25+ Pizzas in Charlotte to Satisfy Every Crust Craving
Not all pizza is created equal. Whether you’re a die-hard deep-dish fan or crave that crispy crust, the Queen City has plenty of pies to sink your teeth into.
by Amanda Lea
Charlotte’s pizza pros cater to all tastes, textures and cravings. From Neapolitans to Sicilians, this go-to guide will help you navigate your options—or you can just consider this your bucket list and try them all!
Pizza Napoletana hails from Naples, Italy. Textbook Neapolitan pizza is made with high protein flour, kneaded by hand, topped with buffalo mozzarella, San Marzano tomatoes and basil and baked for 90 seconds in a 900 degree oven. Sounds simple, right? But this pizza is an art form. The result is a tender, thin crust with “leoparding” (small char marks from the high-heat oven) and toppings so pure you’ll appreciate the labor of love in every bite.
The basics: The key here is attention to detail. Gently worked dough, top-notch ingredients and a 90-second bake in a900-degreee oven culminate for a truly authentic experience. The rustic-meets-industrial atmosphere and ample patio space welcomes families and date nights alike, and the inventive menu with seasonal selections will keep you coming back.
Order up: For something unique, try the Pistachio—rosemary, sea salt, ricotta, Buffalo mozzarella, garlic, pistachio pesto sauce and a pistachio sprinkle.
The basics: Want to know what goes into your pie? Just take a look around this communal-chic pizzeria. Pallets of San Marzano tomatoes and “00” flour are flown in from Italy and stacked throughout the eatery. Want more proof of authenticity? DeSano’s ingredients are DOP—Italian for Denominazione d’Origine Protetta, or “Protected Designation of Origin.” This means that the ingredients used are produced, processed and packaged in a specific region and according to tradition. The credibility of these Neapolitan creations is further backed by adherence to the guidelines of the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana (VPN). In other words, there’s no doubt it’s the real deal.
Order up: Taste the difference with the Traditional Margherita DOP Pizza—San marzano tomato sauce, basil, garlic, scamorza, mozzarella di bufala and pecorino romano.
The basics: Locally sourced ingredients and hand-crafted creations reign supreme at this sustainable “farm-2-fork” pizzeria. You may recognize one of the names behind the development of Pure Pizza—Peter Reinhart brings his expertise as chef, author and pizza master to the table, literally. The classic neapolitan crust is made from organically grown unbleached and unbromated flour milled in North Carolina. You’ll find a thin crust here with a puffy edge (called the cornicione in Italy), which is reminiscent of ciabatta bread.
Order up: Who says pizza has to be heavy? Lighten up with the She-Rex—mozzarella, mushrooms, onion and peppers, topped with greens that are tossed in a bright lemon vinaigrette.
The basics: Known as one of the best pizza spots in Charlotte, Aliño boasts creations with some of Italy’s finest ingredients. Signature pizzas are served slightly charred, thanks to the 800-degree, specially designed Italian ovens that’ll have your pizza to you in 90 seconds.
Order up: For an authentic Italian experience, go with the Sorrento—pepperoni, San Marzano tomato sauce, fresh buffalo mozzarella, fresh basil andfresh garlic.
One of the most popular pies, New York-style pizza is thin and foldable, with a crispy crust and a slightly sweet sauce. This style is similar to its Neapolitan ancestor, but with a sturdier crust. As with everything in New York, expect big slices and bold taste.
Neighborhood: Myers Park
The basics: A local fave, you’ll see neighbors meeting up for a glass of Pinot in the enchanting patio tucked away in the heart of Myers Park. “Zio,” meaning “uncle” in Italian, is a nod to the restaurant’s founder, Adolph “Duff” Consol, who opened his original (legendary) Italian restaurant in 1946 in Endicott, New York. Duff coined the term “Hot Pies” as the nickname for his popular thin-crust pizzas. You’ll still find “Grilled Pies” (14” square-cut pizza cooked over an open flame) and “Hot Pies” (14” thin New York-style pizza) on the menu today.
Order up: The Goat Cheese & Prosciutto Grilled Pie is a masterpiece—creamy goat cheese, provolone, diced tomato, caramelized shallot and prosciutto, finished with fresh arugula and truffle oil drizzle.
Multiple Charlotte-area Locations
The basics: Family-friendly for the win. From the approachable atmosphere and top-notch ingredients to the shareable pizzas and kids-eat-free Tuesdays, it’s clear why this restaurant is a Charlotte staple. Insider tip: The traditional New York-style pizza comes in one size (massive), so it’s the perfect “hero dinner” to bring home for your hungry crew at the end of a long day.
Order up: Although the Buffalo Wing pizza earned the moniker “The Inducer” for sending pregnant Charlotteans into labor, the Hawthorne’s Chicken Bacon Ranch pizza is a solid choice for the whole family—Hawthorne’s homemade ranch dressing topped with chicken, bacon, red onions and mozzarella cheese.
The basics: This Queen City staple is a favorite of the grab-and-go lunch crowd. The thin crust, New York-style pizza is served up by the slice in true NYC fashion. Grab some napkins and enjoy your lunch outside with a view of the Uptown skyline.
Order up: A crowd favorite, the New Yorker won’t disappoint—stacked with pepperoni, ham, bacon, sausage, roasted peppers, banana peppers, mushrooms, onions and olives.
The basics: Go big, or go home. Benny Pennello’s opened in 2015 in the old gingham factory shared by Heist Brewery. Benny’s boasts that the “28” pizza by the slice is for the 28 beers you may drink while walking around NoDa.” While it’s the perfect post-brewery “snack,” it’s also a great Sunday Funday surprise for kids(watch them “ooh” and “ahh” over how small their hand is compared to a slice!)
Order up: By-the-slice is the way to go here (unless you’re buying for a crowd). Get one slice of cheese, one slice of pepperoni and settle in for a pizza-induced nap.
The basics: Customization is clutch at this award-winning pizza joint. Satisfy your pizza craving with a full pizza topped with fabulous ingredients, or choose your own pizza adventure with a few different slices.
Order up: The Caprese Pizza is a sure bet—mozzarella, tomatoes, roasted red peppers, garlic, basil and olive oil.
This northern favorite is similar to its New York-style neighbor in that the crust is thin, but it’s crispy and not as “foldable.” Expect a nice crackle when you fold it, thanks to the stone-oven baking process.
Neighborhood: Dilworth, Echo Hills
The basics: Sal’s Pizza Factory pairs the classic Jersey style with an array of fresh toppings and a Napoli touch.
Order up: The options are endless, so pack the most flavor in your visit by trying a few different slices, or get a “split” —two different kinds of pizzas in one pie.
A hearty, rectangular-shaped pizza with an airy dough and cheese browned into the perimeter, caramelizing into a golden crust. A true "Detroit Red Top” is the reverse construction of a traditional pizza—with toppings like pepperoni on the bottom, cheese next and then a red sauce striped on top. This unconventional assembly helps to avoid a soggy crust.
The basics: Come for the pizza, stay for the games, at this reclaimed two-story Victoran home serving up “reimagined pub fare.” The Detroit-style pizzas are craveable and Insta-worthy. Vegan options are available. Bonus: Wednesdays are half-priced pizza (...and half-priced bottles of wine. Cheers!)
Order up: Try the Papa Pepperoni and order a side of the house-made marinara for dipping.
Neighborhood: South End
The basics: Three familiar restaurateurs are behind Eight + Sand Kitchen: Inizio Pizza owner Grant Arons and Not Just Coffee co-owners James and Miracle Yoder. You’ll find pan-style and stone-baked pizzas, both with the highest quality ingredients and fun topping combinations. Insider tip: their sauce is so good, you’ll want to get some on the side for dipping.
Order up: The Crisp Edge Vodka Pesto will hit the spot—a crispy, cheese-edged crust topped with vodka tomato sauce, mozzarella and pecorino cheeses and finished with basil and pesto.
This is the closest you’ll come to an actual pie. The crust is typically made with white flour and can also include cornmeal and semolina flour. It’s then placed in a deep, round, oiled pan and layered with cheese and a variety of toppings. Since the pie bakes for longer than a thinner crust, the sauce usually goes on top to keep the cheese from burning. You’ll see diners brandish a fork and knife to tackle this thicker dish.
The basics: Known for their Chicago-style hot dogs, Matt’s is also recognized for their thick and hearty Chicago pie. There’s a reason it’s been rated by multiple publications as the best Chicago-style pizza in Charlotte. Bring your appetite, and maybe a few friends, and prepare for a feast.
Order up: The Deep Dish Matt's Chicago Classic is a must—loaded with cheese, sausage and crimini mushrooms.
The authentic version of this pizza comes from the town of Palermo on the Italian island of Sicily. It is also known as sfincione, which loosely means "thick sponge.” This variety likely evolved from focaccia, which is an Italian yeast bread baked in a sheet pan. Sicilian pizza dough is a combination of flour, yeast, water and olive oil, placed into an oiled pan, and toppings are pressed into the crust before baking.
Area: Multiple locations
The basics: If it feels like you’re dining with family, it’s because each Portofino’s restaurant is staffed by friends and family, many of whom are originally from Italy. While they offer a variety of pizza options in the New York-style, the Sicilian is out of this world.
Order up: The Sicilian, of course.
Typically known for their wings, Buffalo, NY tends to go under the radar for their pizza. But Buffalo locals swear by the fluffy, focaccia-like crust with semisweet sauce that goes almost to the edge, ample mozzarella cheese and exclusive “cup-and-char” pepperoni. There aren’t many places in Charlotte that boast this style—all the more reason it should be on every pizza lover’s bucket list.
The basics: Bisonte, meaning “buffalo” in Italian, is owned by two brothers who grew up in Buffalo, NY. So it makes sense that this pizzeria offers the “best of Buffalo,” including award-winning Buffalo-style pizza. A nice touch here are the free speciality crusts, like cajun, garlic and sesame. So you can pick and pair with your favorite toppings.
Order up: You can’t go wrong with the Buffalo-style pepperoni pizza with parmesan crust.
This unique take on pizza is characterized by its square-cut, cracker-thin crust with edge-to-edge toppings. But the key ingredient is the Provel cheese—a creamy, gooey blend of cheddar, Swiss and provolone. While not widely known outside St. Louis borders, those who are pining for Provel will be thrilled to hear they can now satisfy their craving in the Queen City.
The basics: Owner Kevin Devanney was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri, and was trained as a chef in the famous Italian Hill neighborhood in St. Louis. Named after his daughter, Margaux’s is a product of Devanney’s passion for cooking. Fans of the traditional St. Louis-style creamy Provel cheese and cracker-thin crust will be thrilled to have this gem in Charlotte. Paired with a bountiful wine selection and cozy lounge-like atmosphere, you can sip your merlot and graze on the fabulous fare.
Order up: The Mushroom is a sophisticated take on a mushroom lover’s pizza—wild mushrooms, roasted garlic, white truffle oil and topped with arugula
A combination of New York and Neapolitan, this thin-crust cousin isn’t afraid to experiment with toppings. Carefully curated ingredients come together in unexpected ways, resulting in topping combinations unique to each establishment. Sometimes perusing the array of offerings on the menu can be just as fun as trying one of these masterpieces.
The basics: An approachable local spot with a quirky vibe and generous pies with names like Led Zepplin and Big Bad Wolf. The werewolf theme extends to the decor and the “full moon special” will have you howling(large specialty pizzas are specially priced on the first day of a full moon).
Order up: The Pepperoni Classico is a top choice—stacked with two layers of pepperoni, two layers of mozzarella and homemade pizza sauce and finished off with a zesty blend of Italian seasoning.
Wood-fired, brick oven pizzas bake at a higher heat, so they cook faster and impart a smokey flavor and charred crust you won’t get from an electric or gas oven.
Neighborhood: Montford Park
The basics: Reminiscent of a corner ristorante, Osteria LuCa brings authentic Italian fare to the heart of Charlotte. Gather with friends or enjoy a laid-back date night at this inviting Montford Park gem tucked in the historic Park Road Shopping Center. The pizza here is scratch-made and wood-fired, with topping combinations that are like Italy itself—cultured and approachable.
Order up: The Prosciutto di Parma is a unique white pizza with arugula, shaved parmesan, fig spread and a balsamic glaze.
Neighborhood: Montford Park
The basics: A Charlotte institution, Luisa’s has a family-friendly vibe and serves up a solid selection of delectable pizzas. Don’t let the unassuming setting fool you, though. Luisa’s keeps a count of how many pies are baked in the wood-burning brick oven, and at last count it was up to over a million.
Order up: Keep it classic with the Luisa (named after the founder)—sliced tomatoes, pesto, ricotta cheese and garlic.
Neighborhood: Myers Park
The basics: From Charlotte chef Bruce Moffett, the atmosphere here is perfect for an impressive date night or a treat for out-of-town guests. Pizzas are crafted with care and the oven-crisp crust is topped with house-made mozzarella and gourmet ingredients. The finishing touch? Pizzas are served with sheers for cutting these creations at your table.
Order up: The Tartufi features a blend of parmesan, mozzarella and fontina cheese with mushrooms, caramelized onions, arugula, porcini puree and truffle oil.
Price point: $$
The basics: TRUE Crafted Pizza is the only place in Charlotte you’ll find grilled pizzas. These 11’’-inch thin-crust pies are brushed with olive oil, topped with the freshest ingredients and grilled to perfection. The combination of the dry heat and the smokiness of the grill makes for a memorable pizza.
Order up: The Prosciutto Di Parma grilled pizza is a must—prosciutto, arugula, fig preserve, balsamic glaze, shaved asiago cheese and parmesan cheese.
The basics: The newest kid on the block, 800° takes wood-fire cooking seriously. Founder and chef Anthony Carron believes the purest ingredients make a big difference. Combine that with pizzas that are placed into custom stone hearth ovens and the result is a unique pizza with a hint of smoke and a lot of character. Bonus: Caulipower crust and vegan cheese are easy swaps and vegan pizzas are top menu picks.
Order up: Keep is classic with the Margherita—fresh mozzarella, Neapolitan tomato, parmigiano, provolone, basil and extra virgin olive oil.
This variety focuses less on the kind of pizza and more on the preparation. Artisan is a culinary term for creating something without the use of machines or automatic baking devices. Essentially, you can expect hand-worked dough and a variety of top-notch ingredients.
The basics: Italian roots run deep for owner Daniel Siragusa. This authentic pizzeria takes the art of pizza making so seriously that its name “Omaggio” literally means “pay tribute.” Tip: skip the to-go box. The thin crust and fresh ingredients make it completely reasonable to single-handedly devour a pie.
Order up: Try the Regina Margherita to fully experience the fresh ingredients and clean crust flavor—the tomato sauce, buffalo mozzarella, xvoo (extra virgin olive oil) and fresh basil garnish won’t disappoint.
The basics: Owned by the group that brought us Queen City classics including The Improper Pig and The Flying Biscuit Café, it’s no wonder this spot delivers high-quality pizza with an unpretentious atmosphere. Heads up gluten-free friends, the crust options won’t let you down.
Order up: For an unexpected delight, try the So Fresh and So Clean—olive oil base, minced garlic, red onions, mozzarella cheese, arugula, tomatoes, cilantro, lemon zest, parmesan cheese and avocado.
Neighborhood: Plaza Midwood
The basics: This cozy European-style spot was founded in 2007 by brothers Branko and Djordje Avramovic who wanted to bring their grandmother’s Serbian family recipes to Charlotte. They proudly serve pizzas with the freshest ingredients, including handmade dough and house-made mozzarella. The inviting patio is perfect for enjoying the city’s skyline with a craft pizza and a chic cocktail.
Order up: You can fully appreciate Intermezzo’s fresh ingredients with the Quattro Formaggi pizza—parmesan, provolone, romano and house-made mozzarella.
Although it resembles the Sicilian, Grandma-style pizza stands alone. Like the other pizza varieties, the difference is in the dough. Grandma Pie is thicker than Neapolitan style, but has a thinner profile and denser crust than Sicilian, due in part to its shorter time to proof in the pan. Some Grandma Pie recipes use the sauce-on-top approach to keep the cheese from overcooking, and toppings are typically limited to traditional staples (think mozzarella and basil).
Neighborhood: University City
The basics: A family-friendly restaurant with an authentic Italian feel, this University City gem specializes in true Napoli pizza. You’ll find several pizza styles on the menu, including Scilian and hand-tossed, but the standout here is the Grandma Pie.
Order up: Go ahead and try the Grandma Pie—the fluffy, square-shaped crust is topped with buffalo mozzarella, garlic, basil, olive oil and red sauce.
More to chew on...
Neighborhood: Montford Park
Be on the lookout for this spot joining the Queen City pizza lineup soon. With an anticipated opening date of 2022, The Crust is coming to ParkTowne Village off Woodlawn Road and will feature a covered patio and family-friendly vibes. (Owner George Kanellopoulos also plans to open a takeout version in the former Mr. K’s in South End.) Expect a midwest-style pizza— Neapolitan-thin crust topped with house-made sauce, draped with rich provolone and cut into squares.