Pizza is a quintessential American food, and there are so many ways to slice it (pun intended)! From huge floppy New York slices to saucy Chicago-style deep dish, from crispy Neapolitan pies to crusty Detroit-style squares, pizza has so many shapes and sizes and we can’t help but love them all right here in Knoxville. Now a list of “the best” pizza in Knoxville is a bit too daunting (remember our sandwiches post? Same thing!), so we decided to share one spot from each area of the city – north, south, east, west, and downtown. Bookmark this for later so you can try them all, a great way to celebrate National Pizza Day!
South Coast Pizza - South
Let’s coast into this list with the laid-back South Coast Pizza, aptly named for being on the southern waterfront of the Tennessee River. This spot is an easy cross over the Gay Street Bridge from Downtown, and nestled on Sevier Ave with its equally cool SoKno neighbors the Landing House, Honeybee Coffee, and Alliance Brewing Co. Their pies pay homage to their neighbors and the neighborhood itself. Try an AMBC Lady Shredder (Red base, Sun-dried Tomato, Mushroom, Banana Pepper, Mozzarella, Arugula, Parmesan). AMBC is the Appalachian Mountain Bike Club (Knoxville has a very active mountain biking scene), and a lady shredder is a woman who enjoys mountain biking. Or try the Island Home (Red base, Italian Sausage, Pineapple, Bacon, Spinach, Mozzarella). Island Home is the historic neighborhood adjacent to SCP. “No shirt, no shoes, no problem” might be the motto here – expect to find picnic tables, a unique beer selection, and exceptionally chill vibes. You might think you’ve been transported to San Diego after an experience here, but nope – you’re still in Knoxville.
Pizza Palace - East
Let’s throw a drive-in to the mix with Pizza Palace in East Knoxville. This is a Knoxville staple, established in 1961 by the Peroulas brothers, a pair of Greek immigrants. Come August, they will celebrate 60 years in business! This tried-and-true restaurant has even been featured on Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. In addition to the obvious pizza, their must-try item has got to be their onion rings. No idea what their secret is, but we can promise they’re some of the best. They’re also known for their spaghetti, sandwiches, and homemade pies. Be sure to start your meal with a classic Greek salad and thank the brothers that started it all.
Central Flats & Taps – North
Central Flats & Taps on…you guessed it…Central…is a delightful find in the heart of the Happy Holler neighborhood. Their twist on pizza is using naan, a type of bread popular in Indian cuisine. These flats have a variety of bases – a traditional marina, a black bean hummus, ricotta cheese, sriracha buffalo sauce and more. Don’t worry – they’re all themed so you don’t have to try to figure out what goes with what. You’ll also find a selection of paninis, wings (both wet sauce and dry toss), and other items to round out the menu. And not to forget the “taps” side of their namesake: their list covers some of the big guys like Guinness and Blue Moon, the regional guys like Wiseacre out of Memphis and Sycamore out of Charlotte, to our local fan favorites like Blackhorse Brewery. Cocktail enthusiasts are not left behind – check out their Sweet & Spicy Marg with the appropriate fine print that it is indeed spicy and cannot be sent back. You’ve been warned!
Little Joe’s – West/Farragut
Looking for a neighborhood hangout, maybe the kind with red checkered tablecloths and a no-nonsense menu? Then Little Joe’s established in Farragut in 1974 might be the ticket. They keep it simple with freshly made dough, home-made sauces, resulting in a memorable thin crust pizza. Consider their pasta options including spaghettini, penne, and cheese ravioli. Oh, and some baked pastas too like lasagna and chicken parmigiana. Add a few subs and that’s that. No muss, no fuss, just a great meal!
A Dopo – Downtown/Old City
If you prefer wood-fired pizza, you’ve found a great spot in A Dopo. This pizzeria specializes in sourdough, Neapolitan style pizzas with a bubbly, charred crust and are minimally topped. Select a red/rossa sauce (organic crushed red tomatoes and sea salt) or white/bianca (mascarpone cheese, local cream & pecorino romano cheese). Expect exceptional ingredients like soppressata salami, prosciutto, Calabrian chiles, and Castelvetrano olives. They have a rotating local beer selection along with selected wines. We won’t argue with their menu’s admonition to “save room for gelato”. By the way, “a dopo" means "see you later" in Italian, not "goodbye"; and we think once you give them a try you’ll certainly be back for more.
We hope this helped you find some delicious options to celebrate National Pizza Day in Knoxville. Still hungry? Head here for more pizzerias!