A New 99 Cent Pizza Battle Surfaces
Remember when 99 Cent Fresh Pizza operated in Midtown with a monopolistic iron fist? Their original location, behind the Port Authority on 9th Ave. and 41st, has always been well known for its constant line, and fast service. A slice of pizza for 99 cents is not going to be the best tasting slice you’ve ever had, but there are always customers- insuring a fresh out of the oven slice every single time. It may not be a taste revelation, but it certainly revolutionized this fat guy’s view of a slice as a viable snack (i.e. if it costs $1, you can consider it a snack.)
Naturally they expanded to 43rd btw. Lex+3rd a couple of years ago, and quite possibly put Prince Deli out of business (it became a Five Guys Burgers and Fries today, actually.) So it’s no surprise that competition was going to eventually take aim. 2 Bros Pizza popped up behind Port Authority back in April, with what I think is a superior slice- and there is no doubt it has hurt business. So I’m guessing the owners must be equally scared about the nameless 99 Cent Pizza place which opened last month on Lexington btw. 45+46th (right around the corner from the second location of 99 Cent Fresh Pizza.) 2 Bros is a completely different product, making a side by side comparison pretty easy (Slice agrees with me about 2 Bros. being better), but this new spot on Lexington is run by a former employee of the 99 Cent Pizza place on 43rd. So naturally I was expecting both places to taste exactly the same.
Not so says this commenter, declaring the new place on Lexington the better slice. Clearly I needed to check this out for myself.
The original location of 99 Fresh Pizza (on 43rd btw. Lex+3rd) is quite the scene at lunch time. The line stretches out of the tiny location, and down 43rd street towards 3rd practically every single day around lunchtime. Thankfully, it moves pretty quickly… but not so quick that missed out on hearing passerby after passerby ask “Whoa! What’s going on here? Is the pizza that good?” Literally, we were asked that at least once per minute while we waited… making me want to reply “What the fuck do you think? It’s $99 cent pizza. What do you think? It’s not rocket science.” The slice was a standard slice of 99 cent pizza, practically identical to its Port Authority counterpart. Extremely doughy crust, standard not too sweet pizza sauce, and a generous helping of unremarkable, but freshly melted cheese. The crust below the slice had a bit of a crunch, which I’ll admit I don’t love… but some people might enjoy. It’s just personal preference, I guess.
Admittedly I’m no pizza expert, but I think Luncher “StreeMeasonsumer3008″ might be right. I kind of enjoyed the slice from the new joint a little better. They are pretty similar, but I think the new place might have a bit more flavor. Oregano… something? I don’t know. It just was a bit better. And because they are new, there thankfully wasn’t much of a line (if there had been, it would have taken awhile… they don’t quite have their “slice delivery system” in place yet.)
All in all you’re not going to go wrong with either place, for the price. It’s fresh, hot pizza for 99 cents a slice (plus tax.) And what could be bad about that? Although I was pretty disappointed to discover that they charge tax, making each slice a buck a change, although I think the new place charges $1.08 and the original place on 43rd charges $1.07. Either way, both represent a disappointing departure from the two Port Authority spots where a single dollar bill buys you slice. But then again, that’s Midtown proper for you!
99 Cent Fresh Pizza, 151 E. 43rd St. (btw. Lex & 3rd), 212-922-0257
99 Cent Frest Hot Pizza, 459 Lexington Ave. (btw. 45+46th), 212-682-8660