Toss it, stuff it, round it, square it off -— no matter. If it has hit the trifecta of dough, sauce and cheese, let's call it a pizza and bask in its glory.
We've rounded up a dozen both classic and innovative pizza places that we've enjoyed, but we know you have your favorites, so send them to us (email email@example.com with your pick). FlipSide Editor Ashley May and entertainment reporter Abbey Zelko will pick a few for an ultimate pizza taste test. We'll report back what they have to say.
Here's what we recommend:
Boardwalks, opened originally in 1996 by Don and Sharon Schultz as Ledo Pizza, has been voted number one for crab cakes in York County two years in a row by readers of the York Daily Record/Sunday News and second for pizza. The restaurant, 3608 E. Market St., York, doesn't have a liquor license but offers two free servings of beer or wine for legal-age patrons. The large space is filled with tables, booths and a lunch counter. Several large TVs grace the walls, and twinkling lights illuminate the ceiling. We ordered a small round pizza with mushrooms ($5.99 plus $1.50 per topping) and a small square with pepperoni (same price). We also ordered the crab cake lunch basket, which comes with two broiled or fried crab cakes and French fries ($12.99). The round pizza, which has a drier crust, was my husband's favorite, while the buttery crust on the square pizza was my favorite. Both are similar, but different enough to satisfy various pizza lovers. The crab cakes were filled with lump meat and a bit of a bread crumb filling, but it still allowed the flavor of the crab to shine through. Like many of Boardwalks' dishes, from the fettuccini Alfredo ($10.99) to the chocolate brownies ($2.99), Schultz takes great pride in offering homemade items. Hours: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. daily. Alcohol: limited free beer and wine for 21-year-olds and older. Takeout. Credit cards accepted. Kids menu. 717-751-7711.
— Rebecca Hanlon
Visitors who step into the joint on the corner of North George and North streets in York will find a menu that touts just two things: handcrafted pizzas and thoughtfully prepared salads. Step inside to floor-to-ceiling windows with full views of nearby Santander Stadium and the bustling downtown. Outdoor seating is about 50 bar stools covered by bright yellow umbrellas. The restaurant, 251 N. George St., opened Oct. 1, according to Marc Bower, who co-owns the restaurant with his cousin Jordan Chronister. With just 13 pizzas on the menu and a featured pizza of the week, the cousins have found their success in simplicity. Fresh ingredients arrive several times a week so that ingredients are served at their peak, Bower said. Rotating tap and bottled beers, as well as various wines, also are added to the menu with care. Guests can enjoy a full serving of either beer or wine, or opt for a flight. Unable to decide on just one pizza, we decided we had to order two — the Wild Mushroom ($11.95) and The Green Monstah ($11.95). The Green Monstah comes topped with a basil pesto sauce with roasted pumpkin seeds, mozzarella cheese, grilled chicken and fresh parsley. The Wild Mushroom — my favorite of the two — is covered in a roasted garlic sauce, shitake mushrooms, caramelized onions, goat cheese and dill. The pizza crust is thin but chewy. Each bite was taken with gusto, and when we scraped our plates clean, we were pleasantly satisfied. Hours: Noon-8 p.m. Sunday, 4-10 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday, 4-11 p.m. Saturday. Alcohol: beer and wine. Takeout. Credit cards accepted. No kids menu. 717-850-2781.
— Rebecca Hanlon
After working nine years in the restaurant industry, Dustin McClintic felt the time was right to open his own business, Bubba D's Pizza & Wings, 39 E. Forest Ave., Shrewsbury, which opened in June 2012. A second location has since opened at 2230 S. Queen St., York. I learned about the restaurant and thought I'd give it a try. Picnic tables with umbrellas stand on a wooden deck outside the eatery, and several rows of tables fill the quaint dining room with wooden walls in a building that used to be a sewing factory. McClintic has 16-plus flavors of wings and gave a shout out to his pizza crust. He brushes garlic butter on the edge of the pie when it comes out of the oven, which makes the crust taste more like a breadstick. I had a slice and agree. It tasted light and fluffy, yet was still a little bit crisp. Hours: 11 a.m.-9 p.m Sunday through Thursday; 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. No alcohol. Takeout. Credit cards accepted. Kids menu. 717-227-0445.
— Leigh Zaleski
DiCarlo's Pizza is a slice of Ohio in York County. A square slice, mind you. The franchise started in Steubenville around 1945 then moved east. Ned and Jodi Bauhof opened the downtown York location in 2014 "for fun," Jodi said. The Ohio natives moved to the area 22 years ago and learned how to live with round pizza, but when the DiCarlo family started franchising the business, Ned Bauhof told his wife, "Oh, we're definitely buying it." The restaurant's narrow interior is sharp — red pendant lights shine over a counter with stools facing an open kitchen. Tables line the opposite wall. I order a six-cut pizza ($6.99) with pepperoni ($1 extra). At that point, the very patient employee behind the counter asked if I wanted the cheese original or melted. If the cheese isn't melted, is it pizza? I decided to try the original, and now there's no turning back. The pie's crust is crispy, the sauce is zesty and the cheese is rich. Instead of mozzarella, DiCarlo's uses provolone. Unmelted, it's simply grated on top. The cold cheese and pepperoni are a contrast to the hot crust and sauce. Cheesybread ($4.99), pepperoni rolls ($4.99) and breadsticks ($3.99) are also on the menu. Hours: 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday and Tuesday; 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday; 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday; noon-7 p.m. Sunday. No alcohol. Takeout. Credit cards accepted. No kids menu. 717-793-2023.
— Jess Krout
Grain and Verse Bottlehouse opened in New Cumberland March 2 thanks to the efforts of executive chef Kurt Wewer and general manager Matthew Treven. Wewer, a familiar name to diners at neighboring restaurant Garlic Poet, wanted to put the same thought and intention that he applies in his fine dining menu to a more casual setting at 148 Sheraton Dr. The atmosphere at 148 Sheraton Dr. is casual and rustic, with wooden tables and metal chairs in a large, open dining room. Pizza is the golden child of the menu. Pizza dough – with beer as a key ingredient — is made from scratch each day and the toppings are hand-selected. If the numerous meats, including prosciutto cotto, malt braised pork or oregano/lemon chicken, aren't made in house or purchased locally, they're imported from Italy, Treven said. Pizzas can be served either as a traditional round crust or a twice-baked square crust that's flat but not paper thin. Dry aged mozzarella or Spring Grove's Caputo Brothers fonduta is melted on top, along with a homemade tomato sauce. During a recent visit, I grabbed a Sprecher Hard Ginger Beer ($3.50) and ordered two 9-inch pizzas – a round one topped with chicken, ricotta and fresh herbs ($11), as well as a square pizza topped with shaved red onion and prosciutto cotto ($10.50). My sister and I sipped our drinks while we ate the crispy crust and gooey cheese. Hours: 4-10 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays; 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Fridays through Sundays. Alcohol. Takeout. Credit cards accepted. No kids menu. 717-774-2721 ext. 589.
— Rebecca Hanlon
La Famiglia Bistro & Carryout
James De Lisio Sr. bought a West Manchester Township building about 15 years ago with the intention of opening a business. Instead, he rented it to tenants while he planned his own bistro. He died in 2011, just before La Famiglia Bistro & Carryout opened at 4790 W. Market St., York. Grandson Brandon De Lisio, 27, his brother Jimmy and three friends now run the business. A cooler full of six-packs lines the wall beneath a spray-painted mural of the New York skyline. Another wall depicts Ellis Island and an Italian chef with the name Pop written on his coat. I order one slice of pizza with olives, green peppers and tomatoes, and a tossed salad. I like the pizza crust - which isn't too thick or too thin — and I enjoyed the sweet flavor of the sauce. De Lisio said his family wanted this business to be a place where people can come with their families and have a beer with their pizza. La Famiglia serves local craft brews, wine by the glass and beer to go. The business uses local ingredients because De Lisio's grandfather, who everyone called Pop, wanted to support the community. Much of the menu is homemade and includes recipes passed down from his grandparents. The Sicilian-style pizza has been a big hit, he said. Hours: Noon-9 p.m. Sunday; 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday; and 11 a.m.-10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Alcohol. Takeout and delivery. Credit cards accepted. Kids menu. 717-318-5501.
— Jess Krout
Ma and Pa Pizza takes its name from the Maryland and Pennsylvania Railroad, co-owner Yvonne Reynolds said, which ran through Delta at one time. That explains why a hand-painted train, carrying cheese, pepperoni, anchovies and more, lines the wall at 5850 Delta Road, Peach Bottom. A 12-inch hand-tossed pizza with cheese is just $6.99. I ordered the chicken Alfredo specialty pizza, $13.99 (16-inch). The grilled chicken rested alongside crunchy broccoli on a bed of cheese, Alfredo sauce and crust. The crust, made with fresh dough, stood out the most -- it was thin enough to be crispy, yet thick enough to not collapse under the weight of the toppings. Reynolds said some of the customers' favorite specialty pizzas are Philly cheesesteak, meatball and mega meat. Beyond pizza, the menu offers stromboli and calzones, subs and sandwiches, salads, wings (including boneless), boxes of chicken boxes and dinners. When you place or pick up your order, you can't miss the case of desserts under the counter. Cheesecake slices come from the Cheesecake Factory. Slices of apple pie and peanut butter pie also fill the case, and hand-dipped Hershey's ice cream is available, too. Hours: 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday; 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. No alcohol. Takeout. Credit cards accepted. Kids menu. 717-456-6272.
— Jess Krout
Josie and Domenick Marino opened their namesake in 1982. Both born in Italy, the couple wanted to share the tradition of Italian food with the community. Things started slowly, with just 38 seats and a small menu featuring mostly pizza and stromboli. Today, the restaurant, 3505 E. Market St., York, seats 180 guests in two dining rooms. When the Marinos were looking to semi-retire and squeeze in some travel time, they sold the restaurant to Josie's sister, Maria and her husband, Kevin Spangler in 2012. Josie Marino passed down her creamy Parmesan house dressing and the restaurant's homemade marinara and meat sauce. Former police officer Kevin Spangler makes fresh dough each day for pizza and stromboli orders. The restaurant offers a slew of pizzas, including a thick Sicilian ($13.15 for a 16-inch large) and a mini 8-inch ($7.15). Pasta dishes also range from traditional ravioli ($13.35) to baked lasagna ($13.35) and linguini with white or red clam sauce ($17.35). Each pasta meal comes with a large house salad and garlic bread. Hours: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, noon-10 p.m. Sunday. Alcohol. Takeout. Credit cards accepted. Kids menu. 717-757-2659.
— Rebecca Hanlon
At Parma in York, the booths are overflowing, and the employees behind the counter are cranking out pizza slices at lunchtime. The deal is a slice of stuffed pizza and a soda for $5.29. Stuffed pizza is nothing like a normal slice - it's loaded with ingredients sandwiched between two crusts. There are 12 stuffed-pizza varieties to choose from, such as cheesesteak, chicken parmesan and bacon cheeseburger. Stuffed buffalo chicken pizza is $4.69 a slice or $5.29 with a refillable drink. A stuffed veggie-melt pizza, piled high with vegetables, was in the case, and I couldn't resist. When the pizza was handed to me, my hand dropped a few inches. It felt like I was carrying a brick. But Parma makes more than stuffed pizza. It has specialty pizzas like Holiday (garlic sauce, mozzarella, spinach, broccoli and tomatoes), pesto pizza and steak ranchero (ranch dressing, spice, steak, sweet peppers and mushrooms). Parma also has locations in Manchester, East York and a few in Lancaster County. Hours: 10:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 10:30 a.m.-10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. No alcohol. Takeout and delivery. Credit cards accepted. No kids menu. 717-849-6445.
— Wade Malcolm
Frank Musso's parents started Roma's in Dallastown 15 years ago when he was still a teenager. His mother, Josephine, learned to cook from her father in Sicily. After serving in the military and working restaurant jobs in other parts of the country, Musso returned home to help run the family business at 2 E. Main St., Dallastown. He's remodeled the interior, which has the look and feel of a classic, cozy pizza shop, but one thing won't change: The time-tested family pizza recipe. A nice, crunchy New York-style crust is combined with a sweet tomato sauce and gooey cheese. Roma's is a versatile pizza shop with a lot of sandwich choices, square Sicilian trays if that's your preference and dinner entrées such as baked ziti and fettuccine Alfredo. Hours: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday to Thursday; 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. No alcohol. Takeout. Credit cards accepted. 717-246-1399.
— Wade Malcolm
With more than 25 years of experience in York and Lancaster county restaurants, Peter Ferrante jumped at the chance to open a third location earlier this year at the former Sal's Little Italy in Dallastown, now Slice of Italy at 476 E. Main St.. His two other restaurant locations are Messina Pizza in Stewartstown and Mamma's Pizza in Wellsville. It also was a chance for Peter Ferrante to introduce his son, Disma Ferrante, to the business. The most popular item on the menu is the stromboli, Ferrante said. Ranging from $11.95 for a small American boli to $16.95 for a large famous herb boli, these pocket-style pizzas are perfect for dipping into tomato sauce, or the restaurant's new garlic sauce. Feeling pretty hungry, we ordered a medium Bianca pizza ($13.50), featuring garlic, onion, mozzarella, ricotta and Italian spices, as well as a large Italian stromboli ($13.95) with ham, salami, sausage, American and mozzarella cheese. We also added a cup of sauce for dipping ($1.35). We ate what we could – the portions are big – then shared a cannoli ($4). It was creamy and crunchy and delicious. Hours: 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, noon-9:30 p.m. Sundays, closed Mondays from May to October. BYOB. Takeout. Credit cards accepted. Kids menu. 717-246-9191.
— Rebecca Hanlon