No. 3 — that's pretty impressive, especially considering that the little shop that earned its namesake chef Chris Bianco a coveted James Beard Award was up against titans of the pie from America's Eastern Seaboard pizza capitol.
Topping the list is Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana, which has been making of New Haven, Conn., one of the country's oldest and best known pizza shops. Restaurants in New York, New Jersey and Chicago were well represented, as well as shops in California except San Diego.
The Daily Meal is a national website devoted to food trends, chefs and restaurants.
Bianco was the only Arizona pizza maker on the list, which Daily Meal compiled through taste-test research and will the assistance of a panel of experts that whittled a list of 400 pies down to the winning 101.
Chris Bianco said he was thrilled landing on the list, and even more thrilled that he was in the top five.
"Here's the thing," he said today in a phone interview from his newest Pizzeria Bianco in central Phoenix, "just to be in the company of other great restaurants and other great chefs is all that we can ever ask. Whatever position we are, just to be in any type of elite company is something we are extremely proud of and it only makes us work harder to live up to the expectations."
Bianco opened his first shop in 1988 and moved it a few years later to downtown Phoenix, where the wait for a pie can sometimes stretch out two or three hours. He opened the second location, with an expanded menu that includes pastas, in April.
He said he hopes to have his downtown Tucson restaurant open by year's end or early next year.