I pretty much dismiss best of lists from national publications
As a rule, blanket statements don't sit well with me.
I don't know. People trashed Richman's burger article and now they are trashing his pizza article. The USA Today list is no good. Top 10 lists are (a) overrated; (b) boring; (c) useless; (d) pointless; (e) all of the above...and then some. Seems to me that these lists just provide another source for finding decent food on the road - and what could be bad about that? Is the targeting of the masses done by USA Today any different than the targeting of the masses done by Guy Fieri on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives? Or by Anthony Bourdain?
I have been to 7 of the 20 places from the burger list - and there hasn't been a clunker in the bunch. So, while there may be better burgers out there than the ones that Richman mentions, I am happy to have eaten these 7 burgers, some of which I may not have dared to try had he not written about them.
I have only been to three of the 25 pizza places he suggests (Totonno's, Pepe's, and Santarpio's), but all three are some of the best pizzas I've ever had. I'm not sure what excluded Modern Apizza from Richman's list, when he included Pepe's and Sally's, other than the idea that he didn't want to include three places from New Haven, but I actually liked Modern better than Pepe's.
As for the USA Today list, which did use local sources to suggest the best pizza from their state, I have been to 7 of the 51 places listed (AK, CT, IL, NJ, NY, NC, WA). As a newspaper, USA Today pretty much plays to the lowest common denominator - so, you wouldn't think that they would stray too far from the straight and narrow with their picks - but, they didn't take the easy way and pick Pizzeria Bianco for AZ or Grimaldi's, Lombardi's or Totonno's for NY. That was really my only point in suggesting ZaZa in Scarsdale. I don't know if it is the best in NY, but it was a darn good pie. Same thing as with the burgers - I would bet there are some better pizzas than the ones listed by USA Today, but I was not disappointed with any of the 7 places I visited.