published Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

Give local pizzerias a whirl

I've never met a fresh pizza I didn't like. (Frozen are another matter; I don't much care for the crust).

But pizza from most pizzerias could be my dinner of choice once a week, followed by leftovers for breakfast the next morning. The mixture of tomato sauce, gooey melted cheese, onions, peppers, mushrooms and meat—or no meat—layered on a yeasty crust makes my mouth start to water.

Every year, comes up with a list of best pizzas in the country. This past year's list encompasses pizzerias from around the United States, but really nothing from the bulk of the South.

Pizza expert Craig Agranoff, the founder of the Web-based review business, told me he simply doesn't get down this way. Too bad, because he's missing out. However, the website welcomes your thoughts and critiques about favorite pizza places, he said. Be sure to log on to let the world know that good pizza can be found in so many places around town.

For instance: Hill City Pizza on the North Shore, Lupi's downtown and in Hixson, Crust on Signal Mountain Road and Broad Street, Pizza Italiano in Flintstone, Ga.

What's your favorite place, and what pizza do you recommend? E-mail me at abraly@timesfree to let me know, and we'll start a "best pizza" list.

Here are's picks of the best places for pizza in the country. It's pretty obvious they don't get around very much, as the bulk of the list is centered in the North, though I will say that the North is better known for its pizza than the South. But I think we're getting close.

• Pizzeria Bianco, Phoenix.

• Johnny's Pizza, Mount Vernon, N.Y.

• Sally's Apizza, New Haven, Conn.

• Tacconelli's Pizza, Philadelphia.

• Great Lake Pizza, Chicago.

• Lucali's Pizza, Brooklyn, N.Y.

• L&B Spumoni Gardens, Brooklyn, N.Y.

• Buddy's Pizza, Detroit.

• Frank Pepe's Pizza, New Haven, Conn.

• Tucci's Pizza, Boca Raton, Fla.

While we're talking pizza, do you ever make your own? My Latin teacher at GPS, Mary Stewart Smith, made some of the best pizza I've ever had, starting with her homemade crust. What's your recipe? How about sending it my way?

To quell a recent rumor ... English Rose, the authentic British tearoom at 1401 Market St., is not closing. Reader Jim Sparks wrote to say that he and his wife were enjoying lunch at English Rose, one of their favorite eateries, and noticed a sign advertising the fact that the restaurant was not closing.

"As we were paying for our purchases, I asked the lady who runs the place what the sign was all about," Sparks wrote. "She said there is apparently some rumor that her place is closing ... and was totally puzzled how this rumor got started and speculated that people might have it confused with something else."

Now you know. If you go, I recommend the scones with lemon curd. They were an outstanding part of a delightful lunch I enjoyed there.

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holdout said...

I have always been a fan of Lupi's but when our Lord Mayor started treating county residents like unwanted vermin I stopped buying in Chattanooga. The unexpected but happy unintended consequence was that I discovered Gabrial's in Cleveland. Their pizza is so good that tears came to my eyes when I took the first bite.

February 16, 2011 at 9:07 a.m.
jpo3136 said...

The pizza at Hill City was so bad, I was shocked that they tore up the Mudpie to build that thing. It was just horrible. Nice flooring. I think the restaurant would make a great display store for computer and consumer electronics sales. The crust looked and tasted like it was from Lake Winnepesauka. Two thumbs down.

Save yourself the need to request a refund: just don't go there. It's pizza so bad, it makes Riverbend look like 212 Market. Just horrible. Cold food, slow service, and no real need to be there.

Hey, if you are a loan officer, and someone says they want to tear down a Chattanooga institution in order to build another restaurant that forks out the same cheap cuisine as their other two places, ask yourself: is another gut bomb factory worth it?

Bring back the Mudpie. Hill City is --the-- worst pizza place in town. High school cafeterias have better pizza crust.

The only way the place could serve food that tastes worse is if they flunked health and sanitation inspection. Are we sure they passed? Please close your business. We don't need more bad food.

Seeing Hill City open up was like watching your best friend marry a fat psycho. You know that someone had good intentions, but it's a disaster you just can't stop. And, all along the way, there will be years of heartburn paved with bad food.

I feel sorry for the people who work there and who operate the place. They are working so hard, and the food is terrible. Please, it's just bad!

The only two times I've had a worse dining experience was when I was served meat so raw it was purple at The Acropolis. The absolute worst eating experience I've had in Chattanooga was a 3 a.m. Krystal gut bomb that resulted in vomiting so hard I saw stars. Hill City Pizza: you are in third place. Really.

Maybe serve funnel cakes for dessert. It would complete the "street fair" cuisine theme. Just horrible pizza.

Lupi's is a good place to get a slice. Double pepperoni and anchovies are fantastic there. Good bread, also.

February 16, 2011 at 9:45 a.m.
floridabb said...

Wow Jp,i have to say the BEST i had at 3 am was the crystal in north chatt......1972ish

February 16, 2011 at 4:09 p.m.
MasterChefLen said...

In a follow-up to holdout's first comment, in a reference to STAR WARS Chattanooga is going through the "Dark Times" as the Empire (Emperior Littlefield) and the Empire "Chattanooga City Council run things. Hopefully this regime will be overthrown soon.

February 16, 2011 at 4:56 p.m.
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