Once upon a time, Austin was a pizza wasteland. The opening of Home Slice on South Congress Avenue in 2005 was nothing short of a godsend for the dough-deprived masses. Just as with sushi in Austin, the Austin pizza scene has positively flourished in the last decade with new spots opening up all over town. Today, some of the best restaurants in Austin are pizza joints. But what kicks some restaurants to the top of this ever-growing heap of fantastic Austin pizzerias? It was no easy task, but we tasted the good, the great and the just okay (come on, it’s still pizza) to bring you the top pie joints in Austin. So when you need a break from some of the best BBQ in Austin, but still need a hefty comfort-food fix, you know where to be.
Best Austin pizza restaurants
Steven Dilley burst on the food scene in 2013, turning out such perfect Neapolitan-style pies that Bufalina immediately became the belle of the pizza ball. Though Dilley had no prior restaurant experience, he studied with master pizza makers in both New York and Italy to achieve perfectly chewy, bubbled dough in a white, dome-like brick oven he had shipped straight from Naples. Due to popular demand, Dilley opened a second (and bigger) location on Burnet Road this past winter, and will soon offer brunch and lunch in addition to dinner.
Josh and Paige Kaner began perfecting Neapolitan-stye pizza in their home kitchen in L.A., using a sourdough starter Josh made using Napa grapes. After relocating to Austin, they decided to take their pizza parties to the next level by leaving their careers and opening Pieous on the western edge of Austin city limits. The pizza joint in a barn red bungalow was an immediate success and continues to sell out daily, as Austinites and travelers alike line up for their pizza (which as been certified authentic by the Italian government), plus housemade sourdough, pastrami, and desserts.
When VIA 313 opened up in a little trailer outside Violet Crown Social Club, there was undoubtedly some head-scratching over the classification of Detroit-style pizza. But they quickly showed Texas that Motor City-style pies are indeed for real—and delicious. Each personal-looking rectangular pie features plenty of fresh melted cheese and a crust so simultaneously crispy, chewy and buttery, it’s easily shareable among two people. (Though, let’s be honest, we could easily down a whole one too.) Do it right and get The Detroiter, which has smoked pepperoni tucked under the cheese and natural casing pepperoni on top. While the original truck still pledges allegiance to the dive bar where it started, another one is parked outside Craft Pride on Rainey Street, and they recently expanded to two brick and mortar locations as well.
This dark, divey bar on East 12th Street might not be the first place you’d expect to find amazing pizza…but you probably wouldn’t expect to find one of the city’s best mescal and sotol selections here either, now would you? Ditch all your expectations and come to King Bee hungry—and with a group of friends, so you can sample multiple pies. You can never go wrong with mainstays like the appropriately named The Cheesiest pie, but the extraordinary seasonal specials are not to be missed either (and rotate quite frequently, so get ’em while you can!). Currently on the menu is the Conscientious Objector, featuring queso de Oaxaca, peppered top sirloin, roasted poblanos, red cabbage, avocado, cotija, toasted sesame seeds on a squash mole negra sauce base, drizzled with crema. This pie’s just begging to be eaten between sips of mezcal.
When East Side Pies opened in 2006, they changed the scope of Austin pizza delivery by opening up the door (no, like literally your actual front door) to craft pizza. Their original signature pies (like the Guiche, with fresh spinach, goat cheese, green chiles, sun-dried tomatoes and roasted garlic) began appearing by the slice in coffee shops and bars around town, and word quickly spread about their creative pies, built on super thin sourdough crust. Ten years later, they offer over 50 types of signature pies, available for takeout or delivery from three different locations.
Nicole and Jeremy Portwood began making pizza together at their apartment in New York before they relocated to Austin and decided to give the professional pizza life a go, opening Spartan Pizza in 2009. Originally housed in a 1955 Spartan Imperial Mansion trailer they refurbished on a shoestring budget, they decided to go with the Greek theme, designing their creative New York-style pies around gods and goddesses like Perseus (cilantro pesto, sundried tomato, red onion, artichoke and feta cheese) and Medusa (roasted garlic spread, caramelized onion, crispy bacon, blue cheese and red pepper flake). These days, find them in the brick and mortar they opened in the Corazon building in 2015, just steps down the street from the parking lot where it all began.
Jersey-born Tony Villani is the godfather of Austin pizza. He has been crafting Jersey-style pizza and deli sandwiches in his humble neighborhood spot since 1992 (which makes him the exception to the Great Austin Pizza Drought of Years Past). Customize your 16”-18” pie with a variety of toppings or choose from a menu of specialty pies, like the Rollatini (made with roasted eggplant, ricotta, Pecorino Romano and roasted garlic). Like any true Garden State pizza place, they also offer sizable calzones and giant slices served on ruffled paper plates. Like Jersey pizza, it is what is: deliciously matter-of-fact. There’s nothing flashy about this joint and there doesn’t need to be. It’s just great pizza and that's all you need to know.
Tucked into a cozy space behind his first restaurant, parkside, The Backspace features chef Shawn Cirkiel’s rustic Neapolitan pies in an atmosphere that feels more Italian than Texan. Perch on a wine barrel bar stool and watch as each precisely charred pie is removed from the customized wood-burning Italian oven. Toppings range from the traditional (fennel sausage, roasted mushrooms, margerita) to seasonally-driven specials topped with local farm findings.
When New Yorker Jen Strickland opened Home Slice with her husband and former college roommate in 2005, the timing and location couldn’t be better. Those in the know had been making their way to Crestview for Little Deli's pies and slices for years, but Home Slice made 18” New York-style pies accessible to locals and visitors alike, right in the heart of South Congress Avenue. The dining room was so consistently packed, they soon opened an adjacent shop exclusively for takeout orders and slices. Be sure to try the white clam pie for which they’ve become known and pay a visit on Monday, when Sicilian pies are sold whole or by the slice until they run out.
This cozy trattoria, located just blocks from the Capitol, maintains a warm neighborhood vibe—and also happens to craft some of the most authentic Neapolitan pizza in town, thanks to owner Gianfranco Mastrangelo. After growing up in a restaurant family in New York, he studied with pizza masters from Sicily, Rome and Naples, perfected a sourdough crust, and built his own pizza oven before opening his doors in 2010.
Because our city apparently can’t get enough Neapolitan pizza these days, Unit-D Pizzeria opened on Manor Road last summer, slinging more quality pies from the city that is arguably the capital of pizza. Using a 27-year-old sourdough starter and fresh, local ingredients (some even sourced from as close as next door at Dai Due), they craft pizzas in the traditional method with unique twists. For example, mushroom pizza with white sauce, portobello, cauliflower, porcini powder, fontina, truffle and sherry vinegar.
The aptly named House Pizzeria will welcome you in like an old friend with its well curated jukebox and screened-in porch. And after opening in 2009, many of their wood-fired Neapolitan-inspired creations have become familiar favorites (like the rosemary and potato), and they still creating seasonal specials too—like the asparagus and prosciutto with mozzarella and Manchego; roasted Brussels sprout with tasso ham and scamorza; and crimini and porcini mushrooms cooked with white wine and thyme, topped with Gruyere.
Stanley’s Farmhouse Pizza may be in an outlying part of Austin, but since pizza and beer go together like peanut butter and jelly, sharing ranch space with Jester King Brewery is exactly where they need to be. Wait times can get lengthy on the weekends, so be sure to place your order for their rustic, wood-fired pies close to when you arrive (don’t try to pretend you’re not going to eat pizza while you’re there!). For extra Texan points, order the Willie, made with BBQ sauce, brisket, mozzarella, cheddar, red onion, jalapeños, cilantro—and served with pickles on the side.
Though Lucky Sibilla specializes in the puccias (light dough pockets) of Southern Italy, he originally got a job as a pizzamaker when he joined the military and left his hometown for Genoa, and he brings those skills to the table for the brick and mortar incarnation of his original (and very popular) trailer. His pies walk the line between Neapolitan and Roman pizza, with toppings ranging from more traditional to hot pastrami with onions, mushrooms, peppers and four cheeses or the comically apropos Americana, with mozzarella, pancetta, egg, and French fries.
Located right in the heart of the Red River district, this Jersey-owned pizza joint serves no-frills pizza by the slice and by the pie. Opt to build your own or select one of their many speciality pies, like the Pork & Poultry (with BBQ sauce, bacon, chicken, onion and jalapeño with a cilantro sour cream dipping sauce) or the Mission (white pie with Mission fig, pineapple, prosciutto, goat cheese, Italian parsley).
We don’t exactly understand how Stony’s produces such authentic New York pizza out of the little oven on their red trailer, but they’ve been doing it right since 2007. If you’re looking to grab a slice on the way home from a night barhopping on Sixth Street, there is no better bet. And get this: it’ll taste just as good at the beginning of the night too. The truck is typically at office parks through the week and downtown on weekends, but follow them on Facebook for their most updated whereabouts.
If there’s anything more surprising than brick oven-quality pizza served from a food truck, it’s exceptional pies served from a gas station. And yet Giovanni’s Pizza Stand, located inside a Valero, is living proof of the possibility. The humble counter serves thin crust pizza by the pie or by the slice using impossibly fresh ingredients— and they even offer gluten-free crust.