Craig Agranoff is a man of many talents. He's a CBS News television tech correspondent, a serial entrepreneur, a nationally respected social engagement and digital media adviser, a published author of three books, and an innovative political consultant.
But of all his many accolades, the title of which he's the proudest is that of the country's foremost pizza expert. To prove it, Agranoff created a website to catalog his cheese- and dough-filled conquests, known to many across South Florida and beyond as WorstPizza.com, a website dedicated to finding the best pizza places by — as he says — "sorting through the worst."
WorstPizza.com was conceived shortly after Agranoff moved to South Florida from Syosset, New York, in 1998. A lifelong pizza lover, the Long Island transplant says he had such a hard time finding a solid slice during his first year in the Sunshine State that he almost considered moving back.
"That's when I decided to start a website that would help people find good pizza," says Agranoff, who immediately began receiving hundreds of page hits a day after launching WorstPizza.com. "I wasn't doing any advertising, no promotion. People just wanted it. Before I knew it, the site was getting 1,000 page hits a day."
Although the WorstPizza.com name implies that Agranoff is looking to expose the worst pizza, today he is quick to point out the real goal is to do the exact opposite: to help people find the best pizza — not only in South Florida — but also nationwide. However, in the beginning, his thinking was that by weeding through (and reporting on) all the pizza that sucked, he would create content that would stop readers from ever having to eat a bad slice again.
"Originally, I started because of all the bad pizza that was here in Florida. So when forming the site, it was my intention to complain about the bad pizza I had," says Agranoff. "But I quickly realized that wasn't doing anyone any good."
These days, Agranoff no longer gives attention to the mediocre slices he stumbles across; instead he's decided to focus only on the best slices. Unless the pizza is "beyond awful," it won't be featured on his site, he says.
If your pizza sucks, he'll offer his expert services as well. To date, Argranoff — who estimates he's sampled more than 1,200 pizzas over the years — has consulted for dozens of independent pizza joints, helping them to get their slices to a place of approval. And thanks to all his hard work sampling hundreds of pies (and doing his part to improve pizza across the country), he's also appeared as a national pizza expert on programs with CBS, FOX, NBC, and Wine Library TV.
These days, Agranoff's reach is felt most in South Florida; the Boca Raton resident estimates he eats his favorite food at least three to four times a week and is always looking for the best deal (one of his biggest gripes is expensive pizza). Locally, there are even a few places that pay homage to Agranoff's supreme pizza passion, even naming pies and dishes after him.
Here, we've listed Agranoff's top slices in Broward and Palm Beach counties so you "never eat a bad slice again."
Craig Agranoff's Top Picks for Pizza in South Florida
2850 N. Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale. Call 954-567-3333, or visit kitchenetta.com.
"The pizza here is remarkable, especially the Margherita," says Agranoff. Owner Vincent Foti should know; the fellow New York transplant grew up eating some of the best slices in the country growing up in Park Slope, a small cut of the New York City borough known for its vibrant bar scene and enduring Fifth Avenue restaurant row. Today, he's brought that old-fashioned work ethic to bring the same quality and technique to his Napolitano pizza, cooked in the kitchen's wood-burning oven.
Kings County Pizza
18228 W. Dixie Highway, North Miami Beach. Call 305-792-9455, or visit kingscountypizza.com.
Thank Agranoff — and all the other New Yorkers who know their pizza — for this restaurant's slogan: "New York tested, New York approved." It makes sense seeing that Brooklyn is located in Kings County, and the owners — Rob Rodriguez and Tara Dolinskiare — are from there too. Their restaurant stands as one of the few in the area to serve a Sicilian square pie, Agranoff's self-professed favorite. When the WorstPizza.com creator first stumbled into the North Miami Beach pizza joint and took a bite, it instantly transported him to a place he once frequented in New Hyde Park, New York. Funny thing, says Agranoff, is that he discovered Rodriguez used to work there as a kid. Now that's one hell of a palate — and further proof that it's a small world after all.
7120 Beracasa Way, Boca Raton. Call 561-392-9075, or visit ninosofboca.com.
Since 1983, this family-owned and -operated Boca Raton establishment has some of the best red sauce and Italian Sicilian pies around, says Agranoff. It was one of the WorstPizza.com's favorite slices when he moved to the area more than 15 years ago, and remains one of his go-to stops for a quick slice to this day.
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1645 SE Third Court, Deerfield Beach. Call 954-482-0436, or visit spadinispizzeria.com.
In Deerfield Beach, Spadini's Pizzeria owner Tom Sellick has crafted a traditional upside down Sicilian at Agranoff's request and named his garlic knots — dubbed Agraknots — in honor of one of his favorite customers. Last year, Spadini's Pizzeria (formerly in Boca Raton) even took New Times number one spot in a list of the Ten Best Pizza Restaurants in Palm Beach County. When Sellick closed the original location several months ago, we waited patiently for him to reopen in the Cove Shopping Center in Deerfield Beach. Now, his pizza is even better than before, says Agranoff, who also helped to create the menu's upside-down Sicilian, a pie inspired by one of both Sellick's and Agranoff's favorite Brooklyn pizza joints, L&B Spumoni Gardens, located in the borough's Bensonhurst neighborhood.
Tucci's Fire N Coal Pizza
50 NE First Ave., Boca Raton. Call 561-620-2930, or visit tuccispizza.com.
According to Agranoff, Tucci's Fire N Coal Pizza in Boca Raton is one of the 10 best pizza restaurants in the U.S. As a first generation American hailing from Brooklyn, New York, owner Alberto Aletto — also owner of Boca Raton's 13 American Table — makes some amazing coal-fired pies. Agranoff's favorite is the restaurant's regular slice, a simple Margherita that arrives at the table with a thin, crispy crust, light but zesty tomato sauce, imported buffalo mozzarella, and while leaves of fresh basil.
1901 NW Second Ave., Boca Raton. Call 561-672-7854, or visit communitytbl.com.
Boca Raton's Community Table opened last year with one mission in mind: to make the best pizza in Boca Raton, including a killer square pie. Today, the pizza joint serves regular round pies too, as well as several specialty pizzas. That includes owner Andrew Stellino's very own tribute to Agranoff's favorite combo: The Craig, a white pie featuring grated and fresh mozzarella, roasted garlic, olive oil, and sliced homemade meatballs topped off with fresh-grated Romano cheese. Love it? You can order the Craig Fries too, a basket of fries featuring the same toppings.
Nicole Danna is a food writer covering Broward and Palm Beach counties. To get the latest in food and drink news in South Florida, follow her @SoFloNicole or find her latest food pics on the BPB New Times Food & Drink Instagram.