Hope you’re hungry.
Best farm-to-fork pizza: Pure Pizza
Owner Juli Ghazi keeps it pure with thoughtfully sourced ingredients from local farms, including organic flour milled in North Carolina and toppings from local, sustainable and/or organic farms. They’ve also got a unique gluten-free sprouted ancient grain crust, vegan cheese and plenty of meat-free toppings to keep everyone accommodated.
Best authentic Italian pizza: Inizio Pizza Napoletana
Owner Grant Arons is so obsessed with replicating authentic Neapolitan pizza, he makes his crust with water imported from Italy for its exact pH balance and mineral content. He also imports Polselli type 00 flour, San Marzano tomatoes and real buffalo mozzarella. Doesn’t get much closer to the real deal.
Best pizza by the slice: Benny Pennello’s
Benny’s serves giant slices of its behemoth 28-inch pies all day and into the wee hours of the morning (until 3 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays) making it a mandatory late-night stop after last call.
Best Chicago-style deep dish: Matt’s Chicago Dog
The Midwest classic that eats more like a casserole than a pizza is hard to come by around these parts, but Matt’s Chicago Dog makes it happen up at its Lake Norman location. It’s available in 10- or 14-inch shareable sizes or you can get a more manageable mini size for one. (Sorry, the Uptown location is a dog-only operation. No pizza.)
Best mobile pizza: Libretto’s Street Pizza Food Truck
Libretto’s has brick and mortar locations Uptown, near Montford and in Ballantyne, but Charlotte just loves something about food out of a truck. Follow them on Facebook for the truck’s weekly location schedule.
Best pizza buffet: Luisa’s Brick Oven Pizza
This Charlotte classic has been running strong for 26 years, cranking out more than 1.3 million wood-fired pizzas so far. (Yes, they really tally them up and update the tracker above the oven every Saturday.) Catch the pizza buffet Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. You get unlimited pizza, pasta, salad and a drink for $9.
Best personal pizza: Zablong Peculiar Pizza
Zablong is Charlotte’s local answer to Chipotle-style, build-your-own pizza assembly lines. They mix things up with an oblong 12-inch crust, 9 different sauces and spreads, tons of toppings and a bunch of fancy finishes and oils. Get creative on your combo or stay safe with classic cheese.
Best Sicilian pizza: Hawthorne’s
Go big or go home with this 18×18″ square thick crust pie topped with pepperoni and Italian sausage. They have traditional New York-style pizza too, but you need to give this one a go. It only comes in one size (gigantic) so bring a crew.
Best grilled pizza: True Crafted Pizza
Although True certainly means business with its traditional wood-fired pizzas, the restaurant’s signature pie is a super thin crust brushed with olive oil and cooked to a perfect char on the grill. A perfect lighter option for the summer heat.
Best specialty pizzas: Pizzeria Omaggio
Best underrated pizza: Zio Casual Italian
Earlier this year, Agenda readers named Zio the #1 most underrated restaurant in Charlotte. And they’re right. The family-friendly spot with a romantic garden patio flies way under the city’s pizza radar. Team Agenda recommends a cheese pizza as an appetizer before diving into a pasta entree. YOLO.
Best suburban pizza: Aliño Pizzeria
The 30-mile trip north to Mooresville is worth it for the gorgeous Naples-style pizzas at Aliño. They do one thing and do it extremely well with a dead simple menu of nine pizzas available in one size only (16 inches) and a few salads and desserts. Order at the counter, grab a seat at the long, cafeteria-style tables and await your pizza.
Best fast food pizza: Blaze Pizza
Meet the king of assembly line pizza chains (and not just because LeBron James is an investor). Fresh, fast, wood-fired (no conveyor belt oven) and only five bucks for plain cheese. What’s not to like?
Header photo of Inizio Pizza via Facebook