As a long-term resident of northern Japan I have fallen in love with the people, culture, history and food of the region. However, being a New Yorker, every now and then, I find myself on a quest for pizza, a real NYC slice. And, when whispers of a new, New York style pizza place opening up come my way in Japan, and further still… on the narrow road to the deep north? Fuggedaboutit, I have to give it a try!
This past decade in Japan has seen the birth of many great pizza places. One could even say that Japan entered a pizza renaissance. And, that includes New York style pizza. In case there are any pizza novices here, let me explain. “New York-style” pizza was the first unique style of pizza that was born in the United States, in 1905 in Little Italy, New York City. It was first crafted by Italian immigrants from Naples, Italy, home of the original style of pizza. NYC style pizza typically is sold by the slice, but is also sold as "whole pies" of 8 slices with a typical diameter of about 18 inches or just shy of 46 centimeters. New Yorkers are always on the move, and always hungry. So slices should be able to be folded in half for easy consumption, while still holding their form. And, the option of getting it "to go" is a must. Of course, there are lots of nuances about the sauce, crust, type of oven used etc.
The NYC school of pizza renaissance crossed over into Miyagi from the legendary original HAVE A GOOD SLICE in Yamagata. On November 6th of 2020, the second branch of HAVE A GOOD SLICE, was born in Sendai. The magic of NYC Pizza had arrived.
The pizza is both authentic and delicious. Their first slice that I tried, and still one of my favorites, is their plain slice. Just cheese and no toppings. And, to truly judge a pizza place, you have to start with their plain slice. The plain slice is a consistent menu item across NYC style pizzerias everywhere, it sets a standard to be compared by, as well as allowing one to appreciate the chef's command of the NYC pizza fundamentals. HAVE A GOOD SLICE passes with flying colors. But, they have some great novelty slices too. Two of my personal favorites are the pulled pork and mojo roast pork slices.
The location is easy to access via subway, and it's place on a quiet back street gives it a certain local charm. It is truly a neighborhood pizza place. The store is spacious, with dining tables, counter seats, and an open kitchen where staff greet you, and the pizza is on display in the case, just like in NYC.
DELIVERY (through apps) AND TAKEOUT are available. I would highly recommend visiting nearby Nishi-koen Park for “pizza in the park”, particularly during early-mid April when the famous cherry blossoms are in bloom. They offer a wide range of drinks including some glass-bottled, offering a nostalgic feel to the experience. Prices vary by slice, but a standard plain slice costs 400 yen, with prices ranging up to 650 yen for others. They also offer a very good deal with their lunch set that includes two slices, a salad and a drink. Of course, slightly more expensive then your average slice in NYC, but the prices are still fair, and standard for NYC style pizza in Japan. You won’t be disappointed. Business hours: Open daily 11:30-15:00/17:00-21:00. Closed Tuesdays. Hours subject to change.