Skip to Content
$20 Dinner

It’s a Pizza Party on Canal Street With Lucia and LTD 

Two new slice joints opened here last year—and one of them serves some of the best pizza in town.

Lucia’s caramelle piccanti (pepperoni, pickled cherry peppers, hot honey) and margherita slices, $5.50 each. (Scott Lynch / Hell Gate)

Canal Street is known for many things: sidewalks clogged with tourists, hawkers luring you in with fake luxury goods, angry drivers honking their way from bridge to tunnel, industrial plastic shops where my buddy Wally once bought a six-foot piece of tubing to make a bong back in ninth grade.     

Pizza, though? One of the basically official foods of NYC? Not so much. Until 2023 that is, when two different slice shops opened on (or adjacent to) the thoroughfare, one of which, the Brooklyn import Lucia Pizza, serves some of the absolute best pizza anywhere in the city. 

Come by and pick up your pie. (Scott Lynch / Hell Gate)

Last November, on SoHo's southern border, Sal Carlino opened his second Lucia Pizza—the first, on Avenue X in Sheepshead Bay, is both a local favorite and a destination joint, thanks in part to a New York Times rave in 2022—and it's pretty much the perfect NYC slice shop. 

The place is hopping at all hours of the day and night (during the winter it stays open as late as 1 a.m.), with fresh pies hitting the display case nonstop. There's space for about six people to wolf down a slice or two at a narrow standing counter by the front window. An autographed photo of Tony Danza greets you by the register, and if your counter person is Lucia Pizza of SoHo's working partner Richie Quarto, you are in for some patented South Brooklyn friendly-but-no-bullshit hospitality.  

Richie Quarto back there feeding the Soho crowds. (Scott Lynch / Hell Gate)

Quarto described Lucia's pizza to Hell Gate as "classic New York style with a little modern twist. Nothing too crazy though." The baseline margherita, with a thin, charred crust covered in bright tomato sauce and fresh, melted mozzarella, is fantastic; a textbook contemporary NYC slice. Rather than get a traditional pepperoni slice, I went with the caramelle piccanti, which adds pickled cherry peppers and Mike's Hot Honey to the grease-puddling 'roni cups on top. It was amazing, all funk and fire, salty and sweet.  

Lucia's creamed spinach slice, $5.50. (Scott Lynch / Hell Gate)

The new creamed spinach slice has become something of a signature at Lucia Pizza of SoHo, inspired, said Quarto, by the legendary side dish at Peter Luger's. This pizza ventures slightly into "eating dip for dinner" territory, but in the best possible way. Mushrooms, anchovies, and sausage are among your other topping choices. There are also sandwiches sometimes, and a Caesar salad as well.      

And even though the place has only been open for a few months, there's a lot of history here. Carlino's parents ran Papa Leone Pizzeria in Manhattan Beach, Brooklyn, for some 40 years before retiring in 2018, and Lucia uses the same vodka pie recipe passed down from mom and dad. All special slices are $5.50, which almost feels like a bargain these days.     

In fact, Carlino only got wind of this busy corner spot in SoHo because the landlord grew up eating his parent's pizza and offered him the keys after Bank of America left the location. (Obviously a huge upgrade for the neighborhood.) And coming in March, right next door on West Broadway: a sit-down cafe called Lucia Alimentari, where Carlino and Quarto will serve small plates, pizza, some pastas, and booze.

When I asked Quarto how it felt for a couple of South Brooklyn kids to be setting up shop in tony SoHo, he shook his head and said: "It's amazing. I remember coming here as a kid. Scrapyard [a graffiti supply shop, if you will] has been here for almost 30 years, so I've been familiar with the area for a long time. It's beautiful to be embraced not only by SoHo but Tribeca as well. It's a blessing, man." 

Lucia Pizza of SoHo is located at 375 Canal Street, at the corner of West Broadway, and is currently open on Monday through Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Thursday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m., and Sunday from noon to 10 p.m.  

LTD is an oasis of pizza across from the entrance to the Holland Tunnel. (Scott Lynch / Hell Gate)

LTD Pizza and Bar, which opened almost a year ago in the neighborhood they're calling Hudson Square, sits just three blocks west from Lucia, but the vibes over here couldn't be more different than the cheer and bustle you find on West Broadway. Having to cross multiple lanes of Tunnel-bound, red-light-running drivers will do that to a place.   

But as harrowing as the journey over here can be, NYC pizza completists should definitely check out LTD. For one thing, once inside, the place is pleasant and bright and, unlike Lucia, there's plenty of seating, plus wine and beer. True, the back dining room is a little weird, but you don't have to hang out there. More important, LTD sells a delicious, fairly unusual square slice, which co-owner Dennis Arakelian called "a combination of Detroit and New York Sicilian styles." 

The LTD vodka pesto square slice, $6. (Scott Lynch / Hell Gate)

I had the vodka pesto square slice, and it was terrific. Thinner than either of its inspirations, it uses the same dough as LTD's regular slices, but it's blasted for longer in the oven so the base and sides get super crisp. And the crunchy crust is countered by extra sauce and sliced mozzarella on top, which gives the whole thing a welcome gloppiness. Very cool contrast.   

LTD's "pork store" ($6) and margherita ($5) slices. (Scott Lynch / Hell Gate)

There's also "church pie" square slices available—no cheese, just tomatoes—which Arakelian said "was kind of a classic in Central Jersey and Brooklyn about 20 years ago." And there are several varieties of more traditional NYC slices, which are decent. Prices range from $4 to $7.   

LTD Pizza and Bar is located at 225 Hudson Street, just north of Canal, and is currently open on Sunday through Wednesday from 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m., and on Thursday through Saturday from 11:30 to midnight.

Already a user?Log in

Thanks for reading!

Give us your email address to keep reading two more articles for free

See all subscription options

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Hell Gate

As Change to Broker Fees Looms, Real Estate Agents Are Suddenly Concerned That the Rent Is Too High

At a rally to oppose the FARE Act, REBNY and real estate agents expressed a newfound concern about rising rents and the lives of tenants.

New York State Lawmakers Once Again Fail to Pass Meaningful Climate Legislation

While Governor Hochul's last-minute congestion pricing "pause" had a lot to do with it, there's plenty of blame to go around.

We’re So Back: East Village Dollar Slice Joint Is Back to Selling 99 Cent Slices

Owner Sana Ullah said that cratering demand at the elevated price point motivated him to bring it back down.

See all posts