John's of Bleecker Street - New York, NY

John's of Bleecker - A Bucket List Pizza that Lives Up to the Hype Delicious Coal-Fired Pizza from John's Pizzeria on Bleecker Stree...

John's of Bleecker - A Bucket List Pizza that Lives Up to the Hype

Delicious Coal-Fired Pizza from John's Pizzeria on Bleecker Street.

A Decade of Wanting to Try John's Was Well Worth the Wait

John's on Bleecker is one of the first pizzerias that roll off most pizza snobs' tongues when you ask what is the best pizza in NY.  It is also one of the top pizzas mentioned when you ask what is the best pizza in the United States, and for me, it has been a pizza bucket list review that I've been wanting to do since I started reviewing pizzas a decade ago.  They have been serving up great pizza from their coal fired oven since 1929, so they well-known around the world.  For one reason or another, I just never had the opportunity to try it, but thanks to a friend teaming up for a quick trip into the city, the wait was now over!

Of course, our first stop after parking the car was to walk right to John's, which is easy to get to and sports a certain old-world charm in this historic pizzeria.  I have to say, I've seen a ton of videos and photos about John's over the years but it was smaller than I expected, but just as charming with it's wood carved booths and walls adorned with photos of famous people who have visited.

Ordering was not hard, I've seen thousands of photos of John's traditional pizza and knew I wanted that exact pizza, and we also threw in a pepperoni pizza for good measure.  John's does not sell pizza by the slice, only full pies, so follow the rules on the signs when ordering and don't ask for slices!  

My expectations were sky high while during the brief wait for our pizzas since I had anticipated so much.  Would this be the best pizza I've ever had in my life?  Could this be "the one?"  Will this dethrone Frank Pepe's White Clam Pizza as the highest rated pizza (9.6) I've ever reviewed?  I felt some pressure and anxiety mounting for this review as the time neared!

But then I saw the pizzas as the waiter brought them to the table. They looked familiar - as expected.  They smelled like the John's of Bleecker t-shirt that a friend brought me home a couple years back - as expected.  I picked up a molten-lava slice of the cheese pizza and it was light and crisp - as expected.  I took my first bite and it was incredible - as expected!  It's rare that when I set my expectations sky high that they are actually met, but John's checked every box in just one bite.

John's of Bleecker features a thin, light, and crispy charred crust.

The crust was light, charred nicely around the edge and crisp on the bottom.  It had some light crunch, a little flop, and a pleasant tenderness and chewiness to it.  The sauce was the all-star of this pizza for me as it was supremely vibrant, had intensely fresh tomato flavor with some natural sweetness and really contrasted wonderful charred crust and the neutral gooey mozzarella cheese.  The mozzarella cheese texture was a little different from most whole milk/part skim or even fresh mozzarellas but I couldn't quite put my finger on what the precise differences.  With all of the excitement, I just went with it and enjoyed it.

This Pepperoni pizza from John's ties Frank Pepe's White Clam Pizza for the highest rated pizza I've ever reviewed.

The pepperoni pizza was even more delicious.  This pizza appeared to have been cooked just a few more seconds in the oven than the plain cheese and achieved absolute baking perfection.  It was crunchier, crispier, and had a more pronounced char.  It featured the same great sauce and cheese, but the flavorful pepperoni released some oils into the sauce, and brought some saltiness which made the intensely fresh tomato flavor even more pronounced.  Both pizzas were an absolute delight, but I favored the pepperoni pizza by a small margin because it was cooked just a bit longer.

Beautifully crisp crust from John's on Bleecker Street!

Both pizzas were among the absolute best pizzas I've ever had in my lifetime, and as you can see below, the pepperoni pizza tied my Frank Pepe of New Haven, CT rating of 9.6.  However, if we consider that was a white clam pizza and we want to exclude toppings of any kind on pizza, John's NY style cheese pizza becomes my highest rated traditional (dough, sauce, cheese only) pizza of all time!  If you've followed my work for any amount of time, you know I'm a plain cheese pizza kind of guy guy, so by any metric, John's of Bleecker Street is my #1 rated pizza, and the new benchmark by which all future pizzas will be rated against.
The Ratings

Restaurant: John's of Bleecker Street
Location: 278 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014
Date: June 2021
Eat In/Take Out: Eat In

Pizza Ordered: Medium 14" Pizza
Price: $19
Crust: 9.1
Sauce: 9.5
Cheese: 9.4
Overall Taste: 9.6
Crispy/Cooked Properly: 9.4
Overall Value: 7.2
Similar to: Colarusso's Coal Fired, Grimaldi's

Pizza Ordered: Medium 14" Pizza w/ Pepperoni
Price: $24
Crust: 9.5
Sauce: 9.5
Cheese: 9.4
Overall Taste: 9.9
Crispy/Cooked Properly: 9.6
Overall Value: 6.4
Similar to: Colarusso's Coal Fired, Grimaldi's


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