Celebrating National Pizza Day with Ithaca’s great pizzeria variety

National Pizza Day is this week, and 14850 Dining is celebrating with a look at some of Ithaca’s amazing pizza offerings. There are few topics more polarizing than what constitutes “real pizza,” and depending on where you’re from, your definition may vary quite a bit!

The Dirty Lorenzo at Ciao.

Wood-fired pizzas and flatbreads have spread around town, and we love the 11-inch pies at Ciao on North Triphammer Road. Share an appetizer and a pizza for an affordable meal! Vegan cheese and gluten-free crusts are available, or get a salad on top of your pizza. Our favorite’s the Dirty Lorenzo.

Agava on East Hill cooks lots of things in their wood-fired oven, including the roasted cauliflower, but it’s really there for the flatbreads. They include creative choices like beet and goat cheese, or the Chupacabra with bacon, smoked garlic, and mushrooms.

We’re not in Chicago, but Ithaca does have great deep-dish pizza at The Nines. This square pie is their forte, with a broad array of toppings and a thick crust. The four square slices easily feed two or three people, four if you add appetizers. Their creative toppings include fried eggplant slices and spicy meatballs, and of course they have the usual items as well.

We were delighted to find fresh mushrooms, not canned, at Sal’s.

Sal’s Pizzeria in Ithaca’s west end has one of the area’s best pizzas. The crispy crust isn’t too doughy, the sauce has a real tomato flavor, and there’s plenty of cheese. Sal’s even offers gluten free pizza, using a prepared gluten free crust topped like any other Sal’s pizza.

Or try the pizza at Luna Inspired Street Food, in Collegetown or Downtown, by the slice or the pie, but with more interesting options beyond the pepperoni or chicken bacon ranch, which of course are still there. Thai chicken pizza? Goat cheese and caramelized onions with fig balsamic glaze? Even the “Hawaiian” ham and pineapple has been upgraded with pork carnitas.

Papa John’s may be a national chain, but they make great pizza with fresh veggies and lots of creative specialty pies. Their fun buffalo chicken pizza has chicken, sliced onion, bacon, and creamy ranch. For a more traditional approach, try the spicy Italian sausage, and I suggest extra sauce. They’ve got daily slices-and-soda lunch specials starting at $5, and on “Terrific Tuesdays,” slices and fountain drinks are a dollar each.

If you’ve been reading along to torture yourself because you can’t eat pizza because of its high gluten content, never fear. In addition to that Sal’s gluten-free crust we mentioned, Agava makes gluten-free flatbreads on corn tortillas instead of dough, Ciao has a whole gluten-free menu, and Papa John’s has an Ancient Grains gluten-free crust.

There are certainly other pizzas in town, and I’m sure we’ve missed some people’s favorites. Feel free to let us know which pizzerias we should visit next!

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