Few things are better for starting an argument than a "best" list or better for healthy debate than a question like "Who has the best pizza in town?"
Food Network has one of those lists out now: The Best Pizzas in America's Biggest Cities, subtitled "Here are the top spots for a good pie in the 52 largest cities in the country, including Chicago and New York City" ("Including Chicago and New York City"? Aren't they obvious choices, both as pizza capitals and for a list of the largest cities in the country?)
In a sense of geographical awareness rare for something not based in Texas, Food Network actually considers Fort Worth and Dallas to be separate cities. In Dallas, they went with one of the most-talked about pizzerias of the past few years. In Fort Worth, they went with a bit of an underdog, even though there is a location of the Dallas pick in Fort Worth.
The Dallas pick? Unsurprisingly, Cane Rosso, Jay Jerrier's much-buzzed-about Neapolitan-pizza spot. OK, so Food Network misspells Jerrier's name: "Mostly, this place is about the pizza. The Neapolitan recipes were envisioned by owner Jay Jerrior, who fell in love with pizza on his honeymoon to Italy (Don't tell his wife!), then trained under master pizzaiolos and started a slice catering business." Then Jerrier launched his still-going brick-and-mortar in Deep Ellum and expanded to other locations in the Dallas area, as well as Austin, Houston and, yes, Fort Worth, where Cane Rosso has a location on Magnolia Avenue. But that's not the best pizza in Fort Worth, at least not on this list.
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Maybe we're splitting hairs — but that's what people who come up with things like this want you to do (believe us, we know!) — but Cane Rosso's being the best in Dallas doesn't make it the best in any other cities it's in. Such as Fort Worth, where Food Network did its homework and picked Pizza Snob, a small, independent TCU-area spot (with another location in Denton) that uses a build-your-own system similar to places such as Pie Five and Blaze but prides itself in higher-quality (and sometimes unusual) ingredients (Food Network mentions "beer-glazed onions, candied jalapenos and baby portabella mushrooms sautéed in red wine").
"If you're claiming to be a snob, you’d better have chops to back it up.," says the Food Network entry. "Pizza Snob has the cred thanks to a food science PhD with a degree from the NY Culinary School who scoured the globe for the very best ingredients."
Of course, fans of longtime Fort Worth favorite Mama's Pizza might take issue with that pick, especially with Mama's recently turning 50. (We are fans of both Mama's and Pizza Snob, finding room for the radically different approaches each has to pizza.) But then so might fans of Fireside Pies or Hysen's Nizza Pizza or Rocco's Wood Fired Pizza or numerous other joints.
But then, Arlington, ranked No. 50 on this list of most populous U.S. cities and 48th in this one, didn't get a mention at all (Food Network does not explain where it got its list of the 52 largest cities). And the pick for my hometown, El Paso? Grimaldi's — which originated in Brooklyn, not in Texas (and a location is due to open soon at The Shops at Clearfork in Fort Worth).