Austin has experienced an explosion of pizza offerings over the past five years. But unlike most cities, you can find almost any kind of pizza you want in this town. Although this list has a clear Neapolitan bent — favored for its chewy, wood-fired crust and fresh toppings — there is also room for the nostalgia-inducing Detroit-style (remember personal pan pizzas?), as well as New York and New Jersey varieties.
These are six top spots to get your pizza fix.
Steven Dilley recently left a successful professional career to pursue life as a pizzaiolo. His Neapolitan pies have just the right amount of blistered crust to coax out the nuanced sweetness of the pizza dough.
Bufalina currently offers a small menu of five pizzas and six starters that changes frequently. "In our first month, we've probably added and dropped five or six pizzas," Dilley says. "Much depends on availability of product, which is especially important with produce."
Current customer favorites include a pizza topped with Taleggio cheese, sausage and scallions, as well as the classic margherita. Dilley also encourages Bufalina's staff members to contribute topping ideas.
East Side Pies
This is the best option for those who prefer pies with a crackery crust in sizes large enough to share with several people. Along with an impressive selection of toppings, East Side Pies serves pizzas topped with a variety of sauces, such as traditional red sauce, ricotta, pesto, black bean and hummus.
If you're feeling adventurous, the spinach curry sauce complements melted cheese surprisingly well. More of a traditionalist? Order a pizza topped with sausage, peppers and tomato sauce. The Rosewood Avenue and West Anderson Lane locations have dining areas, but the Airport Boulevard location is takeout and delivery only.
This Red River pizza joint gets crowded after the bars and music clubs close — even on weeknights. Just one bite of the thin-crust pizza transports you to the streets of Manhattan.
Yes, most of Hoboken's patrons are looking for a slice to sober up before heading home, but that doesn’t affect the quality of the product. As for toppings, stick with the pepperoni or plain cheese. Simple is best with this type of pizza known for thin layers of tomato sauce and melted cheese.
Owner Scott Talkington believes the Neapolitan pizza style allows "room for artfulness" and requires a reverence for a method of cooking that uses a live fire.
"You coax character from each pizza as it bakes instead of putting it through a conveyer oven," he says. "It's a matter of seeing something through from start to finish. For me, at least, it's very rewarding."
Talkington held pizza parties at home for years to narrow the menu for his Airport Boulevard restaurant. "We started with a list of combinations we thought would work," he says. "We'd make about a half-dozen different pizzas per party and see which ones worked the best."
House consequently serves reliably excellent pizzas at a very fair price. The most unique pie, topped with thinly sliced potatoes and goat cheese, also happens to be one of Talkington's favorites.
Central Austin residents are driving 30 minutes or more to the edge of the city to try pizzas like the Bacon Bleu with homemade bacon marmalade, mozzarella made fresh each morning, Gorgonzola cheese and arugula. Owners Josh and Paige Kaner stir the dough by hand and incorporate a sourdough starter that Josh developed years ago while living in Los Angeles.
The pizza is best eaten with a pitcher of beer, but be sure to save room for a slice of one of the dessert pies in flavors like blueberry, pecan or banana cream.
Brothers Brandon and Zane Hunt specialize in pizzas from their hometown of Detroit. They opened their first trailer in the parking lot of the Violet Crown Social Club on East Sixth Street in 2012 and recently relocated a second trailer to Craft Pride on Rainey Street.
The dough is made in the trailers and baked in their ovens — an impressive feat considering our oppressive Austin summers. The pizza dough is placed in square baking pans and topped with a generous layer of cheese that touches the edge. The result is a thick crust that is crispy on the outside but maintains a soft and chewy interior.
Thanks to a contest in which customers suggested names, the new three pepperoni pizza will be called The Hat Trick. For something a little fresher, order The Rocket topped with arugula and hot sopresatta.