Where to Get a Legit Pizza Slice in Houston
After years of being overlooked thanks to tacos and Tex-Mex, Houston’s pizza scene has most definitely arrived. 2019 brought a stable of buzzy pizza joints to the table, adding to an already sturdy backbone of excellent pie slingers across the city. The pizza revolution has been so intense (we hear Austin’s Home Slice is on the way), we had to take neophytes like Rosie Cannonball and Rosalie Italian Soul off the table; each offer a handful of tasty pies that are worthy, but we’d classify them as Italian restaurants over pizza places. Here’s how to eat your way through today’s superlative pizza landscape in Houston:
Woodfired pizza and phenomenal apps to boot
Imports like Caputo brand “double zero” flour and an 800-degree wood-burning oven mean every doughy Bollo pie comes out blistered and smoky. Get the pizzas topped with classics like prosciutto di Parma and creamy buffalo mozz (also imported); or go full Lone Star with everything from fresh jalapeños to crazy good Texas Wagyu beef. Before you dig into the pie, it’s best to start with a messful of small plates, including but not limited to black truffle burrata, local beets, plump meatballs, and Gulf shrimp crostini.
Unrivaled Neapolitan-style pies and absolutely no ranch dressing
Don’t knock it ‘cause it’s Dallas born; this pizza joint makes transcendent, certified Neapolitan-style pizza with fresh dough scorched in an intensely hot wood-burning oven. Locals love the Honey Bastard, smooched with housemade mozzarella, hot soppressata, bacon marmalade and habanero honey. The fact that any of the pies can be made spicy for an extra $2, adding on a heat-punch from calabrian chiles & Yellowbird Serrano hot sauce, is an added bonus. Just don’t ask for any ranch dressing to balance that heat… there are local beers for that.
Wood-fired pies with gluten-free crust available
There’s a reason people don’t mind the no reservations policy at this modern Italian joint, and it’s not because they like achieving a lofty buzz before sitting down to eat (well, maybe a little of that). It’s mainly because everything coming out of the wood-fired oven and urban garden is borderline euphoric, and that includes the rustic, chubby, locally-inspired pies and the seasonally refreshed tinctures from beverage master Morgan Weber. The whole lineup is top notch, so to avoid failing yet another multiple choice test, bring a crew and carbo load with a mix of the good stuff -- we’re talking salumi and tomato pies next to black pepper pasta and ricotta gnocchi alongside made-from-scratch foccacia to sop up your bowls of mussels.
San Francisco-style, choose-your-own adventure pies
Now with three locations, this local mini-chain offers scorched SF-style pies that are perfectly chewy and puffy, thanks to a fresh sourdough from local bakery Angela's Oven. Counter service keeps things wallet friendly, but you’ll have the impossible task of deciding between adornments like whipped ricotta, shiitake mushrooms, mortadella, and fiery andouille before you reach the front of the line. Or, y’know, you can just get them all.
Neapolitan-style pies from an imported Italian oven
This Westheimer powerhouse from Chef Marco Wiles was the first to demonstrate the beauty of blistered and blackened wood-fired crusts to Houstonians way back in 2005. Impossibly good flavor combinations like taleggio, pear, and truffle oil, or roasted clams and garlic all work to peek throughout the pies’ scorched nooks and crannies. To complement the pizza, try the al dente rigatoni studded with pig fat and heavy cream and small plates like the fennel “bagna cauda.” Note: In 2019, Wiles put the property on the market, announcing plans to close up shop (for now) whenever the sale is finalized. So basically, get eatin’ while the eatin’s good.
Authentic Italian pizzas (with 40+ to choose from)
This Midtown staple boasts the most authentically Italian pizza in town. That’s because the massive chain got its start in Italy before making its way to Houston. You’ll find 40+ pies at this outpost, from the legitimately amazing prosciutto crudo to the heavenly ricotta & spinach. You’ll also find one of the best weekday happy hours and all-you-can-eat gnocchi on the 29th of every month, both of which have absolutely nothing to do with pizza but deserve to be mentioned.
Detroit-, NY-, Chicago-, and Neapolitan-style pies abound here
Ever hear of pepperoni cups? Ever try a Detroit-style pie? How about a Detroit-style pie next to a New York-style one and a Neapolitan pizza? Pizaro’s gives you the chance to try all three pizza styles, topped with high-class toppings from Iberico ham and Bufala mozzarella to anchovies and crimini mushrooms. How could it get any better? Well, it just announced plans to add a fourth style its pizza roster: a super thin, Chicago tavern-style pie.
Best for crust lovers
Topped with things like housemade fior di latte, soppressata, and Calabrian chilis before being wood fired at 900+ degrees until bubbling and charred, these red- and white-based regional Italian pies are a force to be reckoned with. But here in this modern mid-rise storefront, it’s truly all about the crust: soft and pillowy on the inside, crunchy and crisp on the outside. Take the pies down with add-ons like fire-roasted polpette, red wine, and gelato. As is tradition.
New York-style pies in a no-frills location
Follow the Yankee caps to this zero frills pizzeria, where the service is just as New York-style as the lightly sauced, thin and crisp slices. Don’t expect a ton of small talk, just solidly executed plain, pepperoni, and Italian sausage pies that come out fast and hot. Oh, and chicken parm subs, ricotta-stuffed calzones, and stacks on stacks on stacks of garlic knots. Just don’t ask for chicken parm on your pizza. We tried that once...it didn’t work.
Funky pies with ‘90s-era games and vibes
Set in an unassuming house on lower Westheimer, the 21-and-up pizza dive offers pies with cheeky names and a cool vibe that drips with ‘90s nostalgia -- think skeeball, air hockey and that terrifying life-sized Ronald McDonald. The venture brings together the powerhouses responsible for offbeat favorites including Moon Tower Inn, Voodoo Queen, and Eatsie Boys for a concept that is truly one of a kind. Go for large pies like the meat lovers Kosher as Christmas, the philly cheesesteak smothered Whizard Sleeve, or the Schnozberries Taste Like Schnozberies, which is stacked with a few grams of shrooms, obviously. Or order up some plain and pepperoni pizza by the slice, with an added side of ranch for your dipping pleasure.
Modern-American pies with beer, wine, and a cocktail bar next door
This little brother to Coltivare sits in the “young,” hip neighborhood of EaDo, slinging pizza dough by the pie and slice straight from its wood-burning oven. Known for its big, square, heavy pies with strong, ripe Wisconsin Brick and Parmesan cheeses, Vinny’s added more traditional, foldable New York-style pizzas earlier this year. Toppings range from housemade Italian sausage, charcoal chicken, and fatback bacon to Calabrian chili, pickled jalapeno, and French feta. It’s also got beer, wine, frozen margs, a nextdoor cocktail bar, and late-night hours -- ‘til midnight on Tues-Thurs; 1am Fri-Sat; and 9pm on Sundays (but you should be home by then anyway).
Bubbly rectangles of Roman-style pizza al taglio (by the “cut”)
Chef Ben McPherson (formerly of Prohibition and Conservatory) helms the kitchen at this chef-driven food hall concept, one of the handful of spots in the sleek new Bravery Chef Hall. “BOH” (pronounced ‘bo’) is Italian slang for “I don’t know,” and while the kitchen embodies a playful philosophy, it seems that McPherson does know exactly what he’s doing when it comes to his pizza (and pasta) technique. Roman-style pizza al taglio gets fired in the Marra Forni oven, its fermented dough coming out surprisingly crisp, light, and airy for a slice so thick. Sicilian salt and high-quality toppings like mortadella, truffle, and pistachio make this simple street food swoon-worthy.
East Coast-style joint where you can trust the crust
Yes, this is a pizza list, but we have to talk about “fat sandwiches” for a second (this writer may or may not have went to Rutgers, official home of the fat sandwich). This Westside pizza joint has them -- subs packed with stuffings like cheesesteak, fries, and mozzarella sticks -- as well as East Coast-style pies and slices in the form of Vodka Pizza, Eggplant Rollatini Pizza, and White Pizza (with real deal ricotta instead of the alfredo-sauced numbers that some pizza joints try to pawn off as white pizza here in Houston -- don’t get us started). It’s enough to make this NJ gal’s heart sing, and a must-visit spot for any East Coasters looking for a taste of home.
Rustic pizza so good it’s poetic
Part creative studio, part pizzeria, this artsy spot combines art, music and poetry, and rustic pies inspired by owner Vanessa Fernandez Favreau’s travels. The dough is slow fermented, here, creating a pillowy, cracker-crisp crust for its open-fire 13” pies. Go for the Cinque Formaggi, with fior di latte, mozzarella, gorgonzola, goat cheese, and parmesan, then crank it up with arugula and prosciutto because you can.
Foldable slices straight from a New Yorker
First opened in Long Island in the late ‘80s, this slice shop is as legit as it gets. Owner Antonio Portillo now owns two joints in town, both slinging straight forward, Big Apple-style pies in view of the NYC skyline -- or at least some photos of it on the wall. Tuesdays (Jones Rd) and Thursdays (Louetta) are 99-cent cheese slice days, but you won’t mind paying up for a buffalo chicken, spinach white, or Greek salad slice.
Classic delivery and take-out spot with a chewy crust and supreme cheese pull
From the team behind stunners like B&B Butcher and B.B. Lemon, this newer concept sits inside the Energy Corridor’s B.B. Italia Kitchen & Bar, offering New York-style pies with chewy crust and stretchy cheese for takeout and delivery only. Order the garlic-buttery shrimp scampi or the smoked bacon-topped vodka pie, and pack on some of pizza’s oft unsung cousins, knots and calzones.
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