I tried every dollar pizza store around campus 

In celebration of National Pizza Month, I visited every dollar pizza store around NYU’s campuses in Brooklyn and Manhattan. 

By Alex Tran, Deputy Culture Editor

By now, most NYU students without a hedge fund to their name might be pinching pennies to not starve at the end of the semester, myself included. That’s why I spent 14 days eating at every dollar pizza store within a 1-mile radius from both Manhattan and Brooklyn campuses to compose a list for all us cheapskates. To avoid angering another New York City demographic, I won’t be ranking the stores, but I will be using crust, cheese, and sauce as the criteria to rate the pizzas.

Day 1: 99 Cent Fresh Pizza on Sixth Ave. and Waverly Pl.

This spot is a 5-minute walk from Washington Square Park and only a few blocks away from the good old West Fourth Station. The slice had a solid, rock-like crust — the type that’s edible only when it’s hot. But the sauce is a good balance of sweet and sour, which is definitely necessary considering the lack of cheesiness. Overall, 5/10 for crust, 7.5/10 for sauce and 3.5/10 for the miniscule amount of cheese I was able to find.

Day 2: NY 99 Cents Pizza at 109B Lafayette

This spot is a 20-minute walk from the park, but definitely worthwhile despite the extra 25 cents you will have to spend for the slice. The crust is thin and crunchy, yet fluffy enough for the pizza to not fall apart. The cheese is sufficient and properly melted. The sauce is well-spread, though overpoweringly sour. This is a great spot for anyone living in Broome or Lafayette Residence Halls, or for those who are ready to work up an appetite. 8 for the crust, 7 for the sauce and cheese.

Day 3: 99 Cent Supreme Pizza at 44 Willoughby Street, Brooklyn

Located less than three minutes away from NYU Tandon by foot, 99 Cent Supreme Pizza is not worth the walk. Simply put, don’t bother coming here. Eaten after a three-hour workout session, the slice required me to drink twice the amount of water I need to in the gym. Mediocre sauce and cheese were accompanied by a dry sheet of stale bread. 6 for crust, 4 for sauce and 3 for cheese, averaging a nevermind out of ten.

Day 4: 99 Cent Fresh Pizza on Second Ave. and East Fourth St.

According to Google Maps, this 99 Cent ‘za shop is technically a 10 minute walk from Washington Square Park. But if you’re hungry and ruthless, you can get there in 5 minutes, which I highly recommend because this place is a must-try. Every bite of the pizza was better than the last. Its crust held a flavorful sauce covered by salty, gooey cheese. The only downside is that you might have to get two, considering I devoured the first slice in less than two minutes. Overall, 9 for crust, 8 for sauce and a 7.5 for cheese.

Day 5: NY 99 Cents Fresh Pizza at 167 Seventh Ave. South

A 12-minute walk from campus with a cutesy outdoor seating area, NY 99 Cents Fresh Pizza brings their A-game when it comes to the crust. They have the best crust ever — crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside — but the cheese and sauce were simply nowhere to be found. If you do end up coming, remember to bring a water bottle filled to the brim and a jar of marinara sauce. 10/10 for crust, 5/10 for sauce and 3/10 for cheese. 

Day 6: 2 Bros Pizza on St. Marks Pl.

This St. Marks staple is a 10-minute walk from school and a no-go for introverts. They have way too much faith in their pizza warmer, so you might have to ask for reheating twice before the slice is edible. The pizza is average, so I do not have a lot to say about it. 7 for crust, 5s for sauce and cheese.

Day 7: 99 Cent Fresh Pizza on East 14th St. and Second Ave.

This store might take you 15 to 20 minutes to walk to from Washington Square Park, depending on how crazy Union Square Park is that day. The kid before me in line dabbed his slice with a napkin for a good five minutes before eating. I regret not following in his footsteps. Greasiness aside, the cheese had a good flavor even though it overpowered the sauce. The crust is anything but crunchy. Overall, 4 for crust, 5 for sauce and 7 for cheese. 

Day 8: 99 Cent Pizza on East Houston and Allen St.

Located between a shawarma place and a Tesla charger, this spot is a 20- to 25-minute walk from Washington Square Park. The pizza lacks cheese and sauce, two out of the three ingredients needed — which is a pretty big miss. There’s absolutely no reason to come here unless you’re an Avenger. 8 for crust, 2.5 for sauce and 4 for cheese.

Day 9: Jay St. Fresh 99¢ Pizza on Jay St. and Willoughby St., Brooklyn

Situated two minutes away from Tandon, this store is a great spot to sit indoors and smirk at those who chose 99 Cent Supreme. This slice had the best combination of cheese and sauce that I have ever seen in any pizza, making up for the mediocre crust. 7 for crust, 8 for sauce and cheese separately, but a solid 10 when everything is combined in one bite.

Day 10: Papa John’s at 148 Lawrence St., Brooklyn

Three minutes away from the Brooklyn Campus, Papa John’s proves that size doesn’t matter for anything starting with “p.” The dollar slice here is only two-thirds as big as the other places, but twice as flavorful and decadent. The sauce is really good, despite the imbalanced ratio with the cheese, and the crust is crispy throughout. 7.5 for crust, 6 for sauce, but 9 to 9.5 for cheese.

Day 11: Soho 99 Cent Pizza on West 14th St. and Seventh Ave.

This spot is 20 to 25 minutes away from Washington Square Park, but it is on the way if you’re planning on visiting the tourist trap that is Little Island. If you’re not, this is definitely NOT worth the walk. The size of the slice is similar to that of Papa John’s, but the flavor is nowhere near as satisfying. Not to mention, the crust was a complete disappointment. 1 out of 10 for the bottom layer, 3.5 for the second and 5.5 for the third, since none of them deserve to be called crust, sauce or cheese.

Day 12: 99 Cent Pizza and Hotdog across Tompkins Square Park

A 20-minute walk straight down St. Marks Place, this spot will disappoint you if you’re looking for a rebound slice after 2 Bros. Remember to bring cash, otherwise you’ll have to endure the disappointment twice, as they only accept card payment for orders above three dollars. The well-done crust is laid underneath a bed of squashed tomatoes and tasteless cheese. The only plus side might be having Tompkins Square Park as its seating area. Other than that, 8 for crust, 4 for sauce and 0.5 for cheese.

Day 13: Famous and Fresh 99 Cent Pizza at 91 Ave. A and Alphabet 99c Fresh Pizza & Fried Chicken on 20 Ave A.

Both of these spots should take you around 20 minutes of on-foot travel time from campus. While Famous and Fresh is certainly fresh, this spot didn’t show up on Google Maps for me and I only discovered it on my walk to Alphabet. Despite that, I was pleasantly surprised with its 8.5-point crunchy crust, 3-point sauce and 6-point stringy cheese. For the place I intended to go to, however, the experience was rather horrendous. Lacking in all three areas, this slice came at 3 for crust, 2 for sauce and 2.5 for its tasteless cheese.

Day 14: 99 Cent Fresh Pizza on Canal and West Broadway

This spot is the saucy ending to my two-week-long journey. A 25- to 27-minute walk from Washington Square Park, the store is located on the border of SoHo and TriBeCa, right next to a Dunkin’ Donuts. The slice is essentially an amazing sauce sandwich, in the sense that the only thing amazing is the sauce. Overall, 3.5 for crust, 9 for sauce and 4.5 for cheese.

All jokes aside, the 14 days of eating pizza did take a toll on my health, giving me nausea and a 3-pound weight loss. Pizzas in general are notoriously high in sodium and cholesterol, both of which might cause diseases in the long term. If you’re food-insecure or are having trouble sustaining yourself nutritionally, NYU Share Meals and NYU FREEdge are resources to check out. A mobile food pantry will also be available outside of Judson Memorial Baptist Church on Oct. 30 and throughout the school year.

Contact Alex Tran at [email protected]