50 States 50 Pizzas
Food Network Magazine hit the road to find the greatest pizzas in America. Click the stars to find their must-try pie in every state.
The star is the BLT, with ricotta, mozzarella, bacon, tomatoes and arugula. Fold it in half and eat it as the name suggests, like a sandwich.
207A 20th St. North; trattoriacentrale.com
For this pie, they top a mild fish sauce with red onion, green peppers, tomatoes and fresh Alaskan salmon, then they dare to combine fish and cheese and add a big helping of mozzarella.
4505 Spenard Rd.; 907-243-3333
THE PARLOR PIZZERIA
All of the wood-fired pies are worth trying, but the Salsiccia is a must: a thin, chewy, lightly charred crust loaded with melted slabs of mozzarella and cheddar, grilled radicchio and spicy pork sausage. The kicker is a drizzle of slightly sweet saba, a balsamic vinegar reduction.
1916 East Camelback Rd.; theparlor.us
Little Rock and Fayetteville, Arkansas
"The Stuffy Underdog"
There was a time when no one was ordering this double-decker cheese-and-beef-stuffed pie, and it nearly got axed from the menu. But a few tweaks from co-owner Jeff Trine made all the difference: He added onions and olives, topped each slice with tomato sauce and changed the name from The Mexicali to The Stuffy Underdog.
multiple locations; damgoodepies.com
"Wild Nettle and Pecorino"
For this winner, Charlie Hallowell starts with mozzarella and pecorino and adds shaved red onions and fistfuls of stinging nettles, a spiky-leafed herb. Cooking neutralizes the nettles' sting and wilts them into a tangle of flavorful greens.
5008 Telegraph Ave.; pizzaiolooakland.com
The wood-burning oven — made in Naples with special bricks that supposedly contain volcanic material — cooks at 1000 degrees F and spits out screaming-hot pizzas covered with a sweet-salty-tangy combo of corn, prosciutto cotto and creme fraiche.
1730 Pearl St.; pizzerialocale.com
FRANK PEPE PIZZERIA NAPOLETANA
After the clam vendor next door suggested Frank Pepe make white clam pizza, Frank smartly expanded his menu, launching the dish that would become Pepe's most famous specialty: brick-oven pizza topped with olive oil, cheese and freshly shucked clams.
multiple locations; pepespizzeria.com
Stacy Zarin Goldberg
COMET PING PONG
The Smoky comes with a double dose of smoke instead: smoked cremini mushrooms and mozzarella, along with bacon and sweet caramelized onions.
5037 Connecticut Ave. Northwest; cometpingpong.com
Shawna Sneath/TSM Media
PIZZA BY ELIZABETHS
The best pizza is the Saint Elizabeth, an ode to John the Baptist's mother: It's a white pie with lumps of sweet blue crabmeat mixed with an artichoke-parmesan sauce. The thin crust — white or low-fat honey-wheat — stays crisp and brittle around the edge yet has just the right chewiness.
3801 Kennett Pike; pizzabyelizabeths.com
MICHAEL'S GENUINE FOOD & DRINK
Call ahead to see if chef Michael Schwartz is inclined to make it. When he is, he tops his crisp crust with super-tasty slow-roasted rib meat, aged gruyere, caramelized onions and arugula — and you should get it while it lasts.
130 Northeast 40th St.; michaelsgenuine.com
VINNE VAN GO-GO'S
Order "yuppie" toppings and end up with the best pizza fixin's in the house: banana peppers, artichoke hearts, spinach, tomatoes, feta cheese, spicy Italian sausage and mushrooms. It all arrives on a crust made from the restaurant's original dough starter, now 20 years old; the crust holds up perfectly under all the weight.
317 West Bryan St.; vinnievangogo.com
Pizza maker Alejandro Briceno uses special boquerones — white marinated Spanish anchovies — on his anchovy pie. The anchovies share the stage with tomato sauce, mozzarella, thyme and a special local ingredient: Hawaiian chile pepper water, a mixture of water, salt, vinegar, garlic and red chiles.
1344 Kona St.; vloungehawaii.com
"Wild Forest Mist"
This pie is topped with five varieties of wild mushrooms, plus a fiery house-made elk sausage. Owner Brad Breakell takes an unconventional approach to the pizza's base, too: He adds a pinch of lavender to the sauce and "ages" the dough for at least 24 hours.
7330 West State St.; pizzalchik.com
The pies are baked in well-seasoned cast-iron pans lined with a sprinkling of mozzarella, so when the pizzas come out of the oven, they have a crust of crispy, salty, caramelized cheese. This part is so captivating that toppings are an unnecessary distraction — simple cheese pie is the way to go.
multiple locations; pequodspizza.com
Jim Chaddock & Andrea Georgion
Beverly Shores, Indiana
THE ROLLING STONEBAKER
"The Purple Pig"
The Purple Pig is the one to try: a colorful pulled-pork pie with roasted-garlic olive oil, barbecue sauce, red cabbage and five cheeses.
multiple locations; rollingstonebaker.com
Des Moines, Iowa
The owners riffed on the cream cheese-and-crab fried dumplings by spreading cream cheese on crust and topping it with imitation crabmeat, green onions, crunchy egg-roll strips, cheese and sweet chili sauce.
223 Fourth St.; .fongspizza.com
WICHITA PIZZA COMPANY
Jeff and Lisa Hutton cover a crisp crust with refried beans, pizza sauce, beef or chicken, cheese, lettuce and tomatoes. Crushed-up nacho-flavored Doritos send the whole thing over the top.
1520 South Webb Rd., #120; wichitapizzacompany.com
BOOMBOZZ PIZZA & TAPHOUSE
Before baking the Pollotate (Italian for the mash-up of chicken and potato), Tony Palombino brushes the crust with a rosemary-garlic olive oil, then adds chicken breast, red onions, roasted potatoes and lots of asiago and mozzarella.
multiple locations; boombozztaphouse.com
Bossier City, Louisiana
CASCIO'S MARKET BISTRO
To make the perfect pizza-sandwich, owner Rocky Cascio takes muffuletta ingredients — Genoa salami, Black Forest ham, olive salad and provolone — then adds a second pizza crust and sprinkles it with mozzarella, provolone and crushed red pepper.
2750 Shed Rd., Suite G; cascioitalian.com
Mark James Photography
Mike Keon and Anthony Allen created a pizza topped with mashed potatoes, meatloaf and gravy. Customers didn't go for it, but when the two edited the toppings to this perfect combo — buttery mashed potatoes, bacon and scallions — it became an instant bestseller.
multiple locations; ottoportland.com
Stacy Zarin Goldberg
The best pie is this tricolor pizza, a tribute to the Italian flag, with three cheese-and-sauce combos: red sauce with five cheese; white garlic sauce with mozzarella, cheddar and ricotta; and green pesto with fresh mozzarella.
Two locations; joesquared.com
Eric Levin Photography
Scampo's owner, Lydia Shire, slathers each pie with lobster cream and then dots it with big chunks of lobster tail. She conceived of the hit when she was faced with too much lobster one season — an only-in-Boston problem — and now it's a customer favorite.
215 Charles St.; scampoboston.com
Farmington Hills, Michigan
The best choice is the Naples Sampler, a tasting of four delicious, simple pizzas: classic (with red sauce), white (with tons of garlic with mozzarella), green (with spinach) and mozzarella.
multiple locations; tomatoesapizza.com
BLACK SHEEP PIZZA
Chef-owner Jordan Smith's tastiest pie is this sauceless wonder: a rich combination of meaty oyster mushrooms, smoked mozzarella, ricotta and tons of rosemary and thinly shaved garlic.
multiple locations; blacksheeppizza.com
TONY'S BRICK OVEN PIZZERIA
Owner Tony Swigris delivers Cajun gumbo — Gulf shrimp, crab and andouille sausage — on a sturdy crust, along with tomato, onion and okra. But the real star of this pie is the sauce: a smoky roux thickened with the secret gumbo ingredient, file powder (ground dried sassafras leaves).
2417 14th St.; tonysbrickovenpizzeria.com
Kansas City, Missouri
Chef Quillan Glynn starts with a thin layer of tomato sauce and three cheeses; then, after removing the pie from the wood-fired oven, he adds nothing more than Parma prosciutto (in almost-translucent sheets), fresh arugula and a dash of olive oil.
1810 Baltimore Ave.; pizzabellakc.com
WHEN IN ROME
"Best Pizza Ever"
One day, after overcooking a special-order pie — whole-wheat crust with gorgonzola, roasted red peppers, garlic, red onions and pepperoni — chef Engjell Vrapi left the pizza out for his servers while he prepared a new one for his customer. The staff loved the toppings, and customers kept calling it the "best pizza ever."
8270 Highway 35; wheninromebigfork.com
LA CASA PIZZARIA
This rectangular pizza is a combo of traditional Sicilian toppings and good ol' Nebraska ground beef. Along with tomato sauce and cheese, each slice gets a mixture of slow-cooked hamburger, onions and spices.
Two locations; lacasapizzaria.net
Las Vegas and Henderson, Nevada
The Mulberry Street is a perfectly executed eggplant-parmigiana sub in pizza form. The owners start with a thin, stretchy New York-style dough, then add strips of breaded, fried eggplant and tomato sauce. The final touch: scoops of herb ricotta.
multiple locations; metropizza.com
Nashua, New Hampshire
MT'S LOCAL KITCHEN & WINE BAR
No longer on the menu — This thin-crust pie comes with four kinds of cheese, chopped tomatoes, red onion and Sriracha-spiked guacamole.
212 Main St.; mtslocal.com
Robbinsville, New Jersey
You'll find wooden booths, tile floors, a vintage cash register and perfect, classic sausage pies: tender chunks of fennel sausage and fresh tomatoes on a crisp, crackly crust that's cooked right every time.
2350 US Highway 33; delorenzostomatopies.com
Santa Fe, New Mexico
It's Santa Fe by the slice: grilled chicken, Alfredo sauce, pinon nuts (New Mexico pine nuts) and green chiles on a blue cornmeal crust.
60 East San Francisco St.; rooftoppizzeria.com
New York, New York
KESTE PIZZA & VINO
The tomatoes are San Marzano, the flour is superfine Italian, the cheese is buffalo mozzarella and the crust is, dare we say it, flawless: puffy, chewy and just a little charred.
271 Bleecker St.; kestepizzeria.com
Charlotte, North Carolina
"Buffalo Chicken Pizza"
This fantastic pie comes drizzled with Carolina Buffalo sauce, which is a mix of vinegar-based barbecue and classic Buffalo sauces.
location on Twitter, @WingzzaTruck
Bismarck and Mandan, North Dakota
A&B PIZZA"House Special"
The restaurant has been around for four decades, and the House Special is a masterpiece. The key ingredient is the pork sausage, seasoned with a secret spice blend that gives it a peppery, anise-y bite.
two locations; a-bpizza.com
Sam McNulty's Sunnyside pizza is sort of like breakfast on a crust: salty pancetta and soft-cooked eggs with provolone and lots of black pepper. The catch is, Bar Cento doesn't open until 4:30 p.m.
1948 West 25th St.; barcento.com
This pie comes with mega portions of Polish sausage, Canadian bacon, pepperoni, mozzarella and red sauce, plus a heap of cheddar cheese.
multiple locations; hideawaypizza.com
The prize on the menu is the pesto pizza, an appealing combo of ricotta and nutty spinach pesto on a crunchy cornmeal crust. The deli-style dining room isn't exactly date-night material, but you can order a par-baked pie and finish it off in the oven at home.
2727 Northeast Glisan St.; dovevivipizza.com
This Parma pizza is nothing more than razor-thin prosciutto (cut on a hand-cranked slicer), mozzarella, fontina and sherry vinegar-dressed arugula, which is often pulled from a garden they planted nearby.
640 North Broad St.; osteriaphilly.com
Providence, Rhode Island
AL FORNO RESTAURANT
No longer available — Al Forno's best is the Summer pizza, topped with tomato sauce, fresh herbs, scallions, a blend of fontina and pecorino cheese, a spicy oil and corn right off the cob.
577 South Main St.; alforno.com
North Charleston, South Carolina
Co-owner Matt McIntosh grinds pistachios with olive oil and salt to create a "pesto" base, then tops the pie with mozzarella, goat cheese and parmesan and finely ground pistachios.
1075 East Montague Ave.; evopizza.com
Yankton, South Dakota
CHARLIE'S PIZZA HOUSE
"Spicy Meatball & Sauerkraut"
Loyal fans are particularly hooked on this pie, topped with spicy-sour meatballs, jalapenos and sauerkraut. Newcomers are often wary, until they bite in.
804 Summit St.; 605-665-2212
Chef-owner Tandy Wilson brines pork bellies for five days, then roasts them, and the result is pork belly ham. He puts chunks of it on this pizza, along with house-made mozzarella, oregano and a shot of chili oil, then he slips the pie into a wood-fired oven.
1222 4th Ave. North; cityhousenashville.com
WEST CRUST ARTISAN PIZZA PIES
A brick-fired thin crust supports layers of mozzarella and feta cheese, along with turkey bacon, red onion and — the surprise ingredient — glazed pecans. Locals will tell you to add jalapenos for a Texas kick.
6012 82nd St., Suite A; westcrust.com
Alyssa Vincent/Heirloom Restaurant Group
Among the best of Pizzeria 712's pies is the least traditional one: roasted corn, fresh chiles, grana padano and gremolata, a traditional Italian herb mixture.
320 South State St., Suite 147; pizzeria712.com
West Glover, Vermont
PARKER PIE CO.
"The Green Mountain Special"
The Green Mountain Special comes loaded with local apples, sharp cheddar and bacon, and a drizzle of maple syrup from a neighboring farm, all atop chef Ben Trevits' thin hand-tossed crust.
161 County Rd.; parkerpie.com
The absolute best combination comes on the mushroom pie: shiitake and portobello mushrooms over a pungent base of garlic, herbs and olive oil, all on a perfectly chewy crust.
5794 Three Notch'd Rd.; crozetpizza.net
Suzanne Wright Baumhacki
SOLSTICE WOOD FIRE CAFE
"Country Girl Cherry"
When Aaron and Suzanne Baumhackl opened this spot, they looked to their surroundings for inspiration. Nothing seemed more obvious (or challenging) than using cherries. They successfully pair the fruit with chorizo sausage and goat cheese, and finish it all off with a sprinkle of rosemary and thyme.
45 West Steuben St.; solsticewoodfirecafe.com
Fayetteville and Charleston, West Virginia
PIES & PINTS
Originally, the pizza came with gorgonzola, rosemary and raisins, but one day when the raisins ran out, owner Kimberly Shingledecker replaced them with red grapes, and it has been a winner ever since.
two locations; piesandpints.net
Madison and Milwaukee, Wisconsin
"Mac n' Cheese"
Owner Ian Gurfield starts with a medium-thin crust and adds a layer of creme fraiche, followed by shredded mozzarella and cooked macaroni. After a sprinkle of Wisconsin cheddar, it's the ideal pie: golden, bubbly and extra cheesy.
multiple locations; ianspizza.com
GRAND AVENUE PIZZA
Owner Dave Klein rubs his crust with olive oil and garlic, then tops it with mozzarella, chicken, sesame seeds, scallions and a sweet-and-spicy glaze.
301 East Grand Ave.; grandavenuepizza.com