Herein we offer the most comprehensive possible round-up of Louisvilleâ€™s pizzas. â€œComprehensiveâ€ means they returned our call. We asked the cityâ€™s pizza chefs to trot out their best pizza and let us sample and photograph it to bring you the most in-depth local pizza guide.
In the process of writing and shooting this story, we learned that there is more to pizza than New York style and deep dish. Local pizza chefs taught us the meaning of â€œLouisville styleâ€ pizza, which features the thin crust of a New York pizza but with more plentiful toppings. What could be better? We also learned that pizzas donâ€™t have to be round and that a â€œbig green eggâ€ is no egg, but a ceramic pizza oven. Read and enjoy!
Chef:Â Jacob Fernando Coronado
Pizza:Â The South Side
Main ingredients:Â Oven-dried tomato, Italian sausage, pepperoni, pickled fennel.
What makes it different:Â â€œReally, itâ€™s the dough. We created it from nothing.â€
Pizza philosophy:Â â€œWhat makes pizza good is the dough … You always want to keep your dough at room temperature before you shape it and put it in the oven.â€
Local ingredients:Â Kentucky Proud Broadbent Ham; 90 percent of the produce is from local farmerâ€™s markets.
Taste:Â Crust is solid, starchy and slightly smoky; tangy sauce weighs in against the subtle use of fennel.
Where else the chef goes for pizza:Â The Post
Seating:Â Pizza is available at the bar and in the outdoor dining area.
Hours:Â The Dining Room: Sunday: 5:30 â€“ 9 p.m.; Monday – Thursday: 5:30 â€“ 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday: 5:30 â€“ 11 p.m.
The Rooftop Bar: Sunday 4 â€“ 11 p.m.; Monday – Thursday: 4 p.m. â€“ midnight; Friday and Saturday: 4 p.m. â€“ 2 a.m.
350 W. Chestnut St.,Â Louisville, KY 40202
Chef:Â George Timmering
Pizza:Â Mama Bearnoâ€™s
Main ingredients:Â Sausage, pepperoni, mushrooms, onions, green peppers, black olives, mozzarella.
What makes it different:Â Crust is thin, but not cracker thin; sausage portion is generous, and both types of olives â€“ black and green â€“ appear on the pizza.
Pizza philosophy:Â â€œPizza is an indulgence, and people want to enjoy it.â€
Taste:Â Rich, cheesy and hearty
Where else the chef goes for pizza:Â DiOrioâ€™s Pizza & Pub
Seating (Highlands location):Â Two dining rooms, a bar, outdoor patios in front and back and party room upstairs.
Hours (Highlands location):Â Monday – Thursday: 4 p.m. â€“ midnight; Friday and Saturday 3 p.m. â€“ 4 a.m.; Sunday 3 p.m. â€“ midnight.
13 locations around Louisville and Southern Indiana.
General Manager:Â Bryan Beach
Pizza:Â Carnitas Libre
Style:Â Fusion of American and Spanish/Mexican
Main ingredients:Â Ranchero sauce, roasted carnitas pork, carmelized onions and peppers, roma tomatoes, cilantro, lime wedge, topped with mozzarella and asiago cheeses. Served with creamy garlic sauce and green chili jam.
What makes it different:Â Founding Chef Tony Boombozzâ€™s dedication to recipes. â€œHe is relentless in trying different things until he finds a winner.â€
Pizza philosophy:Â â€œWe run a scratch kitchen.â€ Because of the proprietary recipes, â€œyou canâ€™t make it better yourself.â€
Taste:Â Try the green chili jam topping for a taste that is cheesy, spicy and sweet all at the same time.
Where else the manager goes for pizza:Â He doesnâ€™t really eat out, but when heâ€™s home with the kids, they get Dominoâ€™s.
Seating (Highlands location):Â Two dining rooms, a big bar and party room.
Hours:Â Sunday – Thursday: 11 a.m. â€“ 11 p.m.; Friday and Saturday: 11 a.m. â€“ midnight.
Six locations in Louisville and Southern Indiana.
Chef/Owner/Operator:Â Mark Langley
Pizza:Â Barbecue Chicken Pizza
Main ingredients:Â Chicken, cheddar, BBQ sauce.
What makes it different:Â Smoked chicken and peppadew peppers, imported from Africa, which are sweet and contrast nicely with the Sweet Baby Rayâ€™s BBQ sauce.
Pizza philosophy:Â â€œI believe in the â€˜Wow!â€™ factor. I want people to look at it and say â€˜Wow,â€™â€ says Langley. He believes in big portions and good value for the customerâ€™s money.
Taste:Â The peppadew peppers really are surprisingly sweet and blend well with the barbecue sauce.
Where else the chef goes for pizza:Â His 9-year-old son insists on Papa Johnâ€™s.
Seating:Â Quite ample: A main dining room, service bar, upstairs dining room with live music most nights, an outdoor patio and a room in the back for private groups.
Hours:Â Sunday: 1 p.m. â€“ 10 p.m.; Tuesday – Thursday 11 a.m. â€“ 11 p.m.; Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. â€“ midnight.
2230 Frankfort Ave.
Louisville, KY 40206
Owner:Â Madeline Peters
Pizza:Â The Middletown
Main ingredients:Â Margarita pepperoni, Italian sausage, mozzarella, red sauce, oregano, Romano cheese, mushrooms.
What makes it different:Â It hearkens back to the days when coal was the only cooking fuel available. Coals has recreated that taste with a coal oven, but the result is a hybrid of Italian and American cuisines. A higher-protein flour gives the crust its chewiness, and the dough is fermented so that it stays light and airy when baking.
Pizza philosophy:Â â€œPassion.â€
Taste:Â Crust is exactly the right degree of chewy. Very faint char blends well with the flavor of sausage.
Where else the owner goes for pizza:Â Keste in Manhattan and Pizzeria Bianco in Phoenix.
Seating:Â Dining room, bar, outdoor patio and upstairs private party room.
Hours:Â Sunday: Noon â€“ 9 p.m.; Monday â€“ Thursday: 11:30 a.m. â€“ 9:30 p.m.; Friday and Saturday: 11:30 a.m. â€“ 10:30 p.m.
3724 Frankfort Ave.
Louisville, KY 40207
Chef/Owner/Operator:Â Danny Mac
Pizza:Â Hot Brown Pizza
Style:Â Danny Mac style
Main ingredients:Â Kentucky ham, turkey, tomatoes, bacon, homemade mornay sauce, extra cheese.
What makes it different:Â The square shape makes use of the delivery box. Mac says, â€œI never follow the rules. I use really good ingredients. Never skimpy.â€
Pizza philosophy:Â â€œIf you make something really good, people will pay a couple more dollars for it, and maybe people will tell each other.â€
Taste:Â Creamy, buttery, salty and very hearty.
Where else the chef goes for pizza:Â â€œI never cheat.â€
Seating:Â Two dining rooms inside the American Veterans Post. The bar is run by the American Veterans. You must ring the doorbell to be admitted.
Hours:Â Sunday: 1 â€“ 10 p.m.; Monday â€“ Thursday: 4 â€“ 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday: 11 a.m. â€“ 11 p.m.
1567 S. Shelby St.
Louisville, KY 40217
Owners and Managers:Â Tim Henderson, Scott Worden, Tony DiOrio,Â Ryan Hines, Little Victor DiOrio and Martha Prage
Pizza:Â Aaronâ€™s Heat and Sweet
Main ingredients:Â Pesto, spicy sausage, pineapple, jalapeÃ±os, sweet onions, pepperoni, basil â€“ all covered in fresh mozzarella.
What makes it different:Â Dough and sauce made fresh daily. Maureen Steiden Miller created DiOrioâ€™s balsamic vinaigrette. The 30-inch gibbon pizza is one of the largest pizzas in the state.
Pizza philosophy:Â â€œOur executive chef, Tony DiOrio, spends hours and hours every week working at maintaining the highest quality pizza from the highest quality sourced products on the market.â€
Taste:Â Pineapple lends sweetness to a pizza thatâ€™s predominantly â€œhotâ€ from jalapeÃ±os and spices; fluffy crust.
Where else the owner goes for pizza:Â â€œTony doesnâ€™t cheat â€¦. but he used to be in a very serious relationship with Bearnoâ€™ s.â€
Seating (Highlands location):Â Big bar, one dining room downstairs, three tables by kitchen and an upstairs overflow room, which can also be rented for private parties.
Hours (Highlands location):Â Sunday: 11 a.m. â€“ 11 p.m.; Monday – Thursday: 11 a.m. â€“ midnight; Friday and Saturday: 11 a.m. â€“ 4 a.m.
919 Baxter Ave., Louisville, KY 40204 and 310 Wallace Ave., Louisville, KY 40207
502.614.8424 and 502.618.3424
Chef:Â Richard Sible
Pizza:Â Country ham
Main ingredients:Â Country ham, arugula and parmesan.
Local ingredients:Â â€œAlmost everything â€“ every bit of meat, blue cheese, leeks.â€
What makes it different:Â The wood-fired pizza oven along with all the flour is imported from Italy.
Pizza philosophy:Â â€œKeep it simple and showcase something cool.â€œ
Taste:Â The saltiness of the ham combines with the sweetness of the peach in a taste explosion.
Where else the chef goes for pizza:Â DiOrioâ€™s Pizza & Pub
Seating:Â Ample: two full rooms for tables, a bar, a counter and a large outdoor patio.
Hours:Â Sunday: 11 a.m. â€“ 10 p.m.; Monday â€“ Thursday, 5 â€“ 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday: 11 a.m. â€“ 11 p.m.
700 E. Market St.
Louisville, KY 40202
Chef:Â David Powell
Pizza:Â The Sampler
Main ingredients:Â Italian sausage, pepperoni, ham, mushrooms, onions, green peppers, banana peppers, black and green olives.
Local ingredients:Â They buy ground beef and beer cheese at the Highland Fish Market.
What makes it different:Â Everything is homemade daily; sausage is ground in-house; pizzas layer toppings with cheese.
Pizza philosophy:Â â€œWe always want to make the best.â€
Taste:Â Sweet sauce and spicy sausage.
Where else the chef goes for pizza:Â Wickâ€™s in Goose Creek
Seating (Highlands location):Â Big dining room, big bar and eleven tables outside.
Hours (Highlands location):Â Sunday: noon â€“ 11 p.m.; Monday – Thursday: 4 â€“ 11p.m.; Friday and Saturday: noon â€“ midnight
1381 Bardstown Road, Louisville, KY 40204 and 110 W. Main St., Louisville, KY 40202
502.454.2711 and 502.589.4900
Owner:Â Michael J. Spurlock
Pizza:Â Buffalo Chicken Ranch
Main ingredients:Â Fried chicken, housemade spicy buffalo sauce, bacon, ranch dressing.
What makes it different:Â Faithful to Detroit style of pizza, which was originally baked in assembly parts pans. To replicate that taste, Loui Louiâ€™s uses blue-steel square pans that impart a char and yield a crispy crust. Proprietary cheese blend is imported from Detroit.
Pizza philosophy:Â â€œIt needs to be fresh and artisan style or thereâ€™s no hope for it.â€
Taste:Â Buffalo sauce is so tangy, you donâ€™t miss the tomato sauce.
Where else the chef goes for pizza:Â Louiâ€™s in Detriot
Seating:Â Two dining rooms and many tables at the bar, three tables outside and a party room in back.
Hours:Â Sunday: noon â€“ 9 p.m.; Tuesday and Wednesday: 11:30 a.m. â€“ 9 p.m.;Â Friday and Saturday, 11:30 a.m. â€“ 11 p.m.
10212 Taylorsville Road
Jeffersontown, KY 40299
Co-Owner:Â Daniel Borsch
Pizza:Â The Pile Driver
Style:Â Pan pizza
Main ingredients:Â Ham, salami, pepperoni, bacon, sausage.
What makes it different:Â â€œWe make our dough from scratch. We make our sauce from scratch. We use premium ingredients. I donâ€™t think thereâ€™s a lot of places in Louisville that do a pan pizza. Kind of the classic, old style has kind of fallen out of favor but is really a great go-to pizza on a regular basis.â€
Pizza philosophy:Â â€œMake the best pizza you can. Serve it with fresh made sauces. The quality speaks for itself.â€
Taste:Â A fluffy buttery crust and very, very meaty.
Where else the co-owner goes for pizza:Â CafÃ© Lou Lou
Seating:Â Dining room with a few seats on the sidewalk outside.
Hours:Â Monday – Friday: 11 a.m. â€“ 9 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday: 4 â€“ 9 p.m.
1203 S. First St.,
Louisville, KY 40203
Manager:Â Maggie Patterson
Pizza:Â Summer pizza
Style:Â New York
Main ingredients:Â Olive oil, roasted garlic, fresh spinach, heirloom tomatoes, goat cheese, balsamic reduction drizzle.
Local ingredients:Â Produce and pork from Creation Gardens.
What makes it different:Â Fresh ingredients: they cure their own pork bellies, and one employee is devoted to nothing but preparation every day.
Pizza philosophy:Â â€œIt has to be thin with a little bit of crunch,â€ says pizza chef, Justin. Patterson adds that New York pizza is really tricky because the crust is so thin, so the ratio of dough to cheese to sauce has to be really exact.
Taste:Â The balsamic finish poses a sweet and tangy counterpoint to the savor of the goat cheese.
Where else the chef goes for pizza:Â â€œI canâ€™t [go anywhere else]. it just doesnâ€™t feel right.â€
Seating:Â Big dining room with tables and booths, a full bar and patio.
Hours:Â Sunday – Thursday: noon â€“ 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, noon â€“ 10 p.m.
3598 Springhurst Blvd.
Louisville, KY 40241
Chef:Â Ben Carlisle
Pizza:Â Central Park Porker
Main ingredients:Â Capicola ham, housemade sausage, pepperoni, mozzarella, seasonings.
Local ingredients:Â â€œAnything we can get our hands onâ€ i.e. tomatoes, peaches, garlic, corn.
What makes it different:Â A thinner crust, says Chef Ben. â€œItâ€™s filling, but doesnâ€™t make you feel all doughy inside.â€
Pizza philosophy:Â â€œFlavor â€“ thatâ€™s what counts.â€
Taste:Â Everything you expect in a three-meat pizza with some curveball spices.
Where else the chef goes for pizza:Â Pizza Perfect in Nashville.
Seating:Â Limited: four seats inside and four outside. However, they also deliver to the Mag Bar next door.
Hours:Â Sunday: 1 p.m. â€“ 1 a.m.; Monday – Saturday: noon â€“ 2 a.m.
1396 S. Second St.,
Louisville, KY 40208
Chef:Â Hollis Barnett
Main ingredients:Â Sausage, pepperonatta, Italian cheese blend, taleggio
Local ingredients:Â Mushrooms from Sheltowee Farm and produce from the chefâ€™s own garden.
What makes it different:Â â€œWe try to put our own spin on it.â€
Pizza philosophy:Â It should be simple and make use of seasonal ingredients. â€œGood crust is key.â€
Taste:Â Fresh vegetables pop with flavor
Where else the chef goes for pizza:Â Boombozz Taphouse
Seating:Â Ample: Big dining room, bar, outdoor patio and a room for private parties.
Hours:Â Monday – Thursday 5:30 â€“ 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday 5:30 â€“ 11 p.m.
2730 Frankfort Ave.,
Louisville, KY 40206
Owner:Â Nash Neely
Pizza:Â South Pacific
Style:Â New York
Main ingredients:Â Garlic, olive oil, ham, bacon, pineapple, onion, roasted red pepper, sweet chili drizzle.
What makes it different:Â The thinness, texture and flavor of the crust and the creativity of the menu.
Pizza philosophy:Â â€œI eat pizza every day. Itâ€™s the best food on the planet.â€
Taste:Â Sweet and tangy with citrus notes. Ham and bacon are subtle but potent.
Where else the chef goes for pizza:Â Wickâ€™s
Seating:Â Big dining room, big bar and outdoor patio.
Hours:Â Sunday – Monday: 11 a.m. â€“ 2 a.m.; Wednesday â€“ Saturday: 11 a.m. â€“ 2 a.m.
1045 Goss Ave.
Louisville, KY 40217
Owner: Jeff Kopple
Pizza: 4th Street Bourbon Pizza
Style: â€œNew York crust with local flair.â€
Main ingredients: Chicken, bacon, red onions, bourbon glaze sauce.
What makes it different: The bourbon glaze is the ownerâ€™s original recipe. â€œI tinkered with it for six months,â€ says Kopple.
Pizza philosophy: â€œAlways local; always fresh.â€
Taste: Bourbon and bacon together at last. Need we say more?
Where else the owner goes for pizza: Johnny Vâ€™s and Chubby Rayâ€™s
Seating: Midsize dining room, window counter and four tables outside.
Hours:Â Sunday: 4 â€“ 11 p.m.; Monday – Thursday: 10 a.m. â€“ midnight; Friday 10 a.m. â€“ 2 a.m.; Saturday: 1 p.m. â€“ 4 a.m.
627 S. Fourth St.
Louisville, KY 40202
Executive Chef/Co-Owner:Â Joshua Moore
Pizza:Â Roasted Cauliflower
Style:Â Neapolitan and artisanal
Main ingredients:Â Ricotta base, cheddar, mozzarella, provolone blend, roasted cauliflower, chopped basil, bourbon apple cider reduction, fresh-squeezed lemon.
What makes it different:Â â€œAs far as I know, weâ€™re the only restaurant in the city cooking all of our flatbread pizzas on the big green egg. Weâ€™re very happy with the amount of heat we get on the pizza stone, the way the heat holds and the flavor that you get from that hardwood charcoal.â€ Volare has partnered with Big Green Egg and Browsboro Hardware.
Pizza philosophy:Â â€œWe want to use the best, freshest ingredients. We want to be proud of everything we put out and everything we serve.â€
Taste:Â Smooth and creamy with a nice bit of texture thanks to the cauliflower and hint of acidity from the bourbon apple cider and freshly squeezed lemon.
Where else the chef goes for pizza:Â Coals Artisan Pizza, Bearnoâ€™s, Blaze
Seating:Â Pizza can only be ordered at the bar.
Hours:Â Sunday – Thursday: 5 â€“ 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday: 5 â€“ 11 p.m.
2300 Frankfort Ave.
Louisville, KY 40206
Owner: Jim Rigby
Pizza: Summer version of the Garden Zaâ€™s
Main ingredients: Fresh-made dough, tomato sauce, fresh spinach, tomato cubes, garlic, asiago cheese.
What makes it different: Itâ€™s craft oriented: every pizza starts with a hand tossed crust and is baked in a deck oven. â€œYou get extra cheese on every pizza; you really donâ€™t have to ask for it.â€
Pizza philosophy: â€œI didnâ€™t set this up to be the fastest. I didnâ€™t set it up to be the cheapest. I want it to be the best.â€
Taste: The thin crisp crust is an excellent platform to showcase fresh vegetables â€“ itâ€™s relatively light for pizza.
Where else the owner goes for pizza: Rich Oâ€™s Public House
Seating: Midsize dining room and bar, four tables outside and a back room for parties.
Hours:Â Sunday 4 â€“ 11 p.m.; Monday – Thursday, 11:30 a.m. â€“ 11 p.m.;Â Friday and Saturday, 11:30 a.m. â€“ 1 a.m.
1573 Bardstown Road, Louisville, KY 40205