These pies are just what you’re looking for.
207 2nd Ave SE, Cedar Rapids
Offering slices over lunch for office-dwellers and with late-night hours for bar-hoppers, this pizza place delivers what downtown Cedar Rapids was in search of. If you’re not on-the-go, grab a table and order a whole pizza to your exacting specifications. Choose from Red (tomato sauce and mozzarella), White (sauce-less with mozzarella and garlic), or Plain (tomato sauce and garlic, but no mozzarella) to get started, and pile on the toppings as you like. Standard topping choices make up the bulk of the menu, but interesting options like mashed potatoes, clams and giardiniera are peppered in to keep things lively.
126 E Washington St, Iowa City
With no street-level presence to draw you in, dinner at the restaurant formerly known as Hearth is not always top of mind. Enter the modestly marked door next to One Twenty Six on Washington Street. Clamber up the short flight of stairs; to the right is sister restaurant Moonrakers, but to the left is the wood-fired oven signaling you’ve reached your destination: a secret cozy hideaway overlooking downtown Iowa City. The light and crispy flatbreads and pizzas here are rounded out by an internationally-inspired menu, but the important thing to put on your radar is the Wednesday Night Pizza Dinner. A specialty salad, pizza of your choice, dessert, and a glass of Cabernet, Chardonnay or sparkling wine is just $20 per person.
121 Iowa Ave, Iowa City
Many a diner comes here for a plate of their famous Roasted Butternut Squash Ravioli. Or the Sunday Spaghetti and Meatballs. Or maybe, like me, this is your favorite happy hour spot. But have you tried their pizza? With the wood-fired oven on full display to the dining room, one would hope the answer is yes, but in case you’re too pleased with the noodles to have tried something else, let me vouch for their pizza. The housemade crust strikes just the right balance between crispy and chewy, and the freshly made mozzarella is delightful as a standalone topping or in concert with other gourmet options.
The winner? The Quatro Formaggi—a harmonious blend of four cheeses over a thin crust, pulled out of the oven and piled high with a heavy serving of peppery arugula. It’s a pizza and salad at once—a whole meal in just one slice.
Motley Cow Cafe
160 N Linn St, Iowa City
Sitting at the bar with a glass of wine and a pizza at the Cow makes for a truly quintessential Iowa City moment. Surrounded by the neighborhood regulars and warmed by the wood-fired oven across the open kitchen, things feel easy and simple. Never boasting a bonafide pizza menu, the Motley Cow casually slips their select pizza offerings under their supper menu and the small changing selection of pizzas dazzles diners—not necessarily on paper, but when presented tableside.
Local and organic ingredients are used in the kitchen as often as possible to create a gourmet dining experience that’s as comfortable yet luxurious as your favorite cashmere sweater.
Maggie’s Farm Wood-Fired Pizza
1100 3rd St SE, Cedar Rapids,
1300 Melrose Ave, Iowa City
It’s hard to beat a sizzling pizza fresh out of a wood-fired oven. At Maggie’s in NewBo City Market, you can surely count on a piping hot New Haven-style pizza, but their pizza is made even better by pulling up a seat and watching as your pie undergoes its flame-licked transformation from raw ingredients to perfectly charred and chewy. Old-school menu choices mingle among more decadent options, and you’ll even notice a breakfast pizza at Farmer’s Market events where the crew regularly shows up with a mobile pizza oven.
With a permanent Johnson County location in the works for early spring, Maggie’s Farm Pizza is poised to be yet another feather in Iowa City’s culinary cap. Trust that no matter which location you choose, you’ll leave this family-run operation happy and satisfied.
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