Alright, so I'm gonna start this off by saying there are so many great pizza shops around my town and in the Hudson Valley. I wanted to keep this at 10 because even 10 is kind of long, and there were places outside of the Hudson Valley that I just had to add so there are some excellent shops that just didn't make the cut for this list. But, I love pizza more than anybody you know (if they don't have a pizza tattoo, they don't love it as much as me) and I HAD to make a pizza blog post at some point, so here it is.
Pizza Village in Hopewell Junction, NY has been the pizza I have known and loved all my life. It is my first pizza memory, it is where we would go after baseball games, it was what we brought in on Friday nights and it is still our family-pizza-night pizza. It's pretty much the only place I get full, fresh pizzas from, the rest of this list will be places I just get slices. It's on the thicker side, the slices are a great size and has moderately doughy crust that still has a nice little crunch. My usuals here are pepperoni, mushroom, or plain.
Right behind Pizza Village in Hopewell Junction, Giardino's is a main slice-shop for me. The owner and I are on a first-name-basis, and I notice he is with many of his customers as they walk in. I really like an owner who cares and takes interest in their customers. He asks me about work sometimes and remembers what I do, and we usually have a nice conversation about something while I wait for my slices to heat up. I usually get a pepperoni slice & a BBQ chicken slice with ranch on it. The pepperoni/plain slices are on the thin side, and the BBQ chicken slices are huge, kinda thick and doughy, with a TON of chicken. The slices are actually like....heavy.
Pizza Phil in Fishkill, NY is not popular amongst my friends and to be honest I don't see people in there often, but they've got a great slice for the thin & crunchy pizza lovers. The slice is thin and crunchy but the crust has a great balance with a crunchy exterior and a doughy interior. I usually get a pepperoni slice & a chicken bacon ranch slice with BBQ sauce on it.
Pizza & Stuff II
Pizza & Stuff II on Main Street in Beacon, NY is a place I don't frequent but they never disappoint. I usually just get a couple of pepperoni slices here but the crust is soft and doughy which I love, and the sauce has a delightful sweetness to it that isn't overbearing.
Pizza Barn in Yonkers, NY. Home of the giant slice. It was a big surprise to me how great it actually was. I was expecting them to sacrifice quality for the size of it and I promise, they don't. Granted, that's because they basically just cook a medium pizza in a triangle shape, but still. You know what I mean. The crust is thick and doughy, the sauce is excellent, and it is a huuuuuge slice. They have so many options for toppings but I just went with pepperoni each time (I've been there twice).
Sal's Pizza in Beacon, NY is another place I don't go to often but I used to and they also have never disappointed me. They have huuuuge slices, and I love their BBQ Chicken slices. The sauce they use on the chicken is a really sweet BBQ sauce that goes so well with ranch. The slices aren't thick, but they also aren't thin, which to me is just right.
Yes, another Sal's. This one is in Fishkill, NY and I've been told it belongs to the same Sal as the previous one. It's hard to believe because the pizza is SO different, but that's not a bad thing. This pizza is another one for the thin-and-crunchy pizza lovers, and I do love that style to switch it up sometimes. I don't really go out of my way to come here, but if I know I'll be driving by and I'm in the mood for it I might stop and get it.
Anyone who really knows me knew NYC dollar-pizza would be on this list. There's a shop on 43rd street right next to Grand Central, and any time I go to NYC I really do try to plan my train times around allowing me to get a couple slices when I get there or before I leave. If I have to wait an hour for the next train home, I'll probably do it. There's just something about it that I really love, and I don't know what it is. The crust is just about the perfect blend of crunchy and soft, the sauce is just the right amount of sweet, and they just go down so easily.
Keith's Pizza in Plymouth, NH holds a special place in my heart. Anybody who's been away to college knows what I'm talking about. It's that one spot where you always went at the end of a weekend night, or the one reliable place in town you always ordered from. Maybe not a pizza place (probably not). Maybe it's the coffee shop you always sat in to do your homework, or the deli you always grabbed a sandwich at. Keith's is that special place for me. They are open Tuesday-Sunday from 5pm-2am. Sometimes I'd get lucky and catch them open till 3 if they were busy enough. They have dollar slices, cheap personal pies for like $5, and I'm not gonna lie, it is pretty good pizza. My sophomore year they started allowing students to put paint-handprints all over the walls and ceilings and sign them. They re-paint and do it every year so unfortunately my hands aren't on the walls anymore. I miss Plymouth a lot, and I can't wait to visit, get some pizza at Keith's, and put my hands back on those walls.
I'm not one for chain pizza, but Papa Gino's might be the best chain pizza I've ever had. Being a New England pizza chain, Papa Gino's has a ton of places but MY spot is in a service station in Charlton, Massachusetts of I-90. I guess technically my spots, since there's one on each side. I would stop here at these service stations because they're half-way between my house and my college in Plymouth, NH so they're great for bathroom breaks, text breaks, grab a drink or snack, etc. Obviously I had to try the pizza, and I got hooked instantly. Really thick, soft crust, relatively thin slices, and sauce that has a very little kick. I still stop at these stations any time I pass them and if I'm lucky enough to get an early start on the trip, they have breakfast pizza. Yes, BREAKFAST PIZZA. More pizza places need to open early enough to serve breakfast pizza.
There it is - my 10 favorite pizza shops. If you have a spot you think I should try, let me know! I know that even though I've been to a lot, there are also a lot of places I don't even know about.
Live, Love, Pizza!