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Street-za Pizza: Twitter-Topped Wisconsin Pies

Street-za Pizza: Twitter-Topped Wisconsin Pies

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Twitter-Topped Wisconsin Pies

What’s behind all the love? Bloomberg Businessweek, Smithsonian, U.S. News & World Report, Time, GQ, and QSR have all named Streetza to their lists of the best, funkiest, coolest, and most creative food trucks in America. Scott Baitinger and Steve Mai co-founded a truck that serves hand-stretched dough baked in a 650-degree oven, and crowdsources everything from pizza toppings to the art on the side of the truck.

There are conventional slices, special slices, Milwaukee neighborhood slices using "the best stuff from Milwaukee’s neighborhoods," and slices sourced from Twitter. Things can get crazy — no joke. Look out for vegetable curry and rice, pickled herring, caviar, and potato chips. And that’s just some of what you’ll find in the "Milwaukee neighborhood slice" category. It doesn’t even touch what’s come across the wire on Twitter.

Your Guide to Finding the Best Pizza in Milwaukee

We have our eyes on the pies. Here are our expert picks of MKE’s 16 most delicious pizzas.

Pizza is the protagonist of a culinary opus, and anyone who says Milwaukee doesn’t have a style to contribute to the narrative is talking out of his or her proverbial patoot. We respect other styles, too. There’s a place for Chicago’s deep-dish, New York’s hand-tossed and Detroit’s thick, crispy pies, but our hearts are set on a cracker crust so thin, it’s sometimes hard to believe it will hold up a mountain of toppings. And the best ones do.

But this isn’t just a story about great thin-crust pizza. Our city has honed its skills at making crusts that are thicker and chewier, including those that pay respect to the great pizzerias of Naples.

Here are our best – and be prepared to expand your pizza knowledge, too:


Exercise your right to vote – for MKE’s best pizza! Click here for more details.

1. Calderone Club

$8-$30 | 842 N. DR MARTIN LUTHER KING DR. | 414-273-3236

A pizza experience here is time-traveling to early Milwaukee pie-making history. The crust on this tavern-cut rectangle is thin – not quite as thin as Zaffiro’s – and perfectly crisp. The sauce is tangy and rich, and the toppings are so fresh, it’s like you can taste each one – sausage to mushroom, pepperoni to green pepper – individually. This is the kind of pie you should definitely upsize so that you have leftovers for that cold pizza meal you will likely have at midnight (if it lasts that long). I miss the days of being elbow to elbow with other pizza aficionados at the bar, but that time will return – hopefully soon.

2. Ned’s

$12-$24 | 3246 S. 27TH ST. | 414-645-3400

If you are traveling around town, trying to get all the MKE pizza classics under your belt, 52-year-old Ned’s needs a visit, and soon. It’s on that strip with Mazo’s Hamburgers and Leon’s Frozen Custard. Ned’s is known for its sauce, sweet-zesty-tangy. And for toppings like the PLT – pepperoni, lettuce and tomato. Don’t knock it until you try it. You get a sheet of warm melted cheese, spicy pepperoni, soft sweet sliced tomato and cool, crunchy iceberg. Ned’s is where I also learned how good pickles can be on a pizza, and a specialty here is to combine them with tangy-spicy pepperoncini peppers and bright-red, paprika-laced pepperoni.


$13.50-$18.50 | 5025 W. FOREST HOME AVE. | 414- 543-4606

One of the things I love about these creations is that they don’t fit neatly into the pan. The crust spills over the sides into a delicious, amorphous hand-tossed blob. Big hunks of fennel-laced sausage and saucers of pepperoni, curled up at the edges, poke through the bubbling coverlet of cheese. I love the pockets of delectable grease and the classic thin crust with an edge that breaks o in a crackle. And what I really love is that this wood paneled, religious- and holiday-themed institution dating to 1957 is still co run by the late Maria’s daughter Bonnie Crivello, whose red clothing ensembles and real-M’waukee hospitality are as legendary as the pizzas.

Maria’s (Photo by Adam Ryan Morris)

4. Anodyne Coffee Roasting Co.

$12-$16. | 2920 S. KINNICKINNIC AVE. | 414-489-0765

Known more for coffee than pizza – though pizza-making has been part of the business plan since 2014 – Anodyne offers its pies at the Bay View location only because that’s where the handsome red-tiled, wood-fired oven, a Naples-made Stefano Ferrara, lives. Co-owner Lacee Perry is the head mistress of pies, and between her and her fellow pizzaiolos, they rock the crust world. These are not certified Neapolitan pies, but the 12-inchers lean in that direction, starting with the crust and its good charring and puffed-edges-meets-wet-middle. Toppings are judiciously applied and among the 17 choices, you might find yourself walking down Margherita road or “Meara” avenue, with prosciutto, fresh mozz, marinated artichokes, re-roasted mushrooms and Kalamata olives. All are stellar choices.

Anodyne (Photo by Adam Ryan Morris)

5. Wy’east

$14-$22 | 5601 W. VLIET ST. | 414-943-3278

Owners Ann Brock and James Durawa started making pizza in Portland, Oregon, after Durawa caught the bug for baking. Together they operated a popular trailer specializing in chewy, medium-thick-crust pies topped with fresh, some seasonal ingredients until they moved back home to Wisconsin and found a spot for their Wy’east – the original name for Mt. Hood in Oregon the owners are also hikers – in Washington Heights. Durawa is the yeast master and creates crusts from long-fermented dough that is light and bread-like, chewy with snazzy puffy-crackly edges that get a little charred. I like all of that. It gets that way thanks to a dome oven that heats to 800 degrees. The couple do red- and white- (olive oil-ricotta-mozz) sauce pies and are into either basic regular menu toppings like pepperoni with garlic and sweet hot peppers (that’s the Hot Marmot) or glitzy seasonal starlets like the Salmon River, with roasted garlic cream sauce, smoked salmon, smoked fontina, mozz and pecorino-romano, and a lemon-caper-pickled onion mix. Durawa makes a set amount of dough each day and when it’s gone, it’s gone. And believe me, they sell out.

6. Hup’s

$10-$24.50. | 5400 W. HAMPTON AVE. | 414-461-7510

I remember the first time I visited this walk-up wunderkind. Years ago. I could smell and feel the heat from the hot oven as I approached the pickup window, and I envisioned pies bubbling with cheese and meat baking in the oven. Carrying my pizza home in the car was a torment. I just wanted to pull over, bust open the sleeve and dig into the squares. This is a very cheesy pie, a blanket spread over a thick, well-balanced tomato sauce. The sausage is flavorful (plenty of fennel) and generously applied. The crust is thin and crisp. Nothing wanting here.

7. Zaffiro’s

$12.50-$22.50 | 1724 N. FARWELL AVE. | 414-289-8776

When I was a kid, my aunt and uncle would take my cousins and me to this East Side beacon. We’d sit at the bar or in the dining room, with other families piled into tables topped with red checkered tablecloths. This is the granddaddy of Milwaukee-style pizza – round and “tavern-cut” into squares, the crust wafer-thin and cracker-crisp, the thick, not-too-sweet sauce bubbling over the end crust, and just the perfect amount of toppings. I love everything on a Zaffiro’s pizza but fish (anchovies). The liberally applied sausage and pepperoni are rich and meaty and not too greasy.

8. Tenuta’s Italian Restaurant

$9-$21 | 2995 S. CLEMENT AVE. | 414- 431-1014

Imagine a thick, crisp cracker, golden brown and strong yet tender. That’s the texture of the Tenuta’s thin crust pies, which can support a whole lot of toppings – and they do not skimp on them at this cozy little Bay View neighborhood haunt. I like to ask for extra sauce because it’s thick and sweet-tangy, and I love having a cornucopia of fresh veggies – green pepper, black olives, fresh tomato – covering the blanket of melted mozz. They offer other kinds of crust, including deep dish and stuffed, but that’s just not Milwaukee pizza.

Tenutas (Photo by Chris Kessler)

9. Vinchi’s

$14-$29. | 3158 S. HOWELL AVE. | 414-384-8040

You walk into a watering hole called The Bubbler, past the bar to the walk-up window in the back of the space. This is where the Vinchi’s magic happens, where yeast, flour, sauce, cheese and meat are transformed into Milwaukee thin-crust greatness, cut into squares so all you middle-piece lovers get a lot of what you want. The sauce is sweet-savory and lathered on just so, followed by plenty of gooey cheese and hunks of sausage. It’s the kind of pizza you can eat more than you think. Just one more piece? Yes, just one more. One more.


10. Santino’s Little Italy

$13-$20 | 352 E. STEWART ST. | 414-897-7367

The last time I sat down in this dining room that opened in 2017, Moonstruck was playing on the flatscreen. Around me, everyone was drinking martinis or red wine and munching on pizzas – pizzas made on puffy, medium-thick crusts baked in an oven fired by cherry wood. It wouldn’t have felt out of place to turn and see Cher and Nicolas Cage dining next to me. That’s atmosphere. The pies are made with some stylistic nods to Naples, using Caputo 00 flour for the crust and toppings of Grande mozz and San Marzano tomatoes. The menu lists 17 specialty pies with build your-own as an option as well. There are so many good topping choices here, but for its mix of tomato sauce and pesto, as well as spicy Italian sauce and sweet cherry tomatoes, the Paisano rules the roost. Santino’s also does a nice job with their garlic white sauce, which is especially creamy and zesty partnered up with artichokes, feta, Kalamata olives and mozz in the Greek pizza.

11. Pizza Man

$16-$23 | 2597 N. DOWNER AVE., 414-272-1745 | 6300 W. MEQUON RD., MEQUON, 262-955-1858 | 11500 W. BURLEIGH ST., WAUWATOSA, 414-249-2000

I’ve been eating pies from here since the halcyon days of the original, destroyed-by-fire location on North Avenue, where folks would carve messages into the wooden booths. Some of those seats were transported to the Downer Avenue location when it opened in 2013. The thin-crust pies are crisp and like a saltine on the edges. Pizza Man has since expanded, and sometimes the pies aren’t consistently on point. But when they’re on, they’re on. I go for the specialties – like the Topher, with sausage, pickled jalapeno, cream cheese and Calabrian pepper honey. Pizza Man is where I discovered how well cream cheese works on a pizza. The globs of mild creaminess melt into the mozz for ultimate dairy cloud cover.

Pizza Man (Photo by Adam Ryan Morris)

11. San Giorgio Pizzeria Napoletana

$14-$19| 838 N. DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING DR. | 414- 276-2876

Just wow. This is the pie you want when you’re sad, happy, in love, in lust. In short, it’s the pizza you want all the time. Owner Gino Fazzari, who also runs the MKE-style-pizza- serving Calderone Club next door, is serious about Neapolitan pizza. He invested in a primo Stefano Ferrara wood burning oven and continues to follow the rules for making certified Neapolitan pizza. (And there are rules – read on.) These pies are pillowy and crusty with a soft center and exquisitely fresh flavor. Simplicity is best when eating Naples-style, so you never see these pies gobbed with toppings. I love the Margherita-style D.O.C., with San Marzano tomato, mozzarella di bufala, parmigiano, fresh basil and extra-virgin olive oil, but you also can’t go wrong with the Ilario, topped with roasted Italian sausage, fresh mushrooms, tomato, fresh mozzarella, basil and extra-virgin olive oil. Now sink into a blissful carb coma.

AUTHENTIC NEOPOLITAN: Some places may claim to serve Neapolitan pizza, but only a handful in our state serve the genuine article. It isn’t enough to have a wood-fired oven. But it is a start. Here in the states, pizzerias can get certified as the real deal by an organization called VPN Americas. Following its rules grants applicants membership in the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana. And those requirements are pretty strict, specifying, among other things, that the wood-burning dome oven in operation needs to fire at a scorching 900 degrees, the dough must be mixed by hand or an “approved” mixer, and the ingredients used to make the pizzas have to be “fresh, all natural and nonprocessed.” Those ingredients should come from Naples’ Campania region in southern Italy. The pizza makers often get training from a certified pizzaiola. In Wisconsin, just four restaurants are certified VPN: Naples 15 in Madison, San Giorgio Pizzeria Napoletana here in Milwaukee, and Il Ritrovo and Prohibition Bistro, both in Sheboygan.

12. Balistreri’s Italian/American Ristorante

$13-$30. | 812 N. 68TH ST., WAUWATOSA | 414-475-1414

Balistreri’s is to Tosa what Zaffiro’s is to the East Side. People who’ve eaten pizza with me know I’m the corner bandit. This is never truer than with a Balistreri pie even the little triangle wisps in the corners are my favorite. I get a little sauce, a little cheese and meat, and plenty of those crispy browned edges. This is a saucy pie that gets particularly wet the more toppings you add. That’s not a bad thing – you’re getting the wonderful meaty and cheesy oils you can sop up with those end crust pieces. A perfect pie for me here is sausage, mushroom, cheese and black olives, though if you want to throw on some of the thin, smoky pepperoni too, I will not turn it down.

14. Tavolino

$9-$24 | 2315 N. MURRAY AVE. | 414-797-1400

This is a new name to most people but it’s a location with street cred for ’za. Formerly Divino and prior to that, Palermo Villa, Tavolino is using the same pizza recipe as its predecessors. And it’s a goodie. The crust is medium-thick and a bit chewy, the base a terrific support for loading up the toppings. The classic Dean’s Supreme (named after previous owner Dean Cannestra) is an homage to the marriage of pepperoni and sausage in red sauce, with some healthy veg for color and crunch. My absolute favorite here has a bechamel (cream) sauce base covered with three kinds of roasted mush- rooms, plus pecorino romano and a little olive oil – fantastic.

15. Alphonso’s The Original

$16-$35 | 1119 S. 108TH ST., WEST ALLIS | 414-755-0341

Known for offering baton-size fried mozzarella sticks, Alphonso’s is also quite possibly the thin-crust king of West Allis. The crisp cracker of a crust is in full force here, under a layer of sweetish sauce and a smooth quilt of melted cheese. They bake the pies so the cheese is delectably golden with gobs of cheese that stretch when you pull off a square. Mmm. When you walk inside to pick up your pie, it’s like you’ve almost entered the kitchen, so close are you to the action. They have great names for their pies, including the Barracuda (queue up the Heart song), and the Cutlass Supreme, which is my favorite owing to the winning combo of sausage, pepperoni and a color wheel of fresh veggies.

Road Tips

Smoke Shack - Wauwatosa, WI

I was up in Milwaukee last fall and I was staying at a new-ish hotel on the west side of the city.  It turned out that it was part of the Mayfair Collection, a mixed-use development that featured residential, retail shops, and restaurants.  There was a barbecue joint just across the parking lot from the hotel and I decided to give the place a try.  This is my experience at Smoke Shack.  

Smoke Shack is one of the restaurants under the umbrella of the Hospitality Democracy company originally founded by Joe and Angie Sorge.  In addition to Smoke Shack, other Milwaukee area restaurants they oversee include Onesto, Holey Moley doughnut and coffee shop, Blue Bat Kitchen and the popular burger joint A.J. Bombers.  (Click here to see the Road Tips entry on A.J. Bombers.)  Joe Sorge is a New York native whose family had deep ties to the restaurant business.  Sorge went to Cornell University to study hospitality management before working at a handful of restaurants, then moving to Milwaukee with his wife in 2000.  Sorge started Hospitality Democracy with help from Marcus Investments, a Milwaukee-based capital investment firm with roots in movie theaters, hotels and restaurants.  

The original Smoke Shack opened in 2010 in Milwaukee's Historic Third Ward as a collaborative effort between Sorge, Street-za Pizza owner Scott Baitinger, and developer Robert Joseph.  Smoke Shack's downtown Milwaukee location wasn't large - it could only hold less than 50 patrons - but business exceeded Sorge's wildest dreams after it opened.  

A little over 6 years ago, ground was broke in suburban Wauwatosa for a multi-use shopping, entertainment, and residential district called The Mayfair Connection.   Sorge was approached about putting some of his restaurants in the complex and in late 2016, Smoke Shack, A.J. Bombers, and the coffee/donut shop Holey Moley opened in a shared building.  

In the summer of 2018, it was announced that Joe and Angie Sorge were leaving the Hospitality Democracy group after being bought out by Marcus Investments.  The Sorge's founded their own restaurant consulting firm - SideWork Hospitality Consulting - later that year and continue to work with restaurants in the greater Milwaukee area.    

The Wauwatosa location of Smoke Shack is just north of Burleigh St. next to Interstate 41.  (see map)  There's a parking garage very near the restaurant with lot parking across a four-lane road that feeds cars in and out of The Mayfair Collection.  I walked across the parking lot in front of the hotel and passed by the outdoor seating area at Smoke Shack.  It featured a fire pit and a bar area under a canopy that was fronted by corrugated metal sheets.  It looked like it would be a nice area to hang if the weather was warm - which it really wasn't that fall evening.  

Inside Smoke Shack, the decor was sort of a contemporary rustic theme.  There appeared to be a lot of reclaimed barn board used in the bar and along the walls of the place with corrugated metal panels mixed in.  Opposite the bar was a number of tables in a small narrow nook-type area.  On a wall above a couple tables in an alcove were a number of bicycle handlebars - ram-horn, butterfly, and regular handlebars - that were on wood mounts to sort of parody big-game horns or racks.  I got a chuckle out of it.  

I sat at the bar and was greeted by Erika who was working behind the bar that evening.  She gave me a menu to look over and I took a look at the beer selection they had to offer in the glass-doored refrigerator behind the bar.  I saw that they had Surly Furious IPA in 16 oz. cans and I ordered up one of those.  

It's pretty basic barbecue offerings at Smoke Shack - baby back ribs, pulled pork, brisket, smoked chicken and smoked sausage.  Sides included sweet and spicy baked beans, cole slaw, sweet potato fries, and chipotle creamed corn.  Sandwiches included a brisket Sloppy Joe, a pulled pork sandwich topped with pimento mac & cheese (which was also a side choice), and a sandwich called the "Shack Daddy" that featured ham, brisket and sausage.  They had appetizers on the menu including burnt ends (of which they were out of that evening), smoked chicken wings, and something they called "Kansas City Eggrolls" which featured Iowa pulled pork and Monterey jack cheese with honey mustard and served with Smoke Shack's Kansas City-style sweet and smokey sauce.  

For my dinner that evening, I got the pulled pork and brisket combination.  For my side, I got the baked beans.   They had four different types of sauces to choose from - the aforementioned sweet and smokey Kansas City-style sauce, a Carolina-style mustard and vinegar sauce (of which I don't care for), a Texas-style sauce that was basically the Kansas City-style sauce with a bit of a kick, a house barbecue sauce that - well, I'll get into that later, and a habanero sauce that I figured I'd give a try.

Now, do you ever look at something that is served to you and it doesn't take much to tell you that this may not be very good?  That's sort of how I felt when the barbecue plate was set down in front of me.  I could tell that this would not be a very good meal from the first glance at the meat.  

And my eyes certainly didn't lie - it was pretty bad.  The pulled pork was lifeless and bland.  The brisket was dry and tasted like it had been left in a crock pot a little too long.  Neither had any smoke flavor to them.  And the baked beans seemed like they had opened a can of Van Camp's pork and beans, poured them in a bowl and heated them up.  They were neither sweet or spicy.  

Even the sauces couldn't help this meal.  The Kansas City-style sweet sauce was not very good.  And since the Texas-style sauce was based off the Kansas City-style sauce, even with a bit of a spicy kick on the back side, it couldn't have been saved.  The house sauce - which is supposed to be a little bit of everything - was completely blah in taste.  And I had to try the habanero sauce just to see how spicy it was.  It wasn't spicy at all and it was very flat in flavor.   The meal was highly disappointing.  

I understand that Smoke Shack has won numerous "people's choice" awards for having the best barbecue in Milwaukee since they opened in 2010, but I have to say the meal I had at the Wauwatosa location was some of the most disappointing barbecue I've encountered in my years of travel.  The meat was lifeless and bland with nary a hint of a smokey barbecue taste, the baked beans were akin to the canned variety, and I found their sauces to be pretty flat and underwhelming in their flavor.  While Smoke Shack is a nice place with their rustic decor, their barbecue was pretty mediocre - if that.   And that's too bad as I had high hopes for the place.  

Double B's BBQ - West Allis, WI

About a year ago, I was staying at a new Hampton Inn across the street from the Wisconsin State Fair Park in West Allis on the west side of Milwaukee.  I was driving down National that evening to go find something to eat and I passed what appeared to be a barbecue joint.   Driving back after dinner, I went slowly by the place and it turned out that it was a barbecue place, but they were closed because it was Monday.  I made a mental note to head back to West Allis at some point to try Double B's BBQ.  On a non-Monday evening recently, I had the chance to do just that.  

You could say that the restaurant business is in Mark Timber's blood.  He started out as a youngster working in his father's pizza place, Dino's Pizza, just north of General Mitchell International Airport on Milwaukee's south side.  From there, Timber moved on to manage the Telstar Drive-in just down the road from Dino's.  When his father sold Dino's, he moved to Taos, New Mexico to retire.  Mark followed his father and he started working in a fine dining establishment, La Doña Luz (which is now a bed-and-breakfast in Taos).  It turns out that the elder Timber couldn't handle retirement and he ended up buying a restaurant in Taos.  But Mark Timber found that he missed Milwaukee and he moved back after five years in Taos. 

Now married to his wife, Judy, the Timber's bought a custard stand in south suburban Oak Creek in the early 80's, selling it in 1987.  From there, Mark Timber went to work for the new Potawatomi Bingo (now the Potawatomi Hotel and Casino) helping design their kitchen and coming up with the menus for the burgeoning gambling establishment.  After his time at Potawatomi, he moved on to help run Butch's Old Casino Steak House for 12 years before the place closed in 2015.  

A few years ago between jobs at restaurants, Timber was working part-time at a cabinet shop in the Milwaukee area.  He was talking with one of his co-workers about his restaurant experience and his co-worker suggested that Timber to go out and invest in a smoker.  What started out as a casual home hobby for Timber turned into something of an obsession.  After his time at Butch's came to an end, he saw an on-line ad looking for someone to take over the kitchen at Double B's, a small bar on West Greenfield.  He decided to jump in with both feet and start up his barbecue operation.  

At first, the regular clientele who were used to a non-barbecue menu at Double B's were a little weary of the change.  However, it wasn't long before the Timber's Memphis-style barbecue offerings won many of them over and created their own following that includes people from Chicago coming up to have their barbecue.  The family also runs a catering company and a food truck with their son, Phil.  Their daughter, Christina, runs the bar now at Double B's, and not long ago the family bought a spot a couple doors to the east of Double B's that they're going to use as a banquet/celebration hall for their catering company.  

I pulled up in front of Double B's around 6:30 that particular evening.  I was able to find a parking spot just down the way from the place on Greenfield Ave.  (see map)  Actually, I could have walked from the hotel to Double B's as it was less than a half mile away.  But it was a cool evening - spring was having trouble making a normal appearance in the Upper Midwest this year - and I thought I'd just drive to the barbecue joint.  

I was greeted by Stephen, who turned out to be my server for the evening, as well.  The place was filling up fast and the bar was packed.  He took me to a table that had a banquette seat across the west wall of the place.  As much as I detest sitting at tables with banquette seats, I decided I could work with it on this visit.  

Stephen dropped off a menu for me to look through.  They had a number of good craft beers available at the bar and I ordered up a Karben4 Fantasy Factory IPA, it's quickly becoming one of my favorite beers.   

They have the usual barbecue offerings at Double B's - brisket, pulled pork, smoked chicken, sausage, as well as both baby back and spare ribs.  They also feature a number of smoked meat sandwiches as well as burgers, and some pretty interesting appetizers including smoked chicken wings, burnt ends and bacon-wrapped meatballs.  I damned near ordered up some of those just to try.  Next time.  

For dinner that evening I got the brisket platter.  It featured thick cuts of tender brisket with a combination rub consisting of a bit of ground chile and black pepper with a bit of sugar.  The meat is smoked with hickory wood - low and slow.  I had a choice of sides with the brisket.  I got the baked beans and the cole slaw.  (Cornbread, French fries, sweet potato fries, and a house-made mac & cheese were also available as sides.)  Some bread and butter pickles came with the platter.

The brisket was very good.  It pulled apart very easily when I cut it with my fork.  I really didn't need a knife with it.  The rub combined with the smokiness of the hickory wood flavor in the meat was a great taste sensation.  

I know I shouldn't have even dallied with the barbecue sauce, but Double B's had three that I tried.  They had a XXX Picante barbecue sauce that I didn't really think was all that hot.  It did sneak up on me after a few moments, but it wasn't anything that I couldn't handle.  But they had a Kansas City-style sauce that was thick and sweet.  But the one I liked the best of the three was the Texas bold sauce which was basically the Kansas City-style sauce with some ground hot pepper mixed in.  It had great sweet and somewhat spicy taste quality.  

The cole slaw was a creamy/vinegar blend that I thought was very good, as well.  The beans, I thought, were good, but they got extremely better when I added some of the Texas bold sauce to them.  Overall, I thought the barbecue was very solid.  

Before I took off, I went to the restroom and then ventured out back to their patio area.  The patio was empty that evening, but I'm sure that it fills up when the weather warms up.  Filament heaters and Edison lights were hanging from the rafters, but the focus of the patio was large hickory wood smoker - one of two that Timber uses.  Timber employs 3 pit masters and his two smokers are running 24 hours a day to keep up with the demand for his meats for both the restaurant, the food truck and the catering business.  Timber's catering company provides food for over 100 events annually, the vast majority of them are weddings.  Many of the customers that come into Double B's probably had their first taste of Timber's barbecue at a wedding held out west of Milwaukee at some point.  

I've tried some barbecue places around Milwaukee over the years and I have to say that I really wasn't impressed with any of them - until now.  Mark and Judy Timber's Double B BBQ is solid Memphis-style barbecue with a simple rub and a wonderful smoky flavor to their meats.  Their baked beans were good - even better with the addition of their Texas Bold barbecue sauce - and I thought their cole slaw was good, as well.  They had a wonderful selection of local and regional craft beers, and had a full bar, as well.  Double B's is closed on Sunday and Monday, but you can enjoy their barbecue the other days of the week.  I know I'll be going back at some point to try the bacon-wrapped meatballs appetizer.

Eagle Park Brewing Company - Milwaukee

My neighbor is a craft-beer enthusiast who likes to take drives to brewpubs and microbreweries around the Midwest. He's turned me on to a number of brewpubs over the past few years.  He likes to go to Milwaukee as he's a big Brewers fan and I was telling him that I was going to the city to call on a couple three accounts last fall.   My neighbor told me of a place that I really needed to check out called Eagle Park Brewing Company.  After meeting with an account in the afternoon, I sought out Eagle Park Brewing Co. for an early dinner and a few beers.  

Jackson "Jack" Borgardt and his older brother, Max, were musicians living in their parents home in the Milwaukee area.  Once Jack reached legal drinking age (which, in Wisconsin, could be 16 in most families, but 21 legally), Max and he started to brew their own beers in the family garage.  Their parents were supportive of their budding musical career - the brothers formed a band by the name of Eagle Trace along with their younger brother, Cass - and they were equally supportive of the home brewing hobby the brothers developed.  

The first beer the brothers brewed was an India Brown Ale that they liked immensely.  After the success of their first small-batch brew, the brothers were as hooked on brewing their own beer as they were with their music.  

Like most home brewers who are proud of their beers, the Borgardt brothers had a number of their friends try their unique brews.  One friend, Jake Schinker convinced the brothers to do their own micro-brewery and the brothers made him partner in the venture.  Starting the brewery out of their parents garage in 2015, the trio named their new nanobrewery Eagle Park Brewing Co.  

The trio needed to get out of their parents garage to expand their brewery and they found a spot on the second floor in the Lincoln Warehouse, a former warehouse built in 1928 that was refurbished to house businesses as diverse as recording studios, hair salons, a distillery, and boutique shops.  The Borgardt brothers and Stinker started out with a single brewing vessel and a small tap room.  They brewed 10 different styles of craft brews and almost immediately they realized they were outgrowing their space in the old warehouse. 

Like Minds Brewery opened a restaurant/tap room/seven-barrel brewing operation in 2016.  After a partner left in 2017, the operation just became a craft brewery/tap room.  It was in late 2017 when the owner of Like Minds decided that he needed to find another spot for his operation and was looking at relocating to his hometown of Chicago.  Like Minds closed in December of 2017 and put the building up for sale.

The Borgardt brothers and Schinker immediately jumped on the property in early 2018.  It gave them a larger space to brew more beers and room for a canning facility.  The kitchen was intact (Schinker joked that the only thing they had to buy was a can opener) and the group hired Nathan Heck to run their kitchen.  And true to the brothers musical roots, they added a small live performance area in the space.  Eagle Park Brewing Company relocated to their new location in April of last year.  

That new location is at the corner of E. Hamilton and N. Marshall just north of downtown Milwaukee.  (see map)  There's a parking lot on the north side of the building, but there is also parking along Marshall if needed.  

Inside the small brewery was an open taproom with a skylight that allowed natural light to filter in during the day.  A number of tables were placed in the middle of the room with a small conversation area in the corner that could be taken out when live music was played.  Dark gray walls featured a flat screen television surrounded with a number of music posters.  The original floor still had oil stains from back when it was a garage for the owners of the tannery that originally occupied the space years ago. Exposed duct work and brick walls gave the space a sort of industrial vibe.    

The brewing area was in the back of the building down a long hallway.  It was tough to see how big the brewery was, but the smell of hops and grains were prevalent in the air.  A small window underneath a sign that said, "Order Here" was the portal into the brewery.  Cans of Eagle Park beers were in coolers near the window.  

I ended up sitting at the bar in the corner of the taproom.  A door to the outdoors beer patio was off to the side.  One of the bartenders, Sarah, came up to great me.  The beer menu was on a flat screen television mounted to the wall behind the bar.  The selections rotated two or three times on the screen with the beers they were serving that day.  

Kind of a hip urban millennial kind of place, Eagle Park falls in line with their owners - who are musicians - by playing vinyl albums on their sound system behind the bar.  They played the first side of Abraxas by Santana, but when someone put on Make It Big by Wham!, the selection was roundly booed down by the crowd that was in there.  That record was quickly taken off the turntable and replaced by Tattoo You by the Rolling Stones.  It was a much better choice in my opinion.  

Eagle Park has a number of seasonal brews and at this time they had over a dozen beers available on tap.  You can get full pints for generally $7.00, half-pints for $4.00, or you can get a trio of half-pints for $10.00.  That's what I ended up doing and I went with the Goon Juice New England IPA, the Loop Station Golden Ale, and the Demon Haze New England IPA that didn't have as much alcohol content as the Goon Juice.  Out of the three I liked the Goon Juice the best - I wasn't too enamored with the Loop Station Golden Ale.  

They do have a limited food menu at Eagle Park with appetizers, burgers and a handful of sandwiches.  The burgers consist of a combination of ground chuck and short rib beef, smashed during the cooking process.  They also had a smoked brisket sandwich, a smoked pulled pork sandwich, a fried chicken breast with a buffalo curry sauce, and a grilled cheese sandwich made with Hook's Cheese Company's five-year old cheddar.   

I ended up going with the Smashburger - a 1/3 pound patty topped with in-house cured bacon, Hook’s aged American cheese, mixed pickles, pickled mustard seeds, lettuce, tomato, caramelized onions, and finished with a garlic mayo.  Eagle Park's karate chopped fries - basically hand-cut fries mixed with a Cotija cheese, pickled mustard seed and herbs - came on the side, but I asked Sarah if I could get a side salad instead.   

The burger was served along side the salad in a wax paper lined oblong tray.  The fringes of the burger had that signature flat-grilled crust and it came on a toasted bun.  The burger, itself, was very good - a good burger for a good burger city like Milwaukee.  It was juicy and very messy - it was at least a four napkin burger - with all the toppings on it.  But the toppings didn't mask the overall taste of the ground chuck/short rib beef patty.  It was a surprisingly outstanding burger.  

Eagle Park Brewing Company was a good place to visit.  Beer is really the focus at Eagle Park, but food is also available in terms of burgers, sandwiches and appetizers.  A couple of the beers I had were good, the burger was even better, and I really liked the urban industrial atmosphere of the place along with the selection of 70's and 80's vinyl music they were playing on the stereo system.  With a number of choices of small craft breweries in Milwaukee, Eagle Park may not be the biggest or the most popular, but it's definitely worthy of a visit.  

Crawdaddy's - West Allis, WI

I was happy to hear last summer that one of my favorite Cajun food places in the Midwest - Crawdaddy's in the Milwaukee suburb of West Allis - had reopened.  It shut down after the death of one of the co-founders/owners a few years back, but I found out last summer that it had reopened down the road from the original location.  On a trip up to Milwaukee earlier this year, I made a point to head to the new Crawdaddy's for a meal.  

I wrote an entry on the original Crawdaddy's in one of my early Road Tips posts before I found a voice and formula for the blog.  (Click here if you'd like to see the difference in styles from early posts to the present day.)  The original Crawdaddy's was located on Greenfield at 64th Street in West Allis and was opened in 1995 by managing partner John Vukelic and chef-partner Jonathan Klug.  Crawdaddy's was a huge hit from the start winning a number of local "Best of" local awards over a number of years.  

In addition to the restaurant in West Allis, Crawdaddy's had a food place on the Henry Maier Festival Park grounds, home to a number of festivals, most notably Summerfest - the largest music festival in the world.  My wife and I used to go to Summerfest nearly every year starting in the mid-90's and it became a tradition that our first stop would be at Crawdaddy's to get a "Gator-on-a-Stick".  It consisted of ground alligator meat (it tastes like chicken) mixed with mild ground alligator sausage.  It was all right, but it was a tradition.  

Sadly, in 2012 John Vukelic passed away unexpectedly and Jonathan Klug kept the doors to Crawdaddy's open.  However, about a year later financial troubles brought on by the death of Vukelic forced Klug to close Crawdaddy's.  Milwaukeeans lamented the loss of the wonderful Cajun restaurant on Greenfield Ave.

However, Klug was able to find a new managing partner in Mike Weier.  The two searched for a new location, not far from the original Crawdaddy's location.  Big Dog's Sports Bar located 30 blocks west of the original Crawdaddy's at Greenfield and 94th, near the Wisconsin State Fair Park, had closed in early 2015 and Weier and Klug took over the space in late 2015.  They remodeled the place into a larger version of the old Crawdaddy's and reopened in the summer of 2016.  Crawdaddy's was back and people from all around Milwaukee flocked to the place in droves.  And the "Best of" local awards began to pick up where they had left off three years.

I pulled up in front of Crawdaddy's and was able to find a parking spot out front.  (see map)  Parking at the original Crawdaddy's was always an adventure as it was mostly on street parking along a busy stretch of Greenfield.  The new Crawdaddy's has a parking lot that can handle over 30 cars.  

Upon entering Crawdaddy's, I found an expansive place with a main dining area that was much larger than the original Crawdaddy's.  Waits of up to an hour - or more - were common at the original Crawdaddy's.  But the new place looked like it could accommodate double the number of patrons versus the old place.

There a back dining area that served as an overflow or private party area.  Drawn portraits of a number of musical artists hung on the walls throughout the place and the sound system was playing some great music from various New Orleans artists such as Earl King, Dr. John, The Wild Tchoupitoulas, Clarence "Frogman" Henry, and one of my all-time favorite bands, The Radiators.  

The bar was a festive area on the opposite side of a wall from the main dining room.  It had some nice lighting accents in front of and behind the bar.  I contemplated sitting there, but decided to have a seat in the dining room.

Off to the side of the bar was a small lounging/gaming area.  It appears that the new incarnation of Crawdaddy's can handle a large number of people in the dining room and in the bar for those waiting for a table.  

I was shown to a table in the middle of the dining room and given a lunch menu.  It's not as extensive as the dinner menu at Crawdaddy's, but it still offers some Cajun specialties such as Po' Boy sandwiches, shrimp and grits, and a Cajun stir fry consisting of a mixture of alligator meat, alligator sausage, andouille sausage, surimi (a Cajun flavored paste made out of minced seafood) and crawfish tails that are tossed with mixed vegetables with Crawdaddy's Cajun Power garlic sauce.  It's all served on a bed of creamy grits and topped with a spicy Cajun gravy.  Had I been more hungry, I would have gone for that.  

My server was Mary Beth, a pleasant lady who was outgoing and effervescent in her demeanor.  I immediately liked her when I asked for the beer menu and she said, "You look like the kind of guy who likes good beer.  We have the Abita Wrought Iron IPA on special during lunch.  $3.00 a pint."  I couldn't pass that up.  

I was sort of up in the air with what I was going to get, but I ended up starting off with a bowl of Crawdaddy's gumbo.  Their "Ya Ya" gumbo was exactly as I remembered.  It featured chunks of chicken, chopped smoked ham, andouille sausage, okra, and the "Holy Trinity" of onions, celery, and bell peppers with chunks of tomatoes in a spicy chicken broth.  It was served with rice that I spooned into the gumbo once I was able to eat some of it down, and a couple pieces of fresh baked bread came on the side.  I zipped up the temperature of the gumbo a bit with some Tabasco sauce and it was just fantastic.

Along with the gumbo, I got the fish tacos.  They were three flour taco shells filled with blackened Icelandic cod (deep-fried tempura cod was also available), topped with a lime-cilantro slaw and a spicy chipotle mayo.  Fresh pico de gallo came with the fish tacos.  They were very good and very filling.  I was able to get through two of the tacos and a couple bites of taco No. 3.  I had filled up on the gumbo - which was fine with me.   The gumbo was outstanding.   

All hail the return of Crawdaddy's!  It was one of my favorite restaurants in Milwaukee for a number of years and its demise in 2013 had me - and thousands of Milwaukeeans - bummed out.  But they're back and bigger than ever with a new space that is gargantuan compared to the original Crawdaddy's 30 blocks to the east.  The food is still outstanding - the gumbo I had was superb and the fish tacos were very good.  And the service I received from the fun and outgoing Mary Beth was excellent.  I'm glad to see that Crawdaddy's is back and I can't wait to go back some night to try some of their other Cajun specialties.  

Pizza Man - Milwaukee

"Hello, Pizza Man Pizza?  This is the King.  Uh, huh.  Elll-vis.  Send me over a large, no, make that an extra large cheese, no, make that two extra large cheese, no, make that two extra large double cheese pizzas."  (Singing)  "I'm young, I'm alone and I'm hungry. " 

That was a comedy bit I used to hear back in the mid-70's before Elvis Presley passed away.  I always liked the name of the place in the piece - Pizza Man Pizza.  So, when I started to travel to Milwaukee a number of years ago, I found that there was a popular place on the city's east side that was named Pizza Man.  I had tried to get in a couple times before, but the 55-seat restaurant was packed both times and it would have been an hour wait to get a seat.  Then, and quite unfortunately, it burned to the ground in January of 2010.  There was talk for awhile that Pizza Man wouldn't be back in business, but they did reopen in a new location in late July of 2013.  I finally had the chance to go try a Pizza Man pizza on a visit to Milwaukee in the late part of last year. 

Mike Amidzich was a mid-20's hippie entrepreneur who would take his barbecue wagon around to outdoor concerts in the Midwest in the late 60's and into 1970.  After a disastrous weekend at the Wadena rock festival in NE Iowa in 1970, Amidzich found himself completely broke and had to shut down his small enterprise. 

Coming back to his hometown of Milwaukee, Amidzich went looking for a job and was talking to someone about becoming a pizza cook.  However, that opportunity was pulled out from underneath him at the last moment.  But when Amidzich found that another pizza place had recently gone out of business, he got a small bank loan - co-signed by his parents - and bought the former Rudy's Pizza, a take-out place at the corner of North Ave. and Oakland Ave. on Milwaukee's east side, and opened Pizza Man. 

Initially, he used the recipes that were left from Rudy's Pizza, but found that most of the ingredients were frozen beforehand.  He decided that he wanted to use only the freshest of ingredients on his pizzas.  Customer's immediately noticed the better taste of the Pizza Man pizzas.

Amidzich embraced the counter-culture atmosphere that was growing in Milwaukee and decided to market to the people who liked what he liked.  Nearly all of the pizza places in Milwaukee at the time either closed at 10 p.m., or they didn't deliver.  (Or both!)  Knowing that people who liked to party late in the night usually meant that they had the munchies, Pizza Man delivered up to 3 a.m. during the week and 4 a.m. on the weekends.  And to help quench their customer's thirst, Amidzich provided free quart bottles of Pepsi products with each pizza.  Business got so good for Pizza Man that they became one of the largest independent Pepsi accounts in the state of Wisconsin - and they gave away the vast majority of the pop! 

A year after opening and with business booming, Amidzich asked the bike shop next door if they would mind moving to a larger location down the street so he could take over the space for a dining room.  Pizza Man started sit down service in 1971.  He built a small bar area and stocked the back bar with a number of higher-end liquors - Scotch, vodka, liqueurs, and appertifs, mainly.   But that didn't seem to go over well with the patrons eating pizzas.  He eventually took out the back bar liquor cabinets and put in wine racks.  Amidzich loved wine and he felt that it was a better companion with pizza than hard liquor.

Intially, Amidzich (pictured right - photo courtesy Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel) turned to a wine sommelier to help him pick the wines.  California wines were beginning to become the rage and Amidzich and the sommelier picked out a number of wines to stock at Pizza Man.  Within a short period of time, he garnered an impressive collection of great wines one of the best in the greater Milwaukee area earning Pizza Man the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence.  At one point in time, Pizza Man offered 600 different bottles of wine - all of them available by the glass.  Suddenly, Pizza Man became one of the largest wine bars, not only in Wisconsin, not only in the U.S., but in the world!

In July of 2010, a fire erupted next door at the Black and White Cafe destroying both the cafe and Pizza Man, along with a couple of other businesses and a number of apartments that were located on the second floor of the building.  (Photo at left courtesy Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel)  Authorities eventually indicted the cafe's owner for setting the fire to garner over $100,000 in insurance money so he could move to a new location.  (Even though the cafe owner was acquitted by a jury in 2013, the judge in the case still gave him a 2 1/2 year sentence for probable cause.  That sentence was thrown out on appeal in 2015.) 

Amidzich lost everything.  Even the bottled wine stored in the basement had to be destroyed.  It was a low part in his life, but he decided he wanted to rebuild.  However, banks were unwilling to work with Amidzich regarding his financial needs to build a new Pizza Man restaurant.  Down in the dumps, Amidzich announced that Pizza Man would be no more, and that his wife, Deanna, and he would focus on their other business - Stinky Gringo pre-mixed margaritas. 

But Pizza Man was his number one love and toward the end of 2012, Amidzich announced that a group of Pizza Man fans had approached him about helping him reopen in a new location.  The funds from the private investors allowed Amizich to find a new building on Downer Ave. less than a mile from the original Pizza Man in what was the former Lixx Ice Cream and Frozen Yogurt shop.  Amidzich worked with the progressive Milwaukee architecture firm Rinka Chung on the design for the new Pizza Man.

After extensive remodeling of the space including putting in an upstairs eating area with rooftop and deck seating, a larger bar with 12 taps and coolers for 50 different types of bottled beers, and the installation of the same-style of the huge barn-style wooden doors that were so heavy that they needed a counterweight to control their opening and closing, Pizza Man had a soft opening on July 30, 2013 featuring a limited menu.  However, thanks to a mix-up via social media, hundreds of people showed up for the soft opening overwhelming the staff.  Pizza man officially opened with a full menu a couple weeks later.

In the meantime, Amidzich - who is in his early 70's - opened a second Pizza Man location in the summer of 2015 at the Mayfair Collection, an upscale mall in west suburban Wauwatosa.  Both locations have about 250 different bottles of wine - all by the glass.  It's not quite the over 600 bottles of wine Amidzich had at the original Pizza Man location, but it's a nice start as he and his sommelier, Heather Korte, are trying to add about 10 new varieties a month. 

I was staying in downtown Milwaukee and I made my way up Prospect Ave., then after a couple jogs I was on N. Downer Ave. pulling up to Pizza Man which sits on the corner of Downer and E. Belleville Place.  (see map)  The parking around the place is primarily street parking and I was able to find a spot just down the street from the restaurant. 

Many of the tables and booths were filled when I got in around 8 p.m.  I asked the hostess if I could get food at the bar.  She said it was no problem.  She let me pick out my spot at the crowded bar - I think I got the last seat - and she left off a menu for me to look through.  My bartender/server that evening was a young man with the distinctive name of Eder.  I had a quick look through the beer list and I had him bring me a Lagunitas IPA while I looked through the wine list just to see what they had to offer.  It was an impressive collection of West Coast U.S. wines, most of them from California, but they also had a number of wines from Washington and Oregon. 

The inside of the place had sort of a rustic, yet urban look to the place.  The back bar was sent in an arch of bricks with a long tall bar in front.  There was a tin roof ceiling above the bar and the famous wine bottle Christmas tree at the old Pizza man has been replaced by a wine bottle chandelier that hangs above the staircase.   (Photo at right courtesy Milwaukee Business Journal.)

All the pizzas at Pizza Man start with a choice of thin crust, pan, or gluten free dough.  From there, you choose a sauce - the classic is Pizza Man's original red pizza sauce, the Italia features a red sauce made out of San Marzano tomatoes, the bianca is a white garlic sauce, and they have a pesto sauce base, as well.  The toppings start with a dozen different types of meat including spicy lamb sausage, pancetta and prosciutto from the La Quercia artisan meat company out of Norwalk, IA, and grass-fed ground beef.  Vegetable toppings to choose from number over 20 including raddachio, rappini, Brussels sprouts, Kalamata olives, Calabrian hot peppers, and caramelized pineapple.  And Pizza Man offers nearly a dozen different types of cheese including goat cheese, a 3-year-old cheddar, smoked provolone, gorgonzola, and cream cheese.  Of course, they have fresh mozzarella, parmesan and romano cheese. 

Pizza Man specialty pizzas - which number over a dozen - include the Atomic made with the San Marzano sauce, salami, pancetta, Calabrian peppers, red onions, smoked provolone, and oregano the Greca has the white garlic sauce base, spicy lamb sausage, pine nuts, oregano and red onions the Apugliese is topped with sausage, rapini, romano cheese, and an anchovy-garlic oil and the Avantgardner is Pizza Man's vegetarian specialty pizza topped with grilled egg plant, rapini, red peppers, onions, oregano, ricotta cheese and a lemon oil. 

The one thing about it, because of the eclectic sauces, vegetable and meat toppings, the pizza at Pizza Man isn't cheap.  Many of the specialty pizzas started out at $17 for a small (12") thin crust pizza.  A small pizza made with the San Marzano sauce base starts at $12.  From there, meat toppings run $3 or $4 dollars each and vegetables run $2 each.  Additional cheese toppings run $3 bucks.  And it doesn't matter with the size of pizza - the price of the toppings is the same no matter the size (small, medium - 14", large - 18"), so getting a larger pizza is a better value.

I went with my old standby Italian sausage, pepperoni and mushroom.  I went with the thin crust - a small - and with the San Marzano sauce and fresh mozzarella cheese.  The sausage served on Pizza Man's pizza comes from Vinny's Sausage Company, a Milwaukee-based meat company known for their bratwurst, Italian, Hungarian and Polish sausage.  The pizza you're looking at on the left ran right at $23 bucks.  Ouch! 

So, it had better be great, right?  Well, it wasn't THAT great - I mean it was very good with the fresh toppings including the zippy pepperoni slices, the chunky and zesty Italian sausage, and the fresh and earthy sliced mushrooms.  The San Marzano sauce was difficult to decipher on the tongue - I would have liked to have tried the classic Pizza Man sauce to see if there was a significant difference.  The fresh mozzarella was very good, however.  And the crust had a caramelized ring with a soft, yet crunchy texture.   This was a very good pizza - but $23 bucks worth?  For a 12" pizza? Hmmm.   Tough to say.

I can see where some people would get sticker shock if they didn't know what to expect with the prices of the pizzas at Pizza Man.  And for those of you who haven't been there before - like me - that's why I'm telling you.  With my pizza and three Lagunitas IPA's (beers were $6 bucks each - double ouch!), my bill came to over $50 bucks with tax and a tip for Eder's fine job of taking care of me.  I mean, the pizza was very good.  I don't know if it was that good of a value, but it was different than most any other pizza in the Milwaukee area.  And given that the place was packed - and they've opened a second location in Wauwatosa - the people who go to Pizza Man realize that they're getting a better pizza and are willing to pay for it.  And that's what Pizza Man is evidently going for - a better and different pizza than what's available elsewhere.  I just don't know if it's worth it, though.  (Photo courtesy Milwaukee Business Journal.)

Road Tips

Central BBQ - Memphis, TN

During the COVID-19 pandemic, with travel curtailed and restaurants shut down except for carry-out, I haven't been able to visit any places to write about on Road Tips.  Hopefully, in the coming weeks that will be rectified.  However, for now, I've decided to dig back into the nearly 15 years of Road Tips posts and bring up some of the more memorable places we've been over the years. 

Today, we go back to Memphis, TN and one of the more popular barbecue places in the city.  It seems like locals in Memphis have their own favorite places for barbecue and can be adamant about their reasons why.  On a trip to Memphis about six years ago, we started to ask the locals their favorite place and the vast majority of them mentioned Central BBQ which first opened nearly 18 years ago.  Here is a look back at a memorable barbecue experience in Memphis, one of the meccas for barbecue in the U.S.

We took a late summer trip down along the Mississippi River to Memphis.  We hadn't been to Memphis for about 14 years and we decided on this trip that we'd stay away from the tourist-trap places in the downtown area and branch out to see the rest of the city away from the lights and glitz of Beale Street.  Of course, Memphis barbecue is part of the Mid-South/Midwest BBQ triangle of St. Louis and Kansas City - at least to me.  We wanted to try a couple three places while we were in town, and after talking amongst some locals when we were there I was particularly interested in giving Central BBQ a try.  

Memphis-style barbecue features dry-rubbed ribs and other meats.  The Rendezvous is the most famous place, but we didn't think it was all that great when we first went there years ago.  We checked on other places and found that Neely's Bar-b-cue had closed (I ate at the location in Nashville - click here to read that entry), we were told their uncle Jim Neely's Interstate Barbecue wasn't as good as it used to be, and that some of the really good places for barbecue aren't places you'd necessarily go to at night.  But the consensus with people that we talked to was that Central BBQ was quite possibly the best in town.  (Some people will dispute that, I'm sure.  We found that almost everyone in Memphis has an opinion on their favorite local barbecue joints.)   

As I've found with a number of barbecue joints I've visited over the years, Central BBQ came about from the barbecue competition circuit.  Back in the mid-80's, Roger Sapp and Craig Blondis met on the competition trail.  The two began to compete in the annual Memphis in May World Barbecue Championships and got the bug for competition-style barbecue where you have to do everything - smoked meats, sauces, sides - very well.  

In 2001, Sapp and Blondis formed a company - Central BBQ LLC - and began to look for buildings for their first barbecue restaurant.  They found a small place on Central Ave. about a mile from the University of Memphis and opened on April 1, 2002.  The inside of the place only sat 45 people, but they built an outdoor patio area for additional seating in warm weather.  

A little over four years after opening their first location, the partners found a building that housed a former Red Lobster restaurant on Summer Ave. on Memphis' east side and opened their second location in the fall of 2006.  The kitchen area was appreciably larger than their original location allowing for two large smokers to be installed.  Plus, a lot of the kitchen equipment was still in place from the old Red Lobster so the move in was a snap.  The second location also seated about 220 people more than tripling the seating capacity of the original location on nice days.  

A couple years ago, Sapp and Blondis opened a third location in an old warehouse location in the South Main Arts District near downtown Memphis.  The downtown location is the biggest of the three Central BBQ locations seating over 250 patrons.  The two also continue to do barbecue competitions as the time allows.  

Even though we said we didn't want to visit Beale Street during our visit, we decided to head down and walk up and down the street to see if anything had changed since our last visit well over a dozen years before.  Some things had changed - most had not.  It was bike night on Beale Street that evening and a number of large motorcycles - many of them were tricked out - were parked up and down the block.  We grabbed a beer from one of the many street vendors and sauntered up and down the street looking at the bikes.  

After about a half hour of doing that, we decided to go get some barbecue from Central BBQ's original address on Central Ave. (See map)   (Actually, we didn't know the downtown location wasn't far from where we were.  See map)  We got out to the Central BBQ location around 8:30 p.m.  It turns out that they quit serving on weeknights at 9 p.m.  

As you come into the Central BBQ location there's a large outdoor patio area.  On warm weekend nights, I understand Central BBQ has live music on the patio.  We thought about eating outside but it was rather buggy, especially with the hanging lights above the tables.

The main dining room inside is small, but well lit.  There are a handful of booths and tables in the room.  It's cozy and has a little bit of a good ol' funky vibe to the place.  Classic soul music from the likes of James Brown and Sam & Dave were playing on the sound system in the dining room.  A mixed crowd of urban hipsters and middle-aged people were in there that evening.  

Entering the building, the ordering area up front has the menu on a board above the counter and a small bar area off to the right.  The focus meat at Central BBQ is pork, but they also feature beef brisket, chicken, turkey, bologna and sausage from their smoker.  Central BBQ is also somewhat locally famous for their smoked chicken wings and their barbecue nachos that feature pulled pork, cheese, jalapenos and barbecue sauce on tortilla chips.  (You can also get beef, chicken or turkey for a meat topping on the barbecue nachos.)  We noticed a lot of the younger people in the dining area noshing on the barbecue nachos.  They actually looked pretty good.

We decided to get a combo plate - a half-rack of ribs with one side wet (with barbecue sauce) and one side the traditional Memphis-style dry rub along with sliced brisket and pulled pork.  For sides we had our choice of items such as fries, green beans, potato salad, pork rinds, onion rings, collard greens and mac & cheese.  They also had baked beans - a must for me - and cole slaw, which is what my wife wanted.  

We also got a couple beers with the dinner.  They had Yazoo Brewing Company products on hand, a small brewery located in Nashville that I've had a couple times before.  They had a limited release beer - the 10 Year IPA - that signified their 10-year anniversary of being a brewery that I got.  My wife wanted to try the Summer Seasonal beer they had on tap.  After we placed our order and paid at the front counter, we were given a number and found a booth in the small dining room.

A young lady brought out our food about five minutes (or even less) after we ordered.  We should have just ordered the ribs completely dry because Central BBQ has a couple of barbecue sauces that turned out to be very good.  The mild sauce was sweet, but it had a little bit of a spicy bite on the backside of the taste buds.  The spicy sauce, well, it certainly got my attention.  You immediately got the spicy taste on the front of the tongue.  Both were very good.  (We ended up buying a bottle of the mild sauce before we left as my wife doesn't go for the spicy sauces like I do.)  

The ribs pulled apart easily and were moist and meaty with a hint of a smoky taste on top of the dry rub that they used.  It wasn't loaded with the dry rub like you find with other Memphis-style barbecue places.   The pulled pork was moist and almost melted in your mouth.  The brisket was a tad more dry, but still good enough with some sauce added.  Out of the three I would say the pulled pork was the best, the ribs a close second and the brisket was an even closer third.  

The baked beans featured chunks of pulled pork.  I added some of the hot barbecue sauce to the beans to give them a little kick.  I had a bite of the creamy cole slaw and while it was good, the beans were much better.  My wife - who is somewhat of a cole slaw connoisseur - thought the cole slaw at Central BBQ to be just "all right". 

Much has been written about Central BBQ since they opened over 11 years ago, so I really don't have much more to say than other people who have been there.  I have to say that we were both very impressed with Central BBQ.  I loved the fun and funky vibe to the place, the barbecue was very good to outstanding, and the overall experience was excellent.  I knew there had to be better barbecue places in Memphis than the old stand-bys the tourists go to.  Central BBQ showed us why they continually receive honors for some of the best barbecue in Memphis.  

Tired Texan BBQ - Omaha, NE

I was out in Omaha a few weeks ago for a private function at one of my accounts.  I had some time to kill before the event started and I was thinking it may be a good idea to go get something to eat as I didn't know how long I'd be tied up with the function.  I did a quick look for restaurants not too far away and a barbecue place turned up in my search.  It was just down the road a bit from my account and I took off for a quick dinner at Tired Texan BBQ.

The couple who owns Tired Texan - Chip and Christine Holland - aren't even from Texas.  Chip Holland grew up in Birmingham, AL and Christine grew up in the Omaha suburb of Ralston.  But it was in Birmingham where Chip Holland learned all about true Texas barbecue when he was a teenager working for Ira "Tex" Ellison who owned the original Tired Texan Barbecue. 

Tex Ellison grew up in Texas and joined the United States Navy just after World War II ended in 1945, weeks before his 17th birthday.  In 1948, he was told that he could learn electronics if he transferred to the U.S. Marine Corps.  After transferring to the Marines, Ellison learned about new technologies of the day - primarily radar and televisions.  After finishing his electronics training, Ellison was stationed at the Marine Corps air station near El Toro, CA where he became the first African-American air traffic radar technician in the armed forces. 

While he was stationed at El Toro, Ellison missed the authentic Texas barbecue that he loved to eat growing up and he decided to do something about it.  Along with his wife, Madeline, Ellison fashioned a small barbecue joint at the air base that he ran part-time until he was transferred in 1959 to Merritt Field, a Marine Corps air base just outside of Beaufort, SC.  

Ellison wanted to do barbecue at his new posting, but noted that there weren't any buildings suitable at Merritt Field for a barbecue shack.  Ellison had a group of Marine privates under his command and he commissioned them to build a small place that would house his barbecue joint.  In the early 60's, Tex and Madeline Ellison opened the Tired Texan Country Club that sold barbecue at Merritt Field.  As a second side job from his duties with the Marine Corps, Tex Ellison also repaired television sets for the Marines and their families stationed at Merritt Field.  

After Ellison was discharged from the Marine Corps in 1967, he "retired" to Birmingham, AL where Madeline was from.  Knowing that barbecue would be big in Alabama, he found a small concrete block hut on the north side of Birmingham and opened up Tired Texan BBQ.  It was open only three or four days a week - Tex was still fixing televisions on the side - and while open hours would be sporadic, they would sometimes stretch deep into the night.  But everyone from cops, lawyers, prostitutes, doctors and late-night revelers knew when Tex's barbecue joint was open from the smell of smoked meats emanating from the smoker.  

Tex eventually moved Tired Texan BBQ to a building not far from Legion Field on the west end of downtown Birmingham.  It was at this location where 16-year-old Chad Holland first came to work for Ellison and to learn the art of Texas barbecue. Ellison's specialties were ribs, brisket, pulled pork, smoked chicken, and sausage.  But he didn't let a lot of other parts of the meats go to waste, either.  Tex Ellison was famous for a sandwich that used parts of unused pulled pork, sausage, chicken necks, gizzards, livers - anything that he could grind up and throw in the smoker.  He topped the ground meats with an ultra hot sauce whose recipe he traded his delectable pig ears for with a local Mexican restaurant owner.  Tex and Madeline would watch as customers who bought the sandwich would go through cups and cups of sweet tea to get the burn out of their mouth.  

By the mid-90's, however, Ellison was truly a "tired Texan".  He was in his late 60's and his wife was in her mid-60's.  Headaches of running a restaurant mounted over the years, and a beauty shop had moved in next door to him and complained that there was no parking in their shared lot when Tired Texan was open.  Tex thought that he'd had enough, but there was one last event that he felt he needed to stay open for.  

In 1996, the Summer Olympics were held in Atlanta, but a number of college football stadiums in the southeast were used for preliminary round soccer games.  Birmingham hosted seven of those matches at Legion Field, walking distance from Ellison's barbecue joint.  Many of the fans from other countries didn't come to Tired Texan BBQ, but for some reason the Mexican fans did.  And they spent a lot of money on his barbecue.  Once the Mexican national team was eliminated by eventual Olympic gold medal winner Nigeria in Birmingham, it wasn't long that Tex closed his doors to the Tired Texan BBQ.  

Tex couldn't shake the barbecue jones, however, and he was invited to open a small barbecue joint inside the local VFW hall in Birmingham.  He did that for a short while before he suddenly and mysteriously disappeared one evening in late 2001.  A few weeks later, Ellison's car - with him in it - was found in a river about 35 miles east of Birmingham.  A Honda automobile assembly plant had opened in Lincoln, AL, about 45 miles to the east of Birmingham, and Ellison had talked about putting up a trailer with a smoker to sell barbecue to workers at the plant there.  It was said that Ellison - who was diabetic - suffered a seizure or became disoriented during the drive between Birmingham and Lincoln when he went to check on things at the Honda plant and drove off the road and into the Coosa River.  Ellison was 72 at the time of his death.  

After learning from a mentor such as Tex Ellison, Chad Holland used his in-depth training at making Texas-style barbecue at various restaurants in the Birmingham area for a number of years.  When he would travel back to Omaha to visit Christine's family, he would try some of the barbecue joints in the city.  While he thought many of the places were good, he thought he could do something a little bit better.

Pictured at right - Christine and Chad Holland

A business opportunity opened in late 2016 when a Perkins location on Omaha's southwest side had closed and became available.  The Hollands felt that it was time to make their move back to Omaha and open their own place.  After renovations and the installation of barbecue smokers, the Hollands opened Tired Texan BBQ - the name was a homage to Tex Ellison and blessed by Ellison's widow for the Hollands to use.

Like any new restaurant, there are going to be growing pains and Tired Texan had their share.  Staying true to the methods Tex Ellison taught him as a teenager, Chip Holland cooked his meats low-and-slow.  Briskets and pork butts would take 15 to 18 hours to cook.  Ribs would take about 5 hours.  And his smoker capacity was limited at first.  On many days, Tired Texan would run out of meat before they were scheduled to close.  And after a favorable review came out in a local publication, more people would come to try his smoked meats.  And sometimes that meat would run out sometime after the lunch rush.  It angered many first time visitors who were greeted with "Sorry, Out of Food" signs hung on the door.  But barbecue purists knew that the best places usually do run out of meat early on.  However, once the Hollands were able to expand their smokers, continually running out of ribs, brisket or pork during the course of a day became a thing of the past.  

It was a little past 6 p.m. when I pulled into the parking lot of the Best Western Plus/Kelly Inn Hotel near the corner of S. 108th and L Streets.  (see map)  Tired Texan BBQ is attached to the hotel - a place I used to stay at from time to time when I would come out to Omaha for business a long number of years ago.  

As you enter, there's a bar area with corrugated metal facings on the bar. ى or 10 chairs were positioned at the bar with Edison lighting hanging from the ceiling over the bar itself.  I thought a moment of just sitting at the bar, but the place wasn't all that busy so I waited for a hostess so I could get a seat in the dining area.

A young lady came out from the kitchen area behind the bar and greeted me at the hostess stand.  She took me to a booth further back in the restaurant.  The walls were paneled with faux barn boards, but tastefully done.  The booths were spacious and comfortable.  Behind two rolling barn stall doors was another room that could be used for overflow or private gatherings.  

Another young lady by the name of Lisa came by to tell me that she'd be with me in a moment.  She came back a couple minutes later to take my drink order.  I got an IPA from the Pint Nine Brewing Company that is located a couple three miles just south of Tired Texan BBQ.  

The menu wasn't that deep in terms of barbecue offerings.  Tired Texan featured brisket, pulled pork and pork spare ribs for their barbecued meat offerings.  I was sort of surprised to not see smoked chicken or the Texas barbecue staple of sausage on the menu.  They did have barbecue sandwiches, a burger and a breaded chicken breast sandwich on the menu.  For appetizers, they had a couple interesting items that included the Texas Tumbleweeds - small deep-fried balls consisting of shredded potatoes, bacon and cheddar cheese and their Texas Loaded Fries that were fresh-cut French fries topped with a choice of either chopped brisket or pork and their house-made baked beans, then finished with smoked cheddar cheese and barbecue sauce.  That sounded great as a meal just by itself.

Lisa came back with my beer and to tell me about the special they had that evening - burnt ends with a choice of side and a corn muffin.  I was thinking of getting the two meat combo of pulled pork and brisket, but when she told me they had burnt ends I was sort of torn.  I asked her if there was a way I could get all three.  She said that they sell meat by themselves by the quarter pound.  "You can get the burnt end special and get a quarter pound each of the brisket and pulled pork," she explained to me.  

And that's exactly what I did.  For my side, I took the baked beans out of the choices of potato salad, fries, mac & cheese, creamed corn, cole slaw - your way: a choice of poppyseed, creamy, vinegar or peppercorn ranch mixed in.  The baked beans came with fried onions on top.  The meal was served on a small cookie sheet on a sheet of wax paper.  

The burnt ends were plump, juicy and had a great smoky flavor.  They were basted in Tired Texan's house barbecue sauce that had a sort of sweet and vinegary taste to it.  I thought the regular sauce was just OK.  Their "hot" sauce was similar in taste only more sassy with a bit more of a zippy flavor on the tongue.  It wasn't spicy, per se, but it definitely woke up my taste buds.  I liked it better than the regular sauce.

The pulled pork was moist and juicy, and it also had a great smoked flavor.  But the brisket was just outstanding.  The beef was tender and delicious.  It had a deep dark red smoke ring along the top near the bark.  With a bit of the hot barbecue sauce on all the meats, it was a wonderful taste explosion.  

The baked beans were very good, as well.  It turned out that the fried onions - the same kind you put on green bean casseroles at Thanksgiving time - were a nice touch that I had never seen before or even thought of as a companion with baked beans.  Adding some of the hot barbecue sauce zipped up the taste of the beans even more.  

Now, this was a LOT of food.  There was no way that I was going to be able to finish this meal in one sitting.  I didn't even touch the cornbread muffin - I don't care for cornbread all that much - and there was still a slice of brisket and similar sized piles of pulled pork and burnt ends left on the platter.  I had also finished just about four bites of the beans.  I thought I'd take the rest to go and have it for lunch the next day before I left Omaha.  

The only problem is that from the time that I got there just after 6 p.m. to the time I was finished eating, the place had filled up and filled up quickly.  The three young ladies - including Lisa - were running around in different directions, and quite frankly they forgot about me.  I was done, my dealer's event was starting in about 15 minutes and I wanted a to-go box and my check so I could get going.  It was finally about five to ten minutes after I really needed to be going that Lisa finally appeared with my check and I asked her for a to-go box.  It took her another five minutes for her to come back with my check and a box, then another five minutes for her to come back with my credit card once it had been run.  Suffice it to say that I was late getting back to my dealer's event.  But it didn't matter as it wasn't that well attended as we were just on the cusp of the "social distancing" phenomenon that is so very real in our world today.  

Other than them getting busy and forgetting about me, I have to say that my experience at Tired Texan BBQ was more than favorable.  The smoked meats I had - burnt ends, pulled pork and brisket - were all wonderfully delicious.  I especially liked the fried onion-topped baked beans for my side.  And it was a lot of food, as well.  I was able to have almost the same sized meal - my only one of the day - for lunch the next day.   I've had barbecue at a few places in Omaha over the years - some have since gone out of business - and I'd have to say that I may prefer Tired Texan BBQ to the other ones I've tried.  It would definitely be worth a try if you're in Omaha and looking for good barbecue.  

Virgil's Real BBQ - Las Vegas

I hadn't been out to Las Vegas in over three years before I had to go out earlier this year for a meeting/training session for my company a little over a month before the city was shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  I had gotten in during the afternoon, and after I got settled at my hotel - The Mirage - I decided to look for places to eat in the immediate area.  Vegas changes so quickly that three or four restaurants that I had enjoyed a few years back were out of business or had been changed into something else.  I found a barbecue place across the Las Vegas Strip from The Mirage in the LINQ Promenade called Virgil's Real BBQ.  In all the years that I have been coming to Las Vegas for trade shows and meetings since the mid-1980's, I don't think I had ever eaten barbecue in Las Vegas.  One doesn't think of barbecue when they're in Vegas, so it sort of intrigued me.  I thought I'd walk over to Virgil's Real BBQ and give the place a try.

It turns out that Virgil's Real BBQ is under the same corporate umbrella as Carmine's of Las Vegas, a place that I also ate at during my recent trip to Vegas and had written about here.   Virgil's got its start in New York City - also not really all that renown for their barbecue - after founder Artie Cutler was looking for other food concepts to explore after the success of his two New York City Carmine's restaurants.  With the help of a Chinese friend, he started Ollie's Noodle Shop and Grille, an Asian-American restaurant.  Artie had vision that a Southern-style barbecue restaurant would make it in the heart of New York City.  He discussed the idea with his two investment partners in Carmine's and his partner in Ollie's.  They all agreed that in order to have an authentic Southern barbecue restaurant, they needed to learn about those places.  And what better way than to have a weeks-long road trip along backroads in the South.

A few weeks later, the four men took off in a car for barbecue places in the south.  They traveled from the Carolinas across Tennessee to Memphis, then south to Texas, and then up to Missouri sampling barbecue along the way.   (Man, I think that would be a fun trip!)  You can almost imagine the looks of suspicion a Jewish guy, two Italian guys, and a Chinese guy would get when they would walk into a barbecue joint in the south.   After weeks of checking out and trying all different types of barbecue - as well as learning the tricks of the trade from some of the more friendly barbecue joint owners - the group felt they had a consensus in what meat to offer at their restaurant.  And, more importantly, how to make it.  

Artie and his partners came back to New York City and found a spot in Times Square just a block away from their Carmine's location.  With everything in place, Virgil's Real BBQ opened in 1994.  Cutler said that he named it after the starter at his golf club, hoping that it would get him premium tee times in the future.  (No word if that worked out for Culter, but I'm guessing it did.)  

Unfortunately, Artie Cutler passed away unexpectedly in 1997.  His wife, Alice, took over the Alicart Restaurant Group that Artie had formed to oversee his restaurants.  However, it wasn't long before Alice realized that she needed to have someone younger and with more ambition come in to run the restaurant group.  In 2008, Jeffrey Bank came on to become the CEO for the Alicart Restaurant Group and one of the first things he did was close or jettison some restaurants that were underperforming - including Ollie's.  However, he saw big things for expansion of the Carmine's and Virgil's restaurants, but not in New York City due to some stifling rules and regulations restaurants faced in the city.

Seeing that there was a need for restaurants in gambling and entertainment hot spots, Bank opened Carmine's locations in Atlantic City, Las Vegas and at the Atlantis casino/resort in the Bahamas.  He opened a second Virgil's Real BBQ in Atlantis in November of 2012, and the Las Vegas location opened in late 2016.  

The Las Vegas Virgil's is one of many restaurants and bars up and down the LINQ Promenade, a walkway that connects the Las Vegas strip with the High Roller, the world's largest observation wheel.  The High Roller stands 550 feet tall and it takes 30 minutes for it to make one complete revolution.  The LINQ Promenade also has a zipline that goes from one end to the other - the FlyLINQ.  It was sort of a cool evening in Las Vegas that night - it was windy and unseasonably cool when I flew in earlier in the day - and I didn't see many, if any, people using the FlyLINQ that evening.  But the LINQ Promenade was buzzing enough with people wandering around between bars, restaurants and casinos when I was walking through seeking out Virgil's.

I found Virgil's toward the east end of the Promenade (see map - the Google map here shows that its closer to Las Vegas Boulevard, but it's a lot closer to the High Roller than to the Strip).  To the left as you walk into the place, there's a main dining area with a stage at one end.  Some instruments were set up and it appeared that a live band was going to be playing there later on.  The acoustics of that room had to be atrocious as the dining room was loud to begin with with all the talking going on.  There was outdoor seating in front of the place and there was an upstairs area with a balcony patio for outside dining.  It was too cold for people to be eating outside that night.  

The bar area was off to the right of the front door.  The place seemed to have that corporate rustic look - like when a designer from New York envisions what a barbecue place in the south looks like.  I took a seat at the bar where a younger couple - who had evidently been there for a LONG time - had just gotten up to leave.  I had to dance out of my way of the staggering couple as I made my way toward the bar.  After getting seated at the bar, a young lady by the name of Kelsee came over to greet me.  She gave me a food menu and asked what I would like to drink.  They had the Sierra Nevada Hazy Little Thing IPA on tap and I signed up for one of those.  

When Artie Cutler and his partners took their little barbecue trip through the south, they adopted many of the items they had tried and put them on the menu at Virgil's.  There was Carolina-style pulled pork, Memphis-style baby-back ribs, Texas-style brisket, and Southern-style smoked pulled chicken on the menu for the main barbecue items.  They also had sandwiches made from the barbecued meats, burgers, and Louisiana-style Po' Boy sandwiches.  Virgil's also offered entrees such as crispy Kansas City-style fried chicken (they probably got their inspiration from Stroud's), Maryland-style crab cakes, Georgia-style chicken fried steak, and grilled Gulf Coast shrimp.  And if you didn't care for food from south of the Mason-Dixon line, then there was a 20 ounce T-Bone steak available on the menu, as well.  

As I usually do at a barbecue joint that I'm not all that familiar with, I go with the combination platter.  But this time, I decided to just go with the brisket platter.  (They had a combo platter called the "Pig Out" that featured brisket, ribs, smoked chicken, and pulled pork.  That would have been a little too much for me.) For my sides, I had a choice of a number of items - fries, collard greens with ham hock, mashed potatoes with gravy, cheddar cheese grits, and rice with sliced pecans were some of the choices.  I ended up ordering the baked beans and the pickled beets for my two sides.  

The brisket came sliced and placed on slice of white bread.  A bit of barbecue sauce was ladled on top of the meat.  I asked Kelsee if there was any other kind of barbecue sauce and she came over with three different styles - the regular sauce that was already on the brisket was sort of sweet with a hint of a smoky taste.  They had a hot sauce that was similar to the regular only with a bit of a kick.  But they had a habanero mango sauce that I was a little apprehensive about at first.  Some habanero-infused sauces I've had in the past are almost too spicy and they really mask the taste of the meats.  But this was a nice balance between the hot spicy kick and the cooling of the mango that was added.  Actually, I thought the habanero mango sauce was - by far - the best of the three.  

The brisket was just all right.  It was a little chewy and didn't seem to have that much of a smoky taste to the meat.  There wasn't much of a smoke ring around the outer part of the brisket and the bark on the outside was pretty pedestrian.  It certainly wasn't the best brisket I've had.  

The pickled beets were very good, however.  I never really liked pickled beets much while I was growing up, but my wife turned me onto her grandmother's canned pickled beets about 25 years ago.  While she was still alive, she would give us jar upon jar of pickled beets in the fall months.  Her grandmother's pickled beets are my gold standard when it comes to pickled beets.  Now, I don't think that a little old lady is back in the kitchen at Virgil's canning pickled beets, but wherever they get theirs from, they're damned good.  

The baked beans were sort of "meh!"  I poured copious amounts of the habanero mango sauce in with the beans to give them a little bit more flavor.  It helped, but not by much.  

Now, take a good look at the platter in the picture above.  There were - maybe - 10 or 11 thick cut slices of smoked brisket.  It was probably a half-pound of meat or maybe a little more.  This platter cost $29.95.  $29.95.  When I got the bill, I about gasped!  This platter of barbecued brisket with two sides was nowhere worth the price of what I got compared to other barbecue places I've enjoyed in my years of traveling.  I almost had to laugh when I got the bill - with 2 pints of the Sierra Nevada Hazy Little Thing IPA at $9.75 each, the total on the bill before tax and tip was $49.45!  I was completely incredulous.  I remember a time in Las Vegas where you could get a steak with a baked potato and a salad for $7.99 at one of any casino up and down the strip.  The price of my meal at Virgil's was basically six of those old time Las Vegas meals.  

Well, there's a part two to this story.  The next evening, we all had to go out to an EDM (electronic dance music) recording studio on the southwest side of Las Vegas that our company has turned into a showcase for our pro studio monitors.  We had food that was going to be catered in and when the truck showed up, I about crapped - it was from Virgil's Real BBQ!   I just started to laugh and shake my head.  One of my colleagues looked at me and asked what was so funny.  "I had barbecue from this place last night," I said.  He asked me if it was good and I said, "Well, it was OK, but it was REALLY expensive."

They had brisket (naturally) and pulled chicken to choose from.  I had the brisket - again.  But this time, it was actually better than the brisket I had the previous evening.  It was actually more moist and had a good smoky taste to it.  The studio was not set up very well for a large group of people - maybe 40 of us in total - to be eating barbecue.  It was just a somewhat surreal experience for me that I was having Virgil's Real BBQ two nights in a row.  

The Las Vegas edition of Virgil's Real BBQ was just average, at best, in my book.  At least, compared to some of the great barbecue places I've eaten at in the Midwest and down in Memphis.  And it was expensive - almost obscenely expensive - for what I got.  The brisket I had on my visit was just OK (although the catered brisket I had from Virgil's the subsequent evening was much better), but the pickled beets I had for my side were the highlight of the meal.  They rivaled in taste my wife's late-grandmother's pickled beets that I enjoyed over 20 years ago.  There's not a lot of barbecue to choose from in Vegas and Virgil's will do if you need a BBQ fix while you're in Sin City.  Just don't forget to bring your wallet.  

50 States of Pizza Slices

What’s really the greatest thing since sliced bread? Pizza, by the slice. Foldable triangles of tomato sauce- and cheese-topped dough was one of the original street foods to be adopted by New Yorkers. Since it’s humble Big Apple beginnings, slices have spread across the country adapting to local flavors, ingredients and styles of dining. From Roman al taglio to classic New York triangles, here are 50 slices to try around the United States.

Related To:

Photo By: Will Blunt/Star Chefs

Photo By: Intern Andrews Agency


Photo By: The Restaurant Project

Virginia: Wiseguy Pizza

After years of turning failing pizzerias around, Tony Nuri Erol decided to throw out his winning formula to start over from scratch. He traveled to New York, New Jersey and even Italy to explore different methods for pizza preparation. The results of his research can be tasted in the pizza he serves at Wiseguy. It all starts with the water. Before adding it to his dough, Erol filters the local Arlington water to mimic the famous liquid flowing through New York City&rsquos taps. His pizza-making process also entails fermenting and proofing the dough for at least 24 hours. This careful attention to detail also carries over to the ingredient list. To wit, Erol uses hand-pulled mozzarella that is stretched on-site every day. The resulting pizza contains all the qualities of NYC&rsquos best pies: lightly charred slices that are crisp and thin yet still firm enough to fold over.

New Hampshire: Alley Cat

Like kitties to catnip, customers are drawn to the hand-tossed pizzas served at Alley Cat. This Manchester mainstay has consistently ranked as a top pick in local and national publications for its feline-inspired pies. Individual slices come in just two options &mdash plain cheese and pepperoni &mdash but the impeccable thin-crust alone makes them just as worthy of attention as the specialty pies. If you&rsquore game to commit to an entire pie, the most-popular picks include the Aztec Cat with buffalo chicken and blue cheese the Fat Cat with barbecue chicken and red onion and the Stray Cat with eggplant and ricotta.

Florida: Steve's Pizza

Frequently referred to as &ldquothe sixth borough,&rdquo South Florida has all the NYC staples expat New Yorkers need to survive&hellip including pizza by the slice. The Brooklyn-worthy slices at Steve&rsquos are what elevated this neighborhood spot established in 1974 into a North Miami destination. Sweet and tangy tomato sauce accents a simple thin-crust base, which is both crisp on the outside and springy within. While pepperoni is the most-popular pick, the bustling shop offers 22 of the freshest &mdash and best &mdash pizza toppings that can be found south of the Hudson.

Alaska: Moose's Tooth Pub & Pizzeria

Rock climber Rod Hancock and skier Matt Jones spent their university years in Portland, Oregon, at the early heyday of the craft beer scene, scheming and dreaming about how they would break into the biz with a pizza pub. Hancock perfected his pies and Jones geeked out over homebrews before opening Moose's Tooth in Anchorage in 1996. The place is perennially packed, thanks to its selection of house-brewed suds and piping-hot pies. Stop in at lunch to get pizza by the slice. In addition to the standard options like classic cheese, pepperoni or white, there's a rotating daily special. Keep an eye out for the Avalanche, a meaty slice piled with pepperoni, blackened chicken, bacon, red onions, parsley, three different cheeses and barbecue sauce.

South Carolina: Slice Co.

When Todd Lucey and his wife took a trip to Charleston to visit friends in 2015, they fell head over heels for the city&rsquos Southern-tinged charm. About a year later, in a leap of faith, they relocated to Chucktown. When the couple was unable to find slices quite like home in their newly adopted city, Lucey took it upon himself to bring authentic New York pizza down south. On May 5, 2017, he opened Slice Co. inside Workshop, an exploratory food court in North Charleston, then moved the shop to a permanent location along Savannah Highway. He hasn't looked back. The shop sells more pepperoni slices and whole pies than anything else in about a two to one margin, but the square Grandma slice is starting to pick up steam.

Washington: Princi

The combination of carefully sourced small-lot coffee and meticulously made Italian fare offered by the Starbucks Reserve Princi collaboration is proving to be a siren call of the artisanal sort for Seattle locals. They&rsquove been flocking to the Starbucks Reserve Roastery in droves for famed Italian baker Rocco Princi&rsquos flaky cornetti, freshly baked bread and, of course, his flavorful focaccia pizza. Each one is layered with vibrant housemade pomodoro sauce, then topped with an impeccable array of Italian ingredients like imported mozzarella di bufala, speck, twenty-month-aged prosciutto, Scamorza cheese, roasted eggplant and a rainbow of pepper varieties. These traditional Italian rectangular-shaped pies are served al taglio, literally translating to &ldquoby the cut,&rdquo so you can indulge in just a slice &mdash or as many variations as you&rsquod like.

Georgia: Fellini's Pizza

The $2.75 slices served at Fellini's have reached Atlanta icon status. Not only are these massive slices affordable, but they're also available until the wee hours of the morning. It has proven to be a winning formula for the cherished New York-style pizzeria, which has grown from one shop in 1982 to a total of six locales throughout A-Town today. Order the local favorite, Fellini's Special. Available by the pie or the slice, the namesake pizza comes loaded with pepperoni, mushrooms, Italian sausage, onions, meatballs, green peppers, black olives, green olives and extra cheese.

Kentucky: The Post

This pizzeria and craft brew joint is about as cool as it gets. Opened in 2015, it&rsquos located in a former VFW Post in one of Louisville&rsquos hippest &lsquohoods. Renovations have left the space a bit sleeker, but Americana accents throughout pay homage to the building&rsquos past life as a hangout for veterans. The spot is known for its chill atmosphere and elevated bar fare. The menu features a rotating selection of American craft beer, subs, salads and specialty pies. According to owner Nash Neely, the New York-style slices are the &ldquobest thing on the menu.&rdquo Options include cheese and pepperoni, along with a slice of the day that can range from a typical topping trio of sausage, mushroom and roasted red pepper to unexpected riffs like bacon, giardiniera and pineapple atop a beer cheese base.

Illinois: Pie-Eyed Pizzeria

The family behind Pie-Eyed Pizzeria has combined their love of guitar riffs and great slices at this Chicago River West spot. In addition to the band flyers that adorn the space, their musical inspirations are apparent in the selection of thin-crust and deep-dish pizza that pays homage to heavy metal and rock bands. Their Black Sabbath Pizza and Red Hot Chili Pie have both been featured on local news segments. And one of their best-sellers was dedicated to Gwar when the band headlined Riot Fest. This amped-up take on a typical supreme pizza features hot soppressata, applewood-smoked bacon, Italian sausage, pepperoni, red bell peppers and extra sauce. With slices and pies available until 5 a.m. on weekends, it&rsquos the perfect post-concert stop.

Arkansas: Vino's Brewpub

Known as Little Rock&rsquos first brewpub, Vino&rsquos has been drawing the crowds with its combination of live music shows, house-brewed beers and New York-style pizza since 1993. The mushroom and Italian sausage pizza alone has earned a legion of local fans. This fan favorite features a sturdy yet chewy, foldable crust evenly spread with chopped mushrooms and bits of savory meat. Even specialty pizzas like the Muffaletta are available by the slice, so you can find out what the fuss is about without having to commit to an entire pie. And with no silverware necessary, Vino&rsquos slices are perfect for devouring while getting your dance on.

Louisiana: Pizza Delicious

Native New Yorkers Mike Friedman and Greg Augarten met as undergrads at Tulane University in New Orleans. They loved NOLA and its food culture, but they did have one major concern &mdash they couldn't find pizza like home in their adopted city. The duo decided to take matters into their own hands. Inspired by their favorite slice joints, they started Pizza Delicious as a pop-up pizzeria. It proved to be so popular that they moved the operation into a permanent brick-and-mortar space in 2012. Today, the pair offers housemade pastas and a rotating cast of specialty pizzas (like spicy marinated kale), in addition to their classic cheese, pepperoni and margherita, most of which are available by the slice.

Arizona: Otto Pizza & Pastry

For more than two decades, this family-owned restaurant helmed by Otto Hobeheidar has been churning out impeccable pastas and pizzas in a casual setting. Hobeheidar is a Paris native, but he certainly knows his way around a New York-style slice. Every ten minutes, he pulls a fresh pie out of the oven to be used specifically for slices. Made of house-made dough topped with sweet tomato sauce and high-quality mozzarella cheese, his pies are always piping-hot and glistening with just the right amount of grease. For an extra 59 cents per topping, you can customize your slice with add-ons like spinach, artichokes, feta and meatballs.

Texas: Home Slice Pizza

Foodwise, Austin has it all: mind-blowing tacos, upscale sushi, world class barbecue. Yet the Live Music Capital of the World wasn&rsquot fully onboard with New York-style slices until 2005. That&rsquos the year New York University college roommates Terri Hannifin Buis and Jen Strickland converted Austin&rsquos masses with their spin on the slice. Along with Jen&rsquos husband Joseph, the team brought enormous, foldable slices to Congress Avenue. These crisp triangles are served on plain paper plates, which adds to the air of New York authenticity. Every day, guests can pick from regular cheese, pepperoni, margherita and up to four other specialty slices, ranging from crispy eggplant pie (a lesser known Big Apple staple) to New Haven-inspired white clam.

California: The Cheese Board Collective

Shortly after this cheese shop and bakery opened its doors in 1967, workers began combining dough and cheese for their own lunches. Customers noticed and wanted in on the action, so the shop began making and serving unique vegetarian pizzas on sourdough crust. The pizza option changes daily, but they have come up with about 60 different variations so far, many of which have been a celebration of California cuisine. Fan favorites have included heirloom tomato with Montalban cheese fresh corn with pasilla chile and feta peach and blue cheese and wild mushrooms with French chevre. With its impeccable selection of pizzas, cheeses and baked goods, it&rsquos no wonder that this worker-owned collective has long been considered a cornerstone of Berkeley&rsquos artisan-focused Gourmet Ghetto area.

Tennessee: Five Points Pizza

David and Tara Tierman quit their day jobs in 2011 to follow their bliss: pizza. Now recovering attorneys, the couple teamed up with their lifelong friend (and experienced restaurateur) Tanner Jacobs to bring New York-style pies to East Nashville&rsquos hip Five Points neighborhood. The trio traverse familiar terrain with straightforward classics like the ever-popular pepperoni slice, but also veer into gourmet territory with the likes of hot capicola and spicy habanero cream sauce. No matter your pick, the pies are big, slices are huge and the ingredients are always fresh. The place has been such a hit, the team is opening second location to keep up with demand.

Michigan: The Original Buscemi's

What started as a party supply store and sub shop in 1956 has morphed into one of Metro Detroit's longest-running pizzerias. Located on the outskirts of Motor City in Eastpointe, The Original Buscemi's is one of the few local spots that offers slices of Detroit's famous thick-crusted square pizza made in the traditional style of cheese first, then sauce. It all starts with fresh dough that's made daily. The dough is blanketed with a thick layer of 100% real mozzarella Grande cheese, then slathered with homemade tomato sauce made from vine-ripened California tomatoes. Many of the pizzas are also finished with a flurry of dry-aged pepperoni. Once ready, the pizza is cooked until the crust turns golden and chewy and the cheese begins bubbling down the sides.

Colorado: Boss Lady Pizza

Set right on Boulder's University Hill, this creative pizzeria is a favorite late-night haunt for local students. The pizzas themselves seem as though they've sprung from a late-night hallucination. Thin, New York-style crusts come adorned with such unusual options as macaroni noodles, tater tots, alfredo and the shop's signature chipotle ranch Bossy Sauce. The spot offers a dizzying selection of about 50 different specialty pies, which are all available by the slice. One standout is the MoFo Hawaiian, a barbecue sauce base coated with Grande mozzarella cheese, red onion, ham, pineapple, bacon, asiago and parsley.

Connecticut: Da Legna Pizzeria

New Haven may be known as one of America&rsquos preeminent pizza cities, hailed for its white clam pies and thin, chewy crusts. It is not, however, a slice town. If you want to get in on the New Haven pizza action, you&rsquove usually got to commit to an entire pie. Fortunately, Da Legna fills the void of individual cuts by offering slices on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays during lunch. Chef Daniel Parillo opened this wood-fired place in 2012. The son of Italian immigrants who grew up in Connecticut, Parillo has found a way to bring together the tastes of these two worlds via his pizza. The New Haven-meets-Neapolitan pies come adorned with local (whenever possible) and imported ingredients like San Daniele cured meats, San Marzano tomatoes and buffalo mozzarella.

Delaware: Café SíTALY

In the United States, most purveyors of pizza by the slice focus on New York City-style pies. Café SíTALY&rsquos Alessandro Spenato does sell those foldable thin-crust slices, but his real infatuation is old-fashioned crispino. In Italy, home cooks who do not have access to a brick oven or pizza stone cook rectangular dough in a pan. In the Big Apple, that thin and crispy square, which looks kind of like Sicilian but without the thick bready base, is known as Grandma-style. &ldquoWe may not be the only ones to make this unique style of pizza outside of a home kitchen or the streets of Brooklyn,&rdquo says Spennato. &ldquoI can assure you that ours is the best.&rdquo And yes, customers can sample a slice.

Hawaii: JJ Dolan's

When Danny Dolan and JJ Niebuhr decided to open a restaurant in Honolulu, they knew they wanted to keep it simple. The premise for their place? Pizza and beer in a relaxing, clean environment. They realized their idea with JJ Dolan&rsquos. The place quickly became a neighborhood favorite, serving craft brews and East Coast-style pies inspired by Niebuhr&rsquos Jersey City roots. The menu features classics like Margherita, Jersey white, and spinach and garlic. Combine any two styles in one pie with the half-and-half pizza. Don&rsquot want a whole pie? Stick with the Cheese or Classic Pepperoni, which are available by the slice.

Idaho: Piehole Pizza

Owner Russ Crawforth's inspiration for Piehole came during a trip to San Francisco in 2005. When he stumbled across the 3 a.m. crowds at Pizza Orgasmica, he saw a line stretched all the way down the block. Instantly, Crawforth knew he had to create the kind of pizza that would inspire that same late-night enthusiasm in his hometown of Boise, Idaho. Open all day and into the early hours of the morning, Piehole offers a solid selection of pizza. Classic slices like cheese and pepperoni share the menu with creative combos like basil-roasted bell pepper and potato-bacon (pictured above). Crawforth also keeps it fresh with a rotating slice of the day.

Kansas: D'Bronx

In 1990, D&rsquoBronx established itself as a New York-style slice shop serving busy employees and med students at nearby University of Kansas Medical Center. The from-scratch pies proved to be so popular that the operation has since expanded to three more locations in the Kansas City metro area. East Coast deli items like brisket and corned beef are part of D&rsquoBronx&rsquos draw, but pizza accounts for more than half of the restaurant&rsquos sales. A fan favorite is the shop&rsquos namesake D&rsquoBronx Special, a thin-crust pizza topped with spicy pepperoni, Italian sausage, meatballs, Canadian bacon, mushrooms, onions, natural ripe olives and green peppers. It&rsquos available by the slice or as a pie.

Iowa: Mesa Pizza

When owner Luis Hernandez founded this Iowa City shop in 2006, his goal was to offer customers pizza combos they wouldn't be able to find anywhere else. He has realized his plan with a unique selection that includes such pairings as steak and guacamole with Southwest sauce and cheddar cheese. The pizzeria offers more than 100 different types of slices to customers at any given time. While there are plenty of picks, the most-popular selections tend to be chicken-centric: Barbecue Chicken Bacon Ranch, Buffalo Chicken and Thai Chicken. Oh, and mac lovers, don't miss out on the Macaroni and Cheese.

Maine: Otto Pizza

Hailed for its perfectly thin and crisp crusts cooked in a 650-degree oven, Otto consistently ranks as one of the best pizza places in Maine. Every slice at Otto comes stacked with high-quality ingredients that are locally sourced whenever possible. Basic pepperoni is the most-popular pick, followed by The Masher. Inspired by the tastes of a traditional dinner side, this slice features a mix of mashed potato, bacon and scallions. The combination of superb crusts and stellar toppings has earned Otto much success. Since opening on Portland's hip Congress Street in 2009, owners Mike Keon and Anthony Allen have expanded their operation to an additional five locations in the Pine Tree State, as well as another half dozen spots in neighboring Massachusetts.

Maryland: Mario's Original Pizza & Pasta

Two words: tortellini pizza. This Baltimore spot takes the concept of mac &lsquon&rsquo cheese pie to the next level by topping cheese pizza with tri-colored tortellini. That creative combo has proven to be the most-popular pick at this cheery counter-serve space. A close second is the Meat Lovers option loaded with pepperoni, sausage, ham, bacon and ground beef. Mario&rsquos has mastered the art of a crisp browned crust slathered in a bright sauce, which means you&rsquoll have a stellar slice even if you strip away all the rich toppings. Both the pepperoni and cheese options may well be this spot&rsquos sleeper hits.

Minnesota: Hello Pizza

The inspiration for this Minneapolis slice shop started flickering to life during meals on a shabby couch in New York City. It was there that then-student Ann Kim scarfed down many a slice, which in turn sparked the passion for New York-style pizza that inspired her second restaurant endeavor. In 2013, Chef Kim debuted her ode to the pizza of the Big Apple with the opening of Hello Pizza in the Mini Apple. The shop stands out for its careful attention to the craft, ingredients and, most importantly, grease that have come to define the quintessential New York slice. The menu features a mix of salads, meatball subs and pizza, of course. Sicilian-style and thin-crust pies can be customized with a slew of toppings, which include Berkshire bacon, Kalamata olives and organic spinach. Prefer to leave the combinations to the pros? Opt for a specialty pie like the top-selling Hello Trinity, which blends sweet red sauce with whole milk mozzarella, house-made fennel sausage, natural casing pepperoni and cremini mushrooms on a dense, chewy crust.

Massachusetts: Antonio's Pizza By The Slice

A kaleidoscope of colorfully topped slices beckons from the glass-front case at this beloved slice shop. Long a favorite of university students from the Five College Area, this pizzeria lures the crowds with its multi-page menu of specialty pies sold by the slice. Antonio's features more than a dozen vegetarian combinations alone, with choices that include a classic mozzarella option simply topped with basil and tomatoes, a Florentine slice festooned with spinach and feta cheese, and a quesadilla-inspired creation heaped with avocado slices and nacho chips. The rest of the extensive menu is divided into categories that include meat, pesto, chicken and salad.

Montana: Tarantino's Pizza

At Tarantino&rsquos Pizza, you better grab that slice when you see it. All four locales turn out a varied selection of pizzas that switch up throughout the day, so once a pie has been devoured, a totally different option will take its place in the display case. Sought-after combos include the Blanca strewn with chicken, bacon, garlic, a mozzarella-white cheddar mix and a signature sauce composed of Alfredo and Caesar dressing. Prefer a spicier option? Keep an eye out for the Red Hot topped with fiery hot chicken, green peppers, onions and plenty of the hot sauce that inspired its name. These one-of-a-kind pies are what&rsquos helped this local company grow from one locale to four over the past 14 years.

Mississippi: Sal & Mookie's New York Pizza and Ice Cream Joint

When Chef Daniel Blumenthal and Jeff Good opened Sal & Mookie&rsquos in 2007, they brought the City of Jackson something it was sorely missing: authentic New York City pizza. These pies aren&rsquot just good for Mississippi &mdash they&rsquore just damn good, period. The team put a painstaking amount of research into their pizza recipe, coming up with a key list of ingredients (King Arthur flour, whole milk mozzarella and imported Italian tomatoes) and just the right ratio of dough to sauce to cheese. Every pie is cooked in a brick-lined, gas-fired oven to ensure a crust that&rsquos both chewy and crisp. Pro tip: Stop in for the lunchtime slice special and don&rsquot leave without a scoop from the full-sized ice cream parlor in the middle of the restaurant.

Missouri: Waldo Pizza

What&rsquos better than a slice? All the slices! That&rsquos what you&rsquoll find at this Kansas City spot, which offers an all-you-can-eat lunch buffet stocked with salads, pastas and multiple types of pizza from 11am to 2 pm daily. It&rsquos one of the few places in Missouri where guests can sample St. Louis-style &lsquoza by the slice. The city&rsquos signature pies are characterized by their paper-thin crusts and Provel cheese, a processed blend of Swiss, cheddar and provolone. At Waldo Pizza, they add whole milk mozzarella and muenster to the mix.

Nebraska: Yia Yia's Pizza and Beer

Talk about groundbreaking: When Yia Yia&rsquos opened its doors in 1993, it was Lincoln&rsquos first pizzeria to offer thin-crust by the slice. The place continues to draw the crowds with its customizable pies that can be tweaked with different toppings, cheeses and sauces to suit each customer&rsquos preference. Pretty much every kind of pie on the menu is available by the slice, even the specialty pizzas like The Local. This popular pick comes loaded with a meat-lovers&rsquo combo of bacon, hamburger, pepperoni and sausage, along with mushroom, bell pepper and onion, all piled atop a marinara and mozzarella base. Once you choose your slice, don&rsquot sleep on the impeccable beer selection that favors craft brews. There are more than 350 bottled beer options available, along with an ever-changing array of drafts.

New York: L&B Spumoni Gardens

New Yorkers can find a great slice on nearly every corner. But many still make the trek to this Brooklyn institution that&rsquos been in existence for more than 70 years. Located in the borough&rsquos Bensonhurst neighborhood, this local landmark is composed of an ice cream parlor, red sauce restaurant and pizzeria. And it&rsquos the pizzeria&rsquos World Famous L&B Sicilian slice that has arguably elevated this place into a pizza-lovers&rsquo destination. This slice sets itself apart with an upside-down composition. The cheese is sprinkled right on top of the dough, which is then layered with a sweet tomato sauce and finished with a flurry of salty Parmesan flakes on top. When it&rsquos pulled out the oven, the thick crust is lightly browned around the edges with a springy center. It&rsquos certainly not your typical New York slice &mdash but fans swear it&rsquos better.

Nevada: Slice House by Tony Gemignani

A 12-time World Pizza Champion, Tony Gemignani has mastered the art of the pie. He&rsquos hailed for his classic American, Italian, Sicilian and Neapolitan pizzas, all of which can be sampled by the slice at this casual offshoot of his acclaimed sit-down restaurant Pizza Rock. Slice House offers a number of standout options &mdash among them are the classic square Grandma slice covered in cheese and tomato the Picante loaded with spicy meat, pepper and Cholula sauce and the savory Purple Potato accented with bacon, mozzarella, feta, rosemary and a pesto swirl.

New Jersey: Dominick’s Italian Restaurant & Pizzeria

While New York City gets all the pizza cred, New Jersey&rsquos pizzaiolos can stand up to the best of the Big Apple contenders. And set yourself apart in the Garden State, you&rsquove gotta know your dough. Peter and Sal Lombardo, owners of Dominick&rsquos, certainly do. They learned the trade in the Carroll Gardens neighborhood of Brooklyn &mdash basically the pizza mecca of the United States &mdash before opening up shop in Jersey. Their pizzeria is now known as the oldest one in Sussex County. The duo sell a fantastic Brooklyn pizza that&rsquos a bit on the spicy side, as well as the rare New York-style Palermo square pie with marinara, red onions, herbs and spices.

New Mexico: Back Road Pizza

Taste a thin-crust pizza at this neighborhood restaurant and you may detect a tinge of Santa Fe&rsquos signature flavors, from the flour crusts rolled in cornmeal to the locally-sourced ingredients that adorn many of the slices and pies. Topping choices include New Mexico green chiles, as well as beef and pork sourced from ranchers in the region. And the spot&rsquos sauces, dressings and signature dough are all made in-house. The pizza dough alone has won this place a legion of local followers, as well as featured media spots that include an appearance on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.

North Carolina: Pie Pushers

Pie Pushers has been pushing pies on Durham locals since 2011. Owners Becky and Mike Hacker combine their respective Midwestern and New England roots with a bit of regional flair. Their specialty pies, available by the slice, bring local produce and meats together with artisanal ingredients from across the country. For instance, their 1243 pie features a mix of salami with pistachios, bell peppers, caramelized red onions, smoked gouda and mozzarella with tomato sauce on a hand-tossed New England-style crust. A standout from the start, this pizza operation began as a food truck before branching into a brick-and-mortar restaurant, and later, a pizza concession stand in the Durham Bulls Athletic Park.

North Dakota: Spicy Pie

New York-style pies on the Midwest prairie is what you&rsquoll find at this North Dakota fixture that&rsquos a favorite of locals. When Spicy Pie&rsquos first shop opened in Downtown Fargo in 2010, it filled the need for pizza by the slice in the steadily growing city. Today, the operation has six locations across the state. Unlike many pizzerias that only offer basic options by the slice (like simple cheese or pepperoni), this place features an extensive selection that can be customized with any toppings from the menu. All their specialty pies are also available by the slice, including the Margherita, The Carnivore and the Chicken Bacon Ranch. There&rsquos more to the menu than just pizza, but the jumbo, foldable slices and 18-inch pies are definitely the all-stars.

Oklahoma: Empire Slice House

You know you&rsquore doing something right when locals tattoo themselves with your logo. This OKC slice shop has such an intense following that more than 65 fans have gotten inked with Empire Slice House &ldquoE&rdquo tattoos. Around six different slice options are available daily at this &lsquo90s hip-hop themed restaurant, which also offers whole pies. The slice selection rotates regularly. One day, it might be the Ghostface Killah with searing ghost chili marinara, pepperoni and poblano sprinkled with barbecue chips. Another day, it could be the Spuds MacKenzie, a retro blend of Cheez Whiz (yes, Cheez Whiz), roasted potato, bacon, jalapenos and cheddar topped with scallions and sour cream.

Oregon: Sizzle Pie

Sizzle Pie was founded in 2011 by two friends from the music and art community who both have a passion for pizza. The place readily embraces all the things the Michael "Mikey" McKennedy and Matt Jacobson have loved since they were kids: rock &lsquon&rsquo roll, rad art and that pizza party spirit. With a belief that pizza is for everyone, this East Coast-meets-West Coast pizzeria serves slices and pies in a wide array of vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options. Popular slices range from the salami, ricotta and pepperoncini-laden Ol&rsquo Dirty to the vegan Spiral Tap with house-made creamy caramelized onion spread, red sauce and cheesy-tasting nutritional yeast.

Pennsylvania: Primanti Bros.

Primanti Bros. is arguably Pittsburgh&rsquos most famous dining establishment. Founded in 1933, this 24-hour spot has long drawn hungry hoards at all hours of the day and night for its massive sandwiches piled high with French fries and cradled on soft Italian bread. While the original Strip District location sticks to its storied sandwiches, the newly franchised company offers pizza at many of its more recently opened locations. The Waterfront store offers its perfectly greasy thin-crust slices for just $1.50 during both weekday lunch and happy hour. Those crisp, al dente slices are covered with tangy tomato sauce and cheese, then topped with traditional accoutrements such as sausage, pepperoni, anchovies or mushrooms.

Rhode Island: The Pizza Gourmet

Following the ethos of the Providence grilled pizza tradition, this modest counter-serve restaurant cooks its pies over oak and maple hardwood at 1800 degrees. Doing so gives its crisp crusts that signature char and infuses its gourmet toppings with the subtle scent of a smoky campfire. Pies feature classic but rare flavor combinations in picks like the Fig Prosciutto with paper-thin shreds of Italian ham, fig puree, crumbled gorgonzola and arugula with a balsamic drizzle. It&rsquos sweet and savory with some nice funk definitely worth a try. But, here, even the simple margherita is truly sublime.

Wisconsin: Ian's Pizza on State

Mac &lsquon Cheese, tater tots, smoked brisket: the toppings at this Wisconsin pizzeria sound like they were dreamt up at a late-night party in a college dorm. Whether they were or not, we can&rsquot say for sure. But we do know that you&rsquoll probably find plenty of colorful biodegradable Ian&rsquos boxes in dorm bins on Saturday and Sunday mornings. The place serves more than a dozen quirky specialty pies, all of which are sold in 12-, 16- and 20-inch pies, as well as by the slice. That&rsquos what makes it a favorite among local students at University of Wisconsin-Madison, who scarf down comforting creations like the signature Mac &lsquon Cheese slice or the Drunken Ravioli, which combines vodka sauce, Mozzarella, Asiago, and yes, actual cheese ravioli.

South Dakota: R-Pizza

Back when it opened its doors in 1968, R-Pizza was the first ever pizzeria to hit Vermillion, South Dakota. Fifty years in, the place is still going strong. It is the late-night haunt for local college kids looking to refuel &mdash or soak up the booze &mdash with a slice of pepperoni after a night out at the bars. Individual slabs are only available on weekend evenings, but the place is worthy of a visit any time of day. Everything is made from scratch. The dough is mixed on the premises and cooks shred their own cheese. Plus, they try to use as many local and organic ingredients as South Dakota&rsquos growing season will allow.

Vermont: Ramunto’s Brick Oven Pizza

This mini-chain of pizzerias has been steadily spreading the gospel of the New York-style slice throughout the New England region, with locations in Vermont, New Hampshire and Massachusetts. Ramunto&rsquos pies are cooked in a brick oven to give the crust that distinctive crisp bottom and springy bite. Each one is topped with whole-milk mozzarella &mdash no cheddar or fillers in sight. And unlike most other Vermont pizzerias, Ramunto&rsquos offers multiple options by the slice. Pepperoni is the top-selling pick, but those in the know opt for a slice of the signature garlic knot pizza. Creamy mozzarella balances out a bright mix of tomato sauce, minced garlic, fresh sliced tomato and fresh basil leaves ringed by a circle of garlic knots perched along the edge of the crust.

West Virginia: Pies and Pints

This mini-chain with the clever name focuses on two things: pizza and beer. It clearly was ahead of its time when it debuted in Fayetteville in 2003, offering creative toppings and a near-encyclopedic selection of craft brews (seriously, they even put together a guide of beer styles to help customers navigate the menu). The concept proved to be so popular that Pies and Pints now has 13 locations spread across five states. Most of the pizza options are only available as whole pies, but both cheese and pepperoni can be ordered as single slices on weekdays until 2 pm, along with a daily special that rotates regularly. Pro tip: Stop in on Fridays for a grape and gorgonzola slice.

Wyoming: Pinky G’s Pizzeria

Tourists and locals alike pack into Pinky G&rsquos for a taste of the one-of-a-kind pizza that the Jackson Hole joint has been serving since 2011. You can even score the same popular options that Guy Fieri sampled when the restaurant appeared on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. Want to follow Guy&rsquos lead? Opt for the Funky Chicken (a panini-like combination of marinated chicken breasts, ricotta, red onions, artichoke hearts and mozzarella smothered in basil pesto) or the Ferris Bueller-inspired Abe Froman Pizza that pairs spicy sausage fit for the original Sausage King of Chicago with buffalo mozzarella and fresh chopped basil.

Utah: The Pie Pizzeria

A true local&rsquos secret, this subterranean restaurant is hidden beneath the University Pharmacy, just steps away from the University of Utah. You pretty much need to know exactly where to look if you hope to find the gateway to some great slices &mdash The Pie only has one sign hidden behind a wall on South 1320 East. But the hunt is worth it. Since 1980, the spot has been turning out pizzas made from hand-tossed dough dressed up with innovative flavor combinations. To wit, the Wise Guy is layered with cream cheese, fresh spinach, artichokes, chicken breast, mozzarella and tangy marina, then baked and topped with even more tomatoes, fresh-cut basil and a drizzle of sweet Balsamic reduction. If you&rsquore lucky, you may even be able to score it as a slice of the day (this special option switches up daily).

Alabama: Tortugas Homemade Pizza

Pizza is a shared passion for the Vizcaino family. Carlos and Carol met while working at a pizza joint in Chicago back in the 1980s. They married, started a family and then relocated to Birmingham with a plan to introduce the Windy City's stuffed pizza to the Magic City. The Vizcainos realized their dream with Tortugas, which has become the go-to pizzeria for decadent slices in Birmingham since opening in 1999. Their hand-tossed pizza is so in demand that the couple's son, Matt, opened a second locale in 2017. Both spots offer thin-crust slices, but if it's an authentic taste of Chicago you're after, opt for stuffed (local Chi-Town transplants say these pies are as close to home as it gets). A popular pick at both places is the carne special, a stuffed slice packed with Italian sausage, pepperoni, Canadian bacon and bacon.

Ohio: Crust

There&rsquos no need to order a second piece at this inventive pizzeria: it sells one-pound slices cut from 32-inch pies. And each giant slab can be customized with whatever you want. Add on fried egg, stuffed banana peppers, Spanish chorizo and Danish blue cheese. Or stick with a specialty pies featuring fresh dough made from scratch daily. The spot is known for its eccentric flavor combinations like lemon rosemary chicken (garlic potato, Pecorino, mozzarella, roasted tomato, feta, red pepper flakes, olive oil and a hint of lemon zest) and mixed mushroom topped with goat cheese, thyme, garlic, caramelized onion, balsamic reduction, Pecorino, mozzarella and an umami-laden drizzle of white truffle oil.

Indiana: Giorgio's Pizza

This New York-style pizzeria looks like it has been teleported straight from Brooklyn to Downtown Indy. Founded by Neapolitan immigrant Giorgio Migliaccio in 1990, this no-nonsense shop offers a small but mighty selection of pastas, salads and subs. The real draw, though, is the pizza by the slice. Though Migliaccio's selection includes a couple of stuffed options (meat and vegetarian), the most-popular styles are the simple thin-crust New York Neapolitan and the fluffy Sicilian squares. Both are offered with plain cheese and sauce, as well as a choice of up to three straightforward toppings. For those who don’t want to ruminate on ingredient combinations, Migliaccio serves thin-crust slices in ready-to-go options like Margherita, Eggplant and Chicken & Spinach.

The Best Pizza in Every State

I spent a good deal of 2007 hanging aroundꃞtroit,򠮬k before the world became fully aware of what exactly had happened to the city. That was the year I first went to the original location of Buddy&aposs Pizza, historically known as Buddy&aposs Rendezvous, at the corner of Conant and McNichols. Then and now, it&aposs an address fairly far off the beaten path, way up in the northeast part of town. 

There are so many to choose from, but Buddy&aposs is inarguably Detroit&aposs most iconic pizzeria since the early days, it has expanded to become a regional chain, but this bunker-like pile, distinguished from nearly everything else around it by showing signs of life, remains its spiritual home.  

Buddy&aposs goes back, way back, to Prohibition times, when Gus Guerra, an immigrant from the tiny Republic of San Marino, ran the place as a blind pig, or speakeasy. Eventually he enlisted his wife, Anna, who borrowed her Sicilian mother&aposs recipes, and began to make pizza, cooking them in the sturdy metal trays used to store parts at the automobile plants. By the late 1940s, Detroit was on to Guerra&aposs curious square pies, with their crispy edges and generous amounts of sauce ladled on top, cut into hearty, satisfying squares. 

For the better part of a century, Buddy&aposs has been here, right here on this same corner in Detroit, watching as the city&aposs fortunes rose and fell, and then kept falling. The surrounding neighborhood has been in decline for much of its modern existence, but there has always been pizza, beyond the cinderblock walls and glass bricks that pass for windows, past the bocce courts and parking lot security guard and all. 

To this day, the restaurant still feels kind of like a speakeasy. To enter, you must walk down a long hallway and into a windowless room, where you will be warmly greeted, like an old friend, and invited to sit wherever you&aposd like. The bar area is usually where the action is, at least in normal times. Post up in an adjacent booth and look at the menu, even though you know exactly what you want𠅊 four-square pizza of your own, which means four corners, which means all the crispy edges you deserve. The cost? Just $9.99.

Back in 2007, explaining Detroit pizza to people who were not from Detroit was difficult. Was it Sicilian style? Not really—the oil-slicked crust is equally considerable, but it is always light and crunchy on the bottom, topped judiciously with Wisconsin brick cheese and a fine, fragrant sauce (Buddy&aposs tomato-basil is legendary). On a proper Detroit pie, the cheese goes right to the edges, allowing it to bake into the porous crust, resulting in a crispy little miracle that you never really lose the taste for, once you&aposve been there.

At Buddy&aposs you&aposll find good pizza, nice people, and excellent gossip overheard from the bar, which seems to be populated by patrons who&aposve known each other for a very long time, but then again, this is Detroit people can be wonderfully chatty. I learned something on those visits, something I never forgot, something that came in handy recently—no matter how bad things get, there will probably always be pizza. 

This was certainly true during the last year. Restaurants were failing left and right, but if you could figure out how to make pizza and get it delivered, the odds of survival appeared to improve significantly. Referred to by the New York Times as "the hero of Covid," pizza turned out to be the one thing that nearly everyone wanted and could afford. The numbers don&apost lie—sales by independent pizzerias, the mom and pops, grew last year in many cases, and coming into this year, things are looking mighty good for many of them.  

Pizza pop-ups, powered by famous chefs and first-time dabblers alike, are suddenly everywhere. Popular restaurants where you&aposd wait hours for a table pivoted to takeout, to delivery, even curbside pickup, and in many cases are sticking with the program, one hopes for a long time to come.

Pizza, we were reminded at our lowest, has this unique way of rekindling the lifespark. And we couldn&apost get enough of it. From trucks in Portland, from scooters with ovens strapped to the back in Atlanta, from a pizza vending-machine in Baton Rouge—we don&apost care how we get it, just give us more pizza. 

Just in time for everybody to be sitting at home refusing to eat their own cooking for one more night, American pizza culture spent the last fifteen to twenty years retooling, remaking itself, in order to give us more options, better pizza, than ever before. As late as the turn of the last century, we might have counted the number of cities where a serious pizza eater might find solace on a couple of hands. These days, it&aposs absolutely everywhere, and you wouldn&apost believe how good, too. 

The Neapolitan revolution has now reached into every state, sometimes deeply. There are floppy pies made by real Italians in Nashville you have sourdough bread bakers putting their expertise to work in Sioux Falls. From Marfa, Texas, to Juneau, Alaska, to Bismarck, North Dakota, some of the most surprising pizzas uncovered during a multi-year effort to pull this list together came from some of the most surprising places. Incidentally, since the recession, and the subsequent rekindling of interest in Detroit, the city&aposs unique style of pizza has spread like wildfire around the country, and is now even influencing the culture in New York, where you&aposll find that crispy, cheesy edge on an array of gorgeous square slices being sold around town.

For a minute, however, never mind the latest trends, because there has always been so much to uncover and appreciate, so much that has always been there, so much wonderful Italian-American tradition, which is a whole other universe from Italian-Italian. Do you know, for instance, about the beach pizza in Massachusetts and New Hampshire𠅌rispy, thin squares with the provolone and the sweet sauce that you think you&aposre going to absolutely hate, then secretly fall in love with? How about the scissor-cut strips of lean sausage pie with the malted crust in the Quad Cities region of Iowa and Illinois? Or what of the Old Forge pie, the calling card of a blue-collar Pennsylvania town that very seriously calls itself the Pizza Capital of the World and has the highest rate of pizzerias per capita in the country? How about Utica-style pizza, a staple in New York&aposs Mohawk Valley for longer than many of New York City&aposs famous pizzerias? Sure, it may not be all to your stylistic taste, but every single one of these long-held regional traditions is spectacular, in its own way.  

How did we make this list? While there was a certain amount of collaboration, in the end, most of the tasting fell to me, a native New Yorker with decades of experience eating pizza all across the country. I&aposve lived everywhere from Chicago to Los Angeles to Seattle to New England, and over time I&aposve learned that I have no specific style preference. The kind of pizza I like best is pizza, and I will try all of it, at least once.

I also understand how subjective pizza can be. In a city like New York, ask the question, "Where is the best pizza?" and you will receive at least a few million conflicting answers. Ask the question, "Why?" however, and you begin to get to the heart of the matter—pizza is personal, often nostalgic. It&aposs about how pizza makes us feel, about what is familiar and grounding. This raises an important point—technique alone doesn&apost make a pizza essential to its community, or this list. The country is crawling with restaurants that have prioritized the acquisition of gear (the right ovens, the right-sounding ingredients) over passion, many of them in normal times using pizza as a sophisticated gimmick. Then, and now, some of the best pizza in this country will come from some of the most unlikely places, and out of some of the most unfashionable ovens. 

In some cities, the hottest properties left me absolutely cold better they should hang around a few more years, when we&aposll know just how important they are to the fabric of the local culture. Not that I discriminated against the Napoletana new wave, much of it more Neapolitan-inspired, or Neapolitan-esque (in fairness, that&aposs what New York pizza has always been). But I always tried to be mindful not to get too swept up in trends, and not to let the new overshadow the best of pre-existing pizza culture, the kind from back before you could buy bags of Caputo flour on Amazon Prime. With any luck, the new kids will stick around for a long time. And there will be many more of them to come. 

The 10 Best Pizza States in America

1. New Jersey

Before the world turned upside down, it had been established that some of the best pizza in the country was being made in Jersey City, just across the Hudson River from Lower Manhattan. First there was Razza, over at Grove Street, one of those sit-down places you planned an evening around, a brilliant showcase for Matawan-born Dan Richer&aposs expert-level pizza-making capabilities, but also for the exceptional, often underrated bounty of the Garden State, from heirloom tomatoes, to buffalo mozzarella, to—yes, locally grown— hazelnuts. 

After that came Bread & Salt, way up on relatively remote Palisade Avenue, Rick Easton&aposs appealing little café, serving light-as-a-feather, impossibly perfect Roman-style pizza by the slice. Suddenly, Jersey City had become this glorious showcase for just how far we&aposd come with American pizza, after twenty-odd years of tinkering under the hood. Very different styles, certainly, but both Richer and Easton are working on a level most people will need to experience to appreciate—this is pizza so good, you could eat it with nothing more than a bit of olive oil and a sprinkling of flaky salt, and you&aposd still know it was one of the best you&aposd ever had. 

Making it through the last year really was all about the small pleasures, and while these were pizzas you&aposd jump through any number of hoops for, you didn&apost really have to, which was kind of the greatest. Apart from a short closure last spring, Razza rather ably pivoted to become a takeout operation𠅎very day at 3 p.m. except for Monday, a few taps on your smartphone, and in short order, you had your hands on as many pies as you could carry. These days, there are plenty of tables out front, for lingering, with a full view of City Hall across the street. Getting to the pizza at Bread & Salt requires slightly more planning for the moment, it&aposs a Sunday-only affair, but the advance ordering process is simple.

None of this happened by accident, even if the reasons for both ending up in Jersey City were very different. Dan Richer grew up influenced by one of the country&aposs oldest, most accomplished pizza cultures Rick Easton landed here—reportedly, he&aposd planned on Brooklyn�use it was easier and more affordable to do the type of work he wanted to do. 

Both stories, in their own way, bring us to where we were going with this, which is that New Jersey is the best place to eat pizza in the country right now. The state is one in an elite group remaining true to their heritage, through long periods of time when others were too busy crashing ahead into the future to care about theirs. Imagine, if you will, what New York&aposs pizza culture might look like, forced to exist outside of the spotlight, without the world beating a path to its door—that&aposs New Jersey, working hard, very often without the interruption of sustained attention, mostly serving a very local clientele that will have no trouble holding them accountable.  

Not that New Jersey is some vast, remote unknowable. The state is, quite literally, on the way to everywhere else. And still, even when the world resumes normal travel, you will still have to explain to most people the importance of the work being done here. Less so than before, thankfully. In recent years, places like Razza and Bread & Salt have lured more than a few New Yorkers onto the PATH train, thanks to glowing reviews (all true, every word) in the New York Times.

Besides having the best new pizza in America, New Jersey also has some of the best, oldest pizza in America, down in Trenton, where they don&apost call it pizza at all, but rather tomato pie. Here, that means a relatively small amount of mozzarella on a nice, thin crust, with a generous amount of crushed tomatoes up top. These days, the two best practitioners of the style can be found in suburban Robbinsville. There&aposs Papa&aposs, which dates to 1912, run by the Azzaro family, who will proudly tell you that this is the oldest, continuously-operating, family-owned pizzeria in the United States. If you really want to throw it back, ask them about putting mustard on your pizza (seriously—it&aposs kind of a tradition here). Practically around the corner, you have DeLorenzo&aposs Tomato Pies, which until recently still operated out of a memorably outdated space in the old neighborhood. These days, the same magic still happens, the same way it has since 1947. Don&apost let the modern premises fool you this is one of the finest classic pies in the entire Northeast.

In between, there is everything else, and where to start—the tavern pizza culture of North Jersey, Patsy&aposs in Paterson since 1931, or Kinchley&aposs Tavern way up in Ramsey, where they&aposve been at it for just as long, just to name two out of many? How about the Jersey Shore, all the way up and down, from beautiful Sicilian-style pies at Rosie&aposs in Point Pleasant to Manco & Manco, a boardwalk staple in Ocean City since the 1950s? 

There are no wrong answers, really, as long as you promise to make two very important stops, on your way—the first in Elizabeth, where one-man-act Al Santillo continues the work his grandfather began a very long time ago at Santillo&aposs Brick Oven Pizza. The menu reads like a list of exhibits in a pizza history museum, spotlighting different styles throughout the years. The most basic pie here, featuring generous amounts of rich, dark red sauce with the soul of a Sunday gravy, is finished with herbs and oil. This isn&apost just a pizza it&aposs a work of art. 

Same deal over in Atlantic Highlands, where New Jersey native Anthony Mangieri, one of the country&aposs most skilled practitioners of the Neapolitan style, has been posted up since his New York restaurant closed (temporarily, one hopes) last year. A very long time before Mangieri became a star on both coasts, Una Pizza Napoletana was right here, in New Jersey, and all you had to do was bother to show up. 

2. Connecticut

Getting to know Connecticut pizza is relatively easy. No state wields quite so much clout out of such a concentrated pool of talent, centered in New Haven, which has been one of America&aposs most important pizza cities for as long as there has been pizza in America. Search high and low, and you will not find a city quite so jealously protective of its heritage as New Haven. Things are in many ways as they have been for generations, going back to when Frank Pepe, a young immigrant from Naples who never learned to read, started a bakery on Wooster Street with his wife, Filomena. Eventually, around 1925, they began serving thin-crusted, coal-fired tomato pies topped with a bit of grated cheese, garlic, oregano, and olive oil, and, if you liked, anchovies, to make it a proper pizza Napoletana, in the earliest, most original sense. 

Today, Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana has restaurants all over the region, but you can still get that same pizza, still coal-fired, nice and thin but always a little chewy, the way a New Haven pizza should be, and it is still, and very likely will be for years to come, one of the finest in the country, as will the one you should try at Sally&aposs Apizza (say ah-beets), also coal-fired. Just down the street, Sally&aposs was founded in the 1930s by Salvatore Consiglio. The blackened edges contrasting with that blood red sauce is breathtaking, before you even bite in. 

Chances are, however, you&aposre in the market for a more modern New Haven classic—the white pie topped with freshly-shucked littleneck clams. While Pepe&aposs has achieved the most fame, the one at Zuppardi&aposs Apizza in West Haven has been a sleeper hit for years. Incidentally, their tomato pie ($7.50 for 14 inches), which is said to be founder Anthony Zuppardi&aposs favorite pizza, topped only with grated Pecorino Romano and a bit of fresh garlic, feels like it was delivered from a different era. It is also one of the most essential pizzas being made in the New Haven area today. 

There&aposs so much more to be said about New Haven pizza, but there are also other cities and towns in Connecticut. Derby, for example, is home to the near-ancient (okay, since 1935) Roseland Apizza, flashing its vintage neon to a mostly quiet residential neighborhood that grew up on their giant pies, ranging from the humble tomato to over-the-top pizzas loaded with way too much fresh seafood.  

For some, there&aposs only one kind of pizza in Connecticut, or at least only one best pizza in Connecticut: the unbelievably thin (and yet somehow still chewy) bar pies at the Colony Grill in Stamford, also around since the end of the Great Depression. This is easy pizza to eat the sauce and cheese practically bake down into the crust by the time it comes to your table, with a hot pepper in the middle, known around here as a stinger. For the full effect, order your pizza with a drizzle of hot oil. It&aposs spicy, but it&aposs more about the flavor than the heat. New York is about an hour in one direction, New Haven the same in the other—here, it&aposs like neither of them exist, and as long as you&aposre eating this pizza, and possibly for a long time afterward, you might not even care. 

Not all of the good Connecticut pizza is ancient. One of the best clam pies in the state right now comes from Nana&aposs Bakery & Pizza in Mystic, a superbly likable modern addition to that town&aposs growing culinary scene.  

3. New York

There has always been very good pizza in New York City, and there most likely always will be, but a couple of decades into the complete remake of American food, and after years of rising rents, we find ourselves at a crossroads.

What kind of pizza city are we going to be, in the future? Right now, that&aposs anybody&aposs guess, and like so much else in New York, it feels like the outcome has everything to do with money. Before the pandemic, everything that made the city one of the most alluring destinations on the planet put the local pizza culture at a distinct disadvantage. It is hardly covering new territory to point out that one of the city&aposs main attributes is tripping over the present to see what&aposs next.

In a town so intently forward-focused, so many of our historic institutions have succumbed to one malady or another, from mass tourism to simple mission drift. To say the pandemic laid things bare is an understatement some of our one-time greats have become so undependable, you wonder how long they&aposll survive. Right now, John&aposs of Bleecker, which opened in 1929, remains the most vital link to the past. With the world no longer beating a path to its door, the restaurant feels like the quaint, West Village hangout it once was. The coal-fired pizzas, remarkably thin-crusted, but never dry or brittle, are as pure as they come. Staring into the face of one of the beautiful, classic pies, you can easily see the origins of the modern New York style. 

Long before the pandemic, New York&aposs aggressive self-belief in its own pizza had started to seem a little dated. Roughly fifteen years ago, when the New York Times said that the best pizza in America was in another state entirely, there was outrage. By 2017, when the paper said that the best pizza in New York was probably in Jersey City, people mostly seemed to want to know how long it would take them to get there on the PATH train.  

There have been bright spots in recent years, let&aposs not forget. There&aposs Mark Iacono&aposs inimitable Lucali in Carroll Gardens, which even now is still a pain to get into. Roberta&aposs, which had people trekking to Bushwick all through the recession, was there once again during the pandemic, this time for takeout. They weren&apost the only ones innovating their way through the mess—since last spring, a whole crop of new ventures have come online,ਏrom pizza pop-ups by accomplished chefs to winning new slice joints. 

Speaking of𠅌ould the slice, in fact, be our savior? Through good times and bad, the overwhelming availability of a decent-to-exceptional piece of pizza continues to set New York well apart from the rest. Back in 1975, when the genre wasn&apost much worth celebrating, Pino Pozzuoli raised the bar at Joe&aposs Pizza on Carmine Street, offering a more careful version of the city&aposs most popular street food, with the perfect (and all-important) ratio of crust to sauce (never too much, you don&apost want drippage) to cheese (same). There are now multiple Joe&aposs locations, and they are all fine Carmine Street, however, is where you go, should you wish to understand not only what the New York slice is all about, but also why New Yorkers love it so much.

And there are so many to love, nowadays. Whatever the future holds, a sustained movement toward a better slice appears to be here to stay. What Joe&aposs was to the 1970s, Scarr&aposs Pizza on the Lower East Side is to the present. Scarr Pimentel grew up eating New York pizza, and worked at a number of high-profile establishments before setting out to reinvent a classic: milling wheat in the basement, subjecting the dough to the long fermentation process, using only the best ingredients. One bite of a plain slice here, and you&aposll have a hard time settling for less.

Not that you have to. There&aposs still work to be done, but it&aposs possible to see a time when far-above-average could become the norm, all across the city. For example, head next to the Port Authority Bus Terminal, land of the sloppy dollar slice. In the middle of it all, you&aposll find Upside Pizza, turning pie after high-quality pie out of their brick-lined oven, just around the corner from Times Square. (They opened a second location in Nolita, during the pandemic.) On the Upper West Side, at Mama&aposs Too!, every plain slice is scattered with fresh basil leaves and a final shower of cheese before being handed over the counter, the crust cracking open in a thunderclap at first bite, collapsing into a light, chewy, beautifully-balanced crust. On it goes—there is the now-legendary Hellboy slice, an indulgent, intensely craveable marriage of sopressata and hot honey at Paulie Gee&aposs Slice Shop in Greenpoint, the seriously underrated cheese slices prepared with love and care at Philomena&aposs in Sunnyside, and the astonishingly good, high-quality squares coming from Corner Slice, always worth a walk to 11th Avenue in Hell&aposs Kitchen. 

Beyond the suburbs, the city wields relatively little influence on the state&aposs pizza culture. A couple of hours north, and you&aposre in another world entirely, or make that worlds. In Schenectady, it&aposs thick slices of tomato pie at Perecca&aposs Bakery, celebrating a century in business. Utica has kept O&aposScugnizzo&aposs around since 1914, with expats calling in for shipments of their tomato-forward pizzas with cornmeal-dusted crusts. In Syracuse, they cut their thin-crust pies into long strips at Twin Trees, and then there&aposs Buffalo, for the thick boi pizzas, topped with pepperoni cups, long before it was cool, at Bocce Club, opened in 1946 and still run by the Pacciotti family. 

4. Illinois

There is a right way and an incorrect way to argue for Chicago pizza, and even the genre&aposs most ardent supporters can get it wrong. There exists, after all, no one style of deep-dish pizza. Nowadays, you have countless kinds lumped together under a giant mountain of Wisconsin mozzarella, like so many splinter groups within the Baptist faith. Classic, stuffed, pan pizza—they are all quite different, and you won&apost know which one is right for you, until you get there.

Things were simpler, back in the day. Said to have been invented by Ike Sewell at Pizzeria Uno, back during World War II, deep dish used to be a relatively modest affair. Semolina added to wheat flour gave the crust, typically rich in butter or oil, its signature yellow hue. Other than that, it&aposs much like a regular pizza, but in a different order—sausage and fresh peppers, then fresh mozzarella cheese, topped with generous amounts of tomato sauce. Height-wise, your original deep-dish pie would not be all that formidable. 

Then things took a turn, somehow. Even though the classic pizza at Lou Malnati&aposs remains close to the original ideal, popular, often over-stuffed monstrosities began to define the genre, for worse or for better.

One of the earliest arrivals on the modern scene was Burt Katz, who opened his first pizzeria in the early 1960s. Katz preferred to call his version "pan pizza," and over time became famous for his crusts, which achieved a distinctive caramelization during the baking process, thanks to the slices of mozzarella carefully tucked down along the edges. 

Katz was famously the founder of Pequod&aposs, which for many is the beginning and end of the pan pizza conversation (or deep-dish in general, for that matter), but Burt&aposs Place in Morton Grove, which he opened in 1989, after selling Pequod&aposs, feels more like Katz country, even after a recent retooling. (Lefty&aposs Pizza in Wilmette, founded by one of the original partners in the recent Burt&aposs reboot, is a fine option on the North Shore.)

People eat a great deal of pizza here, and you can ask anybody who&aposs tried—one is only able to indulge in so much deep-dish at a time. Most pizzerias in the region, in fact, sell the absolute opposite—the thinnest of the thin-crust, always square-cut, like so much other pizza throughout the Midwest. A hungry person could down an entire round by themselves. You&aposll find great versions at Pat&aposs Pizza, serving Lincoln Park for the better part of a century, at Marie&aposs Pizza and Liquors in Mayfair, since 1940, where you will find strolling musicians on the weekends, at least in normal times. There&aposs Pizza Castle in Gage Park, and Fasano&aposs in suburban Bridgeview, too, but nobody quite comes close to thin crust essential-ness like Vito & Nick&aposs, a gloriously classic tavern on the far Southwest Side, where the granddaughter of Vito and the daughter of Nick, Rose Baracco George, runs the show. They&aposve been using the same dough recipe since the 1940s, and nearly everyone goes for the sausage. 

That&aposs not the end, however. There are so many other styles to be appreciated in this part of the world. Square slices, of all different kinds, have been a thing here for generations, and in very recent times have enjoyed a considerable comeback. Honor tradition at D&aposAmato&aposs, going for generations in West Town, or better yet, at Freddy&aposs Pizza & Grocery in suburban Cicero, historically one of the more Italian places in America. Their Sicilian pies have remained a neighborhood staple. 

Trace the lineage of modern-day Neopolitan pizza in America and soon enough you&aposll soon come across Jonathan Goldsmith&aposs Spacca Napoli. There&aposs still an attention to detail here that is so often lacking in other, newer restaurants working with the style.

Don&apost leave town without poking your head into recent import Bonci, straight from Rome—pizza al taglio could be the next big thing, and you might as well be introduced via the real deal. Crust-centric but nice and light, and topped with all sorts of different seasonal finds, this is pizza that&aposs beautiful to look at, as well as eat. 

5. Michigan

Not much more than a decade ago, most Americans didn&apost know that Detroit had its own style of pizza, which never really made sense—it wasn&apost like Michigan didn&apost know how to export an idea, after all Domino&aposs, headquartered in Ann Arbor, had only grown to become the largest pizza chain on the planet. (Domino&aposs is, quite definitely, the very opposite of a good Detroit pizza.) 

And yet, somehow, we got there, finally—nowadays, Detroit&aposs square pies, with their distinctive crispy edges, plenty of Wisconsin brick cheese, and a quality tomato sauce on top, are cropping up all over. In more than one other state on this list, it&aposs some of the best pizza being made right now. Detroit pizza goes back to 1946, when Gus and Anna Guerra introduced the city to the style at Buddy&aposs on Conant and McNichols. Guerra split amicably from the restaurant a decade or so later, opening his own place in Eastpointe. These days, if you&aposre not loyal to Buddy&aposs, which is now a regional chain (the original being the best), chances are you&aposre loyal to Cloverleaf Bar & Restaurant. Unless, of course, you&aposre a diehard Loui&aposs Pizza fan since 1977, the musty, cozy, family-owned restaurant has been a staple in Detroit-adjacent Hazel Park, serving up one of the heartiest versions of the style. Not that there hasn&apost been any movement in recent years. One of the best new versions comes from the recently opened Michigan & Trumbull, where two Detroit natives have sensitively updated the template, introducing some excellent topping combinations, and paying close attention to ingredients. Regular pies are a steal for as little as $10. For more on the vibrant, ever-evolving Detroit pizza scene, check out our city guide for more of the most exciting new additions to the landscape.

Don&apost neglect the rest of the state—Fricano&aposs wafer-thin pies have been the pride of Grand Haven since before anybody else in the state was serving pizza, based out of an 1800s era boarding house the slightly thicker style has been a hit at Mr. Scrib&aposs, in Muskegon and Grand Haven, for generations. 

6. California

The first thing to know about pizza in California is that it did not, in fact, begin at Spago in the 1980s, when Wolfgang Puck began topping pies with smoked salmon and goat cheese and what have you. It did not begin, either, with California Pizza Kitchen, later that decade. In fact, it didn&apost start anywhere in Southern California, but rather up north, many years before. 

The first Italians arrived here during colonial times, long before California was a state, and things pretty much snowballed from there. In the late 1800s, there were more Italian immigrants on the West Coast than in all of New England. Many landed in San Francisco, where North Beach was, and remains today, a center of Italian-Californian culture. Here, you find Tommaso&aposs, the first pizzeria on the West Coast, dating back to 1935, right around the time cities like New Haven, Connecticut, were getting serious about pizza. This is to say, Tommaso&aposs, by American standards, is very old, still firing up its vintage wood-fired brick oven to cook rather formidable classic pizzas. 

Not that progress hasn&apost been made. San Francisco practically invented the modern sit-down pizza restaurant, an idea that spread rather rapidly throughout the country over a decade ago. The groundbreaking A16 bounced onto the scene in 2004, before everyone was buzzing about pizza again, then came the ingredient-centric Pizzeria Delfina in 2008, followed by Flour & Water in 2009, still among the finest of the wave of artisanal, wood-fired pizzerias that followed.

Every year since, it has always seemed like somebody&aposs up to something interesting, and often very good, but it wasn&apost until 2015 until Tony Gemignani, a Bay Area native raised on a farm where they grew apricots, that thing got exciting in North Beach again. These days, it feels like so much longer since Tony&aposs Pizza Napoletana opened. Feeling every bit as chummy and laid back as a bustling parlor in suburban New York City, Gemignani and crew are remarkably adept at doing justice to well over a dozen regional styles of American pizza. The signature pie is one of the most meticulous recreations of a Neapolitan pie you will find, anywhere.   

Los Angeles&apos journey from pizza semi-desert to enthusiastic laboratory can be traced back to 2006 when Nancy Silverton opened Pizzeria Mozza at Melrose and Highland. She may now be playing on an extraordinary crowded field (some of the contenders she&aposs an investor in) but this is still one of the West Coast&aposs most essential (and unique) pies. For our complete guide to the best pizza in Los Angeles, click here.  

7. Pennsylvania

A while back, an enterprising trade publication put out a list, one that somebody ought to update at some point, ranking the places in the country with the highest number of pizzerias per capita. At the top of the list was the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre region, which likely would not have achieved such a prestigious score without the town of Old Forge, nestled into the hills between the two cities.

Serving a population of less than 8,000, you haveਊt least a dozen pizzerias, most of them selling rectangular trays (that&aposs local speak for a whole pie, a slice is called a "cut") of simple, soft, Sicilian-esque cheese (Wisconsin white cheddar) pizza, with well-oiled crusts that end up nice and crisp at the bottom. If you grow up with Old Forge pizza, which came onto the landscape about a century ago now, you tend to think a great deal of the stuff, even if others do not. The town recently decided to promote itself as The Pizza Capital of The World, and if anybody was laughing, that didn&apost stop it from happening—you can take your picture next to the sign on Main Street, while you wait for your pizza at Arcaro & Genell, where a giant, 12-cut tray goes for $15.

Pizza is always personal, but in Pennsylvania, it can be an intensely local affair. Old Forge is no more than five miles from downtown Scranton, and here already, you will find people rolling their eyes in the general direction of the neighbors, and their weird ideas about layering chopped raw onions beneath the sauce, which is a very Old Forge move. Imagine then, what happens when you start to travel even further into the state, or south to Philadelphia, where you will find plenty of people who do not know that Old Forge even exists.

This is understandable. Philadelphia is one of those intensely lucky cities that not only has an overwhelming amount of pizza, but is also, stylistically, all over the map. Whatever your mood, somebody is doing it, and chances are they are doing it incredibly well. From spartan square slices brought out from underneath the counter at the fantastically dingy La Rosa Pizzeria in South Philly to the saucy pies that have been coming out of the oven at Tacconelli&aposs in Port Richmond since 1948, there&aposs plenty of the classic stuff to love, but more than in most Northeast cities, recent developments can be equally exciting, if not more. It has been nearly a decade since Joe Beddia opened his pocket-sized pizzeria on Girard Avenue in Fishtown, setting the wheels for the current renaissance more or less in motion. Today, Pizzeria Beddia, with its neo-Neapolitan pies topped with a tangy aged alpine cheese made in Pennsylvania, is practically old itself. It&aposs now a full-blown restaurant, a few blocks away, and in its place, Pizza Shackamaxon sells some of the city&aposs best New York-style slices. For our complete guide to the best Philadelphia pizza, click here.  

Don&apost get stuck, because there&aposs only the rest of the state to contend with. Grab a slice of Philly-style tomato pie, an unglamorous but beautiful square of bread smeared with sauce, and maybe kissed with a little cheese from the shaker, typically served room temperature as a snack, at the absolute relic Conshohocken Bakery in Conshohocken, or better still, at Corropolese Bakery & Deli in Norristown. Then, head west. If you&aposre curious, you can stop in the central part of the state for square cuts from the drive-thru at Best Way, another hyper-regional favorite, or in Johnstown for formidable regular pies at Old Franco, a low-slung shack on the fringe of town painted like the Italian flag. 

Ultimately, however, your destination is Pittsburgh, which has a little bit of everything, and a lot of provolone to put on top of nearly all of it. Not so much at Il Pizzaiolo on Mount Lebanon, slinging Neapolitan-style pies to discerning locals since the 1990s, but definitely at Beto&aposs, where the square slices get piled high with shaved cheese after they come out of the oven the restaurant goes through more than 500 pounds of provolone on a busy day. 

8. Massachusetts

Surely not for much longer now, but throughout last winter and up to as recently as a few weeks ago, the visitor to Boston&aposs historic (and extremely Italian) North End would most likely have had the streets nearly to themselves, particularly earlier in the day, before the neighborhood really started to wake up. One thing seems to be back to normal, however�ore opening its doors in the morning, usually shortly before 11, there is now nearly always a line in front of Galleria Umberto.

Not that this is such a bad thing𠅊 little bit of standing around can be good, the better to get to know the old-timer regulars, some of them not so patiently waitingਏor the appearance of the first of the Sicilian-style pies the Dauterio family has been known for, dating back to their arrival from Avelino in the 1950s. Now, as before, you don&apost wait too long to show up—the restaurant, if one can even call it that, still sells out, even in the absence of the armies of slumming office workers that typically spill into the neighborhood from the Financial District. Come much past noon, and it might mean no pizza, no arancini, no panzarotti or calzones for you.  

The cavernous Hanover Street shop, which seems to have not changed much since they started serving here in the mid-1970s, has all the charm of a small town bus station from the era�rely lit, barely furnished, ugly tile floors. This is a cash-only establishment. Luckily, everything about Umberto&aposs is a trip back in time, including the prices, and you&aposll only need a couple of bucks to eat well. There&aposs nothing revolutionary about the pizza here—thick squares, with a nice crunch down below, tomato sauce, unremarkable cheese, baked until tiger spotted, but that&aposs not the point. In the new and improved Boston, Umberto&aposs offers a welcome reminder that keeping with the times might not only be overrated, but furthermore, if you&aposre really good at what you do, the times can go dump themselves into the harbor. 

A maze of one-way streets away, Regina Pizzeria has gone in the opposite direction. One of the country&aposs older pizza joints, opened in 1926 with a relic of an oven dating back to the late 1800s, there are now pizzerias Regina in mall food courts and strip centers throughout the region, and most of them are a disaster. The Thacher Street original, however, remains as good as gold. Here, they still use that same brick oven, even if it hasn&apost burned coal in nearly a century. The classic, neo-Neapolitan pies that come out of there won&apost change your life, but they&aposre often astonishingly good, displaying far more attention to detail than many a similar pizza found a few hours down I-95, starting with dough from a nearly century-old family recipe, and ending with generous amounts of whole milk mozzarella on top. 

Who makes the best pizza in Boston? Depends on who you ask, but this list is not a democracy, and that honor easily goes to Santarpio&aposs in East Boston in now-times drive barely five minutes by tunnel (and a world apart) from the North End. Thanks to a relatively obscure location, even normally, you don&apost get the same kind of crowds here. During the last year, you could park right on the block, place an order through your phone, and slip through the back entrance into the kitchen to pick up your pizza barely fifteen minutes later. Starting out around the turn of the last century as a bakery, the pizzas to this day have a baker&aposs touch, with a scraggly, blistered, almost Italian bread-like crust that doesn&apost shy away from the spotlight𠅊 balanced sauce takes center stage, rather literally, never overpowered by the cheese the plain pies are outstanding, pies with lots of the house sausage are even better.  

Boston likes to play the field, but Massachusetts is home to at least three very distinctive regional styles, the first being Greek pizza, which for these purposes is only Greek in the sense that it was invented by a Greek guy who opened a pizzeria somewhere in New England. A Greek pie is a crust-forward affair, thick but when done correctly, never a stodgefest the tomato sauce will be insignificant, and the cheese will be a blend of mozzarella, typically cut liberally with cheddar. You will find this style in every corner of the state, from The Berkshires to The Cape, where it&aposs George&aposs Pizza House in Harwich Port you want. 

From here, things get downright strange, but in the best possible way. Generations of South Shore Boston natives grow up loyal to their own local style, typically called bar pizza. Buttery, soft crusts could almost be used to make a decent tart, and at classic taverns like the Lynwood in Randolph, they&aposre sometimes filled with salami and baked beans, a house specialty. You think you&aposre going to hate it, and then you try it, and maybe not the beans again, but even a plain pie, topped with blistery cheddar cheese—tremendous. Similar story, way up on the other side of Boston, where summers (and anytime, really) are all about beach pizza—thin squares topped with sweet tomato sauce and provolone cheese. Don&apost knock them until you&aposve tried one, or two, or three, or four, at originator Tripoli Bakery in Lawrence and elsewhere. Cristy&aposs Pizza in Salisbury Beach is the friendly competition. 

9. Ohio

Unsuspecting visitors to Steubenville have been known to walk out of DiCarlo&aposs Pizza more than a little confused, which is understandable, because Ohio Valley pizza is not the pizza most Americans (or anybody, really) will be used to. It goes back to World War II, when a young Primo DiCarlo came home from the front inspired to recreate something he&aposd eaten in Italy, and convinced his parents, who had been running an Italian grocery in the city since the turn of the century, to give it a whirl. The pizza DiCarlo&aposs serves today is focaccia-like, crunchy on the bottom crust, nice and airy, with an exceedingly simple sauce of quality California tomatoes, and then, what&aposs this, a mountain of uncooked toppings? Confounding some, infuriating others, and making the rest of us terribly happy, the best introduction to one of the country&aposs most hyper-regional styles will be keeping it brutally simple, with just a little of the aged provolone on top—try a slice for contrast between the grated cheese and the cooked base, and if you&aposre not a fan, just close the box and wait a few minutes. See? All better now. There are locations throughout the region, and this is still very much a family affair, now into the third generation of DiCarlos. At the distinctive, mid-century Pizza Inn flagship—look for the neon sign out along Sunset Boulevard—you&aposll often find plenty of locals eating their slices (a steal at .95 each) in the parking lot.

The great thing about Ohio is there&aposs more where that came from. Pizza-wise, this is as balkanized a state as you will find, each city and region very much into their own style. The other great thing about Ohio is that most of these styles remain a complete mystery to the outside world. If you love pizza and think you&aposve seen it all, we&aposll raise you, say, Youngstown, where Brier Hill-style pizza, named for the local Little Italy that thrived during the city&aposs industrial heyday, is legendary among everyone who grew up on slices sold at church pizza sales, which are a thing around here. This is blissfully simple stuff, a thick but never leaden crust, topped with rich, red sauce, bell peppers, and a shower of Romano cheese. The originator of the style, St. Anthony of Padua, in the old neighborhood, still holds weekly pizza sales (you&aposll have to reserve in advance), but anytime is a good time for a Brier Hill pie at Wedgwood Pizza. Owner Fernando Riccioni recently turned 90, but you&aposll still see him around the three area locations (try the Austintown original, first).  

From here, things get slightly less esoteric, but no less worthwhile. In Cleveland, there are pan-style pizzas topped with a provolone at institutions like Geraci&aposs in University Heights, now over a half-century old, or Mama Santa&aposs, in the city&aposs Little Italy. Things thin down considerably in Columbus, home of the Johnny Marzetti noodle-beef-cheese casserole, in case you needed a reminder that the Midwest really does start here. Terita&aposs does the regional style proudest, operating out of its little North End bunker for more than 60 years now. This is definitely a thin-crust town, but the dough at Terita&aposs has never been an afterthought. By the time you get to Dayton, another town that&aposs incredibly proud of its pizza, you&aposre down to the bare, cracker-crust walls, loaded up with toppings. Locals like to debate big names like Cassano&aposs (which used to automatically salt the bottom of the crust before baking) and Marian&aposs Piazza, but it&aposs one-offs like Pappa&aposs Pizza Palace in Miamisburg (and Joe&aposs back in Dayton, if you like a slightly thicker crust) that work the hardest. On and on it goes. There&aposs Hamilton, where the pizzerias are also known for their fruit pies (try both Chester&aposs and Milillo&aposs, both local institutions). There&aposs Akron, where the salads you order with your pizzas are mostly grated cheese. And we haven&apost even gotten around to the overwhelming number of regional chains that, for many Ohioans, are the first and last word in best local pizza, depending on—of course—which chain they grew up with. 

At some point, however, you&aposll be happy to snap back to the pizza present, and there have been some impressive new developments—there are the lovely, neo-Neapolitan pies at Il Rione, one of Cleveland&aposs best restaurants, summer nights and Margherita pizzas on the patio at Harlow in Lakewood Cincinnati, one of the more pizza-deprived corners of the state, finally did the right thing and outsourced to a certain pizza capital, just a few hours up I-75—Taglio makes one of the finest Detroit-style pies you&aposll try in a state where they teach you to roll your eyes at Michigan from birth.

10. Missouri

As with so many other processed foods introduced into the American diet during the 20th century, the inventors of Provel cheese, key ingredient to a St. Louis-style pizza, were most likely convinced that they were doing a good thing. Created right after World War II for a local grocer, the idea was that everybody loved pizza, except for that pesky real mozzarella (yes, seriously). Great cheese and all, sure, but it was really hard to get a clean bite, and back then, people hadn&apost yet figured out that photos of cheese pulls made great content. What, the inventors wondered, if there were a pizza cheese that melted like no other? 

Like an early, food-focused version of those disrupters in Silicon Valley, sitting around answering questions nobody was actually asking, they came up with a highly-processed blend of provolone, Swiss, and cheddar, packaged it in giant bricks, and the rest is pizza history. Provel melts alright, at low temperatures even, and it looks great when the pizza, otherwise just your usual Midwest, cracker-thin, party-cut pie, comes hot out of the oven.

Founded in 1964 and now boasting approximately 100 stores, Imo&aposs is the most high-profile Provel pusher the right way to eat a St. Louis pie is to load your pizza up with stuff. Not just any stuff𠅏ollow everyone else&aposs lead and get a Deluxe pie, overloaded with sausage, bacon, and veggies it&aposs a killer combo of tastes and textures. You&aposll see why St. Louisans love their pizza so much, to the point where they order it over the internet, once they move to other places. 

Few practitioners will be found fussing over one of America&aposs most divisive regional pizza styles quite so thoroughly as the Faraci brothers, Pete and Vince Faraci, who own Faraci&aposs Pizza in Manchester (the family started out in Ferguson in the 1960s, but sold that location back in the 1990s). To the uninitiated, the pizzas might once again look much like any other Midwest thin-crust, but the amount of work that goes into these pizzas is astonishing. Three days to make the dough, sauce from scratch, meats processed on premises, and a brick-bottom oven for the bake. Yes, the cheese is Provel, but there&aposs a little sprinkling of Pecorino Romano at the end, just to class things up. If you don&apost get St. Louis pizza after eating one of these lovingly made pies, you may just be in the wrong city. 

Supposing you&aposre now on board, continue your education at Frank & Helen&aposs in University City, a mid-century pizza parlor complete with the lamps and wood paneling and everything. Newer on the scene but also widely appreciated is Liliana&aposs Italian Kitchen, a comforting St. Louis-style red sauce joint, where you can opt for a blend of mozzarella and Provel on your pizzas, or skip the Provel altogether, which these days is not all that unusual. At the terrific little Melo&aposs Pizzeria, they make a great, very modern tomato pie, with just a hint of Grana Padano. Pizza nights at the city&aposs most up-to-date bakery, Union Loafers, were a smash hit during the pandemic, and same with the admirable Neapolitan pies at Noto Italian Restaurant in St. Peters, a lifeline for a restaurant that had opened only months before everything went kaboom.

The Best of the Rest:


Like many of us, Marco Butturini had a tough year. The Veneto-born, 20-year veteran of some of the South&aposs most decorated restaurants (Highlands Bar & Grill, Bottega, Chez Fonfon) had finally gone out on his own, opening Le Fresca at the very end of February 2020. His brother, a partner in the business, had to make a quick trip home to Italy shortly thereafter, landing him right in the middle of the pandemic, with no way to get out. Call it the ultimate test, or tests, which the restaurant, centered around a handsome wood-burning oven, has so far passed with flying colors. If you&aposre looking for suggestions, the sausage is made in-house.

Of course, it didn&apost take an Italian to get Birmingham hooked on pizza𠅊sk the generations of locals who practically grew up on the arcade games and thin, cheesy, party-cut pies at Davenport Pizza Palace in Mountain Brook, the kind of place where you always half-expect a little league team to burst through the doors in a celebratory mood.


Beau Schooler used to surprise the hell out of unsuspecting visitors to Juneau, not a few of them desperate for something good after days on a cruise ship, with his work-of-art, wood-fired Neapolitan pies at In Bocca al Lupo, a rustic Italian spot serving the last thing you might expect to find in this part of the world. How gratifying to see the restaurant powering through what had to be one of the worst years for Alaskan tourism, of all time—then again, the locals always knew what they had on their hands: one of the best restaurants in the state.

No pandemic was going to stop Anchorage from turning up to the Moose&aposs Tooth Pub & Pizzeria, a fixture on the local pizza landscape since the 1990s, when rock climbers Rod Hancock and Matt Jones opened up shop in a space much smaller than the one you find today. Grab a buzzer and wait your turn. (Don&apost skip the smoked salmon spread.)


Picture it: Phoenix, 1987. A young Chris Bianco leaves New York to start a new life in the desert and ends up slinging pies in a supermarket to make rent. The late-1980s were different times—this was the decade of Spago, of people making jokes about goat cheese. It was the age of the barbecue chicken pie at California Pizza Kitchen. New York was on the outs—the New York Times would later pronounce the era a dark one for New York City pizza culture, going so far as to say it had been on life-support. Who knows, things could have been very different if the Bronx-born Bianco had stayed, but would the city, at the time in the throes of addiction to the cheap and quick and easy, have known what to do with Bianco&aposs exemplary approach to quality and execution? Phoenix sure did, and don&apost you forget it.

Since 1994, Pizzeria Bianco has been one of the most important, best-loved restaurants in the Southwest, inspiring countless pizza makers across the country (and the world) to raise their game, and keep it there. In Flagstaff, duck into the tiny Pizzicletta for wood-fired pies made by geologist-turned-pizza geek Caleb Schiff, who cycled across Italy and came home determined to master the craft. 


Hot Springs isn&apost the first place you expect to find one of those fancy pizzerias where the tomatoes are imported from Napoli, and you&aposre supposed to reserve your dough during busy periods to avoid disappointment, but Brooklyn expat Anthony Valinoti isn&apost your average Arkansan, not that there&aposs anything wrong with that. The big, beautiful pies at DeLuca&aposs are cooked at 725 degrees in a custom brick oven—they&aposre Neapolitan style, but also New York style, in that they&aposre well-structured, unpretentious, and generous. Little Rock and Conway got lucky with Zaza, a smart spot for nice, Neapolitan-inspired pies get yours topped with ham and bacon from Petit Jean Meats, an Arkansas favorite for a century and counting.


There are plenty of cities that have only recently acquired a serious pizza culture, but few have seized on the idea quite so urgently as Denver, currently doing the most to make up for lost time. Every American neighborhood, for starters, deserves a spot like Pizzeria Lui, where a local baker works the wood-fired Acunto oven, turning out Neapolitan-meets-Mountain State pies from a converted liquor store in an unglamorous part of town. With bench seating and a casual atmosphere, it&aposs the kind of pizza place you bring the kids, when the kids are ready to learn about great pizza. Ask for some of the house hot sauce, which goes great on everything. (Temporarily closed for renovations.) For the downtown-bound, two locations of the smart Cart-Driver serve up a nicely-blistered margherita pie, complemented by Prosecco on tap. Back before Detroit-style pizza was everywhere, it was getting raves at Blue Pan Pizza, with two locations in Denver.


Your Delaware pizza education will be brief, but memorable, and if you are lucky it will happen in Rehoboth Beach on a beautiful summer evening, just steps from the sand. That&aposs when the walk-up windows at the approximately half-dozen locations of Grotto Pizza (a slight exaggeration, okay) and Nicola Pizza (just two locations) will likely be the heart of the street-side action, everybody lining up for slices topped with cheddar cheese and swirls of sweet tomato sauce at Grotto&aposs, and for the Nic-O-Boli at Nicola&aposs, a lava bomb of beef and cheese and pizza sauce barely contained by an oven-charred envelope of tasty crust. Grotto&aposs will proudly tell you that only a handful of people have ever learned the secret of the dough, which bubbles up beautifully around the edges during the cook. Anybody who leaves their crusts behind is wrong.


There are plenty of Europeans who wished they lived in Florida—some of them are making moves to do just that𠅊nd the odds are good that a few of them are Italians who will open pizzerias, or at least that is how it seems these days. All apologies to the Northeast pie guys trading on their heritage down here, but when you want the best, just go somewhere they speak Italian, the modern kind, like Mister 01 in Miami, named for the O-1 Visa granted to Renato Viola, a well-regarded pizza maker from the old country who came to the United States because some very smart person in government decided we needed his pizza skills. From humble beginnings, the restaurant has grown to five locations in the region—the better for everyone to have access to Viola&aposs delicious and distinctive star-cornered pies, with pockets of creamy ricotta cheese. Giovanni Gagliardi comes from pizza royalty in Caserta in Miami Beach, he opened La Leggenda, said to be Gagliardi&aposs nickname back home. The terrific Neapolitan pies ought to answer any questions you might have.


Need proof that good pizza can and does happen pretty much anywhere in America? Take a little trip down to Savannah, where you will find Pennsylvania native Kyle Jacovino fastidiously recreating the Neapolitan pizzas of his Italian travel dreams at Pizzeria Vittoria, which operates out of a shipping container, facing a beautiful garden courtyard, in a part of Savannah tourists have yet to overrun. These pizzas, very often works of art, might have been the last thing you were expecting to eat in this city right now, they ought to be near the top of your list.

Georgia has something of a track record for manifesting good pizza into existence, where there was none to speak of before. The Bronx-born Jeff Varasano opened Varasano&aposs in Atlanta, back in 2009, with a plan to replicate his favorite New York pizza and serve it to the masses it worked, and then some. Around that same time, Italian expat Giovanni Di Palma opened Antico Pizza Napoletana, serving puffy Neapolitans to go. The business has evolved considerably over the years, but this is still one of the South&aposs best.


Great pizza isn&apost as difficult to find in the Aloha State as you might think. A decade ago now, people were eating beautiful pies out of a very pricey Ferrara oven at Prima in Kailua like it was nothing, but sadly that didn&apost last. The restaurant closed in 2019 (who inherited that oven, we wonder) and O&aposahu&aposs Neapolitan pizza-loving crowd was forced to look elsewhere. Brick Fire Tavern, which opened Chinatown in 2019, and moved during the pandemic, fits the bill for a lot of people, but for us it&aposs pizza guy James Orlando&aposs Fatto a Mano, a mobile operation that has proved itself during the last couple of years as one of the most essential operations in the state. 


Dan Guild rode into Boise back in the early aughts from his native New Haven with a promise of good pizza. After spending an extraordinary amount of time working to get it right, Guild delivered and then some Casanova Pizzeria serves the kind of pies that your average Idahoan had perhaps never seen, no offense. Look, it wasn&apost every day you found a serious Napoletana, as in, the real thing, with anchovies, but Boise not only responded, it fell in love, leaving so many pizza lovers heartbroken when the first shop ended up closing. The story ends happily, however, like a good Hollywood movie. After too many years away, Guild is back, Casanova is back, and right in the middle of the pandemic to boot, when the city needed him most. Where were the pizza lovers eating, in the interim? No doubt more than a few of the pies𠅊 pleasing cross between New York-style and Neapolitan𠅊t Tony&aposs Pizza Teatro, another local favorite.


Indiana is bordered at length by three of Food & Wine&aposs Top 10 Pizza States in America, so it doesn&apost take a brain genius to figure out that Hoosiers eat a ton of the stuff themselves some of it is good, or even spectacular. While the occasional exception can be made in other regions, Northwest Indiana—the part of the state where you can hop on a suburban train and be in Chicago in no time—is where most of the magic tends to happen, whether you&aposre talking the sturdy, generously topped thin-crust at Doreen&aposs in Dyer (with a sister restaurant just over the state line), or crusty, careful wood-fired pies at Stop 50, Chris and Kristy Bardol&aposs modern classic tucked into the woodsy Michiana Shores community, where a walk down to the lake might land you in neighboring Michigan. The dough is made from an heirloom sourdough starter, and the pies are generous and beautiful to look at. The style, let&aposs call it modern thin crust, is very different at The Rolling Stonebaker in Valparaiso, the artistry nearly as impressive.

Your first scissor-cut strip of Quad Cities pizza will most assuredly not be your last, not if you can help it. With a distinctive, crispy-chewy crust rich in malt and molasses, generous heaps of crumbled lean sausage (the classic topper) shrouded in low-moisture mozzarella, and a conservative amount of spicy, fragrant tomato sauce hidden way down at the base, this isn&apost the pizza you&aposre used to𠅌hances are, it&aposs better. One of the country&aposs strongest regional pizza styles remains, however, one of the hardest to find off its home turf, which is the part of Iowa shared culturally with neighboring Illinois. At the great Harris Pizza, where never-frozen dough is hand-stretched, they still use custom-made mozzarella and a fresh, locally-made blend of sausage seasoned lightly with fennel and red and black pepper. The restaurant started out in Rock Island, Illinois, and still thrives there, but these days, it is outnumbered by branch locations just over the Mississippi River, where it competes with other locally loved names like Uncle Bill&aposs Pizza, and proper dive bar Gunchie&aposs, tucked away in a quiet Davenport neighborhood, turning out some of the best pizzas in that city.


With a modest loan from Mom, brothers Frank and Dan Carney opened a pizza place in Wichita, back in 1958, by the name of Pizza Hut. It would grow to become the world&aposs biggest pizza restaurant brand, a distinction it enjoyed until relatively recently. (Domino&aposs squeaked past them, a few years back.) Since the heady peak-Hut era, back when you dined in, and they had those great salad bars, and kids across America were furiously reading enough books to earn a free personal pan pizza, Kansas has kind of been coasting, not that there aren&apost some great candidates for a broader audience. In Kansas City, there&aposs 1889 Pizza, a modern mom-and-pop operation, making some of the finest pizza—wood-fired, Neapolitan-style—on either side of the state line. Here, they need two tiled ovens in order to meet demand. On the other end of the culinary spectrum, there&aposs the classic Old Shawnee Pizza, a suburban KC staple for decades. Their claim to fame? A crab rangoon pie. Anyone who spends much time in Lawrence inevitably ends up at Limestone Pizza, where instead of carelessly tossing a few basil leaves on top, they drizzle basil oil, which packs a serious flavor wallop.


From downtown Louisville, it&aposs a pleasant walk across the Ohio River (via the old Big Four Bridge, converted in modern times from railroad to pedestrian use) to the birthplace—Jeffersonville, Indiana, 1984—of Papa John&aposs. At times that seems like it might be Louisville&aposs go-to pizza, given all the branch locations you see, driving around town. A good few years before all that, however, Benny Impellizzeri was working a string of pizza ovens in the city, introducing his own restaurant, Impellizzeri&aposs back in the late 1970s. To this day, even after a short closure back in the mid-aughts, the pizzas here remain a firm Louisville favorite. The Sicilian-style deep dish, your best bet on the menu, is like a high-walled swimming pool filled with cheese and toppings. If it&aposs modern, glamour-puss pizza you&aposre after, look to Camporosso in Fort Mitchell, just a short hop from downtown Cincinnati. They&aposve been known to confound the odd local with their gorgeous, often admirably true-to-style Neapolitans.  


New Orleans had more pizza than you might expect prior to 2012, when the New York expats behind Pizza Delicious launched their weekly pop-up, but the year was definitely a watershed moment a brick-and-mortar in the Bywater followed soon after, and these days, Pizza D, as it&aposs widely known, can be found slinging well-balanced slices and properly gigantic pies that would fit in just fine up north. For something very local, head to Creole Italian legend Venezia&aposs in Mid-City (look for the fantastic old neon sign, beckoning passersby on Carrollton), where hearty, red sauce-centric meals begin, if you are doing it right, with a simple, hand-tossed cheese pie flecked with plenty of dried oregano.


Maine&aposs Italian culture is perhaps not widely celebrated beyond the state line, but Mainers certainly take it for granted. From treasured one-offs to popular local chains, you&aposre never far from pizza. Opened in 1949, the family-operated Micucci Grocery in Portland has been a lunchtime staple for years, serving light, focaccia-esque Sicilian-style squares (known here as slabs) to go Greek pizza, that New England suppertime staple, puts on a fine performance at the cash-only Pizza by Alex, a Biddeford institution since 1960 up in Lewiston, even the plain pies at local institution Luiggi&aposs come with ham on top (just go with it). While The Cabin in Bath&aposs claim of having "the only real pizza in Maine" may have made more sense in the 1970s, their classic pies are still very much worth a stop, perhaps on your way (way, way) up the coast to Brooksville, where pizza nights at Tinder Hearth—one of the state&aposs many intensely good bakeries𠅊re well worth planning your week around, should you ever be lucky enough to find yourself within striking distance.


With a few notable exceptions, mostly only appreciated by the people who grew up with them, Maryland is where the Eastern Seaboard pizza magic ends, and rather abruptly at that—maybe it&aposs that there&aposs so much else to eat, but cross in from Pennsylvania or Delaware, and pizza culture is suddenly persona non grata, at least relative to the situation over at the neighbors. Not that there aren&apost exceptions—the deep dish, lard-in-the-dough, back fin crab pies at Matthew&aposs, purporting to be Baltimore&aposs oldest pizzeria, are a firm favorite in Highlandtown, a neighborhood that supports more than a few notable retro institutions. Flash-forward to the present and over to exurban Darnestown in Montgomery County, where Inferno Pizzeria Napoletana offers one glimpse of the possible future of pizza in the DMV—here, accomplished chef and owner Tony Conte makes one of the finest tomato pies anywhere, a deceptively spare beauty with Bianco DiNapoli tomatoes, a hint of parmesan, garlic, and fresh basil.


Actress turned award-winning chef Ann Kim has been known to say that she makes and serves the food that she likes to eat, and more often than not, that food has been pizza. Opening her dream restaurant in 2010—Pizzeria Lola, named for her dog�used no shortage of controversy within her immediate family her South Korean immigrant parents were baffled as to why a Columbia grad would choose such a life. Minneapolis, on the other hand, was all in from the beginning, lining up for Kim&aposs inventive, wood-fired pies, some of them topped with homemade kimchi. A New York-style slice shop, Hello Pizza followed, out in suburban Edina, and then in 2016, Kim opened Young Joni, a bold restaurant that garnered national acclaim, where the menu revolved around—you guessed it—pizza. Neo-Neapolitan pizza, to be specific, is what Kim calls it, made in a giant, copper-clad Le Panyol oven. (If you&aposve never had a Korean short rib pie, you&aposll find a rather legendary one here.) Pizza and Minnesota go way back𠅍id you know that pizza rolls were invented here?𠅊nd more often than not, the style is thin-crust Midwest, nearly always square cut. Mama&aposs in St. Paul (established in 1964) and Dave&aposs Pizza in Bemidji (since 1958) serve up fine examples of the genre.


What&aposs a terrific little restaurant like TriBecca Allie Cafe doing, slinging wood-fired Neapolitan pizzas in a town like Sardis, Mississippi, population well under two thousand people? Simple, really𠅎ntrepreneurial couple moves from elsewhere (in this case, New York) for family, the husband builds himself a backyard oven to tinker with bread and pizza, selling them at the farmers&apos market in nearby Oxford, and before you know it, everyone&aposs telling them to open a restaurant, which they did. And then all the people who told them to open a restaurant showed up, again and again, apparently, because Dutch and Rebecca Van Oostendorp&aposs one-of-a-kind operation has been around for a decade already. Emily Blount didn&apost come to Mississippi from New York, but the West Coast native spent plenty of years there before coming to Oxford and opening Saint Leo, a smart Italian spot with some mighty fine pizza of the thoroughly modern variety.


Bob Marshall, the proprietor of Biga Pizza in Missoula, arrived in town from the East Coast back in the early 1990s and stayed, opening up this casual but warm spot for brick-oven pies with creative toppings, back in 2006. The city he fell for years earlier responded in turn. Fifteen years later, it&aposs still very much a love match, and perhaps more than ever, now that they&aposve successfully mastered the art of delivery, a pandemic-era necessity. Craving pizza in Bozeman? Brake for gorgeous sourdough pies at Blackbird, a local favorite for over a decade.


In this part of the world, when the question is pizza, the answer will often be Valentino&aposs, a popular destination for sturdy, pan-style pies founded in Lincoln back in the 1950s, now boasting scads of locations—some with full-blown buffets—throughout the state. But Nebraska pizza culture runs deeper than that, particularly around Omaha, which supports an impressive number of older pizzerias, a vestige of the city&aposs rich Italian heritage. For starters, throw things way back with hearty Sicilian-style slices at Orsi&aposs Italian Bakery & Pizzeria, a local favorite since 1919. There&aposs plenty to try, in between—the hamburger pizza, another rectangular classic at the neon-lit La Casa Pizzaria, around since the 1950s, for one. But it&aposs awfully difficult to resist the siren call of the all-up-to-date Lighthouse Pizza, a modern classic for fine, very large slices (with sauce, for dipping) and creatively-topped, hand-cut fries. They&aposre open late, and there&aposs a drive-through—no wonder they&aposve already opened a second location.


Las Vegas is a pizza town, a pretty damn good one, and it didn&apost happen yesterday, either. Back in 2005, for example, long before Neapolitan-ish became a thing in upscale shopping centers across the United States, Settebello was bringing actual pizza Napoletana to suburban Henderson. These days, there&aposs all kinds of good pizza within your grasp here, starting with gorgeous Grandma pies, thoroughly convincing Detroit-style pizza, and some of the best gluten-free crust in the country at Vincent Rotolo&aposs Good Pie in the Arts District. Don&apost skip town without a visit to California pizza legend Tony Gemignani&aposs Pizza Rock, which may not be a complete substitute for a visit to his San Francisco pizzerias, but a margherita pie here can be awfully good. Pizza lovers in Reno are in a particularly festive mood these days�ter an extended pandemic-related closure, Smiling With Hope Pizzeria, famous throughout the industry for training and hiring people with learning disabilities, is back to churning out some of the best New York-style pies west of the Rockies.  

New Hampshire

When you&aposre wandering around New England and come upon a pizza house, or a house of pizza, or anything to do with pizza and house in the same sentence, what you&aposre probably getting is a Greek-style pie, whether you know it or not. New Englanders know what this means (they invented the genre, after all): a well-oiled, generously-proportioned crust, tomato sauce riddled with dried herbs, heavy on the oregano, and too much cheese on top, typically mozzarella blended with cheddar and/or provolone. This will never be the greatest pizza on earth, but in capable hands, it can be a real pleasure to eat. Tilton&aposs House of Pizza in Tilton often meets that mark, with their buttery, generously topped, unrepentantly Greek monstrosities. Not far from I-93 north of Concord, consider this an essential stop on your way home from a day of rigorous outdoor recreation in the White Mountains.

New Mexico

One of the things you have to accept, living in the sunny, pizza-loving uplands of the Northeast, is that there are parts of the country, your country, where people do things to their pizzas, unspeakable things, things involving pineapple, or sometimes ketchup. There are places, even, where people will start a ruckus if you deny them their nearly-legal right to ranch dressing with their pizza. How else, they may ask, are they supposed to eat the crust? At Dion&aposs, an Albuquerque-born regional chain beloved within its home state, a good many of their pizzas don&apost get out the door without a side of the house ranch infused with green chilies. Try it once, and while you might not ever feel comfortable in front of your pizza-elitist pals, odds are just fine you&aposll be trying it again. It&aposs delicious. (They sell it in bottles, so you can indulge at home, away from prying eyes.) Albuquerque&aposs Golden Crown Panaderia is famous for green chile bread and biscochitos, but they also make a great pizza—keep it local with the choice of either blue corn or green chile crust.

North Carolina

Peyton Smith is among the country&aposs more skilled practitioners of pizza Napoletana, and you would know this, had you already ventured to downtown Winston-Salem, home to Mission Pizza Napoletana and one very handsome wood-fired Ferrara oven since 2014. Smith is also an excellent reminder that when it comes to great pizza, where you come from (Smith grew up right here) and who your friends are (not a lot of national media hanging out around Winston-Salem, one imagines) mean nothing. What counts is passion, attention to detail, and ultimately, what comes out of that exceptionally hot oven. Long-fermented dough, a proprietary sauce blend and high-quality ingredients go into the puffball pizzas that beg to be consumed on the spot. This is one of those all-too-rare places where you catch a glimpse of Neapolitan pizza&aposs origins as a portable (and entirely elegant) street food. The Carolinas have absorbed a considerable number of New Yorkers over the years Anthony Guerra grew up on Long Island with Umberto&aposs of New Hyde Park, working at Kesté before going his own way--his Oakwood Pizza Box has been kind of a big deal around Raleigh since opening in 2017.  

North Dakota

A smart little Neapolitan-inspired pizza joint and coffee bar called Fireflour, built around a wood oven imported from Naples, is probably not the first thing you wander into Bismarck looking for, but North Dakota&aposs state capital will surprise you like that. Owner Kenny Howard had a design career in California, where he was inspired to open his own restaurant, which he did with his wife, Kendra, nearly a decade ago. Over in Fargo, it&aposs classic, square-cut, Midwest thin-crust all the way—with braided edges that neatly hold in all your toppings𠅊t Sammy&aposs, a fixture on the scene since the 1950s.  


Mike Bausch quit law school in the Bay Area and moved to Tulsa without any kind of grand plan. He had a brother here working in the corporate world, who would call him up and tell him stories about people waiting in hours-long lines to get into chain restaurants in the suburbs, and why didn&apost they open a halfway decent restaurant of their own? In 2006, they did just that. Today, Andolini&aposs is the most serious pizza place in the state, make that places plural, because there are already a handful of locations in the region, serving up thoughtful, neo-Neapolitan pies. The Demarco of Brooklyn is a tasty (and immediately recognizable) tribute to a certain, very well-known pizzeria in that particular New York City borough.


Trace back to that big pizza moment, right after the turn of the century, and Portland was right there, doing the pioneer-level stuff it does so well. 2005 is when baker Bryan Spangler made his side project a real thing by opening Apizza Scholls, introducing the city and very soon, flabbergasted national food writers, to his genre-defying pies𠅋ig, beautiful things, too structurally sound to be Neapolitan, too meticulous to be just another New York-style number. Throw in a couple of vintage arcade games and you had this irresistible, new wave neighborhood pizza parlor thing happening𠅌ue lines out the door. Countless awards and so much spilled ink later, Scholls remains one of the best in the country.

Of course, Spangler wasn&apost the only one innovating back then. In 2006, Ken Forkish opened Ken&aposs Artisan Pizza with chef Alan Maniscalco, inspiring a generation of pizza makers (and pizza eaters) to aim higher. Things we take for granted now—long-fermented dough, the very best tomatoes and mozzarella cheese, wood-fired ovens—weren&apost the norm back then, and it would be a number of years before all that stuff became quite so accessible as it was in Portland. Accomplished chef Sarah Minnick never intended to end up running a pizza place, but the 2008 recession had other ideas. Happily, Lovely&aposs Fifty Fifty stuck around, serving up meticulous, farmers&apos market-focused pies (nettles and guanciale pizza was a recent hit) throughout the pandemic.

Rhode Island

There was plenty of pizza in the littlest state—home to the highest per capita percentage of Americans claiming Italian heritage, fun fact𠅏or generations before Johanne Killeen and her late husband, George Germon, had the idea to cook their thin-crusted pies, topped with the best fresh ingredients, on the hardwood charcoal grill at their Providence restaurant, Al Forno, in the early 1980s. Saying that Al Forno&aposs grilled pizza pulled focus is putting it mildly—the couple had even the Italian government standing at attention, earning them a certificate of authenticity rarely granted to an American restaurant. That&aposs probably not going to happen any time soon for the creator of the Wimpy Skippy, Rhode Island&aposs other claim to pizza fame the spinach pizza pocket, stuffed further with pepperoni and black olives, was created at nearby Caserta&aposs in Federal Hill, one of the country&aposs last great Italian enclaves. Their Sicilian-style square slices come with just tomato unless you specify cheese, which it doesn&apost really need—the crust and sauce are just that flavorful.

South Carolina

You could spend a weekend in Charleston with a focused mind𠅍ifficult, considering how much else there is to eat here𠅊nd not get to all the pizza worth trying. Where to start? The thin and gorgeous, Roman-style pies at Melfi, hot out of the wood-fired oven, each one all but painted like a canvas? Monza Pizza Bar, for meticulous, Neapolitan beauties, where even the yeast comes from Naples, and the toppings are as fresh and local as each season allows? Classic cheese pies and good beer at neighborhood gem D&aposAllesandro&aposs? And don&apost neglect the forerunning EVO Pizza, a smart mainstay in North Charleston founded by a passionate duo who met working at FIG, one of the city&aposs best restaurants. 

South Dakota

The Napolitano family is well-known in Sioux Falls for Breadico, the most exciting bakery to hit South Dakota in some time, so nobody was surprised when their follow-up effort, Pizza Di Paolo, which would highlight the carefully-crafted pizzas customers had come to love at the sourdough-centric bakery, came out swinging in 2019 with a wood-fired hearth they eventually had to ditch, replacing it with two gas ovens—keeping up with demand quickly proved too difficult. Open since 1959, Charlie&aposs Pizza House in Yankton is proudly the longest-running operation in the state, and exactly the kind of pizza parlor you might expect to find in South Dakota—the meatball and sauerkraut pie is one of their top sellers.


From Neapolitan pies so thoroughly real-deal they&aposve been known to spark arguments over whether the pizza was actually cooked, to gorgeous pies served sit-down at some of the city&aposs finest restaurants, to old-school spots where the proprietors trade on their New York and New Jersey roots, plus recent popular imports from other American cities, and (almost done!) some fascinating ideas all of its own, Nashville has a little bit of everything and is, at this moment, one of the South&aposs most important pizza towns. The much-celebrated Folk pivoted to takeout during the pandemic, making it even easier to try one of Philip Krajeck&aposs inventive pies. Also popular but completely different is Slim & Husky&aposs, a community-minded, flatbread-style original that launched in 2017 and is already spreading like wildfire throughout the South. Don&apost miss the bold new St. Vito Focacciaria, for slices of sfincione, a specific style of Sicilian, here topped with fontina cheese, tomato, and fresh oregano.


Maybe you&aposve heard, people are moving to Texas, lots of people, from all over the country, which explains why a state where pizza isn&apost really a thing traditionally has been so busy embracing everybody else&aposs. One of the very best in the state right now? The Detroit-style pies at Via 313, which started, like so much else in Austin, as a trailer, back in 2011, when two brothers from Detroit decided to introduce the pizza they grew up with to what turned out to be a very receptive audience. There are now multiple locations, in and out of Austin, with more to come this year.

From equally humble beginnings, Cane Rosso in Dallas has grown into a multi-city enterprise, serving one of the most faithful pizzas Napoletana in the state their Zoli&aposs spinoff in suburban Addison could very well be the next big thing, serving up honking-huge New York-style pies with some very creative toppings. There are serious gems scattered throughout the state, you just have to know where to look—Neapolitan pies in casual surrounds from a local chef at Il Forno in San Antonio, pizzas with seasonal toppings (sometimes from the backyard garden) at Coltivare in Houston, and pretty much anything coming out of the oven at lovely little Para Llevar in Marfa.

Italians and Utah go way back, to the mid-1800s, when Joseph Toronto arrived with the first wave of pioneers, in the employ of Brigham Young. These days, you can catch glimpses of their contribution to the culture, from the legendary Caputo&aposs Market in Salt Lake City to the national smash-hit Creminelli Fine Meats, which at one point was operating out of the basement of Caputo&aposs, not to mention one of the first truly Neapolitan pizzerias in the country, Settebello, founded in Las Vegas and exported to Salt Lake, all the way back in 2006. So maybe you don&apost find great pizza on every corner nowadays, though it certainly exists, at places like Ti Amo, a charming labor of love in a Bountiful strip mall, where the Bonfanti family turns out some excellent, wood-fired pies. Many Utahns grow up on Litza&aposs Pizza, founded in 1965 by local restaurateur Don Hale—the medium thick, hand-tossed pies are iconically Salt Lake.


A summer evening in the idyllic Mad River Valley, sharing rustic, New World pies from the wood-burning, earthen oven at American Flatbread—is there any pizza experience in the state more immediately essential? Even during the pandemic, a wander in the gardens at the original Lareau Farm location while you waited for takeout remained a highlight. Founded by the visionary George Schenk in 1985, the company is now owned by the Massachusetts-based Flatbread Company, itself inspired by Schenk&aposs original idea. There are locations in Middlebury and Burlington, the latter also home to the much newer, but also worthy Pizzeria Verita, combining Neapolitan technique with a love of Vermont ingredients.


The only thing more authentically Neapolitan than the pillow-like pizzas practically flying from the oven at Pupatella in Arlington is Enzo Algarme himself. Frustrated by so many places promising and then never really delivering the style he grew up with, the Naples native got his start back in 2007, and the response was overwhelming, to say the least. Pupatella now has four Virginia locations, and one across the Potomac in the nation&aposs capital.

Decades before, Bob and Karen Crum revolutionized things in the Charlottesville region with Crozet Pizza, going back into the late 1970s, and the pies to this day stay close to their hippie-era roots the business is now owned and operated by their children and grandchildren. Norfolk got lucky with the surprising, wood-fired margherita pies at The Bakehouse, a prime example of what happens when𠅊nd you&aposll see this cropping up in so many states, nowadays𠅋read people also become pizza people. (Spoiler alert—you end up eating all your crusts.)


There was a time in Seattle history when the Rainier Valley neighborhood was so Italian, people used to call it Garlic Gulch, so you might expect there to be no shortage of pizza in town, and you would be correct. Skip the expensive trial and error—instead, board the ferry for Bainbridge Island, which is something you should be doing more anyway, just for fun. Here, Italian expat Pino Sordello owns the humble but charming Via Rosa 11, a casual Italian market and cafe tucked away in cute Rolling Bay. There are higher-profile destinations for wood-fired Neapolitan pies in Seattle this one happens to be better. You&aposve more pizza to try, before you get back on the boat Bainbridge&aposs best-known chef Brendan McGill (Hitchcock) recently opened the rustic-sleek Bruciato, turning out a worthy runner-up.

West Virginia

This is the state that once invented the pepperoni roll, said to have been  favored by miners in search of the most portable lunch they could find. To this day, The Mountain State remains one of the more unappreciated strongholds of Italian-American culture in this country. We&aposll start in old Clarksburg, where red sauce practically runs from the tap, or at least it did historically among the no-frills Italian bakeries and dimly-lit restaurants with their secluded backrooms that could tell more than a few stories, there is Vito&aposs, serving up the regionally popular rectangular pies shrouded in generous amounts of stretchy mozzarella. Compare and contrast with the same style at Colasessano&aposs in nearby, also very Italian-American-rooted Fairmont𠅎veryone&aposs got a favorite.

Modern pizza culture has not passed West Virginia by starting as a one-off catering to outdoor adventurers that come from around the world to get wild in the New River Gorge, Pies & Pints in Fayetteville has grown to include locations in multiple states. So far, Pizzas & Cream has yet to expand behind its secluded hollow in Nebo, which is pretty far from everywhere. Anyone who&aposs made the trek knows, however, that a summer evening outdoors with their brick oven pies and homemade Italian ices and gelato is well worth the ride.


There are some terrific, widely reported stories about the evolution of pizza cheese in America, and how the distinctive mozzarella you find on a New York slice came about when mafia dons Al Capone and Joseph Bonanno began pressuring pizzerias into buying the cheaper, more processed cheese produced with milk from mobbed-up dairy farms in Wisconsin&aposs idyllic heartland. There&aposs less pizza-related mystery and intrigue swirling around the state these days, at least as far as we know—there are, on the other hand, a few very clear truths, one of which is that around here, thin is in. Call it what you like�r pie, tavern pie, pub pizza𠅋ut these are some of the slightest creatures around, and very few people have mastered the craft like Maria&aposs in Milwaukee, dating back to 1957. Today, the cash-only, no-liquor establishment (decorated with more Jesus and Elvis-related paraphernalia than you might have expected to find) still thrives under the ownership of Bonnie Crivello, founder Maria Traxel&aposs daughter. Normally, you will find Crivello tending to the dining room where customers wait as long as it takes for the massive, square-cut rectangular pies, the flaky crust shaped by a dough sheeter, and usually too generously-sized to be contained by the trays they&aposre delivered on. On your first visit, order double what you think you&aposll need—these are not so much pizzas to be eaten, as inhaled. Super-thin round pies, also typically bar-cut, are the norm around Wisconsin. They&aposre served on lace paper doilies at Wells Brothers, a fixture in Racine since the Roaring Twenties back in Milwaukee, Zaffiro&aposs has been a firm favorite for even longer than Maria&aposs.


From tentative mobile operation to one of remote Gillette&aposs favorite hangouts—it&aposs been quite the ride, full of twists and turns, for Pizza Carrello. Launched off the back of a truck (so to speak) in 2011 by entrepreneurial couple Ariane Jimison and Rachel Kalenberg, the restaurant�ntered around a wood-fired oven—turns out pies made with a steady hand the margherita with San Marzano tomatoes and fresh mozzarella is finished off with a potent flourish of garlic-infused olive oil. And speaking of spoiled small towns�sper is where the pioneering Mark and Kristy Dym chose to open a branch of their pioneering Racca&aposs Pizzeria Napoletana, which started out in Denver back in 2008 as Marco&aposs Coal-Fired Pizza. The name may have changed, but the pies are still some of the finest in the time zone.

Breaking away from old-school Detroit-style pizzerias, Tomatoes Apizza makes Neapolitan-inspired, coal-fired pies that never fail to wow first-time visitors. While the coaster-thin crust is done to perfection𠅌rispy but never dry or brittle—it’s the stuff on top that really shines. Fresh, abundant and bursting with flavor, the toppings at Tomatoes Apizza are in a class of their own.

If foldable, floppy New York-style pizza is your jam, this is your spot. Located in the city’s famed Eastern Market, Supino’s often has a long line snaking out its door. But don’t let that deter you. Dough, sauce, and toppings mingle here in perfect harmony, and the quality is consistently excellent.

The 14 Best Frozen Pizzas Are Proof That Store-Bought Pizza Can Be Delicious

We taste-tested over 20 grocery store brands to find the best frozen pizzas that are better than delivery.

There are about a million reasons to love pizza &mdash the crispy-yet-doughy crust, tangy tomato sauce and don&rsquot even get us started on the gooey, melty cheese. And while you could learn how to make pizza at home, sometimes you just need to get your &lsquoza fix right. This. Second. There&rsquos no time to wait for the delivery guy to arrive, let alone the yeast to rise on homemade pizza dough. Or, there's a blizzard outside and you can't bring yourself to head to your nearest pizza restaurant for takeout.

Enter the best frozen pizzas. Once considered the least appetizing option in the supermarket freezer section, now there are endless options that actually taste good and fit into every type of diet and preference &mdash great gluten-free recipes, thin-crust, cauliflower-crust, vegan &mdash you name it.

So we fired up our ovens and threw a pizza party in the Good Housekeeping Test Kitchen to taste test 20+ frozen pizzas to create the ultimate frozen pizzas brand list. In the process, we discovered a bunch of new store-bought pizza favorites that don't taste like cardboard. From classic frozen pizzas to veggie-packed good-for-you options, we've gathered these top tested brands, so you know exactly what to buy next time you head to the store. Stock your freezer with a few of these frozen pies, and you'll be all set for those pizza (or dinner) emergencies.

Calling all crust lovers: DiGiorno's has fantastic dough. "Real pizzeria-quality &mdash seriously!" raved one taster. The crust also wasn't soggy in the slightest, which is surprising given how many toppings come on each slice.

Other Stuff You Should Know!

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We've been shipping Chicago's most iconic foods nationwide for over 20 years, and Lou Malnati's pizzas for over 30 years. Treat yourself or someone special!


The pizza was developed in 1946 at Buddy's Rendezvous, a former blind pig owned by Gus and Anna Guerra located at the corner of Six Mile Road and Conant Street in Detroit. [1] [2] [3] Sources disagree whether the original Sicilian-style recipe was based on Anna Guerra's mother's recipe for sfincione [4] or a recipe from one of the restaurant's employees, Connie Piccinato. [5] [6] The recipe created a "focaccia-like crust" with pepperoni pressed into the dough to "maximize the flavor penetration". [5] [7] The restaurant baked it in blue steel pans available from local automotive suppliers, made in the 1930s and 1940s by Dover Parkersburg [6] and used as drip trays or to hold small parts or scrap metal [6] in automobile factories because baking pans available at the time were not appropriate for the dish. [1] [2] [5] [8] Some 50- to 75-year-old pans are still in use. [6]

The restaurant later was renamed Buddy's Pizza. In 1953, the Guerras sold it and opened the Cloverleaf in Eastpointe, Michigan. [3] [9] Former Buddy's employee Louis Tourtois made pizzas at Shield's before founding Loui's Pizza in Hazel Park, Michigan. [9] [10] The Detroit News called Tourtois the "king of pizzas" in 1978. [10] National chain Jet's, local chain Shield's, and Luigi's the Original of Harrison Township are other locally-notable restaurants serving the style. [11] [12] [13]

Buddy's Pizza chief brand officer Wesley Pikula, who started at Buddy's as a busboy in the 1980s, said that he had never heard the term "Detroit-style" before the 1980s when a trade magazine used it and that even afterward it was seldom used except in national trade articles. [1] As late as 2007, some local media were referring to the style as "Sicilian-style". [14] Some makers of Detroit-style pizza in other areas questioned whether to call their pizza by that name, as "sometimes people have negative thoughts about Detroit." [8]

The Detroit-style pizza was popular throughout the Detroit area but until the 2010s was not often found at restaurants outside the area. [1] [15] In 2011 two Detroit brothers opened a Detroit-style pizza restaurant in Austin, Texas, using the "Detroit-style" name as a point of differentiation. [1] In 2012, a New York restaurateur created a pizza he called "Detroit-style", though he had never visited Detroit, using focaccia dough, mozzarella, and ricotta. [1]

In 2012, local restaurant cook Shawn Randazzo won the Las Vegas International Pizza Expo world championship with a Detroit-style pizza, and according to pizza educator Tony Gemignani, the reaction was immediate. [8] "After he won, I must have had six phone calls from operators, from guys who are big in the industry, saying, 'Give me a recipe for Detroit. How do I figure this out?'" [8] Randazzo started a training and certification program to teach others in the industry to make "authentic Detroit-style" pizza. [8] By 2018, he had trained 36 restaurateurs from the U.S., Thailand, and South Korea. [5] By 2019 a restaurant in Canberra, Australia was serving the style. [16] By 2019, the San Francisco Bay Area also experienced interest and growth. [17] Montreal, Canada has a restaurant that began serving the style in 2020, describing that Detroit-style pizza is “everything we love about pizza, a long dough fermentation mixed with a combination of soft, chewy, and crunchy textures." [18] According to Serious Eats, "in early 2016 or so, everyone seemed to be talking about it or writing about it or opening up restaurants devoted to it." [2] Trade journal Pizza Today wrote in 2018 that "Perhaps no pizza style has entered the public consciousness in quite the way that Detroit-style pan pizza has." [19] They credited Randazzo's International Pizza Expo win with "rock(ing) the pizza world". [19] Trade journal Restaurant Hospitality said the style had become popular on Instagram. [20]

In 2019, Esquire called the style "one of the hottest food trends across America", [13] [21] and both the Detroit Free Press [13] and Eater said Detroit-style pizza was "having its moment". [1] Eater wrote that pizzerias offering the style were spreading across the US, but that the new pizzas were different: [1]

On one side are the local Detroit pizzerias and restaurants devoted to their normcore, family-restaurant roots with toppings directly on the crust, a layer of processed brick cheese, and sauce on top. Then there are the "artisanal" square pizzas, with their aged doughs, organic toppings, unprocessed cheeses, and "frico" crust. These designer square slices are sometimes baked in a wood-fired oven and often served on Instagrammable metal trays in perfect lighting — a departure from the checkered tablecloths, no-frills boat drinks, and generous displays of bocce ball plaques at Buddy's. And in this new era of Detroit-style pizza, it's this photogenic version that many Americans are discovering first.

Eater said the artisanal trend was slow to catch on in Detroit. [1] Along with the Coney Island hot dog and the Boston cooler, the traditional Detroit-style is one of Detroit's iconic local foods. [22] [23] [24]

During 2015 to 2019, Detroit-style pizza grew about 66% on menus, though this is still less than 1% of menus of pizzerias with 25 or fewer units. [25] Restaurant Insider named Detroit-style pizza as one of the top pizza trends in 2019. [26] Strong growth on menus is predicted for the next four years and Detroit-style pizza is ranked in the 90th percentile for growth potential. [27] In a 2021 forecast report, noted that Detroit-style pizza is now national and reported that reviews mentioning "Detroit-style pizza" are up 52%. [10]

Frozen Detroit-style pizza products with positive reviews are available from takeout providers and food producers. [28] [29] [30] One positive review with three tasters featured compliments about the "thick, fluffy, chewy crust". [31] Pizzerias who traditionally have not sold online have started to sell frozen products through nationwide online marketplaces. [32] [33] [34]

In 2021, after about one year of development and 500 iterations, Pizza Hut released four versions of its Detroit-style pizza. [35] [36] Reviews from The Washington Post and Uproxx mention that while the trademark elements of Detroit-style pizza are represented, there were some shortcomings that resulted in a negative experience. [37] [38] The Takeout provided a positive review overall, though it also had some negative feedback about the sauce. [39] Social media reactions have been strong and Deadline Detroit reported many negative reactions. [40] Delish provided positive reviews and mentioned that people who like thick, crunchy crust and sweeter sauce will like the Pizza Hut version. [41]

Detroit-style pizza is a deep-dish rectangular pizza topped with Wisconsin brick cheese and a cooked tomato-based sauce. [1] [2] The dough typically has a hydration level of 70 percent or higher, which creates an open, porous, chewy crust with a crisp exterior. [13] [19] [42] The fresh dough is double-proofed and stretched by hand to the pan corners. [43] When seasoning new steel pans, they usually need to be dry-baked using 10 to 18 ounces of dough per pan. [44] Randazzo says that the crust should be about 1.5 inches thick for true Detroit-style pizza. [45] The buttery flavor of the crust results from a small quantity of oil and the melting properties of the mozzarella and Wisconsin brick cheeses. [46] Shield's Pizza describes the importance of the sauce for flavor and how quality is ensured by consistently baking pizza for 13 minutes at 440°F. [47] Loui's Pizza places the pepperoni first, underneath almost one pound of brick cheese and then bakes the pizza at 700°F. [10] The brick cheese can withstand the heat due to the heavy butterfat content. [10]

Traditionally the toppings are layered with the cheese below the sauce. [1] [47] Pepperoni is often placed directly on the crust, and other toppings may go directly on top of the cheese with the cooked sauce as the final layer, applied in dollops [13] or in "racing stripes," two or three lines of sauce. [1] [2] [19] [47] [48] Some recipes call for the sauce to be added after the pizza comes out of the oven. [2] The style is sometimes referred to as "red top" because the sauce is the final topping. [20] [42]

The cheese is spread to the edges and caramelizes against the high-sided heavyweight rectangular pan, giving the crust a lacy, crispy edge. [2] [19] This edge, known as frico, is the crispy caramelized cheese that runs along the edges of Detroit-style pizzas. [49] [50] According to the trade journal Pizza Today, "The key to this pizza is the delicious caramelized cheese that melts down the interior walls of the pan". [19]

GQ magazine food critic Alan Richman included Buddy's Pizza and Luigi's the Original among his 2009 list of 25 best pizzas in America. [12] A Detroit-style pizza made by Randazzo, who was then working at Cloverleaf, won the 2012 Las Vegas International Pizza Expo world championship. [8] The Chicago Tribune reviewed Jet's Pizza in 2013 and rated it very highly. [51] In 2019, The Daily Meal website named Buddy's the best pizza in Michigan. [52] The Detroit Free Press named the Cloverleaf its Classic Restaurant of 2020. [4] In 2016, the New York Post called it "the new hipster horror". [53] In 2020, four Detroit-area restaurants, Buddy's, Supino Pizzeria, Loui's Pizza, and Cloverleaf Pizza, were listed in the 101 Best Pizzas in America by The Daily Meal. [54] SmartBrief mentions that "Detroit-style pizza has been popping up on more menus over the past few years, and the hearty square pies have proven especially popular in the pandemic era". [55] The Palm Beach Post describes how within minutes, a Delray Beach, FL bakery with a Detroit-style pizza pop-up store sells out its takeout pizza that is ordered online at noon on a Monday for pickup on the following Sunday. [56] A writer for Delish originally from Chicago and now based in New York City provided a positive review in an article correspondingly entitled "What Is Detroit-Style Pizza? It's Way Better Than Your Deep Dish Or New York Slice". [57]

Watch the video: Local pie shop brings back memories (July 2022).


  1. Vulrajas

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