Most people think of Memphis as being the home of dry ribs and fried chicken. But what is less known is that the city is a foodie haven, especially when it comes to pizza. The city has a plethora of options from fancy, gourmet pies to casual take-home delights for the entire family. Here are the top 10 places to find mouth-watering pizza creations in Memphis.
The chefs of Hog & Hominy, Andy Ticer and Michael Hudman, are born and bred Memphians, but they trained as chefs in Calabria, Italy. So they decided to combine the best of both cultures in this East Memphis restaurant.
Don't miss their creative pizzas like the Thunderbird! Forty Twice! that includes fontina, mozzarella, calabrese, and spicy honey. They even have an afternoon happy hour special where you can get any pizza for $10. It's Tuesday to Sunday 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.
In Memphis Pete and Sam's is more than a restaurant. It's a legendary institution. It opened in 1948 by cousins Sam and Pete, and it's been a family place ever since. Generations have been coming for birthday and anniversary celebrations, holidays, and Sunday evening dinners. Favorites include the uber-thin mushroom pizza with a side of creamed spinach. On the wall are pictures of all the famous patrons who have eaten here in the past including The King himself.
One of the newer additions to Memphis' pizza scene is Elemento Neapolitan Pizza. It's located inside Crosstown Concourse, a huge community complex full of restaurants and bars. Families will love the "Build Your Own Pizza" option where you can choose your base (maybe you're in the mood for pesto or bianca?) and toppings. You can also opt for one of their elaborate pizzas already made (we recommend the Lupo with roasted red peppers, pecorino, prosciutto, wild arugula, and a creme fraiche drizzle.) While the prices are affordable, the pizzas are large. You'll probably leave with leftovers for a late night snack.
This reliable, no-frills chain is perfect for a quick bite for the entire family. The brand has been around for 25 years, and there are four locations: Overton Square, East Memphis, Germantown, and Collierville. Their thin-crust pizzas are made-to-order, and you can get different toppings on different sides of the pizza. Memphis Pizza Cafe is also known for its filling calzones. There are also salad and sandwich menus for those who aren't interested in pizza.
This family-run Italian restaurant located in the heart of downtown Memphis is a favorite among locals. Families go there before taking in a play at the Orpheum or after a basketball game at the FedExForum. You can find traditional and modern Italian items here, but definitely opt for the wood fired pizzas. Their most unique dish is the lobster and bacon pizza. With lobster, smoked bacon crumbles, Roma tomatoes, mozzarella, fresh spinach, ricotta, and chipotle aioli, you've probably never tried anything quite like it. This restaurant is also large and great for bigger groups or special occasions.
This pizza and burger restaurant has the freshest ingredients in the city. That is because they all come from local farms. The owners grow the produce themselves. The cattle, potatoes, fish are all sourced from nearby farms. The restaurant even makes the pizza dough from scratch. We recommend going for the garden delight pizza; you get four vegetables of your choosing, most of them picked that morning.
Aldo's Pizza Pies is one of the few places you can get an authentic New York style pie in Memphis. While it used to be a downtown establishment, a new location just opened in midtown. The casual restaurants are designed to be group hangouts. They have local beers on tap. You can order a slice of pizza and stay as long as you want. Their speciality is the vodka pie with vodka cream and house-made mozzarella.
Rock'n Dough Pizza started as a food truck. It only took one year for the pizza to become so popular the owners opened a brick-and-mortar locations. Now it has two venues including one that is a brewery (it always has its nine staples on draft and then limited releases.) The chefs here take a hands-on approach. They make the dough and sauce every morning. They smoke their own meat and shred their own cheese. Whenever possible they use ingredients from local farms. The result is an array of craft pizzas that melt in your mouth.
Since 1975 Memphians have sworn that this is the best pizza in the city. The original location is on Walker Avenue near the University of Memphis (that venue has pinball machines and other games perfect for entertaining children.) Now there are Garibaldi's in both Germantown and East Memphis as well. It's affordable and relaxed; you can dig into pizzas without even worrying.
The restaurants also offer home-made pastas where you can choose your own sauce; salads with fresh made salad dressing; and sandwiches that are so big it's hard to get it all in with one bite. All stores offer carry-out and delivery as well.
Coletta's has been around since 1923, and it's been serving its famous barbecue pizza for almost as long (In fact, the restaurant claims to have invented it.) Five generations of Colettas have worked long hours to make pizza and pastas Memphians dream about. Start your meal with toasted ravioli and spinach and fontina dip. Then dive into the original barbecue pizza with "mounds of pork BBQ, mozzarella, and BBQ sauce." If you don't want it as your main meal order the appetizer side that comes with six 4-inch barbecue pizzas. How adorable is that?