2021’s Best Cities for Pizza Addicts

close up of pepperoni pizza on wooden cutting board

Like a big pizza pie, the U.S. comes in all different styles, toppings, and flavors. One thing we can all agree on is that America loves nothing more than a steaming, cheesy slice of pizza.

We’re a country that takes it’s obsession with pizza to extreme levels, even marking National Pizza Day on February 9. As a whole, Americans scarf down about 3 billion pizzas a year. And on any given day, 13% of all U.S. residents are eating pizza. Clearly, we’re a pizza-centric society.

But not every city slices out the same. Some are known for their distinct styles — such as New York and Chicago — while others couldn’t care less about a high-quality pie.

So do you live in a hot pizza dream city, or is your town a stale bit of crust in the back of the fridge?

Find out in LawnStarter’s list of 2021’s Best Cities for Pizza Addicts. We looked at the 100 biggest U.S. cities across five key metrics, such as the average cost of a pizza and total pizzerias per 100,000 residents.

You can find our ranking of the Best Cities for Pizza Addicts and highlights/lowlights below. Then fulfill your heart’s desire: Order a pie! And don’t even think about counting the calories.

Table of Contents

  1. City Rankings
  2. Highlights and Lowlights
  3. Methodology

City Rankings 

See how each city fared in our rankings:

OVERALL RANKCityOverall Score
1New York, NY58.92
2Chicago, IL52.62
3Pittsburgh, PA48.24
4Cincinnati, OH47.37
5Tampa, FL44.58
6St. Louis, MO44.56
7Las Vegas, NV41.82
8Atlanta, GA40.80
9Cleveland, OH38.93
10Richmond, VA38.05
11St. Petersburg, FL37.72
12Denver, CO37.04
13Boston, MA36.69
14Orlando, FL36.48
15Dallas, TX35.35
16Columbus, OH35.23
17Jacksonville, FL35.21
18Fort Worth, TX34.97
19Buffalo, NY34.79
20Miami, FL34.76
21Houston, TX34.05
22Tulsa, OK33.75
23Boise City, ID33.38
24Raleigh, NC33.02
25Albuquerque, NM32.85
26Nashville, TN32.72
27San Diego, CA32.51
28Los Angeles, CA32.31
29Durham, NC31.93
30Madison, WI31.85
31Portland, OR31.46
32Phoenix, AZ31.20
33Washington, DC31.14
34Charlotte, NC31.11
35Greensboro, NC30.98
36Indianapolis, IN30.84
37Fort Wayne, IN30.81
38Philadelphia, PA30.38
39Austin, TX30.36
40New Orleans, LA30.34
41Minneapolis, MN30.08
42Louisville, KY29.94
43Memphis, TN29.38
44Kansas City, MO29.36
45Baltimore, MD29.22
46Bakersfield, CA29.09
47Norfolk, VA28.86
48Omaha, NE28.85
49San Francisco, CA28.75
50St. Paul, MN28.20
51Seattle, WA27.75
52Lexington, KY27.08
53Milwaukee, WI27.01
54Lincoln, NE24.96
55Toledo, OH24.82
56Anchorage, AK24.48
57Detroit, MI24.38
58Fresno, CA24.21
59Scottsdale, AZ23.49
60Reno, NV23.42
61Oklahoma City, OK23.42
62Winston-Salem, NC22.88
63Arlington, TX22.38
64El Paso, TX22.13
65San Antonio, TX22.02
66Colorado Springs, CO20.98
67Lubbock, TX20.69
68Wichita, KS20.65
69Oakland, CA20.48
70Corpus Christi, TX20.03
71San Jose, CA19.72
72Virginia Beach, VA19.43
73Hialeah, FL19.13
74Sacramento, CA18.86
75Tucson, AZ18.84
76Irving, TX18.76
77Paradise, NV18.58
78Honolulu, HI18.15
79Plano, TX18.09
80Glendale, AZ17.21
81Henderson, NV16.17
82Chandler, AZ16.03
83Gilbert, AZ15.82
84Mesa, AZ15.81
85Laredo, TX15.31
86Chesapeake, VA14.57
87Arlington, VA14.42
88North Las Vegas, NV14.40
89Riverside, CA14.28
90Long Beach, CA14.16
91Anaheim, CA13.69
92Aurora, CO13.53
93Garland, TX13.17
94Irvine, CA12.72
95Chula Vista, CA12.34
96Stockton, CA12.32
97Newark, NJ11.86
98Jersey City, NJ11.37
99Santa Ana, CA11.30
100Fremont, CA5.68
Infographic of Pizza Fun Facts including the first pizzeria in America, the origin of Hawaiian pizza and much more
Sources: * These Are the 100 Best Pizza Places in the USA, According to Instagram 1. 50 Pizza Facts You Never Knew 2. World’s Largest Pizza (Guinness Book of Records) 3. 50 Pizza Facts You Never Knew 4. Hawaiian Pizza was Invented in Canada by a Greek Restaurant Owner 5. 50 Mouthwatering Facts About Pizza 6. Does pineapple belong on a pizza? 7-8. 50 Mouthwatering Facts About Pizza 9. 50 Pizza Facts You Never Knew 10. Pizza Facts 11. 50 Pizza Facts You Never Knew

Highlights and Lowlights

Big Apple? Call it the Big Pizza

New Yorkers love their tomato pies, so much so the Big Apple sits atop our Best Cities for Pizza Addicts. That love affair is documented on Instagram with more photos of NYC pizzas and pizzerias than anywhere else across the U.S.  

Who hasn’t heard of — or tasted — New York-style pizza? The hand-tossed crust is wonderfully crisp and airy at the edge and thin in the middle. And no need for nouveau ingredients like artichokes or avocado — the traditional New York-style pizza is just tomato sauce and mozzarella. Savor it by the slice, folded for easy eating … and easy carrying by Pizza Rat.

Best in the Midwest

Chicago and a slew of other Midwest cities took top-10 spots: Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, St. Louis, and Cleveland. The Windy City, of course, is renowned for its deep dish Chicago-style pizzas — each slice can be a meal in itself! Pittsburgh has the most pizza places per resident, with the other cities also sporting impressive numbers. St. Louis boasts some relatively cheap pizza, along with its own named-after-the-city thin crust style. 

What is it about the Midwest that makes for great pie? We’re not sure, but The Washington Post has called the Midwest a region whose “pizza time has come.” Once you eat a piece, we know you’ll agree.

California in the Cold

California often sets trends, but it’s been left out of the pizza craze. The highest ranked Golden State city is San Diego at a No. 27, and it only goes downhill from there. Six of the 10 lowest ranked cities are all in California. This could be due to costs. (Stockton, California, was our most expensive city for pizza.) 

Not loving pizza isn’t all bad. California is known for having a culture of dieting and healthy living, which isn’t exactly compatible with the frequent intake of heavy carbs. At least California’s pizza disdain leaves more slices for the rest of us.

Methodology

We ranked the 100 biggest U.S. cities in descending order — from best to worst — based on their individual score totals in the metrics list below. The city that scored the highest ranked No. 1, or “best.”

MetricWeightingMin. ValueMax. Value                      
Total Pizza Businesses per 100,000 Residents26.3156.58
Average Cost of Pizza27.4515.59
Search Interest for "Pizza Delivery"1430
Search Interest for “Pizza Delivery” compared to “Food Delivery”126.34%79.56%
Instagram Popularity of Pizza Businesses476612621
Overall Total10

Sources: AreaVibes, Google Trends, Italy4Real, and TripAdvisor

Main Photo Credit: Pxhere

Avatar

Staff Writer