Domino’s has become the latest brand to jump on the New York-style pizza bandwagon, launching a thinner, crispier crust in US locations last month.

CEO Russell Weiner described the new product as “big, foldable slices with perfectly balanced crust, sauce, toppings, and cheese.” The announcement was accompanied by a marketing campaign that saw New Yorkers brought in for a taste test.

“I travelled to New York City, where I grew up, to see if our New York Style pizza would pass the ultimate test with some tough critics, real New Yorkers”, Weiner says. “Hear what they had to say (spoiler: everyone loved it and wanted MORE).”

New York style is defined by large slices – catering to New Yorkers perpetually on the go – with a crust that’s foldable yet crispy. Domino’s may be the biggest but is far from the first brand to take on New York style.

While the pizza behemoth’s latest offering is yet to launch in the UK, smaller concepts have taken the helm and filled in the gaps, spotting an opportunity to stand out amongst the crowd.

While growing in popularity, New York style has a long way to go before toppling Neapolitan as the reigning trend. That hasn’t stopped new concepts from going viral for their fresh take on an age-old product.

Alley Cats

Alley Cats

Noble Hospitality Group, which also operates Chotto Matte and Angus Steakhouse, launched Alley Cats in London’s Marylebone in December 2023. Six months later, the New York-style pizzeria announced it will open in Chelsea this summer, building on the “roaring success” of its first location.

Alley Cats’ 14-inch, thin, crispy pizzas blend New York’s take on pizza with produce from Southern Italy. Commonly found ingredients like San Marzano tomatoes and buffalo mozzarella make an appearance, but in different iterations.

The Vodka Sauce pizza, for example, is a twist on the Italian American favourite penne alla vodka. More menu innovation pops up in the form of the Cacio e Pepe pizza, another take on a traditional pasta dish.

Noble Hospitality plans to open 12 to 15 Alley Cats sites in London, within a three-year timeline, CEO Paul Sarlas told MCA earlier this year.

“It is a very scalable model, we’re quite unique in what we offer; it’s very cost effective and it’s a product that’s in demand. So, we want to grow quite fast,” he said.

Alley Cats

Alley Cats

Other quirks, in the form of toppings like crispy potatoes, red onion jam, and fried sage pop up throughout the menu. New York-style may bring to mind a slice of the classic margherita or pepperoni, but Alley Cats is working to push a fresh, artisan take.

The concept also pays homage to the Big Apple by featuring meatballs as a starter, next to its take on dough balls, with burnt red chilli butter, garlic butter, and shaved Grana Padano.

Another concept getting an enthusiastic reception from customers is Crisp. Based at The Chancellors pub in London’s Hammersmith, the Evening Standard’s Jimi Famurewa questioned whether Crisp was really the best pizza in London – but said it was “absolutely worthy” of the hype surrounding the “Italian American expression of vernacular pizza culture.”

The Vecna – named after the Stranger Things villain – sees New York-style crust topped with pepperoni, parmesan, burrata, and hot honey. The word ‘pizza’ doesn’t appear on the menu; it’s instead replaced by the more American ‘pie.’

The Picante combines tequila sauce with tomato sauce and pesto, a fresh take for a spicy cocktail-inspired option, while desserts feature calzone with Nutella and mascarpone.

Medium-sized chains, like Pizza Pilgrims, have tried their hand at New York pizza culture. The group, which has over 20 sites across the UK, launched a pizza-by-the-slice concept called Slice in London’s Finsbury Park, along with a concession at Swingers West End.

The Finsbury Park site has since closed, but the group’s Neapolitan offer continues to thrive as it grows across the UK.

Yard Sale Pizza

Yard Sale Pizza

Independent neighbourhood chain Yard Sale Pizza – which has c12 sites across London – serves up its own take, a hybrid product that blends Neapolitan and New York style to create a pizza designed for delivery.

According to Lumina Intelligence, Yard Sale is forecast to lead outlet growth in branded restaurants by percentage terms, growing 36.4% from 11 to 15 sites this year.

The mother of casual dining chains, PizzaExpress, tends to identify more with an Italian-American iteration of pizza than authentic Italian, with its Sloppy Giuseppe and American hot items. 

Deep-dish concept Japes, meanwhile, has come up with an entirely new product: the London-style pizza, born as an amalgamation of the best features of other pizza styles, encouraging customers to try something new in the category. The chain has recently signed its first franchisee amid an expansion push.

Japes Jovana and Alex

Japes

“We’re big fans of Neapolitan, but the reality is that market is very saturated,” founder Alex Aleksic told MCA earlier this year. “It’s a hard market for an outsider, and those types of pizza require a lot of training to do properly.

“We saw Detroit-style becoming more popular, combined that with Sicilian dough, and used the same pans as we do for Chicago-style to make our London-style pizza.”

Despite being a hotbed of innovation, former Fulham Shore boss David Page, who oversaw Franco Manca’s growth across the country, wouldn’t recommend new operators to enter the category.

“Go into a different cuisine than pizza! It’s too crowded,” he told MCA last year.

As Neapolitan becomes increasingly saturated and the novelty of New York style takes hold, he may be proven wrong.