Howdy! My name is Mary Helen and I have a pizza problem. This is a bad thing for my waistline, but a great thing for you, dear reader, as you can benefit from my deliciously fought pizza expertise. The following guide is my attempt to break down the current massive selection of pizza in Austin into eight to ten equally shaped (but certainly not equally valued) slices.
In previous years I contributed AFBA City Guide Posts to specific styles of Pizza. This year I thought something more comprehensive was in order. To check out my 2015 guides, click the links below:
This is by no means a full and complete index of all pizza in Austin. That would be far too massive for one blog post. Instead, I tried to provide a comprehensive, yet somewhat curated guide for the best pizza Austin has to offer. To make this list, the restaurants had to meet the following requirements:
- Either focus primarily on pizza or be well known for their pizza
- Texas founded and locally popular
- Well recommended or buzzed about
- Within Austin proper (Sorry Round Rock, Kyle, etc!)
If you read this and happen to notice that I overlooked some cheesy gem or made a mistake somewhere please feel free to leave me a comment or shoot me an email. You can even tweet me your suggestion. We're in this together, after all.
And now for… THE PIZZA!!!
Hot Slices Pizza Awards
This section has been created and graded with an admittedly unscientific combination of crowd-sourced advice and personal taste. Please take it with a grain of salt (or a sprinkle of red pepper). These are my top picks and the top picks of my own small slice of the Austin food community.
My Personal Favorite
Since having my son I have been seriously remiss in the mouth-on aspect of my pizza research, so the Mary Helen prize may not mean much to the rest of Austin. It does, however, still mean a lot to me. My favorite pizza place in Austin is Pieous! There's just something about this pizza that does it for me. Maybe it's the tender dough or the homemade mozzarella. Maybe it's just knowing that the family behind this place is just as obsessed with pizza as me. Either way, it is something special and I highly recommend that you check it out.
Most "Austin" Pizza
I determined the winners for this category by the pizzeria's ability to "keep it weird", their longevity in the Austin food scene, and their connection to the Austin food community as a whole.
- East Side Pies is my top pick for "Most Austin" pizza. It's preference for locally sourced ingredients, slightly wacky menu (nacho pizza anyone?) and cracker-like crust is uniquely Austin.
- Home Slice has become a South Austin icon so I would be remiss to leave it out. As a New York transplant I have a lot of feelings about the pizza itself, but I have to admit it was the first place in Austin I found a small taste of home in the form of NY style pizza. I think that's true for a lot of folks.
- Conan's Pizza is an Austin institution – serving up hot slices and deep dish pies to old-school Austinites for over 35 years. It's kinda cheesy, kinda crusty, and kinda campy. In other words, very Austin.
Most Family Friendly Pizza
I asked my fellow mothers on Austin Mom's Network where their family preferred to venture out (or order in) pizza. The qualities that make pizza family friendly are many. We're talking about quality and flavor but also price point, availability, ease of access, and of course, kid-friendliness. I asked, and the Moms answered.
- Pieous for overall deliciousness and kid-friendly atmosphere. (The chalkboard wall is a big hit.)
- East Side Pies and Austin's Pizza for being able to cater to common kid allergies and preferences such as gluten-free, dairy-free, etc.
- GattiTown reigned supreme for most fun for your dollar with good deals on games and halfway decent pizza.
Best Weeknight Pizza
When I think of weeknight pizza I think of the cheap, casual place you keep on speed-dial for nights when you are too bummed, busy, or lazy to cook. Of course, words like "cheap" and "casual" are relative. You could certainly get a lot cheaper if you included national chains in this guide, but I think our local chains and tiny pizza joints have a lot to offer as far as bang-buck ratio goes.
- Yaghi's may not be the best pizza in the world – or even in Austin – but it does a fine job of delivering pretty good NY style pizza at a low price. They regularly offer deals and coupons for pickup and delivery, and they even have a smartphone app now to make ordering even easier.
- Brooklyn Pie Co. for kicking casual pizza up a notch. I wouldn't go so far as to call this pizza "cheap", but it offers delivery, has multiple locations, and despite having pretty damn good NY style pizza keeps it's price point reasonable.
- Niki's and Pizza Nizza also got some shout-outs for best cheap pizza. I haven't had either one myself, but the promise of a large pie for $10 has me curious.
Best Vegan-Friendly Pizza
- Via 313 just because everyone loves it and it has a vegan option.
- The Parlor for offering faux-meat toppings.
- According to world-famous vegan taco scientist, Stephanie Bogdanich, Sagra boasts one "dope walnut topping" so I thought I'd mention that too.
- Austin's Pizza is a great all-around choice for classic, casual vegan pizza.
Photo courtesy of Jim Nix, Nomadic Pursuits
Overall Crowd Favorites
To determine which pizzas were currently winning in popularity I did a quick, informal poll of my local food and blogger community. With the help of Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit I feel like I got a pretty good pulse on 2016 pizza in Austin. Here's how the top picks ranked (From most votes to least.)
- Via 313
- Home Slice
- Pinthouse Pizza
- Little Deli
- East Side Pies
- The Backspace
- House Pizzeria, Brooklyn Pie Co., and Tony C's (3-way tie)
What does this tell us? Folks in Austin love that thick, crusty pizza pie. Via 313 won by a landslide! Even so, there are only a handful of Detroit and Chicago style places in town. What's up with that? Maybe Austinites should stop trying to crack the NY pizza code and start working on Detroit (or better yet – puffy, crusty Sicilian) instead.
There was also a lot of love (and serious loyalty) for the two top Neapolitan spots, Pieous and Bufalina. The crowns of Austin classics, Home Slice, East Side Pies, and House Pizzeria were also fiercely defended. The following quote from my pizza research thread on Reddit really summed this up nicely.
Austin Pizza by Style
Midwest Thin Crust
Neapolitan (or rustic Italian) Style
- 40 North
- Asti Trattoria
- Burn Pizza + Bar
- Due Forni
- Firefly Pizza Pies
- House Pizzeria
- Lucky's Puccia's
- Stanley's Farmhouse Pizza
- The Backspace
- Tony C's
- Unit-D Pizzeria
New Haven Style
New Jersey Style
New York Style
- 360 Pizza
- Agazajo's Flying Pizza
- Brooklyn Pie Co.
- Garducci's Pizza Pie
- Home Slice
- Roppolo's Pizza
- Austin Beer Garden Brewery
- Austin's Pizza
- Austin Pizza Garden
- Brick Oven
- Brick Oven on 35th
- Conan's Pizza
- Craig O's
- East Side Pies
- Frank & Angie's
- Giovanni's Pizza Stand
- Local Slice
- Marye's Gourmet Pizza
- Milano Pizza
- Nikki's Pizza
- Paradise Pizza
- Pinthouse Pizza
- Pour House Pints & Pies
- Promise Pizza
- Rebel Pizza Bar
- River Hills Pizza
- Rounders Pizzeria
- Southside Flying Pizza
- Spartan Pizza
- Stony's Pizza
- The Onion
- The Parlor
- The Pizza Shop
Deep Dish / Chicago Style
Austin Pizza by Location
Central/North (South-ish of Airport & Lamar)
Central/South (North of Ben White)
Way North (North-ish of Airport & Lamar)
Way South (South of Ben White)
East (of I-35)
West (of Mopac)
So that's that! Happy eating, Austin! I hope I've made the task of acquiring your next slice a little easier. Did I miss something? Have a favorite pizza place that didn't make my list? Shoot me an email, leave me a comment, or Tweet me at @MaryMakesGood and let me know.
This post is part of the Austin Food Blogger Alliance's 2016 City Guide. Check out the full guide to find posts on everything from Tacos to Bloody Mary's from bloggers right here in Austin.