The Upper Crust
Any Way You Slice It, There’s No Denying Our Passion For Pizza. Here, A Saucy Round-Up Of The Best Pies In Hampton Roads.
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So, in these parts, who has the best? Taste is subjective, and the flavor of the pie is often peppered with intangibles, like memories and emotions evoked.
We did ask, through social media, for some of your top picks, and we checked many of them out.
From that group, and from our repeated meals over the years, we’ve come up with a list of some of our favorites. Keep in mind that this is a current snapshot, a slice of life, if you pardon the pun, and places that we feel are worth paying a visit:
BEST PIZZERIA AMBIANCE
Cogan’s just feels like a pizzeria; the two dining rooms (one which offers pool) and patio have Old School charm in this decades-old building including tinned ceiling, tall wooden curios filled to the brim with stuff, brightly painted walls, grimacing gorilla and breweriana artwork, and wobbly tables and chairs. The pizza is great, service is friendly, and we love the 30 beers on tap.
1901 Colonial Ave., Norfolk
From a recipe from Baker’s Crust master baker and co-owner Phillipe Bulan, the perfect platform for pizza pie comes out of the wood-fired, 900-degree ovens at Baker’s Crust. Light, flaky, crispy and with bits of char around the perimeter, this is a crust of delicious integrity, able to hold a myriad of delectable toppings.
Locations in Chesapeake, Norfolk, Virginia Beach and Williamsburg
BEST NEIGHBORHOOD PIZZERIA
Open and welcoming, Brothers Pizza is kind of like a pizza version of Cheers; it seems like once you’ve come in, everyone knows your face, if not your name. Delicious pies, great service and family friendly folks are found at Brothers.
401 North Great Neck Rd., Virginia Beach
BEST WHITE PIZZA
The Shady Farm White Pizza at Heavens Pizza
What do we love about the white pizza at Heavens? A tasty crust supports beautiful spices and lots of fresh goat cheese—local goat cheese at that—from Shady Goat Farm in Virginia Beach. You may never see red again.
Heavens Pizza and Tap House
308 Buckroe Ave., Hampton
Find Heavens Pizza and Tap House on Facebook
BEST VEGAN PIZZA
Vegan Campagnola Pizza at La Bella In Ghent
This delicious pie is a crown in an extensive vegan menu at La Bella. A wonderful crust is spread with house red sauce and topped with tender grilled seasonal vegetables and vegan cheese; it’s delish, regardless of your culinary preferences.
La Bella In Ghent
738 W. 22nd St., Norfolk
BEST OUT-OF-THE BOX PIZZA
Goat Cheese & Lebaroni Pita Pizza at Croc’s 19th Street Bistro
Croc’s serves a number of Mediterranean-inspired dishes, including unusual pizza that we can’t get enough of. A crisp, baked pita is drizzled with fruity olive oil, sprinkled with basil and garlic, and piled with chopped tomatoes, goat cheese and Lebanese-style pepperoni—fabulous.
Croc’s 19th Street Bistro
620 19th St., Virginia Beach
BEST CALIFORNIA-STYLE PIZZA
Barbecue Chicken Pizza at Fellini’s
In the beginning, there was pepperoni, and it was good. But there were rumblings from the West Coast; a new style of pizza—with fresh, gourmet toppings—was flying from the ovens of Wolfgang Puck. And so it was that the California-style pizza made its way to Hampton Roads by Fellini’s founder Michael Cavish in 1988. The Barbecue Chicken is a delicious example of that style and a sentimental favorite. We love the tender crust, topped with barbecue sauce, diced chicken, sliced red onion, smoked gouda and mozzarella cheese.
3910 Colley Ave., Norfolk
BEST GREEK- STYLE PIZZA
A delicious crust is topped with earthy kalmata olives, onions, Greek spices, tangy feta cheese and fresh mozzarella cheese to create this classic Mediterranean-inspired pie.
9708 Warwick Blvd., Newport News
BEST TOPPING CHOICES
Pizza Box is sort of the Willy Wonka of the flatbread world, with a dizzying array of toppings, running the gamut from artichokes to chorizo, prosciutto to shrimp, as well as the classics. Come in, check out the blackboard, and begin to scheme.
2616 Detroit St., Portsmouth
BEST VEGETABLE PIZZA
Spinach Pizza at Primo’s Pizza
Ethereal is one way to describe this pie. Smack your mama good is another. Finely chopped spinach, mushrooms, onions and garlic are blended with ricotta, piled on the crust sans sauce, and given a coating of extra mozzarella cheese.
Locations in Virginia Beach
Find Primo’s Pizza on Facebook
The crust is choice, the toppings are terrific, but the sauce is sublime. Using a 40-year-old family recipe, the tomato sauce has some bada boom, bada bing that makes it zesty and zingy. A sweeter sauce is also available.
2941 Shore Dr., Virginia Beach
BEST MEATY PIZZA
Vesuvius at Regino’s Italian Restaurant
We know why this hearty pizza was named Vesuvius: a mountain of meat—pepperoni, sausage, beef, salami and ham—is piled high and explodes with flavor. Robustness, thy name is Vesuvius.
Regino’s Italian Restaurant
3816 E. Little Creek Rd., Norfolk
BEST BIG ASS PIZZA
Calzilla at Cal’z Pizza
Having a party, for like, a dozen of your closest friends? We aren’t sure how big the oven must be for them to cook this 18-inch by 26-inch, but we know we need extra counter space. We like ours simple with cheese and pepperoni ... and tons of additional napkins.
Locations in Norfolk and Virginia Beach
BEST SICILIAN-STYLE PIZZA
Granby Street Pizza
A classic 12-slice square pie comes loaded with rich sauce and plenty of cheese. The crust is thick and soft, and we pile on time-honored toppings like chopped tomatoes and fresh basil.
Granby Street Pizza
235 Granby St., Norfolk
BEST CHEESY PIZZA
Cheese Pizza at Gino’s Pizzeria By Maurizio
Sometimes it’s the simple things that are the best, and that occasionally translates to pizza with just one topping and one topping only: cheese. The big pies from Gino’s are covered in melting cheese; rich, gooey and delicious. We love them.
Gino’s Pizzeria By Maurizio
1479 General Booth Blvd., Virginia Beach
BEST DECADENT PIZZA
Creamy Spinach and Artichoke Pizza at Aldo’s Ristorante
This richly appointed pizza is gilded in creamy spinach and artichoke—two of our favorite opulent flavors—and accented with garlic, minced red pepper, mozzarella and shaved parmesan.
1860 Laskin Rd. Virginia Beach
BEST UNUSUAL PIZZA
The Breakfast Pizza at Chicho’s Pizza
We love breakfast for dinner sometimes, and this pie, topped with a garlic and herb spread, scrambled eggs, bacon, green peppers, onions and mozzarella and cheddar cheeses makes the taste buds rise and shine.
Locations in Chesapeake and Virginia Beach
BEST HEALTHY PIZZA
Gluten-Free and Non-Dairy options at YNot Pizza
A darn good and good-for-you pie can be constructed at YNot with the options of the pie being gluten-free and non-dairy. Throw in some specialty toppings like broccoli, eggplant and roasted red peppers, and it’s almost a health food.
Locations in Chesapeake, Norfolk and Virginia Beach
North End Pizza
A classic hand-tossed, New York-style pizza says aloha with Pacific Rim toppings of pineapple and ham; extra cheese is thrown in to boot, making for one delish pie. The only thing missing is a lei.
North End Pizza
Locations in Virginia Beach