The Pizza Struggle is Real

It’s a real thing. The battle over Gainesville’s best pizza. This is the third best way to start a fight at a civilized party (after politics and religion).

Pizza preference is arbitrary. Every special little snowflake thinks their criteria and judgment is the most correct. So to be honest, this is just one special snowflake’s opinion. I’m not getting an in-depth review here. Just a suggestion list.

1) Best Deep Dish – Satchel’s
They make limited quantities, so call ahead to make sure they have it and will start baking it before you even get there. I recommend the garlic, basil, black olive combo of toppings. Satchel’s is cash only but they have an ATM in the building.

Satchel’s Pizza
1800 NE 23rd Ave
Gainesville, FL 32609
Phone: 352-335-7272

2) Best Thin Pizza – Italian Gator
It’s a window between Gator City and Jimmy Johns in midtown. Parking options suck because of campus, and there’s limited choices in general. But just get the cheese pizza. It’s hands-down the best regular pizza in town. The crust / sauce / cheese balance is just right.

Italian Gator
1728 W. University Ave.
Gainesville, FL 32603
Phone: 352-367-4600

3) Best Old Gainesville – Leonardo’s by the Pan
Leo’s hasn’t changed in as long as I can remember. The wooden shingles and faux-stained glass inside. The booths. The crossword on the wall. The sauce is chunky and mysterious. The garlic rolls are tasty, dense dough balls. The pizza is unmistakably handmade. They call it Chicago-style, but it’s old school Gainesville with a touch of hippie.

Leonardo’s Millhopper
4131 NW 16th blvd.
Gainesville, FL 32605
Phone: 352-376-2001

4) Best chain/franchise – Piesano’s
Not going to lie. I do get suckered into chains and franchises, and I’m not going to turn down decent pizza. I have to give props to Piesano’s because of the diversity of their selection and options.

Piesano’s Stone Fired Pizza
check their website for the three locations and contact info:

5) Best Late Night Travesty – Five Star
Despite what I feel like the next day, there is nothing like being downtown when the bars are letting out, and catching one of the wandering Five Star guys for cash-for-hot-pizza. You have to sit in the doorway of a closed business and eat it right from the box with friends, burning the shit out of your mouth. If you hate this experience, you’re old and can stay home.

Five Star Downtown
210 SW 2nd Ave
Gainesville, FL 32601
Phone: 352-375-5600

More you should know about:

Big Lou’s – I’ve had enough pizza here to say it’s hit or miss. When it’s good, it’s great. And when it’s bad, it’s not too bad. Plus it’s nice to sit on the patio downtown and people watch.

Big Lou’s NY Style Pizzeria
5 SE 2nd Ave
Gainesville, FL 32601
Phone: 352-335-7123

Leonardo’s by the Slice – Part of the Leonard’s 706 & Bistro1245 family, Leo’s by the Slice is a cornerstone of Gainesville pizza, and an integral part of the college experience. Parking is atrocious, and the place is kind of grubby, but the pizza is good and quick. I’ve lived in town long enough to know people who worked there, and have some hesitation about the state of the kitchen. But that’s hearsay for now. I’ll still eat there for old time’s sake.

Leonardo’s by the Slice
1245 W University Ave
Gainesville, FL 32601
Phone: 352-375-2007

A Perfect Pie – mad props for bringing options to Northeast G’ville. And this guy is from New York. He even has NY plates on his car. So as sketchy as this place might look when you pull up, take a chance to try a hidden NE gem. If you remember Lisa pizza in the mall back in the 90s, you’ll know what I’m talking about. Just a little less greasy.

A Perfect Pie
1818 NE Waldo Rd.
Gainesville, FL 32609
Phone: 352-745-7898

Huge note: I have not food-trucked it so I can’t have an opinion about Humble Pie or Ameraucana Wood Fire. Yet.