Ask any New Yorker when the last time they ordered from Domino's or Pizza Hut and they're likely to tell you to fuggedaboutit (or worse). That's because New York is the land of independent pizza shops, Famous Rays, Johns, John's Famous, Joe's, Di Fara, Paulie Gee's... you get the picture here.

But when it comes to hankerings for a slice as we're all dreaming of days when we can head to the local pizzeria, Domino's and Pizza Hut sure make things easy and cheap. Recent data trends reflect this, too: Dominos' delivery app is seeing higher engagement than ever, and people are mentioning Pizza Hut on Facebook at an unprecedented clip. Even — hide the kids — frozen pizza is seeing a renaissance. Desperate times, as they say.

For those of us with any discretion and taste, though, the Slice app ($SLICELIFE) has made its mission all about creating a delivery network for the one-offs, the mom and pops, and the local joints that don't have the resources to handle it on their own. 

There are a lot of them — 35,339 — represented here alone, just within the borders of the United States. It looks something like this:

As you can see, pizza is a universal food, and the map above looks as much like a population density visualization as it does the locations of more than 35,000 pizza joints. But, that's what it is. The most common cities also read a lot like an east coast population (and street culture) breakdown. Atop the list in terms of independent pizza joints on Slice are New York, Philadelphia, Brooklyn, and Chicago (although some may argue whether or not whatever it is they serve in Chicago is actual pizza, we don't think it is).

City

State

Joints on Slice

New York

NY

486

Philadelphia

PA

452

Brooklyn

NY

409

Chicago

IL

385

Los Angeles

CA

245

Pittsburgh

PA

221

Baltimore

MD

192

San Francisco

CA

173

San Diego

CA

172

Bronx

NY

154

Midwestern casserole aside, the above top-10 list of independent pizza joints only tells half of the story. This map (and data) shows as close an approximation as we'll get for indie pizza joints in America. Among the 35,339 pizza restaurants here, 4,116 are one-offs with just one location, 5,709 have less than three locations, and 7,450 — 21% — have just 5 or fewer locations.

The most populous pizza restaurant on slice, Mountain Mike's Pizza of northern California, has 139 locations, followed by Rosati's Pizza of Chicago. Also in the top-10 in terms of locations are Buca Di Beppo, Round Table Pizza, and Joe's Pizza.

Name

Joints on Slice

Mountain Mike's Pizza

139

Rosati's Pizza

133

Fox's Pizza Den

84

Jet's Pizza

83

Buca Di Beppo

70

Pizza Boli's

67

Tony's Pizza

61

Round Table Pizza

57

Vocelli Pizza

50

Joe's Pizza

49

In a testament to the independent nature of the restaurants on Slice, even the most common — Mountain Mike's with 139 locations — only makes up 0.4% of the total 35,339. Of the more than 35,000 pizza joints on the Slice app, 4,116 — or 12% — have just one location.

So here's to the local pizza joints of America, the heroes of Friday night dinner while we're all staying home. Thanks for serving it up hot.

About the Data:

Thinknum tracks companies using the information they post online - jobs, social and web traffic, product sales, and app ratings - and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue, and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales. 

Further Reading: