I Waited Four Weeks to Try this Pizza and Burger and it was Absolutely Worth it
Updated: Aug 16, 2019
Those who have eaten at a Pizza Loves Emily restaurant rave about it as if they’ve found the fountain of youth. Even friends back home in Texas know about the Insta-famous pizza squares and burgers and ask if I’ve been. That’s a lot of hype for pizza. Why does everyone love these guys? In a city with an equal pizza to yellow cab ratio, what makes them so much better? After a seriously overdue outing, I can officially say I get it.
Husband and wife duo Matt and Emily Hyland started their first pizzeria back in 2013 in Brooklyn. They’ve since expanded their reach to seven locations across Brooklyn and Manhattan with plans to open more throughout the Tri-state area. Pizza Loves Emily restaurants specialize in various styles of pizza — except for the traditional New York slice — but Detroit style is the name of the game at Emily in the West Village. Identified by its rectangular shape, these pies are thick like deep dish but aren’t stuffed. They have a light and fluffy center and a crust that’s irresistibly crispy. It’s a style rarely seen in New York, but Emily is here to change that.
The hype surrounding this experience made a reservation for a party of three a four-week wait. With more than enough time to prep and research the menu that breaks down the pizzas by sauce color, I already knew exactly what to order: The Colony, The Emily, and, of course, the legendary burger. (Yes, this is a pizza restaurant, and yes, the burger gets as much attention as the pizza.)
One of their most popular red sauce pizzas, The Colony, features pepperoni, which curl up and transform into little pools of grease I’d happily swim in, and is finished with thinly sliced pickled chilies and a drizzle of honey. Just three simple ingredients — each contributing different flavor profiles — unite in harmony to create one of my favorite pizzas to-date. The heat and acidity from the chilies balanced the richness from the cheese and pepperoni, and the sweetness from the honey complemented the heat and fat and tied the whole pizza together. Every bite was the perfect balance of flavor. All three of us saved one bite on the edge of our plates so we could end our meal with The Colony.
If you venture down the menu to “The Whites,” you’ll find The Emily, one of their most popular pizzas consisting of mozzarella, sottocenere (a cheese with truffles), coarsely ground pistachios, and honey. Individually, I love every element of this pizza but the combination was overwhelmingly rich and lacked the balance of flavors The Colony so effortlessly executed. Perhaps the simple substitution of chili-infused honey for the plain honey could do the trick, but either way, this pizza needed something. We were disappointed, but that quickly faded when we laid eyes on our burger.
After we wiped away our drool, I delicately cut the burger into quarters, because in the moment it seemed easier than cutting it into thirds. I’d seen enough photos of this beauty to know it’s a juicy one, but wow. The juices from the two patties, the EMMY sauce, and the butter from the caramelized onions pooled and emulsified on the tray to create a new sauce that I shamelessly swiped my crispy curly fries through. The meat was perfectly cooked, the caramelized onions were rich and sweet, the American cheese was delightfully melty, the EMMY sauce was life-changing, and the pretzel bun was sturdy enough to support the whole production. The only problem was figuring out how to divide the remaining quarter between the three of us…
There were some seriously high expectations surrounding this meal, and I’m happy to say I was thoroughly impressed (aside from the slight let down of The Emily). Weeks later, I still find myself scrolling back through my photos to admire The Colony’s beauty and gawk at the slightly pornographic shots of sauce dripping off the burger. The limit of pizza options in New York does not exist, but the limit of restaurants that can execute quality pizza and a burger does. Emily, it’s a pleasure to meet you. I can’t wait to become the best of friends.