You’ve reached Outta Sight when you smell the toasty, yeasty aroma of cooked dough and the acidic tang of tomato sauce. The thin, crispy pies served here are on par with the ones served at the best New York pizzerias, cut into large slices whose tips flop a bit when you fold them in half. Except this isn’t New York. Outta Sight is in the Tenderloin neighborhood of San Francisco, and it’s part of a rising movement of zhuzhed-up slice shops that are bringing their take on New York pizza to cities across the US
Since the middle of the 20th century, shops serving pizza by the individual, triangular slice have been essential to the fabric of New York City food culture. That’s thanks to the invention of the gas deck oven by an Italian immigrant named Frank Mastro in 1934, which enabled pizzaiolos formerly using coal ovens to bake at lower temperatures for longer, resulting in a sturdier pizza that could hold up in a box. As these ovens became more widely available, the slice joint—a place to stop in for a large, foldable slice of thin-crust pizza—became a fixture in New York. Though the quality of slice spots vary, over the past decade there’s been an explosion of chef-driven, fancied-up New York slice shops—thanks in part to pizza makers like Frank Pinello of Brooklyn’s Best Pizza and Scarr Pimentel of Scarr’s Pizza on the Lower East Side using seasonal and heirloom ingredients.
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Now, this artisanal approach to the humble slice is spreading, thanks in part to Instagram. At Chicago’s Zazas Pizzeria, there’s a crisp cheese slice topped with cold, creamy blobs of burrata that resembles another that’s served at L’Industrie in Brooklyn. And spots like Pizza Jeans in Atlanta and Miami’s aptly named Miami Slice are putting their own spin on the quintessential slice shop. They pay homage to New York by serving pizza designed to be eaten on-the-go, but these aren’t strictly classic New York slice joints: They take inspiration from their own surroundings, too, utilizing fresh produce, sourdough fermentation, and regional pizza styles.
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