With the proliferation of delivery services that'll bring pretty much any food straight to your couch mid-Netflix binge, home delivery is hardly limited to pizza anymore. That said, the pizza in this town has gotten so good that you might as well make it the center of your night when dining out in Nashville. You'll find Detroit-style slices via Brooklyn, classic Italian pies, and even some with Cajun flavors -- pretty much anything you're craving, plus a few things you didn't even know you were craving yet. These are the best of the best in Nashville.
Midtown (& other locations) Every meal here is a pizza party There are some towns where this chain serves the best pizza in town. Fortunately Nashville is not one of those cities, but the ‘Shroom is still a fun place for a beer and a pie. The atmosphere is festive, especially at the Lower Broad location, and the House Special with all the meats and a small garden’s worth of veggies is a solid choice.
Hillsboro Village The Biscuit Love masters have turned their eyes to pies Already known for their proficiency with dough at Biscuit Love, the owners of this tiny boutique pizzeria are taking their talents to pizza town. With a complex dough recipe that benefits from four days of proofing and a tight menu of nine pies, ‘za is serving up some of the best pizza in town straight out of their wood-fired oven.
The Gulch (& other locations) Detroit-style pizzas via Brooklyn Nashville has quickly become enamored of these rectangular Detroit-style pizzas with their seemingly impossible chewy/crispy crusts and a layer of delightful charred cheese known in the biz as “frico.” As a bonus, Emmy Squared also serves up some fantastic sandwiches and one of the best (and priciest) burgers in town.
SoBro Brick-oven pizzas and craft beer WIth both Detroit-style and hand-tossed crusts, you can choose your adventure at Night Train. The dining room is decorated with vintage beer cans, and the bar serves a fine selection of more modern craft beer options. Try the NTP, a Detroit-style pie with bianca sauce, both provolone and mozzarella cheese, and a topping of red sauce to add some zing.
West Nashville A taste of Rome in Music City Don’t let the name of this place fool you. While the pastas at Pastaria are top notch, they also pump some fantastic pizzas out of the open kitchen. You can sit right at the chef’s bar and watch them create your order before giving it a quick pass through the infernal oven. If you like it spicy, get The Nduja, topped with spicy sausage paste, mozz, garlic, oregano, and a little drizzle of honey to add some sweet to the spice.
West Nashville (& other locations) A taste of the city in a country music town While many Nashvillians claim to prefer Napolitano-style pizza, these same folks often complain that the middle of their pies get too soggy. Actually, this is a natural side effect of the VPN’s process of using fresh tomatoes and a very short trip through the oven. What they probably really want is a cracker-crisp crust that is more like a New York-style pizza. NY Pie even offers a NY Sriracha Chicken topped with “hipster ketchup.”
Midtown A hidden oasis for simple, perfect pizza The charming patio tucked away in the middle of the Villa Place complex is an ideal spot to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city for awhile and enjoy a fine glass of vino and a great pie made using the finest ingredients imported from Italy. On nice nights, they also feature live entertainment under the stars that will transport you away while you nosh on a legit Margherita pizza simply constructed with just fresh mozzarella, basil, and extra virgin olive oil.
West End and Williamson County Old World-style neapolitan pizza spot with housemade gelato Frequent visitors recognize that Porta Via is more than just a pizza spot. However, it still trades on its status as a VPN (Vera Pizza Napoletana)-certified pizzeria with super-traditional, Old World-style Italian. Add a menu of excellent pasta dishes and many varieties of gelato, and you’ve got plenty of reasons to visit.
Music Row (& other locations) A crowded local hotspot open until the dough runs out This popular pizzeria has more than doubled its seating area with the addition of a new bar and dining room, but crowds still pack the joint on weekend evenings. Fortunately, since the pizzas come out of the screaming hot stone ovens within a couple of minutes, you won’t have to wait long for one of its premium pies, like the San Gennaro with San Marzano tomato sauce, sausage, peppadews, garlic, caramelized onions, scamorza, mozzarella di bufala, and pecorino Romano cheeses.
Music Row (& other locations) Casual joint that works Cajun and Italian flavor into its pies The two boots in the name of this NYC-based pizzeria refer to the shapes of the state of Louisiana and the country of Italy, so it’s no surprise that spicy Cajun flavors meld with Galbani whole milk mozzarella to create piquant pies. The pizzas are cheekily named after pop culture icons, so you’ll have to read the menu closely to figure out the difference between “The Newman” and “The Dude.” [Hint: the Dude really ties the room together.] A local favorite is “The Kitty,” featuring hot chicken from Two Boots’ neighbors across the street at Hattie B’s.
East Nashville Uncompromising in its NYC-style pizza, for good reason Sometimes you need a perfectly greasy slice served up on a paper plate. The walk-up window at Five Points Pizza is the perfect equivalent of a culinary disco nap when you need some extra fuel to continue your bad idea exploits from bar to bar in East Nashville. To accentuate the NY vibe, there are NO SUBSTITUTIONS allowed on those slices.
Downtown Family-friendly joint at the mall with more than 30 years' experience At Manny’s in the Arcade Downtown, they’ve got that authentic Noo Yawk attitude in spades. The decor is nothing to phone home about (except the front of the building), but the pizza is legit, with thin crust or Sicilian styles available hot out of the oven. Its stromboli and calzones are also worth a try. Pro tip: You can park in the Arcade alley between Church and Union, and they’ll bring your carryout order right to the car.
Downtown Pizza loaded with Brooklyn roots and irreplaceably good meatballs Joey’s brother Manny split off from the family biz to open his own House of Pizza in an old sandwich shop right off of I-40 at Fesslers Lane. Originally from Brooklyn, Joey brought his family and its recipes with him, and it shows. Get anything with meatballs on it: pizza, pasta, hell... order 'em on a plate.
Germantown The go-to spot for deep-dish pizza If you’ve got some time on your hands and a hankering for some Chicago-style pizza, 312 Pizza Co. is the place to go. Good things come to those who wait, and the crowds and long cooking times of these deep-dish cheese bombs pretty much guarantee that you’ll have to stretch your lunch hour to get in and out at midday. When your boss asks where you've been, blame it on the traffic.
The Nations Tons of varieties of pizza, and don't skip the cocktails either Just opening a new pizza parlor in this growing West Nashville neighborhood should be a recipe for rampant success, but when you do it the way Nicky’s has, it’s no surprise it’s been a huge hit. Cooking in a coal-fired oven named “Enrico,” named for chef/owner Tony Galzin’s grandfather, the open kitchen at Nicky’s pumps out close to a dozen varieties of red and white pies, plus other fantastic baked pasta and vegetable dishes, and some of the best antipasti and charcuterie in town.
Music Row (& other locations) One of the best pizza chains you can choose from Midwestern transplants to Nashville swear by this chain out of Columbus, Ohio, and for once, locals are actually listening to them. Thin-crust pies are covered from edge to edge with tasty toppings and then cut into party-style square pieces for easy sharing. The Founder's Favorite with heritage pepperoni, family recipe sausage, shaved ham, and banana peppers is particularly addictive. Don’t keep count of how many slices you eat, since 12 sounds like a lot. And in a nod to its Music City location, Donatos actually features live music Thursday-Saturday nights.
North Nashville (& other locations) Beer garden with a great selection of pies and pints Slim & Husky’s has created a new category of restaurant with the invention of the pizza beeria instead of a mere pizzeria. Concentrating on craft beers and eminently customizable pies, lines frequently stretch out the door. By the time your pizza has made a quick pass through the conveyor oven, you should be ready for a second beer.
Eighth Avenue Equally fun for its family-style parties and fresh ingredients Most people’s experience with Mangia Nashville has been attending one of its weekend multi-course Italian dinner extravaganzas, complete with conga lines snaking through the dining room between courses and The Godfather playing on the restaurant's televisions. However, during the day and on weeknights, Mangia operates as a unique focacceria, serving sandwiches on a novel black-pizza-crust-like bread made using activated charcoal.
Germantown Options so good, ordering what your friend orders would be a travesty Built around a precious little wood-burning oven, Bella Nashville is one of the best dining options among many at the Nashville Farmers Market. Its talented pizzaiolos take advantage of the fresh local produce of the market to create gourmet pies that are sized for one diner. With daily specials and a tight menu of regular recipes, Bella is a great place for a group to order the whole menu and share slices.
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Chris Chamberlain is a lifelong Nashvillager who loves all sorts of pies: pot, apple, or pizza. A three-pie dinner would be a dream come true. Follow him at @CeeElCee.