The New York Times blew into Asheville in 2016 and threw down a pretty cutting insult to the city. The mountain town is known for many things, reporter Jane Black wrote, before adding: “Pizza, though, is not one of them.” Since then, things have decidedly changed. Good pizza can now be found all around town, from a fancy downtown cocktail bar to a food truck that pops up randomly at breweries. Based on these 11 pizzaiolos, it’s time to add Italian pie to the list of things Asheville does well.Read More
11 Stops for Amazing Pizza in Asheville, North Carolina
From New York slices to Italian pies, Asheville offers a range of pizzas
Asheville Pizza & Brewing Co
Like the name suggests, Asheville Pizza & Brewing serves American-style bar pies, often with pretty wild topping combinations, like curry tofu on a coconut crust and spicy fried chicken with pimento cheese. While there are three locations now, the best spot for these pies is in the north location’s movie theater, often sold out and full of locals who wash down first-run films with the brewery’s specialty, a Perfect Day IPA.
Vinnie's Neighborhood Italian
“Welcome to Vinnie’s,” the entire staff yells every time anybody walks in the door — the first sign that this neighborhood spot, now with a couple locations in town, embraces its regulars. Chef Eric Scheffer, who also owns Jettie Rae’s, designed the menu to mimic the Italian-American restaurants he loved growing up on Long Island, with New York-style pies that get just a bit charred in the oven and sit on old-school metal pedestals in the center of the table.
Tin Can Pizzeria
A pop-up that appears around town at breweries and concerts, Tin Can cooks up cute little 10-inch pies in a 600-degree oven. The results are thin-crust pizzas headlined by a white pie with greens, red onions, and what seems like equal parts of garlic and bacon.
Pizza nerds take notice: Contrada hits all the key metrics. First, there’s the dough, simultaneously fluffy and firm, a bit sour from a 24-hour ferment. Then there’s the crackly bottom, leopard-spotted from a quick trip in a hot oven, and dusted with semolina. Finally, there are the toppings, which change nightly and have included a bold red-sauce-only rosso pie, peaches with prosciutto, and stracciatella with black truffles. The limited menu often includes a handful of salads and sometimes sandwiches, along with a fine wine list and cocktails on tap. All of this happens in a space no bigger than a walk-in closet that looks like a European aperitif bar, with shaded tables outside along pedestrian-focused Wall Street. If it’s raining and both of the two (that’s right: two) tables inside are taken, there’s always a tight row of window seats that can — luckily — just barely fit a pizza tray.
Manicomio Pizza & Food
Yes, Manicomio serves up large New York-style pizzas, calzones, and strombolis to-order. But the real reason to come is for the by-the-slice menu — cheese, pepperoni, and a daily vegan option. Starting at $3.25 a slice, there’s no better pizza bargain downtown, from a no-frills, indoor-outdoor space right on Biltmore Avenue.
White Labs Brewing Co.
Before it became a brewpub in Asheville, White Labs produced the yeast used by lots of breweries in town. So it makes sense that the folks behind that kind of discipline created a pizza as if perfected by science — the spot-on dough is just the right amounts of charred and crispy. The ingredients also seem crowd-tested, like tried-and-true medlies of mushrooms and ricotta or sausage with peppers and onions.
Harvest Pizzeria Asheville
This mini-chain out of Ohio converted a long-decrepit spot on the South Slope into something stunning, with an industrial two-story dining room and a rooftop deck featuring views of Mount Pisgah. The pizzas here are Instagram photo-worthy — the margherita is a balance between red sauce and islands of mozzarella, while the pepperoni is a study in how to get little cups to curl and crisp.
All Souls Pizza
It would be difficult to find a more idyllic spot for a pizza, with a minimalist yet charming dining room, a few picnic benches spread out under twinkling lights, and kids and dogs playing in the neighboring garden. It’s good news that the pies are equally as wonderful, made from ingredients sourced from North Carolina purveyors, including foragers who scour the forests nearby for mushrooms and ramps. The dough comes courtesy of local grains, milled and then long fermented into a dough that hits all the marks, sour and just-right chewy.
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Pie Zaa Pizza
With its spot surrounded by South Slope breweries, Pie Zaa figured out its crowd by designing a by-the-slice pizza place, serving brewers stopping in for a quick lunch and the late-night crowds. With just a couple of tables on the sidewalk and few seats inside, this is a quaint little spot to soak up all those IPAs. The pizzas here are massive circles of cracker-like New York-style crust covered in a whole lot of mozzarella and just a few potential toppings, including pepperoni, sausage, or the “garden” with onion, artichoke, red pepper, and mushrooms.
Fresh Wood Fired Pizza West
One of Asheville’s only Neapolitan-style pizza spots, Fresh Wood Fired takes the pizza-making process seriously, from sourcing some of its cheeses locally to an oven that burns at 800 degrees. With a background in the art world, owner Mark Tomczak opened Fresh in a quirky River Arts District location and added an undeniable flair to his toppings, including the Alaskan with smoked salmon and a white pizza with blue cheese, pears, and walnuts.
The owners of West Asheville mainstay West Asheville Lounge and Kitchen created another anchor to Haywood Road when they opened Pizza Mind in 2016. Pies here are crispy bar-style numbers with toppings like Carolina barbecue, taco, buffalo chicken, and roasted beets with cauliflower. There’s a sports-bar-esque vibe in the dining room, but Pizza Mind’s staff will also carry orders to Archetype, the brewery next door.