The New York slice has returned to its proper place atop the pizza pyramid. This is no small feat, considering that the last decade-plus of pizza news has been dominated by whole pies, often puffy-crusted and sometimes topped with farm-to-table-y ingredients that are a far cry from the industrial mozzarella and powdered Parmesan that are the hallmarks of the slice genre. As such, the local pizza cognoscenti lamented the decline of the humble big-city slice. Slice joints, they argued, had settled into a state of complacency, and the best you could hope for was a slice that was “fine.” All the real action, it seemed, was at sit-down pizzerias where the pies started at around $20 each. The complaints were loud and the doomsday talk was frequent.
But the slice is this city’s preeminent form of pizza. More importantly, it’s a perfect food that, even when it’s bad, is still pretty good. A single slice is also mobile, snackable, and endlessly versatile. The slice never really went away, in other words. It was just waiting for the right moment to reappear and reclaim its crown. This was the year it finally happened.
Of course, you wouldn’t have expected that to be the case back in January, when the biggest pizza-slice breakthrough was dubious, at best: Brooklyn stunt-pizza innovators Vinnie’s introduced its PIEd Pods, a “100% edible and 100% not poison” Tide Pod alternative stuffed with mozzarella and pepperoni and topped with melted, dyed cheese to replicate the look of Tide Pods. It was … not pleasant, but it was proof that the humble slice may yet be able to find a place in our digital present.