An Ode to the Pizza Scene in Charlotte (or These are a Few of my Favorite ‘Zas)
by: Bill “The Thrill” Cleveland
The world is full of over seven billion humans and, while many may be very similar, each person is unique and identifiable by their specific characteristics and personality. Likewise, the criterion for what makes one human attractive to another fluctuates from person to person. Such are my feelings towards the most glorious, and undoubtedly most popular, of foods: pizza. Pizza is the Hamlet of cuisine; every iteration speaks to the creator’s perspective and interpretation of the original source material. Thus, I find the concept of any one pizza being “the best” to be fallacious; every pie is a work of art. Over the next few issues I will be exploring the pizza scene in our fair Crown Town and it is my sincere hope that you will join me on this culinary voyage.
Due Amici Pizza
5346 Prosperity Church Rd; 28269 | 704-948-1999
Due Amici Pizza resides in an unsuspecting corner of a shopping center, crouched like an authentic New York and Sicilian style flavortiger ready to pounce upon passersby. I have only been to this fantastic wonderland of pizza once, but, good golly, did they make one heck of an impression. From the first step into the establishment, I felt welcomed. The visual palette carries warmth that matches that of the proprietor and his staff; it is immediately apparent this restaurant is family owned and operated. I sampled a small handful of their offerings and, from the moment my food was brought to the table with a smile by the owner, every dish was a delight. The slice of pepperoni was out of this world. The cheese was crisp to soft, in that it could (and did!) pull without losing the structure that makes chewing a joy.
The sauce was very solid without being overly present. The pepperoni is incredible; the pie was excellent without it, but the ‘roni definitely put some extra pep in my tongues’ step. The other slice I had I also highly recommend ordering, the margherita was super refreshing while still satiating. Brilliant color delivers brilliant flavor, ordering it again. The garlic knots were wonderful, flaky, spiraled Italian biscuits with a mild crunch and butter that peeks when pulled, c’est magnifique. Buckle up, buttercups, because here comes dessert, do NOT miss the tiramisu! There are so many options for desert but the tiramisu is, in a word, decadent. The cream is luxurious and the flavors and texture meld into a symphonic bite of sweet abandon. Due Amici Pizza brings authentically delicious pizza, and more, to the northern bounds of Charlotte.
Epicentre, 210 E. Trade St #164; 28202 | 704-971-9088
As well as locations in ParkTowne Village (E.Woodlawn), Ballantyne, and New York City
I discovered Libretto’s when I was a bar back at Strike City way back in aught nine, I have been a fan ever since. Bretty-O’s serves authentic New York pizza, and their pasta game is tight as hail as well. One of my favorite things about their pie is that they have crispness mastered to perfection, each bite is elation. I have sampled, more or less, the entirety of the menu over the years and I cannot say that I have a favorite, everything Libretto’s serves is p.dang awesom
Protip: Strike City’s menu is produced by Libretto’s and their bloody mary’s are amazing (source: I was one of the guys that made the mix when I worked there). Pizza Brunch, football, and bowling are all within your grasp and combinable for the Voltron of Sunday Fundays (don’t forget to top off every Sunday Funday with karaoke at Snug Harbor).
1501 Central Ave; 28205 | 704-376-3835
As well as locations all over the dang place. Seriously, beyond the original location in Plaza Midwood, there are two locations downtown (uptown, whatevs), one in Southend, Park Road Shopping Center, another off Rivergate Parkway, Davidson (the town, not the road), and Rock Hill. Oh, and four locations in the Washington DC area. Fuel Pizza: doing big thangs, dreamin’ real big.
What isn’t to love about Fuel Pizza? They are doing it and doing it and doing it well. Their menu includes calzones, strombolis, salads, garlic(&cinnamon!) knots, wings of many flavors, and all the wonderful pizza you can shake a stick at; though I prefer eating it to stick shakery. Their dough is an absolute delight. To adorn the dough, a multitude of ingredients shake hands and get familiar with each other and, in doing so, create a sauce that is robust and dynamic. Seriously, y’all, I am pretty bananas about the sauce at Fuel, it is really good. Also available are barbeque and cream sauces, sometimes I like to go a little wild and combine sauces! Give it a go, be your own flavor scientist, the squad at Fuel will be more than happy to make whatever sort of pizza your heart desires. But there is more to pizza at Fuel than a toothsome array of toppings, cheeses, and sauces.
Fuel Pizza may be the most convenient pizza ever, furreals. There are locations everywhere and they are open super late on the weekends, 3am! Nothing tops off a wonderful night of merry making and carousing around Plaza Midwood like fresh, hot, Fuel Pizza. Everyone on staff is an excellent human and wonderful to talk to, but I would be amiss if I did not give shout outs to Billy and Ed for putting up with my mischief and all of the delicious ‘za over the years. Lub y’all.
5820 E. W.T.Harris Blvd; 28215 | 704-536-1660
I know the number to Teddy’s by heart and, after a lap through the lush hills of flavor country in Teddy’s deliciousmobile, you will as well. Everything I have had from the Ted-ster has been fantastic; his pasta game is strong, regular pies are plenty tasty, and there is an assortment of sandwiches, burgers, and sides that will keep you salivating into a food coma for however long you so desire. As wonderful as the entire menu is, however, the crown jewel of Teddy’s flavor empire is, without a doubt, the sheet pizza. I call it sheetza because I’m into portmanteau play, just how I roll. Whatever you choose to call it, the full baking-sheet sized pizza is undeniably delicious… and available in a half sheet size. Honestly though, why would you deny yourself the novelty of eating a cartoonishly large pizza?
Once you open the box and wrap your mind around the Olympian proportions of the sheetza, your eyes will come into focus on a delectable rectangle comprised of baby rectangles, each adorned with two slices of pepperoni. I don’t know how that figure sounds to the uninitiated but, believe you me, the proportions to every facet of this edible flagship are dialed in to such perfection as to bring a tear to the eye of Michaelangelo; turtle or artist, matters not. The crust presents itself without being overbearing. Teddy uses a proprietary sauce that, I imagine, is under security tighter than something that is hyperbolically tight. Then comes the cheese. Dear god, the cheese. I feel about cheese the way corporations feel about tax breaks and Teddy slings ‘em just the way I likes ‘em: veritably slathered in the stuff.
Sorry, can’t help myself, have to sing it aloud to the world: THE CHEESE IS LUSCIOUS AND COPIOUS! But, I digress; the woods are lovely, dark, and deep, but I have many ‘zas to eat. To crown his culinary chef-d’oeuvre, Sir Teddyfred of Cleveland has made the sheetza available with any topping, or combination thereof, you select from their assortment. I am a traditionalist and stick with pepperoni; like the kids say, “if it ain’t baroque, why is there a harpsichord?”
This concludes the first installment of the definitive guide to pizza in Charlotte; I will be bringing you four more excellent pizza joints in the next issue, so stay tuned! Now go out there and treat yourself to some delicious pizza, and don’t forget to tell ‘em Bill sent’cha!
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