A friend who grew up working in a Chicago pizzeria shared with me that they made him wait 6 months before they’d even allow him to make dough by himself. That’s the kind of care for pizza we look for in a great pizzeria. That’s the sort of place you know makes great pizza. There’s something truly special about the mom and pop pizzeria. The love and passion that goes into each pie is what makes the magic happen. Here’s our list of the 6 best pizza places in Jax. There are a few I’m sure you expect and a couple that we think will come as a surprise to all but the most discerning pizza lover. Note that for this list we stuck to only locally owned places and did not consider any chains.
#6 Mama Q’s Pizza
We’ve been a fan of Mama Q’s Pizza since the first day we walked in their door and were met by the smiling face of their owner RJ. When you talk with RJ you know without a doubt the man eats, sleeps, and breathes pizza. If you’re a regular Jax Restaurant Reviews reader you know that we love their speciality pies, in particular the Mashed Potato Pie. If you live in Mandarin skip the chains and call Mama for delivery.
Catullo’s food truck has taken Jacksonville by storm in their first year, becoming one of the most popular food trucks in town. They make all their pasta from scratch and in our opinion have the best Italian food in Jax. Their pizza is high quality and they don’t skimp on toppings. We recently tried their pizza side by side with a couple of other trucks and it wasn’t even close.
Picasso’s serves up a variety of pizza styles from traditional New York style to the St. Louis style ultra thin crust pizza their regulars know them for. If you’re a thin crust fan you’ll find true love in just one bite of the St. Louis style pizza. If you’re in the mood to indulge we recommend “The Gourmet” topped with pancetta, caramelized onions, brie cheese, and truffle oil. Each slice is creamy and bacon-y and overwhelming in the best kind of way.
You want the best deep dish pizza in Jax? Carmine’s is the spot. Every Chicago transplant we know in Jacksonville swears their deep dish in the best in town. We concur. Want top notch New York style pizza? They’ve got that too. If you’re disappointed in Carmine’s pizza the problem’s not the pizza, it’s your taste buds.
#2 V Pizza
After a monthlong trip to Italy with their mothers where they enjoyed pizza nearly everyday, V Pizza’s owners came back to the states with an idea and a dream. What if we could bring this exact same experience to Jacksonville and one day all over the United States. They had authentic wood fired ovens created by craftsmen in Italy and shipped over. Then they sourced the highest quality meats and veggies from Italian farms. Then they found the right chef. Shortly after that V Pizza was born. We think they’ve created one of the most authentic napolitano style pizzas you’ll find anywhere in America.
#1 Biggie’s Pizza
The smallest pizza place on our list is also the best. Located in the space formerly occupied by Burrito Gallery Express, Biggie’s Pizza has just a couple indoor tables. I’m sure you see Biggie’s Pizza as our choice for #1 and think “Huh? What? Who?”. If that’s the case it’s likely because you’ve never tried their pizza. They’re less than 6 months old so we suspect most Jax residents who don’t live at the beach haven’t. If you have tried their pizza you understand why they’re number #1. They truly are the best New York style pizza place in town. The name started out as a way to describe their pizza by the slice. It really is BIG. After more discussion they decided the name could also pay homage to the late rapper Biggie Smalls and his love for Brooklyn. From there the name took on a life of its own with the restaurant becoming almost completely themed around Biggie Smalls, Brooklyn, and his lyrics. Every trip I’ve made to Biggie’s I’ve watched person after person snap a photo next to the floor to ceiling mural of Biggie painted by local artist Mobarick Abdullah. Biggie’s Pizza has that perfect “snap” that all great New York style pizza has. The crust is spot on and is made fresh in house, never frozen. When you walk in you’ll notice the largest selection of pizza by the slice in Jax. They’ve got all the basics, plus a traditional grandma’s pizza, a white pizza named the Benny Blanco from The Bronx Pie, Buffalo Bleu Cheese Pie, and a whole lot more. As I was trying to understand why this place is so incredible I asked the owner, Gazmir, what makes his pizza so special. He said, “Every pizza I make is made with love.” Love, that’s the secret ingredient. Opposite the giant Biggie mural on the wall there’s a quote from Biggie Smalls, “Make love. It’s the Brooklyn way.” If you need a pick me up… If you need to experience something that was made with love just for you… then go to Biggie’s and grab a slice.