Eating pizza has become a sacred ritual for me.
After working in an Italian pizza restaurant for four years, I have come to only expect and accept the best pizza in my area, with special thanks to my Yelp account. You want to walk into a place and become a new regular of the establishment. Service, taste, atmosphere, quality, and price are all factors that go into finding that perfect pizza. For most of us, pizza is an average treat we savor as we indulge in that coal-fired dough, with the tempting cheeses, robust sauces, and options of fresh toppings. Once I got to college, I desperately needed to find some new bites around Tallahassee that weren't just your usual 3 A.M. Dominos-after-the-club eats. Since spending an exceptional amount of time at Florida State, I have come up with some amazing options for everyone to enjoy that quintessential slice.
Of course, I have to start off my article with infamous Gaines Street Pies, located at 603 W Gaines St. What's not to love about late night hours and great food? This place has the PERFECT cheese pizza. The staff is always so nice and catering to my usual needs for plates, napkins, and of course red pepper packets. I enjoy that they offer an amazing vegan cheese, which makes getting pizza for the night more enjoyable for my vegan friends. All the toppings are fresh so don't be shy from loading that pie with lots of veggies or meats. Contrary to other pizza places in the area, this pizza is not soggy. My favorite pizza that's special to the restaurant would be the "White Album" pizza, with fresh mozzarella, tomato slices, sautéed onions, and lots of yummy basil- add some red pepper flakes and fresh ground black pepper and you got yourself a great pie.
Down the street from Gaines Street Pies is an amazing little coal-fired joint called Isabella's Pizzeria Napoletana, located at 799 W. Gaines Street. This pizza reminds me of the traditional Italian pie, with that coal-fired crust and the great array of gelato flavors made in-house. It's hard to find quality gelato at pizza places, take my word for it. The price range is a little bit higher here but I think you definitely pay for what you get, seen in the quality of ingredients they use. The menu is pretty dense so anyone can find something authentic and original for their taste buds. Go during lunch time and they have specials on personal pizzas and drink deals! I recommend the "Prosciutto Arugula" pizza highlighting Isabella's homemade mozzarella. That's amoré!
My next restaurant is nestled in the heart of CollegeTown, perfect for parent's weekend and special occasions. Get your camera skills and Instagram ready for Centrale Pizza Parm & Bar, located at 815 West Madison Street. This cute little pizzeria is the best restaurant to take pictures while sipping on your Frosé with friends. Centrale offers daily specials such as Mac and Cheese pizza, lobster ravioli, and even Bingo nights as well as mozzarella making classes! My favorite pizza from here is definitely the "Old School Square Cheese" pizza which has the most incredible, salty mozzarella you've ever tasted. TIP: On Thursday's the 12' Old School Square for $5 instead of $12! Another special pizza locals rave about is the "Caesar Milano" pie with fresh Caesar salad on a cheese pizza- say what...
Decent Pizza, located on 1026 N. Monroe Street, was the first pizza place I ever tried in Tallahassee while moving into my freshman year dorm (shoutout to Gilchrist). I love how they deliver because sometimes trying to get quality pizza entails picking it up via takeout. This place is more of a dive than the fancy CollegeTown spots I mentioned but this pizza is great. I enjoy the casual atmosphere here so you don't necessarily have to get all dressed up just to get some pizza. Decent Pizza offers cannolis for dessert and pizza by the slice, which is a huge plus for me to get a quick bite. My favorite pizza to get here is the traditional "Margherita" pizza with fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, a little sauce and little shreds of basil!
IOLO Pizza, located on 2145 N. Monroe Street, is a newer spot that opened up in Tallahassee. They offer fresh ingredients that are locally-sourced and their pizzas are made in wood-burning ovens! I sometimes prefer this method over coal ovens because the crust can be overkilled and burnt so quickly. The atmosphere reminds me of Blaze due to its smaller size, but don't underestimate looks for the power of producing a great pizza. The cheese pizza here is relatively cheaper than other places and the portions are perfect!
The last place I'm about to mention is one of the most infamous pizzas in Tallahassee. Welcome to Gumby's Pizza located at 623 W Tennessee Street! This late-night spot has the most amazing breadsticks called "Pokey Sticks" which are pizza dough sticks baked with garlic butter and grated cheeses. Did you even go to Florida State if you've never had pokey sticks? The pizza is okay, better than Dominos but definitely not something I would recommend for a traditional, quality pizza. This is more of a true to heart Tallahassee spot that I love eating at 2 A.M. after hitting the Strip. TIP: look for the weekly deals they offer for pokey sticks!