List: Slices, Pies & Flatbreads
Pizza has got to be the most subjective culinary category in existence. You either hate thin crust or you love it. You either devour deep dish pizza or you despise it. There's generally no middle ground.
But maybe that's what makes pizza so appealing in the first place: the devoted, frenzied tribes that congregate around their chosen deity, fighting for its dominance to the death (or at least until they succumb to food babies). Pizza invokes passion, commitment and personal connections; I'm sure I'm not the only one who sees a reflection of the person in the toppings which they choose.
So here's my list, my "bests" and my "favorites." Take it or leave it, but I'd love to hear your thoughts (and your arguments) in the comments below.
SLICES & SPECIALS
Empire Slice House is home to perhaps my favorite pizza in the world: the MCA, a white pie topped with marinated mozzarella, ricotta and asiago cheeses. It's the fluffy little swirls of ricotta that do me in, and I love it dipped in their pink sauce (I believe it's a mixture of marinara and ranch with a hefty dose of dill). As most probably know, Empire Slice offers six by-the-slice options each day, and I relish the opportunity when MCA is one of those options. 1734 NW 16th St. EmpireSliceHouse.com
Pizzeria Gusto has one of the best lunch specials in town (photo above), where you can get a small specialty pizza and side salad for just $10. I typically go for the Margherita the Queen—tomato sauce, buffalo mozzarella, basil and EVOO—and will add roasted garlic and/or red onions. Fair price aside, Gusto's lunch special ranks high on my list because of their excellent spinach-arugula salad topped with fennel, ricotta and pumpkin seeds and tossed in a sherry vinaigrette. 2415 N. Walker Ave. Pizzeria-Gusto.com
Upper Crust Wood Fired Pizza also has a really great lunch special: a small one-topping pizza + side salad for $12. While I prefer the salads at Gusto, I love the crispy pizzas at Upper Crust. They also have really great toppings, including the crack-like garlic chips, calabrese peppers and a killer mushroom mix. Locations in OKC, Edmond and Tulsa. UCPizza.com
Saturn Grill has a vegan pizza that's absolutely divine (full blog post on Saturn Grill here) and includes tomato sauce, roasted red bell peppers, red onion and portobello mushrooms topped with fresh spinach, house-made falafel & a spicy red pepper sauce. Just check out my Saturn Grill blog post, linked above, to understand why I love this pizza so much. Brogan Vegan pictured top left. 6432 Avondale Dr. SaturnGrill.com
Empire Slice House rightfully deserves another place on this list for their gluten free pizza. As mentioned, they only offer six by-the-slice options a day (and sometimes the only vegetarian option is plain cheese); otherwise, you have to go for their massive full-size pies and bring a few friends along to devour it. I figured out a work-around with their gluten free pizzas, which are small enough for one person (although sometimes I do have leftovers) and feature perfectly crunchy and delectable thin crust. I always do half MCA, and for the other half I'll either go with the Fungus Among Us (cremini, shiitake, and button mushrooms with spinach and truffle oil or the Rocksteady (gorgonzola, red onion, balsamic reduction) without bacon. Half MCA and half Rocksteady pizza pictured top right.
Sauced has been a favorite of mine since high school, both because it's tasty and because it's super budget-friendly. Their 12" pie is a great size for one, with leftovers expected. I typically go for the build-your-own option, usually with BBQ sauce, but I also really like their Spartacus specialty pie (artichoke, green bell peppers, banana peppers, kalamata olives, oregano, feta, mozzarella and romesco sauce). 2912 Paseo. SaucedOnPaseo.com
Hideaway Pizza will never go out of style. I think I started eating Hideaway's pizza as soon as I had teeth. Hideaway is where I learned to like mushrooms (thanks to their tasty fried mushrooms) and it's probably the only pizza place I ate at when I went full-on vegetarian in 2007 (they have a whopping 19 veggie toppings). Their small 10" pizza is the perfect size, and they have both excellent hand-tossed crust and thin crust. A gluten free crust is available too, and for vegans, you can bring in an un-opened bag of vegan cheese and they'll be happy to bake it on a pizza for you! Eight locations in the OKC metro. HideawayPizza.com
The Winston without a doubt has my favorite flatbread at the moment. Their Garlic Cheese Flatbread starter is elegant in its simplicity (cliché, but true) and includes garlic butter, mozzarella, feta, fresh garlic and truffle oil. Strong flavors, yes, but ones that go together beautifully and that essentially melt in your mouth. I also love that this flatbread automatically comes with a side of red sauce, because we all know I'd be asking for one anyway. 106 W. Main St., Norman. TheWinston.com
Stella Modern Italian Cuisine has flatbread pizzas that people either love or hate, but I'm firmly in the "love" camp. The crust is so thin and crispy that it's almost cracker-like, which means you can eat the whole thing and feel just full enough. They change their offerings with the seasons, but they're also really accommodating of customizations if the toppings are available. They currently have a Roasted Vegetable option, which I highly recommend. 1201 N. Walker Ave. Stella-OKC.com
Stone Sisters Pizza Bar is pure paradise for vegetarians and vegans. Pizzas come with your choice of organic sprouted spelt or organic unbleached white flour crust, and their medium 10" pizzas are small enough to consume in one sitting. I personally love the Vegan Schmeegan #1: white bean and roasted garlic hummus, nutritional yeast, vegan cheese blend, red onions, banana peppers, red bell peppers, arugula-walnut pesto, seasoned potatoes, arugula salad, EVOO, fresh radishes and sunflower seeds (I leave off the eggplant and grape tomatoes). How could one pizza work will all these toppings? I don't know, but it just does. Only downside is that it's a bit expensive for the size (a large 14" is $19.99, whereas you can get a 16" at Sauced for $18-$20). 2124 N. Broadway Ave. StoneSistersPizza.com
The Jones Assembly has a great brunch pizza, the Flat Tire Pizza, that comes with maple sage sausage, bacon, an over-easy egg, potato, thyme, garlic, chives and maple syrup drizzle. We get the sausage and bacon on the side, of course, and will add an extra over-easy egg. This thing is good, especially with the maple syrup drizzle. They also have excellent avocado toast, but we'll save that for another blog post. 901 W. Sheridan Ave. TheJonesAssembly.com
Louie's Grill & Bar is known for its approachable bar food, sure, but I think people underestimate how delicious their pizzas are (and how cheap they are, too). I recently discovered their gluten free crust and definitely won't go back. The crispy, crunchy gluten free crust is an extra $2, but when the pies are only $8-$12 anyway, it's no big deal. I like to get the Popeye: spinach, red onion, mushroom, green bell pepper, garlic infused olive oil + a side of marinara sauce. 14 Oklahoma locations. LouiesGrillAndBar.com