When your stomach is growling after a long summer day, sometimes the only thing that’ll hit the spot is a slice (or two, or ten) of cheesy, tangy, crispy goodness called pizza.
Nashville’s thriving food scene has you covered, bringing you the flavors of Italy and New York and everywhere in between. (For maximum taste bud enjoyment, wear yourself on one of these hikes before checking out some of these pizzerias.)
In no particular order, here is a completely unbiased list of Music City’s 15 most mouthwatering pizza joints:
1. Five Points Pizza
Five Points Pizza is a trendy anchor of the Five Points area in East Nashville, and with its nearly 20 varieties of delicious thin crust, NY-style pizza, it’s not hard to see why. Their pizza-by-the-slice option lets you sample as many pies as you like. Plus, their late-night walk-up window (open until 3 a.m. on weekends) and ice-cold draft brews continue to set this place apart from the crowd.
2. Two Boots Pizza
Named for the shapes of Louisiana and Italy, this pizzeria knocks it out of the park with inventive flavor combinations piled on top of their signature zesty sauce, cornmeal crusts, and Galbani whole milk mozzarella. Between the funky New Orleans-inspired décor and wacky pizza names, Two Boots always keeps things bold and lively. A local favorite is “The Kitty,” which features Hattie B’s hot chicken.
3. 312 Pizza Company
Fairly new to Germantown, 312 Pizza Co. serves up the best Chicago deep-dish pizza in town. The thick crusts of this pizza style can take up to 45 minutes to bake, but the delicious finished product–made with only the freshest ingredients and a sauce whose recipe dates back over three generations to a grandmother who cooked with Italian immigrants in Chicago—is well worth it. Enjoy a beer or craft cocktail from their rustic wood bar while you wait.
4. Manny’s House of Pizza
Located in The Arcade downtown, Manny’s House of Pizza has been serving up some of the best pizza in town for more than 30 years. Manny learned his technique from the most popular pizzeria in Brooklyn before bringing his no-nonsense New York attitude and focus on flavor over décor with him to Nashville. Choose from thin, crispy crust or thicker Sicilian style crust, then load your pie up with toppings. The Stromboli, calzones and five-layer lasagna are not to be missed either.
5. DeSano Pizza Bakery
Music Row & other locations
This recently expanded pizzeria just off Music Row specializes in authentic Neapolitan-style pizzas crafted from ingredients imported weekly from Italy—from the mozzarella and tomatoes all the way to the salt. Even their three massive stone ovens come from Naples, Italy, and perfectly cook each pizza in less than two minutes so the crust is lightly charred but soft inside, and the taste and freshness of the toppings is preserved. Don’t forget to snag a couple decadent cannoli on the way out too.
6. MAFIAoZA’s Pizzeria & Neighborhood Pub
MAFIAoZA’s is a buzzing hotspot in 12 South, as well as the neighborhood’s go-to place for delicious New York-style Italian food. Their thin-crust pizza pies are crispy, melty, and smothered in toppings—many of which are locally grown by farmers in Kentucky and Tennessee. The décor is bright and warm, and they pride themselves on their kid-friendly atmosphere. Plus, their two-for-one deals on Sunday and Tuesday make it an even more perfect dinner destination for the whole family.
7. NY Pie
Located in Nashville West, NY Pie has “New York” right in the name, and plenty of Nashvillians claim it’s their favorite spot for New York-style pizza in the city. Owner Greg Meyer worked his way up the ranks in New Jersey pizzerias from childhood onward, learning the secrets of making fresh dough and sauce, and getting the ratio of crust-to-sauce just right so it’s not soggy in the middle. Try the NY Pesto Chicken or NY Sriracha Chicken and see what all the fuss is about.
8. Bella Napoli Pizzeria
Transport yourself to Italy every time you bite into the scrumptious Neapolitan pizza coming out of Bella Napoli’s blazingly hot brick ovens. Every ingredient (except the locally-sourced Fior di Latte cheese) comes from prime locations near Naples, which combine to create delectable favorites like their Margherita pizza. Bella Napoli also boasts a truly charming courtyard where you can enjoy your pizza and vino beneath crisscrossing strands of lights while surrounded by the wafting strains of live music.
9. Pizza Perfect
One of the longer running establishments on our list, Pizza Perfect has been serving just plain delicious pizza to the Nashville community since 1983. They should probably get a humanitarian award for making sure generations of Vandy students haven’t starved. Their slogan “Looks good, tastes better” sums up their focus on simplicity and taste. Hidden menu gems include their veggie pizza and enormous calzones.
10. City House
This upscale Italian restaurant with a warm-yet-industrial vibe offers much more than pizza, but we’d be remiss not to mention it. Many swear by their Margherita pizza topped with seasonal arugula, and other specialty pies include their belly ham pizza (accented with oregano and chilies) and whole trout pizza (topped with summer squash, onion, mint, peanuts, and raisins.)
11. Angelo’s Picnic Pizza
While this pizza joint is all the way down in Antioch, it’s worth the drive if you’re craving quality slices at affordable prices. Angelo opened the original location all the way back in 1976, and since then, the focus has always been on flavor over flashiness, as the Styrofoam plates and plastic cutlery endearingly prove. The menu is rounded out by calzones, pasta, and subs, but for the most bang for your buck, go with the daily all-you-can-eat pizza buffet.
12. Nicky’s Coal Fired
Less than a year old, couple Tony and Caroline Galzin have given West Nashville sophisticated pizza in an environment that is both upscale and laid-back. Located in the restored Belle Meade Hosiery Mill, Nicky’s Coal Fired has an airy, stylish atmosphere, and its imaginative menu also offers items like white wine-soaked clams and spicy rabbit sausage. The four-ton coal fired oven is nicknamed “Enrico” after Tony Galzin’s great-grandfather, and will hopefully be spitting out delectable pizzas for many years to come.
13. Madeline Pizza and Pasta
Tucked on the corner of a residential neighborhood in a little clapboard and exposed brick building, Madeline Pizza and Pasta serves up gourmet pizzas, along with a range of pastas, bakes, wings, Stromboli, and calzones. They even have a delivery service, so you can enjoy heavenly Italian food while lounging and watching Netflix at home. They make a mean alfredo chicken pizza, but if you find you’re not in the mood for pizza, you can’t go wrong with their spaghetti with homemade meatballs and garlic knots that don’t skimp on the garlic.
14. Slim and Husky’s Pizza Beeria
With perhaps the best name ever for a pizzeria, Slim and Husky’s opened earlier this year as a key part of the redevelopment of historic North Nashville. They use locally-sourced ingredients for their artisan and build-your-own pizza options, which you can wash down with local craft beers and adult slushies. The fresh black and white tile interior, along with The Notorious B.I.G. and Will Smith lyrics emblazoned in the bathroom doors, are a trendy nod to 90s hip-hop culture. Fair warning: there always seems to be a line (so you know it’s good!)
15. PizzaRev Taproom
The newest pizza joint on this list, PizzaRev opened last week as a gourmet build-your-own pizza operation in a modern interior of stainless steel, weathered wood and concrete. Through their motto of “Be Revolutionary,” they hope to empower people to let their creativity shine, while eating food that is delicious and sourced thoughtfully. A particularly unique feature is the craft beer and wine wall, which lets you sample whatever beverages you want by simply scanning the RFID wristband you can get at the cashier.
Is your stomach grumbling yet? Time to get up and explore one—or all—of the pizzerias on this list, and decide which combination of meats, veggies, cheeses, sauces, spices, and crusts you deem the best!
Also, I’m aware I easily could’ve listed fifteen more mouthwatering pizza joints to this list. Which other ones do you think should have made the cut? Let us know in the comments below!