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Food

Sorry, New York: Denver Is America’s Best Pizza City

A new city claims the coveted title of America’s pizza capital. In a win for the West, a recent study from Clever names Denver the No. 1 pizza city in the United States for 2024.

The Mile High City beat out other popular pizza cities, such as New York, Chicago, and Detroit, in part because of its lower prices and better pizzeria reviews.

Clever Real Estate ranks the country’s 50 largest metros using data-driven metrics, based on the quantity of pizza restaurants per capita, Google search trends, Yelp reviews, two surveys of 1,000 Americans, and multiple affordability metrics.

How Denver’s Pizza Scene Surpassed the Competition

The Colorado capital snagged the top spot in 2024, a significant shift from seventh place in 2023.

According to the study, pizza restaurants in Denver average 4.05 out of 5 stars on Yelp — better than the average city’s 3.89 stars and New York’s 3.93 stars.

Plus, pizza is more affordable in Denver. Based on local prices and incomes, buying one large cheese pizza each week for a year would cost the typical resident 1.03% of their annual pay. Nationally, that figure is 1.47%, and in New York, it’s 1.77%.

“The Denver pizza scene has definitely changed quite dramatically in the past 10 years,” says Giles Flanagin, who cofounded Denver-based Blue Pan Pizza in 2015. “A lot of great pizzerias have opened up, small business owners with a passion for pizza and dough and fermentation and quality. It’s been rapid growth for the past three to five years. There are a lot of different pizza styles here done very, very well.”

Blue Pan, which offers an authentic Detroit-style pie, met some resistance when it first opened.

“We were the most expensive pizzeria when we opened up,” Flanagin explains. “But we’re not anymore. A good number of high-quality pizzerias have taken hold in the market here, and people are willing to support high-quality products with high-quality ingredients.”

Perusing a local pizza map, one sees Denver’s pizza diversity on full display. Pizzerias offer New York-style thin-crust pizza, Chicago-style deep-dish pizzas, Sicilian pies, and even Connecticut’s signature New Haven-style pie. There are also eclectic offerings like breakfast pizza and exotic toppings like Guinness cheese, Sichuan sauerkraut, creme fraiche, limoncello-marinated chicken, and pistachio pesto.

No matter your pizza preferences, you’ll be able to satisfy them in Denver. But eaters on the East Coast don’t have to move across the country for solid pizza. They’ll find the second-and third-place cities in Clever’s rankings much closer to home.

A City in New York Swipes Second Place

Buffalo captured the second spot on this list mostly by sheer numbers. Buffalo has an astonishing 17.8 pizzerias per 100,000 residents. That’s more than double the national average of 8.4 per 100,000 people. Buffalo also sports sky-high pizza enthusiasm, with residents recording the highest Google search volume in the country for “brick oven pizza” and “taco pizza.”

Buffalo came close to capturing the top spot, but pizza in this city isn’t very affordable. Purchasing a large cheese pie weekly in Buffalo will cost you 1.91% of the median annual income, almost twice as expensive as Denver at 1.03%.

A Bronze Medal for Boston’s Pizza Scene

Boston is a big city with a ton of pizzerias. At 12.3 pizza restaurants per 100,000 residents, there are about 50% more spots to grab a slice per capita than the average city. Thanks to relatively high incomes, pizza is very affordable here, too. Buying a large pie every week will only set you back 1.09% of the median annual income — pretty impressive, considering the city’s high cost of living.

Boston’s pizza enthusiasts also search the internet for pizza-related terms 22% more than residents in the average city. Although some may not think of Boston as a classic pizza city, they might have to change their minds if this town continues on its tasty trajectory.

What Happened To Other Respected Pizza Cities?

Detroit, ranked number one in 2023 and 2022, lost the spot mainly due to a downturn in reviews. As of 2024, pizzerias here average only 3.77 stars out of 5 on Yelp, below the average for cities in Clever’s study. Still, a large cheese pizza in Detroit is the eighth cheapest in the country at $16.36, as a pie in the average city is $19.34.

Chicago, another Midwest pizza hot spot, has a passion for pizza but sports some of the worst affordability of any city studied. Buying a pizza a week in Chicago will cost you 2.19% of the median annual income.

Finally, there’s New York. Despite a pie-conic reputation, New York pizza lacks affordability, with the average price of a large pepperoni pizza costing a bank-breaking $33.65. However, New York pizza fans can get some satisfaction, as a Clever poll on pizza preferences featured in the study found that 52% of Americans prefer New York-style pizza over Chicago-style pizza.

The top 10 cities overall were:

Denver, Colorado
Buffalo, New York
Boston, Massachusetts
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
San Diego, California
San Francisco, California
Hartford, Connecticut
Washington, D.C.
Detroit, Michigan
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania


Franklin Schneider | Wealth of Geeks

This article was produced by Media Decision and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.

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