Digging into Virginia’s Pizza Scene

Alright, pizza lovers, let’s talk about the cheesy goodness that Virginia has to offer. We’re diving into how pizza reviews shape our choices and celebrating the world’s best pan pizza right here in the Old Dominion.

How Reviews Shape Our Pizza Choices

These days, online reviews are like the gospel for foodies. If you’re hunting for the perfect slice in Virginia, chances are you’re checking out Yelp, TripAdvisor, Facebook, or Google. Those star ratings and customer comments? They can make or break a pizza joint. According to a Quora thread, people sift through reviews based on the restaurant type, location, and style to see if they’re legit. Spots with less than 3 stars? Usually skipped. But those with 4 stars or more? They’re the ones we trust with our taste buds.

Virginia’s Claim to Pizza Fame

Now, let’s talk about some serious pizza bragging rights. Virginia is home to one of the world’s best pan pizzas. At the World Pizza Championship during the International Pizza Expo, White Rabbit Gastropub’s “In Crust We Trust” snagged the top spot in 2022. Imagine a Detroit-style pie with a crispy pepperoni frico wall. The toppings? Out of this world. Think kung pao chicken, lump crab meat with bechamel, and a sprinkle of Old Bay seasoning. Despite all that flavor, the dough stays light, so you can keep munching without feeling stuffed (Northern Virginia Magazine).

More Than Just a Slice

Virginia’s pizza scene is more than just reviews and awards. It’s about unique creations, local favorites, and the little details that make a pizza unforgettable. From classic Margheritas to inventive toppings, there’s a slice for everyone. So, grab a napkin and get ready to explore the best pizza spots Virginia has to offer. Let’s find that perfect pie together!

Unique Pizza Creations

Exploring the pizza scene in Virginia is like opening a treasure chest of flavors. Here are two pizzas that will make your taste buds dance:

Bee Sting at Pizzoco Pizza

In Winchester, Virginia, Pizzoco Pizza, run by the Von Fange brothers, Jesse and Steve, serves up a pizza that’s anything but ordinary. Their Bee Sting pizza is a sweet-and-spicy delight that’ll have you coming back for more. Imagine pepperoni, hot honey, and chile flakes all mingling together. The heat from the chile flakes meets the sweetness of the honey, creating a flavor explosion. No wonder folks travel from far and wide to get a slice, as noted by Northern Virginia Magazine.

Mariam Had a Little Lamb at Z&Z

Hop over to Rockville, Maryland, and you’ll find Z&Z, a family bakery known for its manoushe, a Levantine flatbread. Their Mariam Had a Little Lamb pizza is a showstopper. Picture a crust topped with rich red sauce, house-made merguez sausage, arugula, and sage yogurt. The mix of flavors and textures is out of this world. It’s no surprise that Z&Z was named one of Bon Appetit’s best restaurants of 2022, as highlighted in Northern Virginia Magazine.

These pizzas showcase the creativity and skill in Virginia’s pizza scene. Whether you’re craving a sweet-and-spicy kick or a savory blend of flavors, these pizzas won’t disappoint. So, why not treat yourself to a pizza adventure and taste the magic at Pizzoco Pizza and Z&Z?

Pizza Rankings in Virginia

Alright, pizza lovers, let’s talk about Virginia’s pizza scene. We’ve got some hits and misses, but hey, that’s part of the fun, right? Let’s break down the best and worst pizza cities in the state and highlight some top-notch pizza joints you gotta try.

Best and Worst Pizza Cities

So, according to some study that looked at Google searches, number of pizza places per 100,000 folks, and Yelp ratings, Virginia Beach didn’t fare too well. It ranked as the 8th worst pizza city in America (The Virginian-Pilot). But hey, don’t let that scare you off. These rankings can be pretty subjective.

Virginia Beach has about 5.2 pizza joints per 100,000 residents and an average Yelp rating of 3.8 stars (The Virginian-Pilot). Sure, it might not be the pizza capital of the world, but there are still some hidden gems worth checking out.

On the flip side, Detroit took the crown for the best pizza city in America. Known for its deep-dish and square-cut pizzas, Detroit’s got a style that’s hard to beat.

Top Pizza Places in Virginia

Even if some cities didn’t score high, Virginia’s got some killer pizza spots. Here are a few that pizza fans rave about:

  • Bottoms Up Pizza in Richmond: Often called the best pizza place in Virginia, Bottoms Up Pizza offers gluten-free crust and vegan cheese options. Their menu isn’t just pizza; they’ve got salads, burgers, chicken wings, garlic bread, and nachos too.

  • Dough Boys in Virginia Beach: Since 1989, Dough Boys has been a local favorite. They serve up Original Pizza with a hand-crafted, thinner crust and Pan-Style Pizza with a light, golden crust. Toppings range from spicy Italian sausage to feta cheese.

  • Tony’s New York Pizza in Manassas: If you’re craving that authentic New York-style pizza, Tony’s is the place. They’ve been dishing out award-winning pies since 1989. Crunchy bases, friendly staff, and loaded toppings make this a must-visit.

  • 204 Pizza in Virginia Beach: This spot offers a mix of traditional and unique pizzas. With quality ingredients and tasty combos, 204 Pizza has a loyal fan base among locals and tourists.

  • Mary Angela’s Pizzeria in Richmond: Known for its cozy vibe, Mary Angela’s Pizzeria serves up pizzas made with fresh ingredients. Their menu includes specialty pizzas and build-your-own options, so you can create your perfect pie.

These are just a few examples, but Virginia’s pizza scene has plenty more to offer. Whether you’re in Richmond, Virginia Beach, or anywhere else in the state, there’s a slice waiting for you. So, get out there and explore the flavors that make Virginia’s pizza truly special.

Elements of a Good Pizza

As a self-proclaimed pizza lover, I consider myself an expert in spotting what makes a pizza truly exceptional. When it comes to judging a pizza, three things always stand out: crust and border quality, sauce and toppings balance, and cheese evaluation.

Crust and Border Quality

The crust and border are the heart and soul of a pizza. A light, crisp crust with those lovely air pockets shows the dough was made just right. On the flip side, a heavy, doughy crust screams “meh” and can ruin the whole experience. A good pizza strikes a balance between softness and crunch, with a golden-brown color that makes it look as good as it tastes. The border, or the outer edge, should be slightly raised, giving you that satisfying crunch when you bite into it, while still being tender inside.

Sauce and Toppings Balance

Getting the balance right between the tomato sauce, cheese, and other toppings is key to a memorable pizza. Each ingredient should work together, with the dough as the foundation. The tomato sauce should be vibrant and full of flavor, offering a tangy contrast to the richness of the cheese and toppings. Too much sauce can drown out the other flavors, while too little can leave the pizza dry and boring. The cheese should be perfectly melted, creating a creamy layer that holds the toppings together. A well-balanced pizza has just the right amount of sauce and cheese, letting all the flavors shine.

When it comes to toppings, they should be chosen thoughtfully and spread evenly across the pizza. Whether it’s classic pepperoni or something more adventurous, the toppings should enhance the overall flavor without overwhelming it. An imbalance can lead to a disappointing pizza that leaves you wanting more. The toppings should be fresh, flavorful, and work well with the other components of the pizza.

Cheese Evaluation

Cheese is the star of the show when it comes to pizza. It should be melted just right, creating a stretchy, gooey texture that adds richness to every bite. Overcooked cheese, especially burnt mozzarella, is a big no-no and a sign of a bad pizza. Good pizzas should never have burnt cheese on top. On the other hand, greasy mozzarella, indicated by orange grease on the pizza, suggests an imbalance of ingredients, usually from mixing tomato and cheese. The mozzarella should lightly cover the pizza without mixing with the sauce. It should be fresh, creamy, and add a savory element that complements the other components of the pizza.

By carefully evaluating the crust and border quality, sauce and toppings balance, and cheese evaluation, I can confidently judge the quality of pizzas I come across. These elements are the building blocks of a truly remarkable pizza, and they are what set the best pizza spots in Virginia apart from the rest. Now that we’ve covered the essential elements, let’s check out the top pizza spots in Virginia and find the gems that offer pizza bliss.

Personal Pizza Judging Criteria

When it comes to finding the best pizza in Virginia, or anywhere really, personal taste is king. But there are some universal factors that most folks consider when sizing up a slice. Here’s my take on what makes a pizza truly great.

What to Look For

  • Crust: The crust is the backbone of any pizza. Whether you like it thin and crispy or thick and chewy, it sets the stage for everything else. I’m after a crust that’s just right—perfectly baked with a good balance of texture and flavor.

  • Sauce: Think of the sauce as the heart of the pizza. It needs to be tasty, well-seasoned, and work in harmony with the other ingredients. I pay attention to the type of sauce, how much is used, and how well it meshes with the crust and toppings.

  • Cheese: Quality cheese is a must. It should melt beautifully and not drown out the other flavors. Too much grease or burnt cheese? That’s a deal-breaker.

  • Toppings: Fresh and flavorful toppings are key. Whether you’re into veggies, meats, or something more adventurous, they should be spread out nicely and add to the overall taste without stealing the show.

  • Cooking Method: How the pizza is cooked can make or break it. Whether it’s a classic brick oven or a modern conveyor belt, the pizza needs to be cooked just right. The temperature and cooking time are crucial for getting that perfect crust and flavor.

  • Overall Taste: At the end of the day, it’s all about the taste. A good pizza should be delicious from the first bite and still tasty if you have leftovers. If I’m left wanting more, then it’s a winner.

Finding the Best Pizza in Virginia

Hunting for the best pizza in Virginia is a tasty adventure. It’s all about exploring different pizzerias and sampling their unique pies. From the lively streets of Richmond to the shores of Virginia Beach, the search for the perfect slice is never-ending. So, grab a slice and join me as we check out some of the top pizza spots in Virginia, like Bottoms Up Pizza, Dough Boys, Tony’s New York Pizza, 204 Pizza, and Mary Angela’s Pizzeria. Let’s dig in and find that slice of pizza heaven.

Virginia’s Top Pizza Spots

Hey there, fellow pizza lover! If you’re cruising through Virginia and your stomach starts growling for a slice, you’re in luck. I’ve scoured the state to find the best pizza joints that will make your taste buds do a happy dance. Here are my top picks:

Bottoms Up Pizza in Richmond

First up, we’ve got Bottoms Up Pizza in Richmond. This place is the real deal, folks. They cater to everyone, even if you’re gluten-free or vegan. But let’s talk about the main event—the pizza. We’re talking crispy crusts, mouthwatering toppings, and portions that will leave you stuffed. And if you’re feeling adventurous, they’ve got salads, burgers, chicken wings, garlic bread, and nachos. It’s a pizza lover’s dream come true.

Dough Boys in Virginia Beach

Next stop, Dough Boys in Virginia Beach. These guys have been slinging pies since 1989, and they’ve got it down to a science. Their Original Pizza has a thin, crispy crust that’s just chef’s kiss. If you like your pizza with a bit more oomph, try their Pan-Style Pizza. The toppings range from classic to creative, so whether you’re into spicy sausage or tangy feta, they’ve got you covered. No wonder this place is a local legend.

Tony’s New York Pizza in Manassas

If you’re craving that authentic New York slice, head over to Tony’s New York Pizza in Manassas. Since ’89, Tony’s has been bringing a little slice of the Big Apple to Virginia. Their pizzas have a crunchy base and are loaded with toppings that will make you feel like you’re in NYC. The crust is perfect, the ingredients are top-notch, and the vibe is pure New York. One bite, and you’ll be hooked.

204 Pizza in Virginia Beach

Another gem in Virginia Beach is 204 Pizza. These folks specialize in New York-style pizza, and they nail it every time. Their hand-tossed, stone-baked pizzas are a work of art. The crust is thin and crispy, and the toppings are out of this world. Whether you like classic combos or something a bit more adventurous, 204 Pizza has something for you. It’s like a little slice of New York right here in Virginia.

Mary Angela’s Pizzeria in Richmond

Last but definitely not least, we’ve got Mary Angela’s Pizzeria in Richmond. This cozy spot serves up both Sicilian and New York-style pizzas that are to die for. They’ve got all the classics, plus gluten-free options, calzones, and rolls. Whether you’re a traditionalist or looking to try something new, Mary Angela’s has got your back.

So there you have it, folks. These are the pizza spots in Virginia that you absolutely can’t miss. Next time you’re in the area, make sure to grab a slice (or a whole pie) from one of these fantastic places. Your taste buds will thank you.