Discover the greatest locations to get pizza in Charlotte as we take you on a delicious pizza tour around Queen City. Located in the center of North Carolina, Charlotte is home to a wide variety of pizzerias, each putting a unique spin on this well-known staple. Charlotte’s pizza scene is as vibrant and tasty as it is varied, offering everything from artisanal wood-fired dishes to nostalgic New York-style slices. Using this guide, we’ll explore the city’s neighborhoods in search of the popular locations and undiscovered treasures that best encapsulate Charlotte’s pizza culture. Whatever your preference for creative topping combinations or classic toppings, Charlotte’s pizza restaurants guarantee a mouthwatering experience that pleases even the pickiest pizza enthusiast. Come celebrate with us the delicious, crispy, and cheesy pizzas!
Omaggio means “homage” in Italian, and Pizzeria Omaggio does exactly what its title says: honor classic Italian pizza making. Pizza makers uphold the authenticity of Italian pizzerias while also adding a few ingredients that appease American tastes. The restaurant has an open kitchen where guests can watch chefs tossing pizza dough and adding the toppings to their orders. Along with pizza, their menu also has classic Italian appetizers or “antipasti,” salads, sandwiches, and pasta. They also have an excellent wine list and seasonal pizza offerings. This fall, they have a pizza with butternut squash puree as the base sauce topped with homemade Italian sausage with fennel and fresh mozzarella. A permanent pizza offering worth trying is the Dolce Salato (sweet and savory) with whole milk mozzarella, goat cheese, fig preserve, and pancetta.
Benny Pennello’s is as creative as the colorful arts district in which it’s located. In fact, “Pennello” means paintbrush in Italian. Benny Penello was an Italian immigrant who grew up in Brooklyn, moving to Virginia as an adult, where he began serving pizzas out of his home. The authenticity and novelty of real Italian American pizza in the south made Benny’s pizzas a hit with the locals, thus starting Benny Penello’s pizza. Today, you can find Benny Penello’s in Virginia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Wyoming, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and West Virginia. Their Charlotte restaurant shares its building with the famous Heist Brewery that always had 28 beers on tap. Consequently, Pennello’s pizzas measure 28” in circumference and are sold by the slice with the idea of having a slice to pair with one of the 28 beers from Heist. The menu is a classic New York-style pizza by the slice menu, with big-as-your-plate slices that you only need one of to fill you up. That said, they do offer the whole 28” pie for larger parties. They have the simple classics like the supreme pizza, but they also have invented unique creations like the Soprano, with bacon, mac n cheese, and crispy onions. I personally like the Santa Maria, with spinach, artichoke, pesto, and ricotta.
Capishe: Real Italian Kitchen
Located in Charlotte’s second ward, Capishe: Real Italian Kitchen won Charlotte Business Journal’s recognition as one of the best new restaurants in town in 2019. Capishe offers authentic Italian dishes from antipasti to pasta to crispy Neapolitan-style pizza. They are a dine-in restaurant, which prides itself on welcoming and attentive service for its customers. They are very affordable and family-friendly with plenty of excellent bargain packages for families or parties of 4-6 people. I recommend the Angelina pizza with buffalo mozzarella, caramelized cipollini onion, roasted mushroom, truffle oil, and fresh garlic for the white pizza. My red pizza recommendation is the Calabria Piccante with toppings like buffalo mozzarella, Calabrian peppers, spicy soppressata, fresh garlic, and basil.
Pure Pizza is a family-owned and operated pizza restaurant dedicated to sustainability and sourcing its ingredients from organic, non-GMO, and local products. Their menu includes salads, sandwiches, and pizza, and they provide vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options for all dietary preferences. Their Central Avenue location has a barn behind it where they host farmer’s, music, and artisan markets every Saturday. They are a beloved neighborhood institution that not only provides delicious pizza but also connects community members with local farmers and the freshest, most sustainable produce. They can make most menu items vegetarian or vegan, using vegan cheese and meat products from Daiya. I recommend trying their delicious bread knots or tuck n rolls, which are bread knots with pepperoni, chicken, or veggies tucked into their folds, served with your choice of marinara, pesto, or truffle oil. As for specialty pizzas, Pure has a wide variety of pizzas that pay homage to different culinary regions. I love the southern-inspired Lulu, with mozzarella, ground beef, bacon, tomato, jalapeno, and pimento.
Inizio Pizza Napoletana
Owner Grant Arons has had a passion for pizza since his childhood, where pizza dinners were a regular occurrence in his family, prompting him to start his study and mastery of Neapolitan-style pizza. Inizio Pizza Napoletana was born from a collaboration with friends and Arons’ travels to the heart of Naples, where he regularly imports the cheese and tomatoes for his authentic Neapolitan pizzas, cooked to perfection in a wood-fired oven for a mere 90 seconds. Inizio Pizza Napoletana is as true to Neapolitan pizzerias as it can be with a menu of delicious specialty pies and no customization options. Don’t worry, the combination of toppings on these pizzas is enough to satisfy even the snobbiest of pizza lovers. I recommend the Napoletana with anchovy, kalamata olives, san Marzano tomato sauce, buffalo mozzarella, and basil. If you’re not an anchovy fan, try the pistachio pizza with rosemary, sea salt, ricotta, buffalo mozzarella, pistachio pesto, and pistachios.
Intermezzo is a family-owned and run business, operated by two Serbian brothers who wanted to bring Serbian flavors, family recipes, and European café ambiance to Charlotte. With more than 20 years in the restaurant business, brothers Branko and Djordje Avramovic have perfected their dishes, and Intermezzo has become a favorite European-style fine-dining establishment. While their Italian-style pizzas and pasta are excellent, I recommend the Serbian-style lasagna with ground beef, onion, mozzarella, bechamel, and tomato sauce. I also recommend the Piroska, a Balkan-style stuffed pizza with ham, mushrooms, mozzarella, provolone, ricotta, sour cream, and tomato sauce. Check them out on East 10th Street in the Belmont neighborhood, less than 2 miles away from Spectrum Center arena and the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
The Pizza Peel & Tap Room
The Pizza Peel and Taproom is a family restaurant specializing in American comfort foods with everything from delicious pizzas to wings to sandwiches, tacos, and even desserts. As a taproom, you’ll also find a wide selection of foreign and domestic beers along with a cocktail menu. There are three locations: Cotswold, Midwood Plaza, and downtown Charlotte. The pizza crusts at The Pizza Peel have a unique recipe that uses molasses, olive oil, and a mix of wheat and white flour that gives it a super crunchy outside and a soft, light inside. You can build your own pizza from over thirty different toppings, cheeses, and sauces or choose from their specialty pizza menu. I like the Updyke pizza with olive oil, salt and pepper, mozzarella, Italian sausage, caramelized onions, mushroom, and goat cheese topped with arugula and balsamic vinaigrette. It’s pizza and salad in one dish.
Hawthorne’s NY Pizza & Bar
Hawthorne’s NY Pizza & Bar is an Italian American restaurant offering New-York style pizza and friendly, welcoming Southern hospitality at its 8 different locations around Charlotte and the surrounding municipalities. The owners come from New York and assume a humble, family-oriented attitude at their restaurants, often helping out in the kitchen, serving, or even packaging delivery orders alongside staff. They offer two styles of New York pizza, the standard round thin, crispy crusted pizza and the Sicilian-style square pizza with thick, dense crusts- my personal favorite. Therefore, I’d go with the simple yet delicious Sicilian cheese pizza. They also have a wide selection of pasta, calzones, sandwiches, and Stromboli. If you want an east-coast specialty, try the meatball parmesan hero.
Luisa’s Brick Oven Pizzeria
Named for the Italian owner, Luisa’s Brick Oven Pizzeria is as authentic as an Italian Pizzeria can be not only because Luisa is Italian, but also because she imported a wood-fire-burning oven from her home country. Luisa’s is a family-friendly pizzeria with a daily lunch buffet for under 10$. The dinner menu is highly customizable, offering build-your-own pizza and pasta dishes in addition to specialty pizzas. If you want to stick to specialty pizzas, the Luisa with sliced tomatoes, pesto, ricotta, and garlic is an excellent choice. My personal favorite is the Muffuletta pizza with ham, genoa salami, provolone, and muffuletta, which is a green olive and pepperoncini tapenade.
Perhaps you wouldn’t place pizza and healthy in the same sentence, but that’s what Blaze Pizza makers are prioritizing when they make their fast-fired pizzas. Using fresh, healthy ingredients and providing gluten-free and other healthy pizza options in addition to nutritional calculators, Blaze Pizza wants you to rest assured that the pizza you consume is nutritious and delicious. Blaze is a successful chain with locations across the U.S. However, unlike your typical fast-food chains, they never use frozen ingredients or preservatives. You can customize your pizza or choose from their colorful specialty menu. I’m a fan of the Veg Out pizza with seasonal vegetables, mushrooms, red onion, mozzarella, gorgonzola, and red sauce dollops on top.
Sal’s Pizza Factory
Sal’s Pizza Factory is a Jersey-style pizza joint with a true Italian American success story behind it. Originally, the owner’s Italian-born father and his brother-in-law, both named Sal, opened a successful pizzeria chain in New Jersey known as Dusal’s (“two Sals” in Italian). When the family moved to North Carolina, Sal’s son Fabio wanted to carry on the family tradition, opening Sal’s Pizza Factory. Sal’s is a family-friendly pizza, wing, and Italian American comfort food joint with plenty of inventive menu items that put an Italian twist on American fare. Take, for instance, the pizza fries, crispy fries topped with tomato sauce, and mozzarella cheese. They also make delicious rice balls, a take on risotto fritters. Their menu is one of the most extensive pizza, pasta, and sandwich offerings in Charlotte.
Stagioni – Four Seasons of Food
Stagioni is a unique, fine-dining experience that draws its inspiration from the history of the old 1920’s villa in which it was located. According to the Villa’s history, its wonderfully eccentric host would entertain many a dinner party with special and unexpected theatrics for her guests. Today, the Villa is pristinely preserved, offering a special dining experience in seasonal traditional Italian dishes that are as beautiful on the plate as they are to read about. For starters, try the Pei mussels, with pepperoni white wine, garlic shallots, and crushed tomato with grilled ciabatta. Pizzas can be shareable appetizers to enjoy before a pasta or meat dish main course. I recommend trying the Peach pizza with taleggio, mozzarella, smoked mozzarella, shishito peppers, and peach prosciutto. The most beautiful pizza you’ll ever see is the Squash pizza with squash puree, roasted delicata squash, pickled butternut squash, smoked pecans, dried persimmons, thyme, and balsamic reduction.
Luigi’s Pizza is a New-York style pizzeria with two locations in Charlotte and a slew of awards from local Charlotte critics. It’s been a winner of the best pizza and best family restaurant awards from the Charlotte Observer and the Lake Wylie Pilot. I recommend the Sicilian-style Luigi’s Special with pepperoni, sausage, beef, ham, green peppers, onions, mushrooms, and black olives. Check them out in the Whitehall Commons shopping center and over near the McDowell Nature Preserve.
Portofino’s Italian Restaurant
Named for a town in northern Italy, Portofino’s Italian Restaurant strives to honor the rich culinary cuisine that comprises a large aspect of what Italians call the “dolce vita” or sweet life. All dishes at Portofino use recipes from Italy and fresh, local ingredients to create spectacular and authentic Italian cuisine. The menu features pasta, seafood, meat, and pizza. Portofino’s is a dining experience you want to savor over a long evening with various courses. I’d start with the fried calamari and small white pizza with spinach to share before a house-made pasta dish like tortellini in Alfredo sauce or a seafood dish like shrimp scampi.
DeSano Pizzeria Napoletana
DeSano Pizzeria Napoletana is a Neapolitan pizzeria that adheres to the rules of the almighty and long-established Associazione Vercae Pizza Napoletana, a society that has conserved the centuries-old art of pizza making in Naples. Thin, crispy crusts with the finest imported Italian sauces and cheeses are baked to perfection in a wood-fired oven. The menu features fresh meatballs, classic Neapolitan pizzas, and specialty pizzas. My favorite specialty pizza is the Lasagna with meatballs, ricotta, garlic, scamorza, buffalo mozzarella, and pecorino romano. As far as Neapolitan pizza goes, it doesn’t get more authentic than the Margherita Classica with buffalo mozzarella, pecorino romano, olive oil, and basil over San Marzano tomato sauce.
House of Pizza
Dine-in or order a delivery pie from the House of Pizza, a Central Avenue pizza joint with large cheesy, gooey pizzas and bubbly dense crusts. They also make wings, pasta, and sub sandwiches. They have all the tried-and-true favorites, including the controversial Hawaiian pizza with ham and pineapple. My personal favorite is their Philly pizza with steak, grilled onions, peppers, and mushrooms. You can also just get a Philly sub if you’d rather have a sandwich.
Bisonte Pizza Co.
Located in Charlotte’s Fourth Ward neighborhood near the Bank of America Stadium and the Carolina Panthers Practice Field, Bisonte Pizza Co. specializes in New York style pizza and Buffalo wings. Owners Jim and Steve DaPolito are Buffalo, NY natives whose Buffalo wings and Buffalo-style pizzas have won local competitions in the Carolinas. Since they specialize in wings and pizza, the best singular dish to showcase both is the Buffalo Chicken Finger pizza with homemade bleu cheese, topped with marinated, saucy boneless chicken, Fontanella, and mozzarella cheese.
Brixx Wood Fired Pizza
While there are currently 27 Brixx Pizza locations around the states, Brixx Wood Fired Pizza originated from Charlotte’s Dilworth neighborhood. A beloved pizza spot since the late 90s in Charlotte, Brixx Wood Fired Pizza serves thin-crust personal-sized pies with options for meat-lovers, vegetarians, and vegans. They also serve plenty of starters, wings, salads, sandwiches, and even a dessert pizza with wood-fired marshmallows on top. My recommendation would be the wild mushroom pizza with shitake, portobello, and button mushrooms over an olive oil and mozzarella base with shaved parmesan and fresh arugula on top.
Wolfman Pizza has two brick-and-mortar locations in the Cotswold and Quail Corners neighborhoods, along with a food truck. Wolfman Pizza prides itself on using non-bromated and bleach-free flour in its dough, which many pizza chains do not. Their long list of specialty pizzas has epic combinations that honor every American region. My favorite specialty pie is the Baked potato with roasted red potatoes, bacon, scallions, cheddar, and mozzarella with a roasted garlic butter crust. If I go with a vegetarian friend, I can sub the bacon for broccoli, and I know it will taste just as good.
Brooklyn Pizza Parlor
Brooklyn Pizza Parlor has been serving New York-style pizza in North Carolina for the past 35 years. Their casual and comfortable Olde Providence location is a great place for an intimate family dinner or a lively get-together of friends and colleagues. Their menu includes pasta, salads, stromboli, stuffed pizzas, specialty pies, and sandwiches. They offer New-York style pizza, Sicilian, Gourmet, Stuffed, and Nonna’s-style (thin-crust, square shape) crusts. I recommend the New-York style Eggplant Marinara Pie with breaded eggplant, ricotta, mozzarella, and fresh tomato sauce.
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