Lets start this from the beginning of my pizza experience, I grew up no where near the "Mecca's" of pizza; Chicago and New York, the biggies. So all I had growing up was franchise pizza and then there were two small pizza places Skeetos and Giovanni's. Each were completely different; Giovanni was closer to the New York style, a big flat pizza, the oen thing about it was as a kid you use to roll it from the point to the crust and eat it that way. The pizza was so greasy it would drip out the end of the pizza roll. As a kid, it was great, but since I've left at best it is OK. Yet, every once in a while I will think about Giovanni's and want a pizza roll.
Skeeto's I did not find out about till I met Wilson. It's not in Ironton, but a couple miles outside and to be honest the pizza was OK, it was the Pizza sub that rocked! If the pizza was ordered I'm not going to complain, but I loved the thick sauce that did not appear to be from a can. Mmmmm Skeetos.
After high school I went to what I am calling the pizza center of Ohio, Bowling Green. Three places are known for their pizza; Campus Pollyeyes, Myles and Pisannelo's. All three are at the top of their game and each are completely different. I'll start with number three in my book, Campus Pollyeyes. It's a good pizza, but to be honest I was not a huge fan, their big draw for me was their stuffed bread sticks. They would make a cheese and peperoni filled bread stick. They would give you a cup of sauce. As a pizza not my fav, but in the fore mentioned break sticks it was nirvana! Maybe something happened to the sauce when they baked it, but I loved the bread sticks.
Next is Pisannelo's, in college this was my favorite and my sister Julie loves it still. It's a solid pizza, the sauce is nice, they give you enough toppings and the crust is great. With some pizzas you have it too thick or too much on the ends. Pisannelos got it right. All around great pizza. the other factor was it was better the day after. The other two BG establishments lost something over night, but after a night of drinking I MEAN studying hard, I always liked finding a box of Pisannelo's. I should open up a Pisannelo's down here and promote it as "It's even better the next morning."
Myles I would say is the campus favorite and I have come to appreciate it a lot more. It's the sauce and the cheese. I don't know what is in the sauce, but it's like freaking crack! It's sweet and spicy, yet not. It's like Gandolf came down and made a sauce. Only wizardry could explain this sauce. Then there is the cheese, they burn a little of it. There is a slight burnt taste, but that's what makes it great. Also there is like a mountain of cheese on there. With the fact I love cheese, makes this freaking awesome. My favorite is a normal pizza with chicken... to die for. This is how good the pizza is; while working at The Network a reporter and I (also a BG grad) were passing near (15 minutes out of the way) ordered sit down. Then we had left overs and everyone who knew of Myles were practically begging for a slice.
Then there was a drown of pizza, don't get me started on West Virginia, but the only slightly good pizza in Columbus was Giammarco's. It's a good pizza but nothing great, The In-Laws love it so any time they had pizza it was ordered.
The big problem with Columbus pizza was Donatos, holy crap that was a bad pizza, but people loved it. It was a thin pizza cut into squares and I don't know why, but anytime I ate it I always felt a little ill later and had awful gas (I know you all wanted to know that). To make matters worse The Network would ALWAYS order it for special breaking news. It got to the point where I would debate about going elsewhere for food, but I worked at The Network so free food was better than spending money.
Just like most things in the Raleigh area, it's mostly all chain food stores, and the pizza follows suit. There are a few exceptions, well two Anzio in Rolesville and Mellow Mushroom. When we moved into the house we got a few "Welcome to the neighborhood" flyers and one was for Anzio's. The problem is, it's in freaking Rolesville a good 20 minute drive. We suck it up because it was for a free pizza and to be honest... best pizza in the triangle. They call it a New Jersey style pizza, it has a good sauce, good amount of cheese, the crust is nice and if I lived closer we would only order Anzio's. Instead it becomes a special treat.
Finally we have the regional chain Mellow Mushroom. It's one of these specialty pizza places, but unlike most they actually took time to make the pizza good. When I go into one of these specialty places it always they feel like they spent more time thinking up names for the pizza and whether they should have goat cheese as a topping option instead of making the pizza good. Mellow has a great sauce and a diverse amount of toppings, they even have pine nuts... hey don't knock it till you tried it. There has been a rumor that a Mellow is coming to Wake Forest and I keep asking WHY IS IT NOT OPEN NOW!
In each area I am probably missing some places or just left them out (Like Moon Dogs or I Heart NY Pizza) but this is a list of my personal favorites.... discuss.