Restaurant News & Reviews

Here’s your guide to National Pizza Day

It’s National Pizza Day, celebrating the cheese, sauce and crust that combine to make America’s unofficial national dish. Durham pizzeria Treforni specializes in Neapolitan pizza.
It’s National Pizza Day, celebrating the cheese, sauce and crust that combine to make America’s unofficial national dish. Durham pizzeria Treforni specializes in Neapolitan pizza. jleonard@newsobserver.com

Usurping burgers and fries and apple pie, pizza has become America’s national dish, if unofficially. Ubiquitous and beloved, pizza was born in Italy but is now found in every American small town and city. You’re probably closer to a pizzeria than a post office.

Today, Feb. 9, is National Pizza Day, perhaps the most unnecessary of all the unnecessary food holidays.

After all, pizza is celebrated daily in this nation of pizza eaters, slice folders, knife-and-forkers, grease-blotters, cheese-only pleasers, the supremes – a great melting pot built around melted cheese, sauce (or not) and crust.

Whenever we’re not having pizza, we’re just counting down the days until it’s socially acceptable to have pizza once again.

Raleigh’s pizza game has been busy recently, with many opening last year and always more on the way.

It may be time to try out Oakwood Pizza Box on Person Street, opened by the former Bella Mia pizzaiolo that’s focused on doing simple red- and white-based neighborhood pies. Also nearby, Brookside Market is open and serving pizza in the Oakwood neighborhood.

The Fayetteville Steet location of ZPizza, a fast-casual chain, is part of a growing trend of self-service beer taps. And if you’re in search of a deal, the Raleigh Mellow Mushroom says it will sell you a $10 large cheese alongside a regular priced specialty pizza.

If you’re in need of pizza by the slice, the latest Raleigh Times offshoot, Pizza Times, opened last month on South Wilmington Streets, serving pies and slices to-go only. And if you think you’re curious what the largest slice in downtown Raleigh tastes like, head to Benny Capitale’s on Fayetteville Street.

News & Observer food critic Greg Cox took a deep dive into the best Triangle spots doing wood-fired Neapolitan pizza. He liked Capp’s Pizzeria in Chapel Hill, Pizza La Stella in downtown Raleigh, Treforni in Durham, Pizzeria Faulisi in Cary and the food truck Napoli.

Pizzeria Toro in Durham and Pizzeria Mercato in Carrboro are also deservedly acclaimed. (Cox named it his favorite pizza of 2017.) Don’t forget about Trophy Pizza.

If you’re looking for a pizza pilgrimage, set off for Wilmington, where Vivian Howard’s latest project Benny’s Big Time Pizzeria, is having more fun with its pies than perhaps anyone.

And while technically, Ashley Christensen’s new Pooleside Pie is not close to opening, it’s a good time to dream of what she’ll make. Take a gander at her pizza research in Italy on the joint’s Instagram account, or start daydreaming after reading our interview about her big plans.

“We are in the creative process as far as menu goes and have lots of fun ideas, but it’s still too early to share them,” she told us in September.

Whatever you do, wherever your pizza cravings take you, be it a spicy red sauce or garlicky white, extra cheese or extra clams, don’t call it ‘za.

Drew Jackson; 919-829-4707; @jdrewjackson

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