You don’t have to settle for the typical fast food pizza chains if you’re craving a good slice in Charlotte. The Queen City has upped its pizza game in the last 10 years and has tons of great pizzerias and restaurants that serve some of the tastiest, sauciest, cheesiest pizza you could ever devour. Dine in and enjoy a glass of wine in an an Italian atmosphere. Or, get a custom crafted pizza delivered by your favorite restaurant- or even via a mobile app delivery service like Postmates or UberEats. No matter which way you slice it, you are guaranteed to find the pizza you crave in the QC!
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
1. Inizio Pizza Napoletana
Inizio Pizza Napoletana is a Charlotte pizzeria known for serving a true Neapolitan style pizza. What is a true Neapolitan style pizza, you ask? Well, let me tell you. It’s a handcrafted pie that is cooked in a wood-fired oven and made with "00" flour dough. Fresh San Marzano tomatoes and mozzarella Campana are common ingredients on a Neapolitan style pizza, and you'll often see the cheese sliced instead of shredded.
Inizio imports the ingredients for their pizzas directly from Italy. They offer customers a high-quality masterpiece that will please any palate. The menu is divided between pizzas with red sauce and others without, but there are amazing options on both.
The Raffaele is a crowd pleaser that has sweet pepper, sausage, roasted onion, San Marzano tomato sauce, Buffalo mozzarella, garlic, and Pecorino cheese. A great no-sauce option is the Pistachio Pizza, which is topped with rosemary, sea salt, ricotta, buffalo mozzarella, garlic, and a pistachio pesto sauce.
Ballantyne Location: 10620 Providence Rd., Charlotte, NC 28277
Dilworth Location: 2230 Park Rd., Charlotte, NC 28203
2. Pure Pizza
Pure Pizza opened its first location in 7th Street Market in 2012 and its Central Avenue location in 2015. Pure Pizza brings the concept of farm-to-table dining directly to your pie. With a focus on all-natural, farm-fresh ingredients and options to satisfy many different diets, this pizza place has become extremely popular with Charlotte locals. Pure Pizza offers a mixed menu with vegetarian, vegan and gluten free options.
One of our favorite pizzas at Pure is the Chorizo Pizza, topped with chorizo, mozzarella, tomatoes, shaved radishes, onions, cilantro. and lime juice. If you are looking for something a little healthier, the She-Rex is a great vegetarian option! You can also build your own pizza with any of the wonderful and fresh ingredients.
Not only is Pure Pizza focused on using the purest ingredients in their food, they are also sustainable business that's doing their part in helping the environment. They’ve taken green initiatives, like providing bicycle parking at their restaurants and reducing food waste, in addition to ensuring that their pizzas are crafted only using the freshest local and organic ingredients available.
Pure Pizza is definitely the place for those who want to be health conscious, but don't want to compromise on taste and quality. Dine-in or take-out Pure Pizza tonight, we know you'll love it!
7th St. Market Location: 224 E. 7th St., Charlotte, NC 28202
Central Ave. Location: 1911 Central Ave., Charlotte, NC 28205
3. The Pizza Peel & Taproom
The Pizza Peel & Taproom has two locations in Charlotte and is one of the city's most popular family pizza restaurants. It's first location in Cotswald was opened in 2008, and the second in Plaza Midwood was opened in 2014. Pizza Peel's owner, Will Bigham, started with a goal to create a casual environment that not only serves great food and drinks, but is also a fun place to hang out.
Each month the restaurant offers a new, unique pizza for customers to try. One of the Pizza Peel's most popular specialties include the BBQ Chicken Pizza, but if you are wanting to try something a little different, go for the Updyke Pizza, which is an awesome combination of olive oil, mozzarella, Italian sausage, caramelized onions, mushrooms and goat cheese garnished with arugula and a balsamic vinaigrette. And then there’s the "Sorry for Partying" Supreme... you’ll just have to stop in to find out for yourself what gives this dish it’s name!
On any given day you'll see customers playing corn hole and other lawn games while enjoying fresh, hand-crafted pies. Pizza Peel is a great place to enjoy with the whole family, so put this place on your must-try pizza list.
Cotswold Location: 4422 Colwick Rd., Charlotte, NC 28211
Plaza Midwood Location: 1600 Central Ave., Charlotte, NC 28205
4. Portofino's Italian Restaurant
Portofino's has been a household name since 1996. One of the most authentic Italian restaurants in the city, Portofino's serves traditional Italian favorites like Chicken Parmigiana, Veal Marsala, as well as tons of great pasta and seafood dishes. While there are so many choices at Portofino's, the pizza is truly some of the best you will find around town.
A slice from Portofino's will make you feel like you're eating pizza in Italy...it's that good! With sauce made of fresh tomatoes and plenty of choices in toppings, Portofino's pizza melts in your mouth as soon as you take the first bite. Specialty pizzas include a classic Margherita, the Arrabiata (made with spicy marinara, prosciutto, mushrooms, tomatoes, and kalamata olives), and the Florentine (made with chicken, spinach, ricotta, pesto and mozzarella).
Portofino's also offers carry-out, so this is a good choice if you are looking to enjoy a fantastic pizza and a glass of wine in the comfort of your own home.
Eastway Location: 3124 Eastway Dr. #500, Charlotte, NC 28205
Park Road Location: 5126 Park Rd., Charlotte, NC 28209
Arboretum Location: 8128 Providence Rd. #100, Charlotte, NC 28277
5. 500 Degrees New York Style Pizza
500 Degrees may have a simple storefront, but this is THE pizzeria to visit in Charlotte if you are craving a traditional New York style pizza. Slices are large and customers have the option of purchasing many varieties by-the-slice at any given time.
Favorites on the menu include the Meat Lovers, Supreme, Hawaiian, and the Bianca, which is a white pizza with mozzarella, ricotta, and garlic.
If you’re not a fan of New York style crust, they also serve up a Sicilian square crust, which is thicker and usually a pan pizza. 500 Degrees offers a very casual pizzeria atmosphere and customers can dine-in or carry-out.
South Blvd. Location: 6037 South Blvd, Charlotte, NC 28217
6. Hawthorne's NY Pizza & Bar
Hawthorne's Pizza is well-known name in Charlotte, and with seven locations in and around our area, chances are there’s a Hawthorne's close to you! This family owned restaurant has been serving New York style pizzas to Charlotte residents for over 13 years.
Fun fact: After several pregnant women went into labor shortly after dining on Hawthorne’s Buffalo Chicken pizza, multiple news outlets picked up the story and it wasn’t long before soon-to-be moms who were past their due dates began flocking to Hawthorne’s to see if a slice of this spicy pie would jump start the process… and it kept on delivering (pun definitely intended). Of course, this led to the specialty pie getting a new name: "The Inducer." Maybe someone will return the favor and name their pizza-encouraged newborn Hawthorne!
Hawthorne's Pizza has several locations in the Charlotte area, so check out their
to see which one is closest to you!
7. Matt's Chicago Dog
We've given you a few New York style pizza options, but we can't forget our Midwesterners! Although their name advertises their famous Chicago Dogs, Matt's also specializes in making fantastic Chicago-style deep dish pizzas!
Menu options include your typical Meat Lovers, Supreme, Veggie, and Margherita; however you will also find some unique creations, like a BLT Pizza. Matt's Chicago Classic is a crowd favorite, which is topped with cheese, sausage, and crimini mushrooms.
Matt's deep-dish pizza is to die for. With a buttery crust baked in a deep pan and loaded with fresh tomato sauce, cheese, and any toppings you desire, this pizza will make your taste buds explode. If you don't like deep-dish, don't worry. They also offer personal pan pizzas and thin crust styles, as well as a number of other Chicago favorites.
The menu at Matt's goes far beyond just pizza and dogs, but if you are looking for their Chicago-style pies, visit their Cornelius location. If you are from the Windy City or just want to experience authentic Chicago-style pizza, head out to Matt's! You won't be disappointed.
Cornelius Location: 19732 One Norman Dr., Cornelius, NC 28031
We shared our favorites, and want to hear yours too! Let us know where you’ve had the best pizza in Charlotte in the comments!