The Slice is Right: A Vegetarian's Guide to the Best Pizza in Westchester County
I present my recommendation of the Top 15 Best Pizza joints in Westchester County.
By Andrew Vitelli
Growing up in New York – and as a vegetarian since age 12 – pizza was more than just a staple in my diet. In high school and in the years following college, I typically had pizza several times a week, sometimes more than once a day. But I never made much of an effort to seek out the best pizza; usually, lunch was a couple slices at Pizza Grill or Slices in Hastings-on-Hudson, or The Brick Oven Pizza in Dobbs Ferry.
From 2012 to 2015, I lived mostly in Tel Aviv, a city with great food but pizza that was generally closer to Sportime USA than DiFara. When I returned to New York, the pizza capital of the world (Naples being a close second), I decided it was time to branch out and try the pizza considered the best in the United States, in New York, and in my own county of Westchester.
Before presenting this list, a few words of qualification.
First, I’ve not had close to every pizza in the county; and there are many pizzerias widely considered among the best that I have not yet made it to, like Gino’s in Yonkers, or just ate too long ago to fairly judge against the places on the list, such as Peppino’s in Somers.
Secondly, as a vegetarian, I am judging these establishments based on its vegetarian offerings. Pepe’s in Yonkers is known for its clam pie; if I ate clams, perhaps I’d rank it higher than its current spot.
Lastly, despite an array of acclaimed pizzerias in northern Westchester, this list is somewhat biased toward the central and southern portions of the County given that is where I’ve lived most of my life.
It’s with that in mind I present my recommendation of the Top 15 Best Pizza joints I’ve ventured to in Westchester County.
15. Pelham Pizza – 113 Fifth Ave, Pelham
Pelham Pizza is everything you’ll want from a traditional neighborhood pizzeria. Open since May 1978, Pelham Pizza serves up a great plain slice while also offering a range of specialty pies. My favorite was the eggplant parmesan slice, one of the best I’ve had in this genre.
14. Colony Grill – 35 Abendroth Ave, Port Chester
Along with its beer collection, Colony Grill has only one food item on the menu – Pizza. No fries, no sides, no paninis, or pasta dishes. Just $10 pies with toppings for $1.75 each or a salad pizza for $13.
As an enthusiast of both beer and pizza, it would have been hard for me not to like Colony Grill.
But this is far more than just bar-style pizza – its crispy thin crust and cheese bring a quality to the genre that you won’t find at many bars in Westchester. The hot oil is a popular topping choice, and the salad pie is one of my favorites. Though, to avoid being too healthy, I also ask for cheese and sauce.
Port Chester is one of six Colony Grill locations; four are in Connecticut, one is in Virginia.
13. Dunwoodie Pizzeria & Restaurant – 683 Yonkers Ave, Yonkers
Open since 1970, Dunwoodie serves exactly what comes to mind when you think of classic New York pizza. The plain slice is not too greasy but topped with plenty of cheese and a soft but firm crust. The Sicilian is also excellent – a thicker and cheesier take on the genre than Sal’s Pizza in Mamaroneck. Dunwoodie’s grandma pizzas are also a specialty, but you can’t go wrong with anything on the menu.
Fun fact: Dunwoodie was named the best pizza of Westchester County by readers of LoHud in 2018.
12. Pizzeria La Rosa – 12 Russell Ave, New Rochelle
Pizzeria La Rosa, founded by Frank Pinello, who owns one of the top pizzerias in Brooklyn called Best Pizza in Williamsburg, and Matt DiGesu, describes its menu as “classic Neapolitan meets New York-style wood fired pizzas.” Its pies are thinner than a classic New York pie, and crispier than the Neapolitan-esque pies.
In few pizzerias does the freshness of ingredients stand out quite like it does as La Rosa – even the salad, ordered mainly to ease the guilt of yet another night of pizza for dinner, was a standout. There are only six pies on the menu, including a margherita and a white that, with caramelized onions and a sesame seed crust, reminds me of the white slice at Pinello’s Brooklyn establishment.
Another newcomer, Pizzeria La Rosa opened in 2017. But its wood-fired Petersen oven dates back to 1924. Even better, you get a front-row seat watching pizzas going in and coming out of that oven while you eat.
11. The Parlor – 14 Cedar Street, Dobbs Ferry
The Parlor, a trendy spot with delicious Neapolitan pizza and a hipster vibe, is located a stone’s throw from Chef David DiBari's other Italian restaurant, The Cookery. It is a slice of Brooklyn in Dobbs Ferry, from the exposed brick façade, to the graffitied walls and craft beers inside.
But the pies are the reason to come here, and they do not disappoint.
You can stay basic here with the margherita pizza, which is one of the best you’ll find in Westchester, or you can try something creative, like the perfect-for-brunch “that everything bagel” pie, which is basically an egg and cheese bagel turned pizza.
For an appetizer, try one of my favorites – The brussels sprouts, served with chili honey, parmesan cheese and rice krispies. I know, it sounds weird, but trust me, it works.
10. Nonna’s Pizza – 52 Lake Street, White Plains
Hometown bias? Maybe, but as a White Plains resident Nonna’s has emerged as my go-to for pizza delivery. There’s nothing fancy about these pies, and out of all the stops on this list Nonna’s may be the least impressive from the outside. But if you’re looking for a classic traditional New York slice of pizza, this non-descript pizzeria on Lake Street is hard to top. The pies consistently are top notch – be it a plain, a ricotta-topped white pie, a salad pie or square pan pizza.
9. Frankie & Fannuci’s Wood Oven Pizzeria – 301 Mamaroneck Ave, Mamaroneck
For the nearly two years I lived in Mamaroneck, Frankie & Fannuci’s was my go-to for a stay-in pizza nights, mostly in-part because of a $25 special that includes a large pie, salad, and garlic bread.
Frankie & Fannuci’s serves up soft, chewy crust typical of Neapolitan pie to a full-size pie, though Frankie & Fannuci’s does not sell slices. If you want a gourmet pizza without forking over close to $20 for a personal pie, this is the place to go.
Additionally, Frankie & Fannuci’s also has a wide selection of beers on tap.
8. Fortina – 17 Maple Ave, Armonk
Fortina, with three locations in Westchester and another in Stamford, specializes in Neapolitan pies, though in an atmosphere that feels less formal than does Burrata in Eastchester. The Neapolitan pies at Fortina rival any in the county, including the Original Famous Ray’s – a Neapolitan take on a classic New York slice – and the classic margherita. But the standout here is The Luigi Bianco, which is listed on the menu as The LB. The LB is topped with swirls of black truffle and burrata alongside robiolina and parmesan cheese.
If you’re looking for some greens to balance out your carbs, the Piatto di Verdura vegetable plate is an excellent side. And while Fortina also has a Nutella pizza, the brown butter bread pudding is the right move if you have room for dessert.
7. Coals Pizza – 131 Parkway Road, Bronxville
Coals is the one spot, to the best of my knowledge, in the county that specializes in grilled pizza. This style – popularized in Providence, Rhode Island – produces a wonderfully charred crust that is thin enough to make Johnny’s Pizzeria in Mt. Vernon look like deep dish.
These pies don’t require many elaborate toppings – and the Heaven Scent with just tomato, cheeses and garlic is my personal favorite. But there are also pies with interesting toppings, like the hummus-topped Vegan Pie and the Rustic with truffle oil. The Nutella Pizza may be the best dessert pie in the county. '
6. Mario’s Pizza & Pasta – 1 Kirby Plaza, Mt. Kisco
A favorite of Examiner Publisher Adam Stone, Mario’s perfectly balances the thin, charred crust and creative toppings of a gourmet pizza restaurant with the convenience and feel of a slice joint. While you can’t go wrong with a plain or margarita slice, Mario’s also offers some delicious veggie-topped options.
What separates Mario’s, though, from the scores of other pizza places in every town is the crust – a light chewiness that slightly reminds the diner of a Neapolitan pie. I can’t think of another slice joint – in Westchester or elsewhere – that quite manages this balance.
5. Burrata Wood Fired Pizza – 425 White Plains Rd, Eastchester
Chas Anderson’s Burrata gets the nod as the best of Westchester’s growing Neapolitan pizza scene. It is relatively upscale for a restaurant known for its pizza, and the gourmet pies are generally a good size for one moderately hungry adult. The pies have all the makings of a quality Neapolitan – the soft and chewy crust made in a wood-fired oven, light sauce and cheese, and fresh toppings. The standout here is the J. Sexton, which puts the chilled namesake burrata with tomato, garlic, and basil. The Burrata pie, topped with wild mushroom, recently earned the honor of “Best Mushroom Pizza” in Westchester Magazine’s Best of Westchester awards.
4. Pepe’s of Yonkers – 1955 Central Park Ave, Yonkers
Pepe’s is an offshoot of the world-famous 96-year-old New Haven establishment, which regularly ranks among the best pizzas in the country. It’s thin crust – perhaps a bit thicker than Johnny’s Pizzeria in Mt. Vernon – cut into dozens of irregularly shaped slices in the classic New Haven style. The Original Tomato Pie is an exceptional Connecticut take on a classic plain slice, while the margherita is equally stellar.
Opened in Yonkers in 2009, Pepe’s isn’t exactly a newcomer to Westchester.
But it is often overlooked in discussions about the county’s best pies, probably because of its status as the offshoot on an outsider and New Yorkers’ resentment of the esteem in which New Haven pizza is held. All that aside, Pepe’s makes some of the best pizza in the county, and us Westchesterites are fortunate that we have an offshoot of a pizzeria considered the best in the country so close to home
For What It’s Worth: I’ve eaten at both the Yonkers and the New Haven location and don’t see much of a difference.
3. Billy & Pete’s Social – 121 Myrtle Blvd, Larchmont
A relatively new entrant to the Westchester pizza scene, Billy & Pete’s is, to my knowledge, the only Westchester Pizzeria specializing in Detroit-style pizza (which is rectangular and thick, but thinner and crispier than a Sicilian slice). And it measures up to best Detroit-style joints in NYC, with perfect crust and a creative range of toppings.
The Tipsy Dog, featuring a spicy vodka sauce, is the best bet. Billy & Pete’s also offers delicious grilled pizzas, which are thinner and cut into squares. And if you’re not driving, Billy & Pete’s serves some excellent and creative cocktails.
Billy & Pete’s is also one of the county’s best when it comes to vegan options, offering vegan sausage and vegan pepperoni.
2. Sal’s Pizza – 316 Mamaroneck Ave, Mamaroneck
If there were a Mount Rushmore for Westchester pizza, the Sicilian slice from Sal’s Pizza would certainly be among those chiseled in stone. Not too thick with the perfect amount of sauce and cheese, this Sicilian is one of the best Sicilian slices I have ever eaten, in Westchester or beyond. And Sal’s plain slice, though often overlooked, is arguably the best you can get at any slice joint in the country. If you have the appetite, order a “trifecta,” which includes the plain, Sicilian, and an excellent salad slice.
If there’s a generally consensus among Westchester pizza enthusiasts, it is that most will name Johnny’s Pizzeria in Mount Vernon or Sal’s as the best pizza in the county. Sal’s, which has been open for more than 50 years has also earned some national recognition; in 2014 it ranked #66 in The Daily Meal’s 101 best pizzas, and in 2019 the site listed it among America’s 56 greatest old-school pizzerias.
1. Johnny’s Pizzeria – 30 W. Lincoln Ave, Mt. Vernon
First opened in 1942, Johnny’s has earned its reputation as the county’s best pizzeria. The pies – and you must order by the pie – are big but thin. The crust is firm, but not too crispy. It doesn’t overflow with cheese the way something you’d get at a slice joint might, but nor is the cheese as scant as, say, a margherita pie from an upscale trattoria. The sauce is packed with flavor and well-distributed throughout every bite.
If you’ve made the trip, count on each person eating at least half a pie.
Johnny’s doesn’t look like much from the outside, and the difficulty finding a spot in its poorly designed parking lot may drive some less determined diners away.
Inside, Johnny’s has the feel or a classic neighborhood Italian restaurant. Yankees memorabilia hangs seemingly on every inch of every wall. It is worth making the trip to Mt. Vernon for, wherever you are in the county. And it’s earned the endorsement of Dave Portnoy, known for his “One Bite” pizza reviews. Portnoy scored it a 9.1 out of ten, the best score in Westchester and one of the best in the country.
Andrew Vitelli is the former editor of The Putnam Examiner and The White Plains Examiner. A Hastings-on-Hudson native, he now lives in White Plains with his wife, Zeynep, two-year-old daughter, Zoe, and their dog Beasley.