The Best New Slice Pizza I've Tried in New York
What to order at L'Industrie and Lucia's new Manhattan locations, as well as at Fini Barclays Center and F&F in Carroll Gardens, plus a review of Rose's in Penn Station
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A Famous Penn Station Pizzeria Is Now a Place for...$5 Slices?
Back in the aughts, long before I co-worked out of craft slice shops that doubled as hip cafes — venues known for their fast wifi and slow fermentation — I frequented a simpler venue. It was a place called Rose’s in Penn Station.
It was not hip. It was useful.
Rose’s wasn’t a place to bring your MacBook Air or ask about the dough making process. It was a place to grab a hot slice and a cold beer before a Rangers game or the train to Long Beach. You ate. You drank. And then you forgot about it all a few minutes later. Unless, of course, you missed your midnight train, in which case you returned to Rose’s for another beer, because everything else was closed and you just needed a place to sit.
You could learn something about New York life at Rose’s.
It wasn’t expensive, but it wasn’t “dollar slice” cheap. And it wasn’t uncommon for a fellow patron to quietly ask if you’d buy them a slice and a soda (yes, of course). It was also where you’d see cops paying a lot less than civilians — a discount that I confirmed with an officer once. Then there was the time I ordered a slice on New Year’s Eve and my pizza was a buck more expensive than the day before. Let’s call it “dynamic pricing.” I pointed this out but the counter guy shrugged. What are you gonna do about it? Nothing, and I needed to catch that train.
And that was key. The guys at Rose’s would take a room temperature slice, throw it in the oven, and by the time you’d pay it would be hot and ready. In and out in three minutes. Try that at Shake Shack or Sweetgreen.
Rose’s closed three years ago to make way for the big LIRR renovation, but I have good news: The iconic pizzeria reopened this month, and the foldable slices are still reliably tasty — oozing hot cheese and sweet tomato sauce.
Now here’s the bad news: The cheese slices have risen from about $3.77 to $4.29, and that’s before tax, before a 4 percent credit card surcharge, and before optional gratuity, lol. All other slices are $4.99 or higher, though I’m told that uniformed officers “sometimes” still get a deal at Rose’s.
Let me provide a little pricing perspective: Bloomberg News reported in 2022 that the typical cost of a cheese slice had risen to $3.14. But the price of the city’s top slices — some of them squares or grandma slices — have hovered around $5 for a few years now. I don’t mind occasionally splurging on these fancy slices — at Fini, F&F, L’Industrie, Scarr’s, and elsewhere, as they exhibit delicious complexity and character.
I’m a little less happy about dropping $5 on a slice at Rose’s. The pizza was never great here. It was just good enough. And that’s what made it perfect. Rose’s kept you fed and happy and maybe a little bit drunk until you got home.
And now two slices and a water will set you back $14.
In columns like these I try to explain all the economic forces at play — the rising minimum wages, the high food costs, the absurd rents, the thin operating margins. I’m not going to do that here. Yes, it’s nice that the developers brought back a local favorite like Rose’s — instead of giving us an expensive chain pizzeria whose chief executive is on a first name basis with the folks at CNBC. But still, it’s crazy to think that two no nonsense slices and a drink will eat up an hour’s worth of take-home pay for minimum wage workers.
New Yorkers are facing one of the worst affordability crises of the past two decades, and while the price of everything will always go up, it hurts when a beloved staple like this becomes just a bit more out of…Wait, hold on, did Rose’s accidentally charge me a buck above the listed price for my margarita slice last night? $6? Yep. And it wasn’t even New Year’s Eve. This city, sometimes!!!
Behind the Paywall: NYC’s Eight Top New Pizza Slices
Why L’Industrie’s cheese and truffle slices are so spectacular
Lucia Soho’s “creamed spinach” slice and vodka slices, reviewed
The case for F&F’s croque monsieur and clam slices
The spicy Sicilian slice at Fini Barclays Center is a stunner
Plus, what to order at Rose’s in Penn Station
And…the (light) dessert you need to try at L’Industrie