Best Pizza (Thick Crust) - 2003
Readers' Choice: Pizza Hut
Nothing -- not even the Cardinals' pitching -- starts an argument faster than the issue of who has the best pizza in town. There are many variables that must come together to create a great thick-crust pie: The dough must be freshly prepared and allowed to rise peacefully for an adequate interval; the sauce must be fresh and straightforward; the cheese should be real (not that fake, napalm-like Provel!) and the entire pie should be baked in a brick or stone-lined oven. Vito's traces its pie to a recipe bought from a New York pizzeria in the early 1960s. These days owners Vito La Fata III and his brothers (along with their mother, Caterina Maltese) keep the recipe alive with everything from Sicilian capricciosa (made with prosciutto, basil and portobello mushrooms) to fancy-shmancy pies like chicken pesto and barbecue chicken. On your first bite, the crust yields just a bit -- not mushy, just crisp and chewy. Those occasional crisp, burnt bubbles mean the crust was hand-formed and baked at a high temperature. Another bite. Not too much sauce, not too much cheese, the perfect ratio. Midway through, you realize the crust hasn't buckled under your gluttonous choice of fresh toppings. Munching to the end, even the crust is worth savoring -- and it's not even stuffed with cheese.