Home US Here are the best US cities for pizza – New York and Chicago are not even in the running

Here are the best US cities for pizza – New York and Chicago are not even in the running

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Denver has been ranked the best American city for pizza in a comprehensive case. Chef Andrea Frizzi, owner of Vero Italian in Denver, shows off one of his pizzas

New York City and Chicago are usually up there, and Detroit was tops the previous two years.

But it’s Denver, Colorado that can claim to be the best for pizza, according to a comprehensive study that looked at eight destinations. See the box below for their full methodology.

In a nutshell, researchers typically considered price, the number of restaurants and how well they were rated, plus a so-called ‘pizza passion’ score.

Across these, the Mile High City rose to the top across 50 of the largest US metros surveyed by Smart Estate Agent.

NYC landed an unwanted accolade – the most expensive pizzas in America, with a large pepperoni costing nearly $34.

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Denver has been ranked the best American city for pizza in a comprehensive case. Chef Andrea Frizzi, owner of Vero Italian in Denver, shows off one of his pizzas

Denver has been ranked the best American city for pizza in a comprehensive case. Chef Andrea Frizzi, owner of Vero Italian in Denver, shows off one of his pizzas

Chicago is famous for its deep dish pizza like this. The city was ranked 14th overall for pizza in terms of eight factors such as quality, number of restaurants and price. It's the second-highest price for a large cheese pizza at $28.66 on average — which lowered its overall ranking

Chicago is famous for its deep dish pizza like this. The city was ranked 14th overall for pizza in terms of eight factors such as quality, number of restaurants and price. It's the second-highest price for a large cheese pizza at $28.66 on average — which lowered its overall ranking

Chicago is famous for its deep dish pizza like this. The city was ranked 14th overall for pizza in terms of eight factors such as quality, number of restaurants and price. It’s the second-highest price for a large cheese pizza at $28.66 on average — which lowered its overall ranking

Denver scored well across the board. For example, it had the second-highest score on average Yelp reviews at 4.05 stars and scored 82 out of 100 on pizza passion, which measures how often locals search Google for pizza-related terms.

It’s also affordable, with a large cheese pizza averaging just $16.79, the 12th cheapest.

Methodology

Each of eight criteria was weighted differently to determine the best pizza in the 50th largest cities

1711211131 700 Here are the best US cities for pizza New

1711211131 700 Here are the best US cities for pizza New

  • Reputation Score: A poll of 1,000 Americans asked to name which cities they consider to be the top five for pizza (32%)
  • Pizza restaurants per 100,000 inhabitants (20%)
  • Pizza Passion Score: Local Google search volume for pizza-related terms (20%)
  • Average Yelp rating for local pizza restaurants (12%)
  • Local price of a large cheese pizza (4%)
  • Cost of buying a large cheese pizza each week as a percentage of average annual income (4%)
  • Local price of a large pepperoni pizza (4%)
  • Cost of buying a large pepperoni pizza each week as a percentage of average annual income (4%)

Buffalo was named the second best pizza city in the US, rising from number 17 last year.

It had a chance to win the No. 1 spot, but was hit by low affordability — a measure that compares local prices to local wages. Buying a cheese pizza once a week costs residents 1.91 percent of their annual income — 30 percent more than the average city.

After two consecutive years as the best pizza city, Detroit lost its top spot and fell to number nine in the 2024 rankings.

Pennsylvania ranks as the best state for pizza with two cities — Philadelphia at No. 4 and Pittsburgh at No. 10 — in the top 10 best pizza cities.

Various different metros were tops – or bottoms – for the eight measures.

New York City, for example, still reigns as the city with the best reputation for pizza – surpassing Chicago in survey results.

Buffalo, New York has the highest rate of pizza restaurants per 100,000 population in the country at 17.8 to NYC’s 9.7.

And which city is the worst for pizza in America?

With only 3.5 pizza restaurants per 100,000 residents, a lack of ‘pizza passion’ among residents and expensive pies averaging $19.69: Memphis, Tennessee.

But New York City is worst for one key measure.

The city has the highest average prices in the country for both a large cheese pizza ($28.60) and a large pepperoni pizza ($33.65).

That’s nearly double the cost in the nation’s cheapest pizza town, Richmond, Virginia, where $14.75 will get you a large cheesecake.

The price of a slice can also vary enormously within state lines.

Los Angeles’ $25.05 cheese pizza makes it the 4th most expensive pizza city, while just 50 miles away in Riverside, CA, you can grab the 6th cheapest cheese pie in the country for just $15.99.

A customer places an order at Papa's Pizza in Denver, Colorado — the city was ranked best for pizza based on a survey that looked at eight measures including price

A customer places an order at Papa's Pizza in Denver, Colorado — the city was ranked best for pizza based on a survey that looked at eight measures including price

A customer places an order at Papa’s Pizza in Denver, Colorado — the city was ranked best for pizza based on a survey that looked at eight measures including price

New York City is the most expensive for a full pizza - with a cheese like this $28.60 on average. The city was ranked 15th in the United States for pizza, with factors such as pizzeria ratings taken into account

New York City is the most expensive for a full pizza - with a cheese like this $28.60 on average. The city was ranked 15th in the United States for pizza, with factors such as pizzeria ratings taken into account

New York City is the most expensive for a full pizza – with a cheese like this $28.60 on average. The city was ranked 15th in the United States for pizza, with factors such as pizzeria ratings taken into account

Detroit-style pizza above. Detroit was ranked number one overall for pizza in the US last year, but has dropped to number nine this year due to rising prices and lower rankings for restaurants

Detroit-style pizza above. Detroit was ranked number one overall for pizza in the US last year, but has dropped to number nine this year due to rising prices and lower rankings for restaurants

Detroit-style pizza above. Detroit was ranked number one overall for pizza in the US last year, but has dropped to number nine this year due to rising prices and lower rankings for restaurants

Aside from NYC and Chicago — two cities known for their pizza — the West Coast dominates the top 10 for the most expensive pizza, with the exception of Orlando at No. 3.

Aside from the home of Disney World, cities in the South and Midwest reign atop the top 10 most affordable list, occupying 8 of the 10 spots.

No matter where you live, pizza prices are going up across the country.

Across America, the average price for a whole pie is $19.34 — up 4 percent from last year. This is a faster increase than overall inflation of 3.5 percent.

As with anything else, the cost of rent and wages in different cities has a significant effect on prices.

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