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CLEVELAND (WJW) — The “best pizza” could be the first pizza you ever tasted. Perhaps it’s sold at the spot you frequent most down the block or it’s the pie a national magazine deemed as being so hot right now.
Here in the following story, we at FOX 8 have attempted to scrap together a list of well-established Northeast Ohio pizza spots that have garnered a true following. Maybe some of these spots aren’t the “best” in your opinion, and that’s OK. Relying on viewer feedback, online reviews and our own hearts, we’ve compiled a list of local restaurants you should absolutely take the time to check out if have a hankering for ‘za.
We’ve included places offering thin crust and deep dish and “Ohio style” and wood-fired; old school and new school pizza. If there’s nothing here that makes your mouth water, it’s time to face facts and conclude you just don’t like pizza.
Now on to the list:
Fiesta Pizza and Chicken
1860 Newton St. (original location) 330-733-2201, with locations in Ellet and Cuyahoga Falls
To be clear, this Akron mainstay is not a Mexican/Italian food mashup. Instead, it’s all about the party in your mouth with the combination of pizza, fried chicken and jojos, all made fresh in-house. Founded in 1963, this area favorite’s pie comes on the thicker side with a crispy crust.
105 North Main St., 330-253-2999
You know this spot is a big deal with pizza fans as it can be tough to get a seat at all times of the day. The pizza is extra cheesy (just like their salads) and baked to perfection. Around since 1949, Luigi’s has a menu full of old-school Italian dishes, and those, along with the pan pizza, keeps bringing people back. Note it is cash only.
Wedgewood Fernando’s Pizza
1620 & 1622 S. Raccoon Rd., (original location) 330-799-2102, with locations in Boardman and Howland
The Youngstown area has a pizza style all onto itself. With Wedgewood, which has been around since 1967, you can indeed imbibe in a Brier Hill style pie (known for a thick crust and a peppery sweet sauce), along with more traditional fare. People swear by this stuff.
4401 Mahoning Ave., 330-799-3900 AND 8590 Glenwood Ave., Youngstown, 330-965-0759
Do you like it square? Then Westgate pizza sheets are for you. Want to try six flavors in one pizza? Then Westgate is for you. Basically, it’s thick, it’s delicious, it’s giving you all the choices in one pie.
915 Amherst Rd. NE, Massillon (original location), 330-832-2242; three locations in Canton and six others in the area
Like many of the spots on this list, the dough is made fresh here. And it’s been that way since the first location opened in 1959. Family-owned, the pizza place (which also serves subs, jojos and chicken) has something called a Kraus’ topper that puts an added layer of dough and provolone cheese on top of your pizza for a double pizza effect.
3153 W. Tuscarawas St. (original location), 330-452-8801; and eight other locales in the area (one is temporarily closed)
This takeout spot, which has been a family business since 1956, offers “the best pizza on the planet,” according to its website. It’s another one of those square pizza places, which are cooked in sheet pans and cut up with a lovely crunchy sound, as seen here. Thin crust is also available, as is chicken, calzones and subs.
Ohio Pie Co.
1315 Pearl Rd., 330-741-4117 AND 19565 Detroit Rd., Rocky River, 216-353-7777
Ohio, as a state, has never had a style of pizza all of its own, but that’s changed with Ohio Pie Co. making what they have deemed “Ohio Style Pizza.” What that means, according to its website, is a “simple and sturdy crust made daily that’s built to handle cheese and toppings that run right to the edge.” The pizza is circular, but square cut. Wrap your mind around that.
5010 Lorain Ave., 216-862-6427
Are we in Brooklyn, New York? No, this is still Cleveland, but the hip restaurant, founded by Vincent Morelli in 2021, gives you the feeling you’ve stepped into some east coast enclave. And the thin Neapolitan-style wood-fried pizza speaks for itself. The usual favorites are there, but the Sunday Gravy and the Cherry Pie (along with the wonder bread and stracciatella cheese combo) really turn heads.
Il Rione Pizzeria
1303 W. 65th St., 216-282-1451
The menu may be limited, but you didn’t come to this rustic-seeming locale for appetizers anyway. You’re here for the wood-fired pizza that melts in your mouth and brings smiles to everyone in the room. Pretend you’re a local by ordering off-menu, asking for the New Jersey-style cheese pizza deliciousness.
Edison’s Pizza Kitchen
Inside Lucky’s Market, 11620 Clifton Blvd.
This greasy, cheesy favorite has been coming through for Tremont revelers for years when it was connected to Edison’s Pub. While plans for it to reopen down the block have reportedly stalled, understand in the meantime, you can pick up a pie at Lucky’s Market. Whatever you do, don’t ask if they offer delivery.
12301 Mayfield Rd., 216-231-9567
We’d be remiss to not include a Little Italy spot on this list, and Mama Santa’s more than deserves a mention. It’s a family-run red-checker table cloth type place that’s been slinging homemade Sicilian-style pies for more than 60 years. The sweet sauce and bubbling cheese pairs well with classic toppings of your choice.
945 Main St., 440-926-2171
Nestled in Lorain County, Lu’s Pizza offers fans that small-town vibe they crave. People come from all over to enjoy the thick pizza the same way they have since 1977. There are plenty of classic topping options here, but also chicken pineapple fireball and pierogi pizza. Plus, for those into patio season, their patio is a delight.
13715 Madison Ave., 216-221-0440
Consistently named among the best pizzerias in Northeast Ohio, this Lakewood establishment has been delighting customers’ taste buds with its zingy pizza sauce for decades. They also offer pizza late into the night, for those in need of the west side favorite past 9 p.m.
52 S. Main St., 440-775-0118
Every good college town needs a pizza/Italian joint and Lorenzo’s is here to please. There are vegan and gluten-free options at this spot, as well as plenty of meat and cheese. The pizza has a wide crust, and for those wanting something else there are sub sandwiches and pasta. A new location is set to open in downtown Lorain later this year.
5956 State Rd., 440-886-5533
This take-out/delivery pizza joint’s tagline is “we conquer taste buds.” And for those in the Parma vicinity, the spot has also conquered hearts. Offering deep dish, sheet and regular style pizzas, people keep coming back for fresh toppings, sweet sauce and the top-notch customer service.
1 W. Main Street, 330-975-4380
This Medina County pizzeria opened in 2020, but with a pizza recipe hailing from the ’70s. Yes, Sparky’s Pizza originally got famous slinging pies for families in Rittman, and now it’s got a whole new life in Seville nearly 20 years later. To many, the pizza, with its tangy sauce and aged dough, tastes like childhood, yet the new location still infuses plenty of freshness into the classic brand.
Park Street Pizza
215 R Dover Rd. NW, 330-852-2993; 1212 S. Main St., North Canton
The philosophy at this Tuscarawas County/Amish country locale is keeping it local whenever possible and always fresh. Started by a couple who grew up in the area, customers can expect an always-busy location full of delicious pizza (with sweet sauce), wings and salads. Good news for folks in North Canton, a second location has just opened there on South Main Street for takeout and online ordering only.
2266 Warrensville Center Rd., 216-371-5643, with other locations in Pepper Pike, Mayfield Village and a slice shop in Willoughby and soon-to-be downtown Cleveland
The original location opened in University Heights in 1956. Since then, they’ve taken the east side of greater Cleveland by storm. People come here for comfort and nostalgia and of course, pizza that hits hard every single time. Featured on “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives,” even people outside of Northeast Ohio have taken notice of this pizza fan favorite. A retro-styled slice shop opens up downtown at the 5th Street Arcades on Friday, May 19.
764 Pittsburgh Ave., 330-262-7136
Do not sleep on this pizza spot. Situated in Wayne County, it’s further away for many, but it’s worth the trek. People have been coming here for Abruzzi-style pizza since 1958, because sometimes a pizza that takes at least 20 minutes to cook, made with lots of cheese and toppings that’s nearly like a biscuit is worth the wait.
3331 Lincoln Way E., 330-262-5654
With a tagline like “the friendliest little bar you’ve never heard of” you automatically want to know more. And fans of this spot know you can order fun pizzas like the Nacho Daddy and the Porker Pizza, along with plenty of other bar options: burgers, grinders and onion rings. Note that it is a bar. It isn’t fancy. That all adds to the ambiance.