same name from when the FBI was surveilling the site or if it's changed.

                                      What a hole. Last time I was there there were TWO roaches on the floor coming out from under the steam table where they keep meatballs that look like they're ten days old. The pizza is truly awful, IMO. It makes you wonder how they stay in business without the millions of dollars of heroin that was supposedly being funneled through the basement.

                                      I didn't witness any heroin there, but the roaches were real.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: Ian

                                        That reminds me of a whole 'nother genre - pizza places that seem to be fronts for other, less food-oriented activities. Counterhelp who are unnatural/uncomfortable behind counter, erratic hours, erratic pies.

                                      2. Worst by far is the place on South End Ave. in Battery Park City near Gateway Plaza. Since there's no competition it's been there for at least 10 years. But it is horrible. Since it's not a heavily traveled area, many of you are lucky enough to not know it.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: LES Resident

                                          yeah, this area is pretty bad when it comes to decent pizza by the slice. Tribeca has a couple places but they all stink.

                                        2. The Pizzeria on MacDougal, for the sheer chutzpah of naming themselves as such are serving up the blandest pizza you will ever try.

                                          1. My vote goes to Pizza Mercato on the corner of Waverly and Mercer. 2 slices and a drink for the low low price of $3.25 (it just went up from $3). It can't be very good for that price. Sauce is optional.

                                            Gives me a stomach ache almost every time.

                                            3 Replies
                                            1. re: nypb

                                              >>Gives me a stomach ache almost every time<<

                                              Why keep eating there?!

                                              1. re: nypb

                                                >>Gives me a stomach ache almost every time<<

                                                Why keep eating there?!

                                                1. re: LisaM

                                                  maybe stomachaches help weight loss?

                                              2. Any "Greek" style pizza joint.

                                                1. pizza place on 86th across from the Duane Reade that used to be a movie theater (the DR, not the pizza place). I got it once before a movie and felt sick throughout the flick. Very little sauce, lots of substandard cheese, puddles of grease. Last time I saved walking the 2 blocks to Mimi's.

                                                  1. I once had a slice at the Port Authority Bus Station. I was drunk - forgive me.

                                                    1. Ben's in the west village on either West 3rd or West 4th is pretty bad. The crust is too thick, there's too much cheese and not enough sauce. Also there's a place near my apartment in DUMBO on Front Street that's just awful. I went there once because it's the only pizza place within walking distance and afterwards I vowed never to return.

                                                      1. Alas, you are a little late. The worst Pizza in New York (perhaps the world?) was sold in the five and dime stores, especially Woolworth's, but also Kresge's,etc. Nothing, even the mid-west pizza chains could compete with them. Too bad they are no more .

                                                        1. alas the truly worst pizza i ever knew of is long gone: "MAMMA MIA WHATTA PIZZA" on the corner of 8th st a B'way..especially their attrocious spinach slice.. i still gag thinking about that place and i think its been gone for at least 8 years.

                                                          1. I know it's blasphemy to Columbia alum, but the stuff is butt putty, plain and simple.

                                                            1. To add injury to insult, a friend of mine from Johnson & Wales had supposedly sampled this pizza.. and he apparently asked the owner how many murdered mobsters went into the tomato sauce. Once I heard this, I realized it was just as well that I avoided that scene altogether. Not only was the food terrible, he told me, (a native New Yorker to begin with) but he threatened to bring the owner to court for defamation of Italian-Americans as the owner himself was not Italian. Last I heard, the place was going out of business. Knowing that the place ran on making bad jokes about Italians and a product that was just as hard to stomach was music to my ears.

                                                              1. Ray's. 6th Ave & 11th Street.

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: snw

                                                                  sorry, but if you just nominated that Ray's for worst slice, then you've lead a sheltered pizza life. that pizza is pretty standard.

                                                                2. i don't have a nominee for worst slice...but, just wondering what everyone thinks about john's pizza on bleecker? i really wonder why it's constantly on the best pizza list. coz the times i tried it with visiting friends (to show the best of nyc pizza) we always go home disappointed. joe's that used to be in the corner which you can also order per slice was tons better too. i can actually vote john's as the worst on the nyc best pizza list.

                                                                  1. i would nominate all ray's and familigia's. yuk. i would eat pizza hut (and even domino's - shudder-)before i'd bite into one of their slices. i don't know if it's the sauce, the texture, the cheese or maybe all of the above

                                                                    1. ray's 11 or 12th & 6th -one of my worst ever.

                                                                      1. 1st Place: Abitino's Pizza on 52nd and 1st was the worst all around pizza I have had in a while.

                                                                        Runner-up: KRUNCH in the 50's on 2nd...was actually inedible the last time I ordered it. It tasted like it was reheated in the microwave b/f they delivered it. I had to throw it away.

                                                                        If in the area....Ultimate Pizza, John & Tony's and Angelo's are my top picks...in that order.

                                                                        1. When I used to work near Times Square, there used to be a place along broadway between 40th and 41st that was the shittiest pizza ever.

                                                                          I still think selling bad pizza in new york should be fineable for about $5 dollars a shitty slice.

                                                                          1. Around NYU:

                                                                            A lot of people have been slamming Bens on MacDougal and W.3rd. True, the pizza is nothing spectacular, but on different days can range from mediocre to pretty decent. If you want some really bad pizza in the area, head to "The Pizzeria" a little farther down on MacDougal. It's right next to the Down the Hatch bar, which is apparently the only reason anyone actually goes there.

                                                                            On the other hand, let me recommend Pizza Box again as the best pizza in the area, and probably Manhattan.