All that’s necessary for a great slice of pizza is the cheese, sauce and crust, right? Wrong. It is astounding how much the Italian dish has morphed—for better and worse—as it has made its way across the U.S. Even more astounding is how franchises, chains and mom and pop shops alike have taken advantage of college towns to make a killing by catering their pizza to students.
From the following list, you’ll see that there are three key ingredients to running a great college town pizza shop: late hours, low prices and novelty. By following these guidelines, some shops that would not stand alone have survived for over a decade. A handful have survived based solely on their convenient location and incredibly delectable product.
The shops were selected for this list based on their proximity to a college or colleges, awards won, and Yelp ratings. The order in which they’re presented is not intended to imply a ranking. Why not try them all?
Rating: 4.5 Stars, 104 Reviews
College/Town: University of South Florida in Tampa, Fla.
Appropriately located across the street from the Yuengling Brewery in Tampa, this family-owned shop touts their Detroit-style pizza as the best found in Florida. According to numerous Yelp users and The Tampa Tribune, the owner, a Detroit native, is true to his word. The small storefront may have a dry-erase board menu and only three tables, but the pizza and service has everybody promising to come back. They recently expanded to a second larger location in South Tampa, but the original shop is said to have its own special character.
If you’ve never had a Detroit-style pizza, any employee and even the owner would be eager to smile and explain exactly how they make their rectangular pies, which are similar to a cross between deep dish and Sicilian. Whether you’re in the area looking for delivery, takeout or a quick sit-down meal, Pizza Squared offers deliciously filling pies for the fair price of $7 to $21, depending on toppings.
Rating: 4 Stars, 124 Reviews
College/Town: Worcester State University in Worcester, Mass.
The Corner Grille is definitely “not your average pizza pie,” as explained by the slogan painted on the side of the small brick building. Some appreciate it more than others, but most Yelp reviewers rave about these pies, which have the thinnest crusts they’ve ever seen. And those thin crusts can still hold a load, considering only one pie on the menu has less than three toppings.
For a tamer evening out for college students, this BYOB restaurant is conveniently located across the street from a liquor store as well as a frozen yogurt shop for dessert. The interior has a hipster vibe with chalkboard menus that border the room next to a large, bright carnival “Pie” sign. The building is small, but there is a long table that stretches from the front to the counter—perfect for a larger group of friends.
Rating: 4 Stars, 104 Reviews
College/Town: Florida State University in Tallahassee, Fla.
Momo’s offers their customers pizza slices “as big as your head,” but the noggin they originally measured off of must have been huge. The smallest pie is 16” and the largest—“Big Daddy”—is 30”, and none of them fit on the restaurant tables. Don’t worry, Momo’s sells individual slices as well.
Between the two Tallahassee locations, dine-in eaters can sit inside or out, and the restaurants feature a pizza of the month special for one of their chef’s original creations. A common pro among the reviews is getting to watch the chefs toss the massive pizza dough, which is not a simple feat.
For the amount of food one gets at this shop, the prices aren’t half bad (the smallest pie costs $12.95 without toppings). It also doesn’t hurt that Momo’s head brewer, John Larsen, brewed beers that won Best of Show and 1st Runner Up at the 2013 Best Florida Beer Championships.
Rating: 4 Stars, 253 Reviews
College/Town: Saint Louis University in Saint Louis, Mo.
This small and growing franchise has six locations in Missouri—one is a mobile food truck around Saint Louis—and a seventh location in Washington, D.C. When ordering pizza at Pi, customers are choosing between two extremes: super thin crust or a deliciously crunchy and not chewy deep-dish.
The rustic-modern interior of the restaurant has a casual feel, and the shop offers 6 a.m. breakfast and an evening happy hour as well as vegan, dairy-free and gluten-free options—even among their desserts. Some reviewers complain that the prices are too high ($16.95 for a small thin crust pie), but most were wowed by the piled-on fresh ingredients and diverse tap beer selections.
Rating: 4 Stars, 225 Reviews
College/Town: Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass.
Located just outside of Harvard Square, OTTO offers a thin and crispy crust, a quick line and a multitude of exotic flavors, such as mashed potato, bacon and scallion or butternut squash, ricotta and cranberry. Perfect for a quick stop after a night out, OTTO stays open until 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday, only offering cheese or peperoni during late night in order to keep the line moving.
The shop only has inside seating at a window bar, but on a nice day, customers enjoying grabbing a slice and sitting just outside or around Harvard Square. The pizza is not the cheapest by the slice ($3.50), but the quality ingredients and generous size of the slices makes it worth the cost, according to reviewers. Every pie is also available as gluten-free with the exception of the three-cheese tortellini.
Rating: 4 Stars, 240 Reviews
College/Town: Boston College in Brighton, Mass.
Just around the Chestnut Hill Reservoir from campus, this family-owned shop offers dine-in, takeout and delivery, and they’re shop is open until 1 a.m. daily. Over 200 reviewers absolutely love this no-frills pizza place where the crust is the perfect blend of chewy, flaky and crispy and the wait time is always “15 minutes” or less, even for large orders.
Customers can get the traditional New York-style pizzas as well as Sicilian, all of which have been made with the same recipes since 1962. Many reviewers refer to these pizzas as the best in Boston, and one went as far to say, “When I’m on my death bed, I want a No. 1 from Pinos before I go.”
On their website, Pino’s owner Phil Petruzziello explains, “We have won awards, but I don’t care to just sit on the praise of the past. We don’t put our plaques on the wall. I am more concerned with what we are doing today and what the customer wants today.”
Rating: 3 Stars, 28 Reviews
College/Town: Boston College in Brighton, Mass. and Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass.
If a prospective student is basing his or her college choice on what city has the best pizza, apparently Boston is the place to go. Crazy Dough’s local owners, Doug and Melissa Ferriman, have acquired several awards for their pizzas, including No. 1 Pizza in America in 2004 and 2007 at the International Pizza Expo in Las Vegas.
Crazy Dough’s Pizza caters specifically to students, giving them a 15 percent discount. This shop also accommodates the choosey eater, allowing customers to pick their type of crust, sauce and cheese as well as how it’s all cooked.
Rating: 3.5 Stars, 11 Reviews
College/Town: West Virginia University in Morgantown, W.Va.
For those students pulling all-nighters or simply craving midnight snacks, Casa D’Amici is available! This shop is open until 1:30 a.m. Sunday through Tuesday and 3:30 a.m. Wednesday through Saturday, and it’s conveniently located in the downtown campus.They offer a wide variety of specialty pizzas, such as Chicago-style and Neapolitan as well as traditional, all by the slice and as whole pies.
Although this dine-in, takeout and delivery shop is lacking in Yelp reviews, rising WVU junior Sarah Spinelli enjoys ordering delivery since the shop has a low delivery minimum. “It’s pretty good as far as pizza goes—pretty nice-sized slices with generous amounts of toppings,” said Spinelli. “When you look inside, it’s pretty cool because you can just see a line of guys spinning pizza dough.”
Rating: 4 Stars, 457 Reviews
College/Town: New York University in New York, N.Y.
When it comes to living as a broke college student, 2 Bros. Pizza near NYU is a wonderfully low-priced pizza shop. One slice of cheese pizza is just $1, including tax! Each slice is as large as your head and pulled right from the oven at the time of ordering. Toppings cost a bit extra, but this place draws a long line and it’s said to move quickly.
This shop does not do delivery, but they are open until 3 a.m. every day. Almost every Yelp reviewer dubs 2 Bros. Pizza as the best place to go when one is drunk, hungry, saving money and/or in a hurry.
Rating: 4.5 Stars, 217 Reviews
College/Town: New York University in New York, N.Y.
For those NYU students who aren’t as worried about breaking the bank, Prince St. Pizza is the place to go. The average slice costs $3.75, but the shop has a wall of celebrities endorsing their pizza, and the Yelp reviewers are backing up the praise. They are open for delivery, dine-in or curbside pickup until 11 p.m. most nights and 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday, and almost every positive review raves about their spicy pepperoni.
Although Prince St. sells the traditional triangular slices, this shop claims that “no other square can compare” when it comes to their SoHo square pizzas. The owners have five different SoHo squares on their menu, all of which are named after different streets in the neighborhood as an homage to their childhood traditions of eating pizza. “We wanted to open a place that served the type of great, comforting pizza we grew up with,” said co-owner Frank Morano in a press release.
Rating: 3 Stars, 37 Reviews
College/Town: Penn State Main Campus in State College, Pa.
When asked about pizza, almost every student as PSU will tell you that Canyon is a staple of the student community. There are always students and non-students alike lined up for their $1 slices or the $4 combo meal (two of any slices, either pepperoni sticks or bread sticks and a soda). But don’t let that line fool you, it moves quickly.
According to the reviews, the best time to get here is during their busiest hours—between 10 p.m. and 3 a.m.—when they’re churning out fresh pizzas every several seconds. Canyon offers dine-in, takeout and delivery, and you can’t beat its location—just five minutes from nearby apartment complexes and Greek life housing. As an extra bonus, the pizza always comes with a free cup of ranch and marinara for dipping.
Rating: 4.5 Stars, 20 Reviews
College/Town: Penn State Main Campus in State College, Pa.
When willing to spend the extra 50 cents and looking for something higher-quality, this mom and pop shop is the place to go in State College. Run by Margaret and her husband, Juan, Margarita’s is praised as “the best pizza in town” by many reviewers. According to them, all of the food is great, but at $11.50 for an 18” pie, the pizza is the best.
Juan and Margaret are only open for limited hours and days because they spend their Saturday mornings hand-making all of the necessary food preparations for each week. Juan makes most or all of the pizzas, and Margaret will always greet you with a warm-hearted smile. If her customers talk to her enough and she will most likely remember who they are and what they ordered by their next visit.
Rating: 3 Stars, 17 Reviews
College/Town: Florida State University in Tallahassee, Fla.
“It’s my favorite pizza place out of all of the ones I’ve ever been to,” said FSU student Wyatt Combs. “It’s a short walk from the dorms and a lot of off-campus apartments, and they’re really quick, too.” He also enjoys watching the other students as they leave the club across the street and make their way over for some late-night pizza. Gumby’s offers a good portion of food for the cost, and they deliver until 3:30 a.m. Thursday through Saturday.
This shop also has different meal specials for each day of the week, delivery, pick-up and for lunch, all of which are listed on their online menu. Most Yelp reviewers claim their Pokey Stix (cheesy bread with garlic butter) are a must-buy, but students can build their own pizzas with just about anything. The pie pictured above is topped with peperoni, bacon, French fries and mozzarella sticks, all covered in extra mozzarella cheese.
Rating: 4.5 Stars, 35 Reviews
College/Town: Florida Southern College in Lakeland, Fla.
Several reviewers dub this shop “The best pizza in Lakeland, hands down.” Palace Pizza is a 15-minute drive from campus, but the $13.99 18” pie and interesting specialties, like the Chicken Wing Pizza, make the trip well worth it. For those students who like a good dine-in place for pizza, this family-owned restaurant has a laid-back but traditional Italian style with red and white checkered table cloths and Italian murals painted on the walls.
The family has been using the same traditional recipes, including all fresh ingredients, 100% whole milk mozzarella and gluten-free options, for the last 25 years. It’s no surprise that their slogan is “Mangiare bene per vivere bene,” which means “Eat well to live well.” FSU student Jessie Finocchiaro loves their wide variety of pies as much as the rest of their Italian food, but most reviewers insist that any newcomer must try the garlic knots.
Rating: 4 Stars, 1082 Reviews
College/Town: American University in Washington, D.C.
Although one could claim that most of D.C. is considered American University’s college town, this shop is only a few minutes away from campus. The Daily Meal rated 2 Amys among America’s 35 best pizzas, and for good reason. Most Yelp reviewers agree that all four stars for this restaurant belong to the food, including the famous personal pan D.O.C. (Denominazione di Origine Controllata) pizzas.
In 1998, the Italian government granted Neapolitan pizza D.O.C. status, setting strict guidelines for what the traditional style should be. According to a statement on the restaurant’s website, “The Verace Pizza Napoletana Association was established to protect and promote authentic Neapolitan pizza and defend its Neapolitan origins and traditions. As a member of the Association, we abide by these strict requirements and serve D.O.C. pizza.”
Rating: 3.5 Stars, 70 Reviews
College/Town: University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, N.M.
This family-owned pizzeria doubles as a sports bar with numerous TVs and a sit-down Italian restaurant with live Italian music—in separate rooms, of course. And the TVs will always host a UNM Lobos game when one is on. The restaurant’s atmosphere is very upbeat, and the décor resembles a mix of Hollywood and Italy with sculptures, massive white pillars and interesting murals painted on the walls and ceiling.
As for the food, reviewers suggest that students come in hungry because the pizza slices are large and the calzones are massive. All of the food—including the pizza and gluten-free options—tastes great, and is made with quality ingredients. The Saggio’s special is a popular way to enjoy this shop because it includes a traditional slice of pepperoni pizza and an IPA beer.
Rating: 3.5 Stars, 114 Reviews
College/Town: University of Maryland in College Park, Md.
This shop is part of a chain that resides mostly around Maryland and Virginia, with a couple other locations in West Virginia, South Carolina and Florida, but the College Park restaurant is one of the originals. Ledo Restaurants have been making the same pizzas since 1955, when round pizza pans were a new thing; that explains the rectangular trays the pies are still served on today. In 2013, this pizza was ranked No. 3 among The Daily Menu’s 25 best pizza chains in America.
The pepperoni is sliced thick, the crust is thin, flaky and buttery and the sauce is sweet to the taste. This location has a large restaurant and bar area, and it’s a short walk from both on-and off-campus housing, making it a great place for students to take parents while they’re visiting. One of the reviewers’ favorite parts of this pizza is the fact that the slices are cut into such small squares, allowing them to eat more and feel less guilty.
Rating: 3.5 Stars, 251 Reviews
College/Town: California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, Calif.
When founders Chuck Woodstock and Mike Chew decided they wanted to open a restaurant in California in 1980, they chose San Luis Obispo because of “its small town college atmosphere,” according to the shop’s website. “Their goal from the beginning was to create a fun hangout for college students, offering classic pizzas that surpassed anything they’d tried elsewhere.”
The dough is handmade every day, the sauce is Chuck’s secret recipe and every specialty pizza is piled with toppings. It’s no wonder why Woodstock’s was voted Cal Poly’s Favorite Pizza by the Mustang Daily’s Readers’ Poll every year from 2005 to 2012. For the picky eater or those with allergies, this shop offers gluten-free and wheat crusts, a multitude of sauces to choose from and vegan/dairy-free options. After a quick look on Yelp, it’s easy to tell how much the managing staff cares about their restaurant; almost every review—positive and negative—received a reply.
Rating: 4 Stars, 20 Reviews; after they changed locations: 3 Stars, 6 Reviews
College/Town: Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind.
Even if students aren’t fans of pizza, they continue to return to Mad Mushroom Pizza—some for as long as 10 years, according to Yelp. This shop is absolutely famous among Purdue students for their Cheesestix with ranch. Many reviewers had never even tried the pizza!
Still, the specialty pizzas are very reasonably priced (10” for $10.99 up to 20” for $19.99), and they’re always delivered in a timely manner. The gourmet pizzas also come in a wide variety of interesting toppings, such as basil pesto sauce with roasted red potatoes, artichokes, tomatoes, smoked Gouda and mozzarella cheeses (The Basil Potato Head). With delivery until 1 a.m. on Sunday, 2 a.m. Monday through Wednesday and 4 a.m. Thursday through Saturday, Mad Mushroom is a great go-to for any Boilermaker.
Rating: 3 Stars, 5 Reviews
College/Town: Slippery Rock University in Slippery Rock, Pa.
Rob Coffaro opened the shop as a 23-year-old SRU graduate, and his specials as well as the location cater to the students. The shop recently moved to the Slippery Rock Bowling Lanes, making dine-in experiences fun as much as they are delicious. There are pool tables among the dining tables, and they stay open as late as 2:30 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.
Coffaro’s promises the fastest and friendliest service in town, and the reviewers confirm that those promises are kept. The delivery is quick and arrives at the door—even if it’s at a hotel—the employees are very nice and the food comes for a great deal (16” cheese pizza for $11).
Rating: 4 Stars, 31 Reviews
College/Town: University of California in Santa Barbara, Calif.
This shop is the Subway of pizzerias, and the only thing that is an additional cost is substituting for a gluten-free crust. At $7.95 for a personal pan-sized pizza, all of the toppings are unlimited and the employees assemble and fire grill your pizza in front of you.
The dough is fresh and made from scratch, and the employees will bake a student’s pizza exactly how he or she asks for it. If a student is concerned about nutrition or allergies, Blaze Pizza’s website has a nutrition calculator and allergen information tables that list which ingredients have what. Regardless of the nutrition, many Yelp reviewers suggest customers spring for the s’more pie dessert, which is also baked in the fire grill.
Rating: 4.5 Stars, 36 Reviews
College/Town: University of California in Santa Barbara, Calif.
Although the UCSB is not the original location, students flock here for the pizza with a recipe that has been around since 1981. Pizza My Heart does takeout and delivery, but students often prefer to dine in because of the five-minute walk from campus, fun atmosphere decorated with surf memorabilia, outside seating and cheap on-tap beer.
Pizza by the slice is around $4, depending on the item, and whole pies start at $11.50, but even those reviewers who didn’t like the prices gave the shop a five-star rating. All of the ingredients are fresh and local, and the shop promotes a slice of the day. There’s even an entire section of the menu dedicated to their award-winning pizzas, under which every award for each pie is listed.
Rating: 4.5 Stars, 9 Reviews
College/Town: Washington State University in Pullman, Wash.
This shop is locally owned and recently opened, and the reviews are extremely positive. Porch Light Pizza offers fast and fired artisan pizza and fresh salads. These thin-crust personal pan (10”) pizzas cost $7.42 whether they’re specialty pies or built from scratch with a choice of sauce and four toppings.
The salad portions are generous and customers can add a fired pizza crust to theirs’ for an additional charge. The pizza can be delivered, but the shop has outdoor seating and a casual ambiance inside, which is decorated with local art.
Rating: 4.5 Stars, 30 Reviews
College/Town: Colorado State University in Ft. Collins, Colo.
Reviewers agree that Celestino’s is a great place for students to take visiting family for an inexpensive dinner. The service is very friendly, the beer on tap rotates with the seasons and there is plenty of seating in and outside of the restaurant. The inside also has a casual atmosphere with décor representing Yankees and N.Y. and a few arcade games.
This is the best N.Y. style pizza shop in town and the closest thing to a New York pizza shop, according to reviews. Celestino’s offers a lunch time student special as well as printable coupons online. They do deliver single slices, which are offered in a wide variety and have plenty of toppings.
Rating: 4 Stars, 274 Reviews
College/Town: University of Colorado in Boulder, Colo.
This shop has the best Bloody Mary in town, made with the in-house tomato sauce recipe and topped with mozzarella and basil. Pizzeria Locale does not deliver, but the dine-in experience comes with nice and quick service with a great ambiance for the price. They have a margherita pizza special with a salad and a drink for just $10.
The pizza is the traditional Neapolitan style: soft in the middle, uncut and meant to be eaten with a fork and knife. They offer a wide variety of flavors for white and red sauce pizzas, and any of them can be made with a gluten-free crust. All of them are cooked at 1,000 in the imported oven made from Mt. Vesuvius rock. A common suggestion by reviewers is to ask for the chili oil for dipping!
Rating: 4.5 Stars, 64 Reviews
College/Town: University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, Pa.
This bright red food truck actually offers mobile, wood-fired pizza! Their 11” personal-sized pizzas are made from scratch to order with all fresh and flavorful ingredients for $8 to $10.50. The menu features six pizzas, all of which are made with vegan dough, and the crust tastes like freshly made bread with a smoky hint. Most everyone on Yelp agrees that it’s hard to believe this delicious pizza can come out of a truck, and many claim that it’s one of Philadelphia’s best Neapolitan pizza sources.
Pitruco’s website lists their daily locations, and they’re typically around for lunch time. But they can also be found at night markets, concerts and food truck line-ups.
Rating: 4 Stars, 515 Reviews
College/Town: University of California in Las Angeles, Calif.
Every day after 9 p.m. and all day on Sundays, Lamonica’s offers UCLA students $9 large pizzas—a price that’s hard to beat for a tasty pie. The crust is thin and chewy, the toppings are loaded on and the pizza is dusted with grated Parmesan cheese. The pizza dough is actually made in Brooklyn, N.Y. and shipped over to give it the authenticity necessary for a New York-style pizza in California.
The shop’s website also lists a few other daily specials. The dine-in service is wonderful, and the restaurant has plenty of seats. The walls are decorated with pictures of various celebrities with owner John Lamonica and enjoying his pizza. But delivery is also a great choice, according to reviewers, because it’s free and the quoted wait times are always on point.
Rating: 4.5 Stars, 1566 Reviews
College/Town: Georgia Tech University in Atlanta, Ga.
Antico isn’t just Georgia Tech’s go-to spot for great Neapolitan-style pizza. A worldwide, two-day festival called the Festa Della Pizza in Salerno, Italy chose Antico as the recipient of its Top in Class award for the U.S. in 2010. These pizzas are slightly more expensive than the average pie, but even Italy agrees that it’s worth it.
The restaurant is BYOB, and its hours are Monday through Saturday from 11:30 a.m. until they run out of dough. According to reviewers, the only thing that makes a visit to this shop unpleasant is its popularity, but the long lines move quickly, and there’s a fast turnover rate for seating. Several reviews called Antico Pizza some of the best pizza they had ever had.
Rating: 4 Stars, 461 Reviews
College/Town: Arizona State University in Tempe, Ariz.
Voted among PHOENIX magazine’s “The Valley’s Best Pizzas” in 2014, La Bocca is the best location for students and visitors who need a break from the rowdy college setting on Mill Avenue.
The pizzeria has a Mediterranean-inspired cuisine made to order with locally sourced ingredients. Pie price ranges from $8 to $14 for pizzas that have a variety of specialty toppings like house-made natural pulled pork, serrano chilies, fresh mozzarella, caramelized onions and herbs (the Porco). The restaurant’s bruschetta planks are also popular among reviewers. When ordering, customers choose four out of eight creative options of bruschetta (pictured above).
Rating: 4 Stars, 57 Reviews
College/Town: Arizona State University in Tempe, Ariz.
On the other hand, college students are college students, and Arizona State pizzerias cater to those more-rowdy crowds as well.
Big Jimmy’s is open until 4 a.m. on Friday and Saturday and 3 a.m. for the rest of the week. The delivery is fast and friendly, which is preferred among most reviewers who want to avoid the post-bar rush of students. Big Jimmy’s does offer printable coupons online, but their $5 deal for a large pie with one topping trumps that of Little Caesers, according to Yelp.
Rating: 4 Stars, 9 Reviews
College/Town: University of Mississippi in Oxford, Miss.
All reviewers agree that this small shop caters to the students with their late hours and low prices. Square Pizza offers a lunch special of two slices with a drink for $7.25, but the consensus is that this is the best place for late-night, drunken munchies.
The menu is very simple without much deviation from the average pizza with toppings, and they’re sold by the slice or whole pie. Other than the pizzas, Square Pizza offers hearty sandwiches like the roast beef and gravy, which are served on Gambino bread from New Orleans. The shop is small with limited seating, but the students enjoy the fun atmosphere and the pictures and posters on the walls.
Rating: 4.5 Stars, 200 Reviews
College/Town: University of Hawaii at Manoa in Honolulu, Hawaii
Native Italians cooking authentic pizza is one of the last things expected in Hawaii. Chef Agostino Trentacoste is originally from Sicily, but he and his family have brought his mobile pizza oven and 80-year-old family recipe to Honolulu.
The shop is opened from 6 to 11 p.m., daily, and locals consider Agostino’s cart-located in the middle of a parking lot-a hidden gem. It is a short drive from campus, but many reviewers agree that the pizza is the closest to New York-style they can get. The line and wait can be about 10-40 minutes, but the cooking process is entertaining to watch and the owner is very friendly and conversational.
Rating: 4 Stars, 127 Reviews
College/Town: Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio
On any given Sunday, if Bucks bring their student IDs to this shop, which is located on campus, they’ll receive 20 percent off of their total. Pies are also discounted after 4:30 p.m. every Monday and Tuesday. Adriatico’s continues to cater to college students by offering free delivery and by staying open until 2:30 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.
The biggest pie, the Buckeye, is $30.45 and perfect for a larger group of students, and all of the pizzas are very rich in their ingredients and toppings. According to their website, Adriatico’s is listed as one of the 564 Great American Pizzerias by the book “Everybody Loves Pizza” written by two Chicago food critics.
Rating: 4 Stars, 126 Reviews
College/Town: University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Minn.
Mesa Pizza is open for dine-in, takeout and delivery until 2:30 a.m. Monday through Wednesday and 3 a.m. Thursday through Saturday. It’s only $16 for a 20” cheese or pepperoni pizza and $3.25 for a single slice.
However, most UM students don’t come here for the cheese and pepperoni. Mesa’s wide variety of interesting specialty pizzas, such as bacon cheeseburger, gyro, guacamole burrito, southern gentleman (Cajun chicken, mashed potatoes, bacon, cheddar cheese), macaroni and cheese and more are famous among students, alum and locals. The shop is small with only window seating, but the delivery service is quick. In case a student is struggling between choosing two of these ridiculous flavors, Mesa allows him or her to split the pie between two specialties.
Rating: 4.5 Stars, 34 Reviews
College/Town: Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y.
Hot Truck has been around since 1960 and is absolutely famous among Cornell students, alum and locals who happen to come across it. Not one student reviewer seems to mind standing in 15-degree weather outside of a truck at 4 a.m. while waiting for one of these delicious pizza sandwiches. The truck parks just below Cornell’s West Campus, opening later in the night, around 10 or 11 p.m., and staying open occasionally until dawn.
One would think that these conditions are catered specifically to those late-night cravings that only hit drunken or studying college students, but Hot Truck’s sandwiches, such as the Poor Man’s Pizza (PMP) have attracted just about everyone established in or traveling through the area. According to Serious Eats, founder Bob Petrillose invented what is now Stouffer’s French bread pizza.
Rating: 4.5 Stars, 569 Reviews
College/Town: University of Alaska in Anchorage, Alaska
This locally-owned brewpub is very close to UAA, but has proved to be so awesome that it’s become a bit of a tourist magnet. Patrons love the ambiance of this restaurant, which is decorated with brightly colored furniture, tie-dye tapestries, beer bottles and brewery equipment. The service is friendly and fast, and the pizza prices aren’t overwhelming—$7.95 to $27.95, depending on the type and size. Moose’s Tooth offers the option to build your own pizza, or one may choose from the numerous specialty pies, such as the Chipotle Steak or Chicken Rockefeller.
Many Yelp reviewers called the Moose’s Tooth “one of the best brewpubs” they had ever visited. The only complaint is how busy the restaurant is at all hours of the day. The best way UAA students can counteract this issue is by calling ahead for a pizza and a half-gallon growler of their signature beer for takeout.
Rating: 4 Stars, 395 Reviews
College/Town: University of Chicago in Chicago, Ill.
The first Lou Malnati’s opened in 1971, and Malnati is considered the oldest family name in Chicago pizza. This location has a full restaurant and bar, which is opened until 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday, and they offer delivery as well as takeout. The deep dish pie price ranges from $6.95 to $25.95, depending on size and toppings, and the thin crust can cost $7.25 to $20.10. The spacious restaurant does offer specials at lunch time.
Every pizza is handmade from scratch with hand-selected California vine-ripened tomatoes and the family’s secret recipe for the flaky, buttery crust. Their menu offers gluten-free and low calorie options, and all of the menu’s nutritional information is listed online. Most of the Yelp reviews agree that the stars are specifically for the food, and many claim that Lou Malnati’s is the best Chicago deep dish.
Rating: 4 Stars, 125 Reviews
College/Town: University of Wisconsin in Madison, Wis.
At Ian’s, every month of the year comes with its own list of creative concoctions at great prices. Some specialty pizzas are more exotic than other shops have been willing to try, including the salad pizza, Reuben, steak nacho and drunken ravioli; the list goes on. And if those aren’t enough, customers have the option to build their own pies or slices. The specials also change monthly and weekly, but one that remains constant is the Old School special—20” cheese or pepperoni pie for $15.
Every graduated Badger reviewer swears they’ve never found anything else like it. They also agree that these pizzas are delicious during the day and even better after a long night at the bar. Ian’s stays open until 3 a.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 a.m. Monday through Thursday for dine-in, takeout and delivery.
Rating: 4 Stars, 99 Reviews
College/Town: University of Wisconsin in Madison, Wis.
For a more-sophisticated night out with fellow Badger students and great pizza, Greenbush Bar, located in the dark and cozy basement of the historic Italian Workman’s Club building, is a small and hidden Madison gem. The intimate restaurant has low ceilings draped with colorful Christmas lights, loud music and a mirrored bar with fabulous drinks.
The pizza isn’t so bad, either. Among the ingredients, a variety of meats, cheese and other products are imported from Italy, and all beef, pork, chicken and eggs are free range and antibiotic and hormone-free. A cheese pizza can range from $10 to $13, depending on size and crust, and additional toppings are a bit extra.
Rating: 4.5 Stars, 20 Reviews
College/Town: Williams College in Williamstown, Mass.
Several reviewers dub this shop the best pizza in town, and Hot Tomatoes backs that up by guaranteeing satisfaction or they’ll return every penny the customer spent. In nicer weather, students can go for a short walk down to the little red house, and take their food out to eat at a picnic bench right next to the gushing Green River. If not, Hot Tomatoes delivers as well.
The shop offers several printable coupons on their website at all times, but their prices are already pretty low (18” cheese pizza for $14.95). Their menu also has a vast selection of just about any genre of pizza one could imagine, from White Clam to Tex Mex.
Rating: 4 Stars, 904 Reviews
College/Town: Yale University or University of New Haven in New Haven, Conn.
This shop is the original location of one of the oldest and best-known pizzerias in the United States! The Original Tomato Pie, dated back to 1925, is still offered in today’s menu. Frank Pepe originated the New Haven-style pizza, and his family continues to run his business today. In 2013, The Daily Meal claimed that out of 101 pizzas throughout the U.S., Frank Pepe’s White Clam Pizza was No. 1.
Most of the Yelp reviewers couldn’t agree more. It’s no surprise that the line may spill out the door and onto the sidewalk over the weekend, but it isn’t too bad during the week. The prices are also pretty average for the quality of ingredients and service (12” for $8.75 to 18” for $17 for the Original pie).
Rating: 4.5 Stars, 233 Reviews
College/Town: Amherst College in Amherst, Mass.
A local legend at Amherst, this shop has four different sections of gourmet pizzas on their menu, each with various styles that are familiar—fresh mozzarella tomato basil—and not-so-familiar like the black bean avocado and BBQ steak taco. Most reviewers suggest sticking with the individual slices in order to try as many flavors as possible. The slice cost is around $3 to $4, but plain cheese slices are just $1 on Friday nights to cater to the mass student rush.
Almost every Yelp reviewer is a local, UMass student or alum, all claiming that after having Antonio’s pizza, they have not been able to match its greatness at any other pizza shop.
Rating: 4.5 Stars, 90 Reviews
College/Town: University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Mich.
According to the owner, this shop’s stone ovens will cook their traditional Neapolitan pizzas in 2 to 2.5 minutes. Customers can either choose from four different pizza bases before adding toppings of their choice for an extra charge, or pick from the list of Pizzaioli Specialty pizzas of the month. And they can alter any of these recipes to how the customer would prefer their pizza. Even the salads and sandwiches are equally customizable and assembled as the customer quickly moves down the line.
Conveniently located just three minutes of walking distance from campus, NeoPapalis has a great happy hour from 4 to 6 p.m., and their wait time for pizzas is apparently the shortest in town. The inside cafeteria-style dining appeals to larger groups of students, but they have outdoor seating as well.
Rating: 4 Stars, 65 Reviews
College/Town: University of Georgia in Athens, Ga.
Little Italy doesn’t have a website, but the restaurant’s profile picture on Facebook consists of a Bulldog gnawing on a piece of pizza with the slogan, “After ‘Last Call’ you don’t have to go Home . . . Come grab a bite with us!” With their low prices, late hours, beer selections and generous portions, this shop could not be more catered toward the college crowd.
And their pizza tastes delicious! Most reviews that claim this shop has the best pizza in Athens, Ga. are Athens residents. Finally, the dark shop is lit primarily by TVs and neon lights—they can’t get much more college than that.
Rating: 4 Stars, 212 Reviews
College/Town: University of Texas in Austin, Texas
Want to order takeout or delivery from Milto’s? There’s an app for that. This family-owned shop has been around since 1977, but they have not hesitated to keep up with today’s college students. They even tailgated every home football game for the 2013 season.
It’s not common for a pizza shop to meet a Greek restaurant, but with their Greek Sicilian-style pizza, Milto’s pulls it off beautifully. Depending on the pizza pie style and size, the price can range from around $9.25 to $24.75, or customers may order by the slice. The beauty of Milto’s is that when students are looking for a place to go with friends, not everyone has to settle on pizza or even Italian food. And most of the shop’s positive reviews are coming from Austin locals.
Rating: 4 Stars, 476 Reviews
College/Town: University of California in Berkeley, Calif.
For those students who hate making decisions, this shop will do it for you. Sliver offers just one type of pizza a day, which is always changing, always vegetarian and always delicious. They post the week’s schedule online so that customers may choose when they want to go. Working with the college students’ tight wallets, individual slices are $2.45, and the $5 everyday special will buy a slice and a salad between 2 and 4 p.m. For every slice purchased, the shop always makes sure to add a small sliver of pizza to the basket as a little something extra.
Customers may also get a small sliver when ordering any drink during happy hour (Monday through Saturday from 4 to 7 p.m.). As if students needed more incentive to check this place out, the shop hosts a live band every Friday and Saturday, and the schedule is listed online.
Rating: 4 Stars, 64 Reviews
College/Town: University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, N.C.
The Marrone brothers have been serving pizza from this shop—also known as IP3—since 1980. Every ingredient is fresh and homemade each day, and the sauce is made from their mother’s secret recipe. IP3 is known as a great place near campus to watch UNC sports games and eat some delicious pizza.
The brothers and other employees are extremely hospitable to every customer, and are sometimes heard speaking Italian in the back. Almost every positive review agrees that the shop has an at-home atmosphere and an authentic New York-style pizza that’s hard to beat in Chapel Hill.
Rating: 4 Stars, 15 Reviews
College/Town: Clemson University in Clemson, S.C.
From Sunday through Friday, this shop offers Clemson students an all-you-can-eat lunch buffet from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. (12 to 3 p.m. on Sunday) for just $7.50. As if that wasn’t enough, Wednesday night is dollar night from 6 to 11 p.m., when beers and pizza slices only cost $1 each. But wait, there’s more! The Number 1 combo is just $4.99 for two slices and a drink.
To top it off, most reviewers agree that Todaro has some of the best pizza in town. Great deals, delicious pizza, late hours, quick service and delivery all combined with a cool hangout in a college town make for one fantastic pizza shop for Clemson students!
Rating: 4 Stars, 11 Reviews
College/Town: Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kan.
Ever heard of cream cheese on a pizza? Neither have most Yelp reviewers, but they all agree that Pizza Shuttle has something great going on by layering their pies with cream cheese. This shop is conveniently located in Wildcat Landing, and has been a Manhattan tradition since 1988.
The best way to get the most bang for your buck, according to reviews, is the $13 Super Meal Deal for carry-out and delivery, which consists of a 14” 1-topping pizza, 8” cheese bread or cinn-a-stix and 2-liter soda. Still, they offer a few other discounts, including lunch specials and “two-fers,” leaving no Wildcat hungry. Most students love this shop for the cheap, fast and friendly service.
Rating: 4 Stars, 29 Reviews
College/Town: Virginia Tech University in Blacksburg, Va.
Open every day until 2 a.m., Benny Marzano’s slogan is “Home of the Virginia Slice,” which is one massive piece of pizza. This shop likes to keep things simple by offering just three regular pizzas—cheese, pepperoni and sliced sausage—and two monthly specials. Each slice costs between $4 or $5, and an entire pie can be as much as $35. That’s because one whole pie, which comes in one size, is a whopping 28”.
Almost every reviewer agrees that even if you’re hungry, that one slice can be a full meal, making this shop a great and simple deal for the local VT students. The single slice is actually served on two plates, and some say it could feed two people. Benny Marzano’s doesn’t have a lot of seating, but they deliver and the service is quick.
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