The dedicated Go Columbia staff has been at it again, this time with a pizza cleanse, er, crawl.
We turned our laser focus and empty stomachs to the many, many pizza joints in town.
We tested. We folded. We questioned topping choices. We compared notes.
Here are the official results, which, as always, are subject to personal opinion.
Nick’s House of Pizza. We sent our lactose intolerant reporter to Nick’s, and we’re happy to say she lived to tell the tale (thanks to lactose enzyme supplements). They pile on the cheese at Nick’s. The delicious, stretchy cheese.
Thirsty Fellow Pizzeria and Pub. Meat good; cheese good; crust gooooood. Why order anything else at Thirsty Fellow when the pizza is so tasty? And the crust. The CRUST. The crust is crunchy and crispy. The only caveat here is that everything is build-your-own, so some knowledge of what toppings go together is required. Best if eaten on the back patio with friends and a pitcher of beer.
Best lunch deal
Dano’s Pizza. You gotta love the lunch special at Dano’s: two slices and a drink for around $5. The crust is thin and floppy, so if it’s a quick lunch, just fold it and go. If you have the time and want something really tasty, go for the calzone instead.
Persona Wood Fired Pizzaria. This Main Street pizzeria specializes in 90-second wood-fired specialty pizzas. The pies are about 12 inches (8 slices) and easily make two meals for a single person. The Carne is a meat lovers slice of heaven with pepperoni, sausage and soppressata on top. The sauce is a just-right spicy marinara sauce with minced garlic. Bonus: Persona just started delivery service.
Best pizza for a family meal
Schiano’s Old Tyme Pizza Restaurant. Newly reopened after the flood, Schiano’s offers a great-tasting, standard pizza. The Pepperoni Lovers not only gives you more of the classic pizza topping but throws on extra cheese as well. Nice crust. You may have to share the dining room with Little Leaguers and their families, but there’s outdoor seating on the covered deck.
Best kept secret
Tony’s Pizzalicious. Tony’s Pizzalicous in Cayce is one of those restaurants you drive by but never actually go into. It looks a little rough from the outside, but what matters is what’s coming out of the kitchen inside. The Classic pizza is everything you’d want in a pie, with great crust, sauce and toppings. It just goes to show: Don’t judge a pizza place by the giant, mustachioed cartoon head on the roof.
Best late-night pizza
Village Idiot Pizza. God bless a pizza place that’s open 11.a.m.-until Mondays through Sundays. Those are the hours at the Village’s Five Points location. The new Olympia Mills location is open until a respectable 10 p.m. or 11 p.m., depending on the day. The pizza we had from there is not up to the standards of the Five Points spot, but we gave it the benefit of the doubt based on Village’s otherwise good reputation.
Most cohesive toppings
Za’s Brick Oven Pizza. We tried the Devine Pizza at Za’s and it lived up to its name. The pie had pulled chicken, Za’s white sauce, Gruyere, feta, spinach, pepperoni, prosciutto and bruschetta. That’s quite a lot to pile onto a pizza, but the toppings worked great together.
Greasiest (in a good way)
Nicky’s Pizzeria. Nicky’s has solid pizza. It’s greasy and satisfying with a chewy crust. Take it out in the sun, and it would sparkle from the greasy sheen. Just don’t bring that friend that always has to dab off their pizza grease with a napkin. Leave them at home.
Best make your own pizza (or slice)
Pizza Man. OK, our slice of make-your-own pizza was a bit overdone, but hey, where else can you build your own pizza – by the slice? At Pizza Man, you can try out combinations that you normally might shy away from or find a combination that might sound weird but actually tastes good. Like salami, sun-dried tomato and anchovy. Really.
Best for when you just need pizza – any pizza
LaBrasca’s Pizza. It’s nothing fancy, but it hits the spot. Perfect for when you’re looking for a quick fix of cheese and dough.
Where we went
Dano’s Pizza, 3008 Rosewood Drive, (803) 254-3266, danosdelivers.com
LaBrasca’s, 4365 Fort Jackson Blvd., (803) 782-1098, labrascaspizza.com
Nick’s House of Pizza, 1082-A Sunset Blvd., West Columbia, (803) 794-9240, www.facebook.com/nickspizza1082/?rf=120581194624384
Nicky’s Pizzeria, 2123 Greene St., (803) 748-9661, www.nickyspizzasc.com
Persona Wood Fired Pizzaria, 1202 Main St., (803) 661-9096, www.personapizzeria.com
Pizza Man, 341 S. Woodrow St., (803) 252-6931, www.facebook.com/PizzaMan803
Schiano’s Old Tyme Pizza, 4839 Forest Drive, (803) 787-0060, schianos.us/schiano1.htm
Thirsty Fellow Pizzeria and Pub, 621 Gadsden St., (803) 799-1311, www.thirstyfellow.com
Tony’s Pizzalicious, 975 Knox Abbot Drive, Cayce, (803) 794-5469, tonyspizzalicious.com
Village Idiot, The Mill at Whaley, 612 Whaley St., (803) 252-8646, villageidiotpizza.com
Za’s Brick Oven Pizza, 2930 Devine St., (803) 771-7334, www.zasbrickovenpizza.com