Fast casual genuine Neapolitan pizza
Passed down for over five generations, Elemento’s dough is made in the traditional Neapolitan way from imported flour, imported sea salt, fresh yeast, and water from the Memphis Aquifer. The sauce contains only San Marzano tomatoes. The toppings are up to you. This fast-casual restaurant makes pizzas to order in about 90 seconds thanks to their imported wood-fired oven, which can reach 1,000 degrees.
Old-school mobile pizzeria
Grisanti is a name well known to Memphians and most often associated with delicious Italian food. Alex Grisanti, a fourth-generation restaurateur, was seeking work-life balance when he decided to take the cheflife on the road. Now he turns out gourmet 8-inch personal pizzas featuring lobster, buffalo chicken, barbeque chicken, meat lovers, and lots of fresh veggies. They are all made to order in two minutes.
Gourmet pizza, cleverly named, and served in style
Memphis’s first pizza lounge is lit. Before ordering, take a minute to read the menu in its entirety as it is the funniest, most badass menu to ever go to print. Slice of Soul’s specialties are pizzas on artisan flatbreads with the best names ever (Al B. Green, Memphis Meat Mafia, BAR-BQ-Kays) and the Westwood whole wings. There is some sort of event -- karaoke, trivia, comedy, #blackcoffeecinema, live music, or maybe a DJ -- every night and you can count on good times and great food specials.
New York-style pizza that’s Puck AF
Puck Food Hall features a stall dedicated to perfecting New York Style pizza. Dough Jo, which is owned by the City Block Salumeria folks, can be found in the very back on the second level and definitely has some of the best selection of meat toppings in the city. Though a regular slice of cheese will definitely do ya. Stop in for lunch or dinner.
New York-style pizza with farm-to-table toppings
JillBilly’s Pizza inside the Trolley Stop features New York-style crust and sauce. Since the restaurant has a direct line to Whitton Farms (same owners), customers can count on fresh toppings that please all manner of pizza lovers (but especially the vegans and vegetarians). Buy it by the slice for lunch or dinner or order a whole one for take out or delivery.
New York-style pies that you should get covered in vodka sauce
Aldo’s Midtown location’s rooftop patio is the premiere place to enjoy a slice and a pint in Memphis, weather permitting, though the downtown patio is pretty great for people-watching. This New York-style pie is commonly ordered with Aldo’s famous vodka sauce, which is a go-to for those looking to branch out from regular old tomato. Slices are available at both locations as well as delivery.
Neapolitan-style pizza in trendy digs
Thanks to James Beard award-winning chefs Andrew Ticer and Michael Hudman, Hog & Hominy delivers a taste of Italy to your table with the city’s most authentic Neapolitan pizza. Its margherita is likely the best in Memphis, with tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, and fresh basil leaves. The chewy, lightly charred crust can easily be overwhelmed by some of the heavier toppings, but the flavors and textures work so you'd be hard pressed to actually find something to complain about.
Midtown (& other locations)
Super thin and crispy crust with delicious toppings
Memphis Pizza Cafe has crowd-pleasing, super-crispy, thin-crust pizza that can hold its own against any toppings. Its thinness also allows you to eat twice as much as you could at other pizzerias. It makes a mighty fine buffalo chicken pie, but the local favorite is the Alternative, a simple pizza with no sauce -- save for olive oil -- topped with garlic, tomato, crushed basil, and cheese.
Thick, hearty pies with the toppings baked under the cheese
Broadway Pizza is a Memphis institution. It served pizza and soul food from an unassuming joint on Broad Ave for decades before opening a second location in East Memphis in 2014. While it's certainly no deep dish, Broadway offers a thick crust and heavy portions of sauces & toppings, all baked in and under the cheese. You’d be hard-pressed to eat more than a slice or two. Call ahead to reduce your wait time -- it takes more than a hot minute to cook these monsters.
Neighborhood joint serving thin-crust pies to hungry locals
High Point is your quintessential neighborhood pizza joint, located right near the access point to the Shelby Farms Greenline. (Biking to/from your meal is not required, but highly recommended). The menu offers a great selection of standard and specialty pizzas, and the daily special always brings the wow factor (i.e. Pize Toscano: olive oil sauce, manchego, Asiago, crimini mushrooms, arugula, and prosciutto, and finished with a balsamic truffle glaze). The crust is thin and foldable, and is brushed with a mouthwatering garlic butter.
New York-style pizza when you want something on the run
For a taste of authentic Italian New York-style pizza in an unassuming atmosphere, you're headed to Little Italy. Choose the cheese pizza or add pepperoni for an extra kick of spice (and grease). You're getting a pie with slightly sweet tomato sauce, precisely melted cheese, and whatever toppings you add. The flaky, thin crust gets those perfect blackened bits and cracks just right when you fold it up, because folding is basically required at Little Italy.
Pioneers of the BBQ pizza (and they make heart-shaped pies on Valentine's Day)
Many pizza places in Memphis -- and around the country -- offer a "barbecue pizza," but Coletta’s is where to go for the original deal. It fires up a traditional cheese pizza in its piping-hot pizza oven, and then adds a generous layer of house-smoked pulled pork shoulder after it’s done, so the meat stays tender and tasty. Pour on a dose of Coletta’s barbecue sauce, and you’re ready to eat BBQ pizza from the place that invented it. And don't forget to stop in on Valentine’s Day to get a heart-shaped pie. They'll even make it half and half if you and your date can't agree on toppings.
Local institution that serves up the popular 'baby pizza'
Pete and Sam’s is an institution. While pizza isn’t its main focus, it is certainly worth a trip just to try it, especially if thin crust is your thing. This is the one and only place where you can actually get a “baby pizza” as a side dish to your entrée. The baby pizza is about 3-inches wide, and is crispy like a cracker. Pizza is also available in standard sizes, but the baby pizza is where it's at. Just don't put it in a corner.
No frills thin-crust pizza at great prices
Midtown Crossing Grill offers oven-fired crusts that hit that sweet spot between thin & thick, and crispy & chewy. MCG offers a variety of off-the-wall combinations, but you should make note of the Hangover. It’s like a big, bold breakfast on said crust, with Alfredo sauce instead of tomato sauce, plus crispy bacon, caramelized onion, a melted blanket of medium cheddar, and a fried egg or two plopped right down in the middle.
Broad Avenue Arts District
Italian-style pies with unique toppings in a nautical setting
We know. The Cove is primarily known as a cocktail and oyster bar, but they have excellent pizza too. The Binghampton is the favorite of regulars. It features a horseradish cream sauce paired with spiced Italian beef, sliced pickles, and crushed Kettle chips. All of the Cove’s pizzas are served on a crispy pita crust and are easily consumed by one person, though I’ve seen a few kind souls share a slice or two. On the second Sunday of each month, Kunal Jadhav, a regular, makes delicious Indian-inspired pizzas (think chicken tandoori, palak paneer) and donates the proceeds to charity.
University District/East Memphis/Germantown
Traditional handmade pizzas in classic Italian digs
Garibaldi’s has been in business for over 40 years, and for good reason. Their breads, doughs, and sauces are prepared in-house daily using only the finest, freshest ingredients. Also, two words: lunch buffet. There are three locations now, but the original is the one near the University of Memphis. There’s a U of M Tigers room, pinball, and cheap pitchers of beer. Perfection.
Simple pies with great deals and no frills
Another mainstay of the Memphis pizza scene for over 40 years, Exlines’ four locations offer an incredible lunch deal. Get a 6-inch pizza, salad, and bottomless drink for $7. And lunch doesn't officially end until 5pm. The pizza isn't gourmet, but it's mighty good, and best of all, always comes out with a smile.