7. John’s of Bleecker Street (1929)
Contrary to what its name may indicate, John’s of Bleecker Street originally opened on Sullivan Street in 1929. Founder Giovanni Sasso, who also went by “John,” lost his lease to his Sullivan Street restaurant in 1934. Forced to leave Sullivan Street, the restaurant relocated to 278 Bleeker Street where it remains today. According to pizza historian Peter Regas, Sasso may have inherited the pizzeria on Sullivan Street from Filippo Milone, one of the underdog fathers of pizza. Until Regas’ research, historians assumed Gennaro Lombardi to be the first pizza proprietor in the United States, but historical records indicate that Filippo Milone was actually selling pies well before Lombardi. Historical records also show that in 1915, Milone started selling the pizza at the Sullivan Street location calling it “Pizzeria Port’Alba.” Regas also claims that Sasso was Milone’s relative by marriage.
John’s of Bleeker street also has a more visible history. Carvings and graffiti from patrons recent and old fill the restaurant’s booths. John’s of Bleeker Street does not sell pizza by the slice. Customers have to order a whole pie to taste the #10 best pizza in America, a title given to the restaurant by Trip Advisor in 2015. John’s of Bleeker street offers its cheese pizza “John’s Original” as well as several specialty pizzas, pastas, and appetizers.