The slice joint is a time-honored New York City tradition that's often been swept aside by the rush of Neapolitan pies, which may soon be ending their reign as the city's preeminent pizza style. Unless they're doing something truly outrageous, neighborhood pizzerias get most of their foot traffic from locals or passersby looking for a quick carb fix. But Baker's Pizza, which opened on Avenue A a few months back, is betting on the power of the New York-style pie to become a destination stop on any pizza journeyman's map.
The bakers here are twofold. There's the eponymous owner Jordan Baker, who's joined by pizza chef Jamie Cacace to turn out the hearty pies, focaccia-based sandwiches and other pizzeria staples. Your average slice joint doesn't offer toppings like brussels sprouts, bacon and white truffle oil (the B&B) or speck, broccoli rabe, roasted red peppers and parmesan (the Speck-tacular), ingredients that set Baker's apart from Muzzarella Pizza down the block, a perfectly respectable and delicious slice joint in its own right.
Unlike their dainty Neapolitan cousins, the pies at Baker's are enormous and generously weighted down with their toppings. Their 18" inch speciality creations are $20 per pie and can easily feed four people with big appetites. Like any classic "corner" pizzeria—Baker's is between 12th and 13th—they'll have pies ready to reheat for slices, with speciality slices going for $4 each and plain cheese slices for $2.75.
They're also making their own homemade focaccia to use on their two sandwich offerings, a Meatball Parm with fresh mozzarella, mint and lemon zest and a Speck & Broccoli Rabe with herbed ricotta spread, both $8. Pesto knots, their twist on the garlic knot, run $2.50 for four and their zeppolis, drenched in sugar and drizzles of Nutella, are $3 for four.
Since the space is large enough to accommodate some hightops and other tables, Baker installed a white, upright piano, which he encourages guests to play—regardless of their skill level. For what's traditionally a grab-and-go kind of model, Baker's encourages lingering.
201 Avenue A, (212) 777-7477; website