Food & Drink

The Best Pizza Places in Louisville

Published On 10/22/2014 Published On 10/22/2014
Garage Bar
Magnus Lindqvist/Courtesy of Garage Bar

Sure, this town may be more famous for its Derby pies, but Louisville's pizzas are an even match... maybe even better. Be it margherita or meat lover's, thin crust or deep dish, the pizza craze is alive and well in the 'Ville, and these spots offer up the best places in town. Plus, if you're looking for some genuinely excellent Italian restaurants of all kinds, Louisville is an excellent place to be. 

Garage Bar

NuLu

Housed in an old auto service station, Garage Bar uses local veggies and cured meats to top its pizzas, which bake in a blistering wood-fired brick oven. Be sure to order a tasting platter from the ham bar (yes, it has a bar dedicated to ham) to pair with your pie. And don't leave without trying the margherita. Sure, it's perfect on its own, but there's no harm in adding shaved country ham, a farm egg, and fried kale chips.

Coals Artisan Pizza

Coals Artisan Pizza

St. Matthews

Coals made an instant impact in Louisville with its Neapolitan-style pizzas, which are flash-cooked in a crazy-hot oven until crisp and just barely burnt at the edge. A number of specialty pies are aptly named for Louisville neighborhoods, each topped with a union of fresh ingredients depicting the character of each corner of our fair city. The Crescent Hill is a classic: topped with Nueske's bacon, ham, marinara, fresh & shredded mozzarella, pineapple, and Parmesan.

The Original Impellizzeri's Pizza

Highlands

Benny Impellizzeri coined the term "Louisville Style Pizza" in 1979 when he began selling his signature creations out of his father's butcher shop. Years later, patrons are lining up for Impellizzeri's original pizzas, with double layers of cheese and toppings making up these ample, over-the-top pizza pies. If you've got some time, order your pizza Sicilian deep dish-style... it's monstrous, and well worth the 45 minutes it takes to bake.

Wick's Pizza

Wick's Pizza Parlor

Highlands (& other locations)

Wick's has been a Highlands staple since '93, and the success of its large, piled-high pies has led it to open additional locations. Loaded with cheese and a generous heap of finely diced toppings, each one is baked until bubbling on its house-made dough. The bacon chicken ranch pizza is topped with chicken and bacon, and layered with plenty of mozzarella on top of some delicious ranch sauce. It's something you should try at least once (but it'll probably be more than that).

Clifton's Pizza Co.

Clifton

Clifton's is a staple of the neighborhood, having been up and running for nearly a quarter-century. The place is as known for its hand-tossed, made-to-order pizzas as it is for the dedication to the local music scene. If you’ve got a particular passion for live jazz (and great pizza), enjoy weekly performances from up-and-comers while you decide whether you should pair your pie with a build-your-own calzone or a baked pasta dish.

Lindsey McClave

Bonnie & Clyde's

Pleasure Ridge Park

B&C's has been turning out the South End's best pizza for over 40 years, and while its decor could arguably use some updating, we hope that at least its recipe never changes. Just remember: order pizza at the counter on the left, beer at the counter on the right, and don't forget your dollars -- this is a cash-only spot.

Boombozz

Highlands (& other locations)

Working with premium ingredients, Boombozz's menu offers a number of different specialty pies, from the familiar (the pesto Roma pizza with pesto sauce, four cheeses, and Roma tomatoes) to the adventurous (the Carnitas Libre with carnitas, ranchero sauce, and caramelized veggies, and served with garlic sour cream and green chili jam). Take your pick; it won't be easy. We can't suggest the Pollotate enough: a combination of marinated chicken, roasted potatoes, and red onions served on a garlic/olive oil crust with Asiago and mozzarella cheeses.

Lindsey McClave

DiOrio's Pizza & Pub

St. Matthews (& Highlands)

There is plenty to choose from at DiOrio's Pizza & Pub, with hoagies, wings, and a variety of fried cheese dominating the first half of the menu. But it's the pizza that keeps loyal patrons coming back. Each one of DiOrio's pizzas is topped with its house-made mozzarella, the piece de resistance of this Italian-inspired pub experience. The Gibbon pie features the homemade marinara sauce and is layered with a whole mess of toppings including pepperoni, Italian sausage, meatballs, ham, tomato, onion, green & black olives, fresh mushrooms, and green peppers.

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Lindsey McClave is a food & travel writer who burnt her tongue one too many times on pizza while writing this piece. Follow her food and travel adventures at @FoodieGirlKY.

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1. Garage Bar 700 E Market St, Louisville, KY 40202 (Nulu)

Especially in the warmer months, this renovated garage in the trendy NuLu area is a must-visit. Glowing ping pong tables, Astroturf-covered places to perch, and a consistently ultra-hip crowd make this bar the go-to destination for sticky, hot nights in The ‘Ville. Garage Bar uses local veggies and cured meats to top its pizzas, which bake in a blistering wood-fired brick oven. Be sure to order a tasting platter from the ham bar (yes, it has a bar dedicated to ham) to pair with your pie. It’s got a pretty extensive beer list, too.

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2. Coals Artisan Pizza 3730 Frankfort Ave, Louisville, KY 40207 (St Matthews)

Coals is a casual Italian eatery with a long menu of specialty pizzas, aptly named for Louisville neighborhoods and each topped with a union of fresh ingredients, thoughtfully depicting the character of each part of the city. Its 900-degree oven turns the incredibly fickle, painstakingly crafted, high-moisture dough into thick, crisp, charred bases. It was the first to deliver coal-fired pizza to Kentucky, and in addition to this St. Matthews location, there’s a second brick-and-mortar in East Louisville.

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3. Impellizzeri's Pizza 110 W Main St, Louisville, KY 40202 (Highlands)

With three locations in Louisville (Downtown, East End and this one in the Highlands), Impellizzeri is a KY fan-favorite pizzeria, serving up all Italian staples from appetizers and salads to hoagie sandwiches and pasta dishes. Benny Impellizzeri coined the term "Louisville Style Pizza" in the 70s when he began selling his signature creations out of his father's butcher shop. Today, the line still wraps around the block for his original, over-the-top pies with double layers of cheese and toppings.

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4. Wick's Pizza Parlor 975 Baxter Ave, Louisville, CA 40204 (Highlands)

Wick's has been a Highlands staple since 1993 and the success of their large, piled-high pies has led them to open three additional locations. Loaded with cheese and a generous heap of finely diced toppings, each pizza is baked until bubbling on their house-made dough. Make sure to check out their event calendar before you go -- live music is aplenty and pairs perfectly with pizza and beer!

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5. Cliftons Pizza Co. 2230 Frankfort Ave, Louisville, KY 40206 (Clifton)

Clifton's is a neighborhood staple, up and running for decades. The place is as known for hand-tossed, made-to-order pizzas as it is for a dedication to the local music scene. If you’ve got a particular passion for live jazz (and great pizza), enjoy weekly performances from up-and-comers while you decide whether you should pair your pie with a build-your-own calzone or a baked pasta dish.

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6. Bonnie & Clyde's 7611 Dixie Hwy, Louisville, KY 40258

Bonnie and Clyde's has been turning out the South End's best pizza for over 40 years, and while its decor could arguably use some updating, the recipes certainly don't. You will be hard pressed to find a crust as crispy and delicious as Bonnie & Clyde's house-made recipe. Order pizza at the counter on the left, beer at the counter on the right, and don't forget your dollars -- this joint is cash-only.

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7. BoomBozz Pizza & Taphouse 1448 Bardstown Rd, Louisville, KY 40204 (Highlands)

BoomBozz is a casual sportsbar/Italian chain serving Kentucky and Indiana. Its menu offers a number of different specialty pies from the familiar (the pesto Roma pizza with pesto sauce, four cheeses, and Roma tomatoes) to the adventurous (the Carnitas Libre with carnitas, ranchero sauce, and caramelized veggies, and served with garlic sour cream and green chili jam), as well as gourmet sandwiches. And NBD, but Boombozz was named "Best Pizza In America" by Food Network.

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8. DiOrio's Pizza and Pub 310 Wallace Ave, Louisville, KY 40207 (St Matthews)

DiOrio's Pizza & Pub is a casual Italian eatery at two locations (in addition to this St. Matthews location, there's also one in the Highlands). There is plenty to choose from at DiOrio's Pizza & Pub in St. Matthews: with hoagies, wings, and a variety of fried cheese dominating the first half of the menu, but it's the pizza that keeps loyal patrons coming back--each one is topped with its house-made mozzarella, the piece de resistance of this Italian-inspired pub experience. T.Lively spot with TV-equipped bar serving familiar fare such as pizza, calzones & pasta.

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