At 2am, you’ll see a line of not-so-sober college students forming on Market St with people waiting to get one of these giant slices of New York-style pizza to eat as they stumble home. We’re talking super-thin crust, lots of cheese, and lots of grease on slices that require two hands to hold. It's open during the day, too, so you can get a cheap slice whenever the mood strikes.
D’als (as it is lovingly referred to) is a neighborhood favorite, located just south of the crosstown in the heart of Elliotborough Downtown. The menu is filled with unique and creative options for hand-tossed pizzas, calzones, salads, and caljoes (panini sandwich). You can also find its frozen pizzas around town at places like Bull Street Gourmet & Market for a take & bake option. Our favorite: the Chauncinator.
King Street Historic District
Monza is an Italian racing-themed restaurant that specializes in gourmet Neapolitan-style brick oven pizzas. Like DeSano, it also has many of its ingredients and equipment imported from Italy, but it also has a focus on sourcing ingredients and flavors from local suppliers as well. Pro tip: try the Vanwall Special made with pesto, mozzarella, shrimp, and seasonal tomatoes.
EVO (short for Extra Virgin Oven) is constantly packed with pizza fanatics and die-hard fans of its wood-fired pizzas, sandwiches, and baked goods. It's also a bakery, so you can bet that the dough and pizza crust are some of the best you’ll ever have. The best pizza on the menu is the Pork Trifecta (seriously, it’s got a cult following), with red sauce, house-made sausage, pepperoni, bacon, mozzarella, and Parmigiano-Reggiano.
If you’re a fan of pizzas with a lot of wacky toppings and flavor combinations, and thicker crust, then Paisano’s is definitely the pizza for you. If you’re feeling adventurous, try the Speedy Gonzalez, topped with cheddar cheese, ground beef, jalapeños, onions, tomatoes, and taco seasoning, or the Colbert, with a blue cheese base topped with chicken (grilled or fried), blue cheese crumble, and hot sauce. For a more classic pizza, opt for the Zeus, topped with basil, spinach, tomatoes, olives, and feta cheese.
Located in a pretty desolate part of Dorchester Rd inside a shiny old diner lies the distinctly hidden treasure that is Charleston House of Pizza (aka CHOP). The sauce is a little on the sweeter side, and the pies are loaded with mozzarella & cheddar cheeses. It isn't fancy, and it doesn’t pretend to be. The menu is simple, with only five different specialty pies, including the veggie pizza, which is loaded with peppers, onions, broccoli, olives, and tomatoes that even a carnivore is sure to enjoy.
If you prefer your pizzas on the fancy side, then Crust is where you should go to wet your whistle. Its wood-fired artisan pizzas are made with fresh and local ingredients, and are unlike any other pizza you’ll find in Charleston. Because it sources many of its ingredients locally, it always has a few daily pizza specials, so each trip to Crust can feel like the first time. Our favorite menu standard is the butternut squash pizza with roasted squash, mushrooms, caramelized onion, goat cheese, mozzarella, arugula, and truffle oil.
Located in an unassuming shopping center in Mount Pleasant, La Pizzeria is the definition of a hidden gem. Seriously, if you blink, you might drive right on by. Specializing in Northern Italian-style cuisine, La Pizzeria brings a little taste of Boston’s famed North End to Mount Pleasant. Our favorite is the prosciutto pizza, layered simply with prosciutto, spinach, and Parmigiano cheese.
Indaco’s wood-fired pizzas are exquisite, with a crust that’s thin, but not too thin, so it’s hearty enough to support the upscale and creative mix of toppings. Favorites include the Brussels sprouts pizza topped with honeycrisp apples, Brussels sprouts, ricotta, dark honey, and pancetta, or the classic Cerignola olives pie with mozzarella, Calabrian chili, basil, parmesan, and olives.
Famulari’s is a locally owned chain that’s beloved by locals and tourists alike. It’s one of the only places in Charleston that offers a Chicago-style deep dish pizza (for when you have a deep dish appetite), and it really does the Windy City justice.
Fiore’s in Johns Island offers a number of specialty toppings for its oven-baked pizzas and grinders. But its true claim to fame is the free (and tasty) crust seasonings. Those of you who usually discard the crust for being tasteless should prepare to have your world turned upside-down. Choose from butter, garlic herb, Cajun, cheese, ranch, or sesame, and start treating your crust with the respect it deserves.
For a place that only does carry-out pizzas, Luke’s puts a lot of effort into making a quality pie. Owner Luke Davis worked at EVO and Monza before he struck out on his own, and while the shop might be small (the space is only 450sqft, hence carry-out only), the handmade pizzas are big on flavor. You can build your own using one of the handcrafted bases like crushed tomato or creamy ricotta, or try one of the weekly specials advertised on Facebook. Be sure to stop by early, though, as the place closes once it sells out of dough!
Located above the popular Upper King St bar Midtown, Pizza King is known for its crispy, thin-crust pies and simple toppings. The menu is pretty robust, and aside from pies by the slice or whole, includes chicken wings, lamb pita, cheese fries, and cheeseburgers (to name just a few). This type of food definitely comes in handy after a long night of drinking, which is perfect because Pizza King is open until 3am most nights. It doesn’t deliver, but you’re more than welcome to stumble through the doors for take-out or to eat in.
A long day of shopping tends to work up an appetite, and Community Pizza House, which serves creative combinations to satisfy any craving, is conveniently located within the Tanger shopping center in North Charleston. Favorites include the potato & bacon (with roasted garlic oil, smoked provolone, fingerling potato, applewood smoked bacon, sweet onion, and a farm egg), and the chicken & pesto (fresh basil pesto, fresh mozzarella, roasted natural chicken breast, sweet & sour peppers, whipped ricotta, grated Parmesan). And, since pizza tastes best with beer, CPH has a healthy draft and bottles list, full of local and national favorites.
Obstinate Daughter is known for its fantastic brunch and French, Italian, and Spanish-influenced offerings, but it also had the brilliant idea to serve pizza for breakfast (fact: If you add an egg to anything, it automatically makes it breakfast food). One of our favorites (at breakfast or otherwise) is the Old Danger topped with pancetta, mozzarella, white sauce, farm egg, scallion, black pepper, and Parmesan. It kind of tastes like spaghetti carbonara on pizza.
One of the newest ventures to hit the Charleston culinary scene is the Dough Boyz food truck, which was quick to establish its pies as some of the greatest in the Holy City. When one of its chefs studied at ALMA in Italy and under Mario Batali, you expect great things, and Dough Boyz definitely does not disappoint; you can find them slinging pies at pop-ups at various bars and restaurants in Charleston, including Bar Mash, Elliotborough Mini Bar, and Cooper River Brewing. The menu varies but has been known to features wild creations -- like a paella pizza with house-made chorizo, clams, mussels, shrimp, and saffron aioli -- alongside more traditional offerings, like margherita.