Yo, whatsup? I'm Alexander and right now we're walking down 10th street towards Sixth Avenue, in Greenwich Village. Today is going to be all about one thing: dollar pizza.
[tl;dr] OUR ROUTE
99 Cent Fresh Pizza: The best sauce makes for the best pizza, and all you have to do is slap a dollar down on the counter and walk out.
Percy’s: I don't know who Percy is, but their dollar pizza is the gold standard for the dollar pizza industry.
Alrighty, so I'm a pretty big fanatic of pizza. I go to NYU and Iive in Weinstein Hall on University Place. I've lived in New York City for almost six months now so I'm not completely well-versed in all the different neighborhoods yet. But I'm assured that this is Greenwich Village.
I'm going to be completely frank and candid about this-- pizza is always on my mind. And dollar pizza has a very special place in my heart.
THE STATE OF THE PIZZA INDUSTRY
We live in a time where its acceptable to charge over five dollars for a slice of pizza. I'm looking at your Artichoke. And its acceptable for there to be a proliferation of generic franchises, places like Papa John’s or Domino's. But I think what we’re missing nowadays in the pizza world is the principle behind dollar pizza - convenient, quick food that is cheap, available nearly 24/7, and so damn good.
According to the NYU admissions office, I live in the heart of New York City, although I would have thought the heart of the city to be somewhere closer to the middle and not on 8th Street (laughs). But there is just some really awesome pizza, awesome dollar pizza here.
STUMBLING ON A GREAT FIND
I’m taking us now to 99 Cent Fresh Pizza. I know that’s a pretty generic name, but its exactly what it is (laughs). One thing you need to know about dollar pizza is that its actually much better to refer to them by their address, the names don't really matter. If I told you to go to Grimaldi’s you would know where that is. But if I told you go to 99 Cent Pizza you’d be like where on earth is that because there is probably literally ninety-nine places called 99 Cent Pizza in the city.
I recently discovered this place at like 3 am. I was picking up a friend from the train station, and I was bored. More importantly, I was hungry. And what do I do when I'm hungry? I look for dollar pizza, its literally the one thing that I can get behind on every level.
I needed something quick and I needed it now. And I saw this one sign, this holy sign lit on Sixth Avenue, the zero-period-nine-nine-pizza. I was enthralled.
Let me describe the features of a good dollar pizza restaurant. For starters, if you expect good sit-in quality, if you expect a place you can really bring the family and sit down for a meal you are very much mistaken. That is not what dollar pizza is about.
SERVICE DOESN'T MATTER
Dollar pizzas are for the true New Yorker in the city that never sleeps, the city that never sits, the city thats always moving.
So you come in to a little store that is literally a hole in the wall nine times out of ten. You go in, you grab a slice, you throw the guy a dollar, no tax because its always included. And you leave with a slice in hand, just walk out.
Basically thats the setting. It is supposed to be very down to earth with none of that fancy stuff. There are people who think you go to restaurants for the ambiance and service. I'm like are you serious? I don't give a hoot about the service, I’m hungry! Admittedly, I know this is a contentious point with some people.
THE RIGHT WAY TO EAT PIZZA
You always fold the slice when you eat it. You’re not a New Yorker if you don't fold your slice. And none of that two handed garbage, you’re from New Jersey if you do that (laughs).
WHAT MAKES DOLLAR PIZZA GOOD
Not all dollar pizza tastes the same. People assume that because its so cheap all dollar pizza places are the same. This is not true at all. Pizza is not that complicated, pizza is basically just sauce, cheese, and dough. The difficulty with dollar pizza slices is that its just a dollar, so the profit margins are pretty low. So when you need to maximize profits, and you can't cost costs from the building, the next logical place is to cut costs in the food. And this becomes the downfall of many dollar pizza spots.
Many dollar pizza places skimp out on how they season their sauce. So many of them don’t use salt- there’s literally no salt in anything. Is salt too expensive? I don't know. The right seasoning for sauce is usually the first thing to go, you can’t really cut the cheese and still call it pizza.
Take my word for it, this dollar pizza spot on Sixth Avenue and 8th Street is one of the best slices you’ll ever eat. One hundred percent.
THE GOLD STANDARD
The next place we’re going to is called Percy’s on Bleecker. I found this place the first time I ever came to NYU. It was the day that I got in, when I got admitted to Stern. I didn’t really know what I was getting into, what this neighborhood was like. So I came into the city that day to look around.
Fortunately that was the day I found Percy’s. Percy’s is an interesting dollar pizza store. It offers a small sit in experience. It has a total of two tables and four chairs. Percy’s never fails to deliver. It doesn't just offer dollar slices. A lot of dollar pizza places don’t offer toppings like pepperoni, onions, or peppers. Why should they, it increases the costs. But Percy's takes it to a whole other level. It revolutionized the dollar pizza. The average a slice at Percy's is two dollars, with the signature dollar cheese slice. Their pizza, well seasoned, is great. It's the best flavor.
My main question is- Who is percy? Who is the man behind the myth? Who is the man behind the pizza? Or maybe its a woman, its 2018 so no assumptions here. Whoever Percy is, wherever Percy exists, whether or not Percy ever existed or is still around...Percy is a genius.
Percy might not be the best but it is the standard for pizza against which all dollar pizza places should be compared. There is nothing they do that is wrong, they are the exemplification of the ideal dollar pizza place. They embody everything a dollar pizza should be.
Macdougal Street has so many different restaurants. We’re walking by Artichoke now. There’s a time and place for Artichoke, but anytime is not the time. It’s very seldom that you should spend 6 dollars for a slice of pizza. I always give them a stink eye when I walk by.
DOWNTOWN V. UPTOWN PIZZA
I'll be frank, I don't have many good experiences with uptown dollar pizza. Don’t get me wrong - uptown pizza can be great. I went to this place by Columbia called Koronet that has the biggest slice you’ve ever seen for four dollars, I ate that whole slice and I loved it. But its different down here, it must be the air (laughs). Its like how they say the climate in Italy makes their pizza taste better. The climate downtown makes pizza downtown taste better (laughs).
If you're in New York and you want pizza either get good pizza at a place like Grimaldi's or get good pizza at a dollar pizza joint. There’s no inbetween.