Pizza Hunt 

Search is on for the perfect pizza

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The search continues. Through the years, I’ve written about dozens of local pizza joints in hope of finding the perfect pizza. I’m nothing if not serious about pizza, and my personal favorites are well-documented—Este, Maxwell’s, Nuch’s, NYPD Pizzeria, Park City Pizza Co., Pizzeria 712, Rusted Sun, Settebello, Sweet Home Chicago, Vinto and Zucca being among them. However, my pizza lust can’t hold a candle to Joshua Payne’s—of Joshua Payne Trio and Joshua Payne Orchestra fame—who is positively obsessed with the stuff. How he keeps his slim, trim, elegant figure is beyond me, because he eats pizza as often as possible. In fact, he told me when he lived in New York City he used to eat an entire large Grimaldi’s pizza, plus take one home to eat later that night. That’s dedication! By the way, Joshua’s favorite Utah pizza spots include Pizzeria 712, Nuch’s, Eva and Settebello.

So, the pizza quest goes on, and I’ve been visiting some new pizza spots, along with some older or recently relocated ones I’d never tried. These are pizza joints that I’ve yet to write about, but very much enjoyed discovering; all are quite good and some are great.

Let’s start up north, in Davis County. The Pizza Place (198 N. Fairfield Road, 801-544-5200, PizzaPlaceUtah.com) in Layton recently moved into more-appealing digs and has a very popular all-you-can-eat lunch buffet on weekdays. Pizzas are cooked in a standard pizza-deck oven and made with a medium-thickness crust, which can be a little spongy. This is fairly typical New York-style pizza with tangy tomato sauce and generously applied toppings. I wouldn’t go out of my way to visit The Pizza Place, but if you’re in Layton, it beats franchise pizza.

Down the road a bit at Station Park in Farmington is a new Settebello location (895 W. East Promontory, 801-451-9119, Settebello.net). This is a big, loud restaurant that serves up excellent, authentic Napoletana pizza: thin crust, wood-fired, Marzano tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, etc. I won’t belabor the point because I’ve sung Settebello’s praises so much in the past. Quite simply, I think they make the best Napoletana pizzas in Utah, and terrific gelato, to boot. Oh, and there’s wine and beer, too.

A little farther south, in Centerville, is Zeponie Pizza (1097 S. Main, 801-296-8888, ZeponiePizza.com), with a brand-new dining deck that looks out toward the Great Salt Lake. The pies here are similar to Layton’s Pizza Place: deck-oven pizzas made from hand-rolled dough that are somewhat routine, but a good alternative to chains, with super-friendly employees. Locally owned Zeponie’s also makes excellent calzones, and its delivery area ranges to North Salt Lake. If you’ve got kids who love pepperoni, try the pepperoni feast, which is swimming in the stuff.

Salt Lake City’s Sicilia Pizza moved a while back, to 35 W. Broadway (801-961-7077, SiciliaPizzaKitchen.com) from a few blocks farther east. Although Sicilia originally opened in 1992, it took me almost 20 years to try it. Well, better late than never. The owner, Amrol Hararah, was raised in Sicily before moving to New York City and then Utah. He’s one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet and seems to oversee everything that goes on at Sicilia, along with former NYC chef Jose Lechuga. The new location sports a full bar with liquor, wine and a nice beer selection. But most of all, this place is about pizza, which is available by the slice or whole pie. The handmade crust falls somewhere between traditional thin-crust New York-style pizza and über-thick pizzas usually called Sicilian. It’s crisp and delicious, with really good sauce and a wide array of topping options. My only complaint is that the by-the-slice cheese pizza seems to be topped with grated Parmesan—the kind that resembles sawdust in both appearance and flavor. I wish they’d leave that off; otherwise, this is very good pizza. Sicilia also serves delicious calzones and strombolis, the latter of which is sort of like a pizza rolled up into a cylinder and baked to a beautiful, golden, crispy finish.

As with Sicilia, I scratch my head wondering why I never set foot in Litzas Pizza (716 E. 400 South, 801-359-5352, LitzasPizza.com) before now. Thanks to a City Weekly reader named Bill, who recently gave a shout out for Litzas, I finally tried it. Litzas was founded in 1965 by Don Hale, and the pizzas have a thin, old-fashioned-style crust that reminds me of Shakey’s. If you like that crunchy, thin-crust style of pie, as I do, you’ll love Litzas, especially with their spiced ground-beef topping.

Pizzeria Limone in Cottonwood Heights (1380 E. Fort Union Blvd., 801-733-9305, PizzeriaLimone.net) is a brilliant concept—like Chipotle, but with pizza. Line up and order your personal-size pizza and toppings, pay your bill (no tipping necessary) and grab a seat. The pizza is usually delivered to your table in less than 10 minutes. The thin-crust, Napoletana-style pizzas are cooked in a wood-fired oven on a continuously rotating pizza stone, so they cook evenly and come out with beautiful, charred bubbles on the outer crust. There are some odd pizzas here, such as the Limone—with fresh lemons and red onions—and the viola, which includes prosciutto and blackberries (yes, I said blackberries). I won’t be ordering the Limone again, but I very much enjoyed the Salsiccia pizza, topped with house marinara, aged mozzarella, fresh mozzarella, Parmigiano-Reggiano, fennel sausage, fresh cherry tomatoes, slivers of red onion, Kalamata olives, olive oil and fresh basil. One warning, however: Pizzeria Limone is the loudest restaurant I’ve ever eaten in.

One more: Down in Sandy, Boardwalk Pizza & Pasta (7680 S. 1300 East, 801-562-1757, Boardwalk-Pizza.com) serves up delicious East Coast-style pizza (think Maxwell’s Fat Kid Pizza), along with strombolis, calzones, pastas and more, in a surf-theme-meets-sports-bar atmosphere. I ordered a meatball pizza with large, luscious chunks of housemade meatballs generously strewn atop and plentiful red onions. If you’re longing for the pies you remember from those summer days at the Jersey shore, a trip to Sandy’s Boardwalk is in order.

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