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LV Recommends: Three restaurants that prove Cedar Rapids wins at pizza


Tomaso’s Detroit-style pizza is a thing of beauty. — Joseph Servey/Little Village

Across this Iowan landscape there stands a little known hill. A hill that I would die upon. A hill called Cedar Rapids is the Best Pizza Town in the State.

“Balderdash; [insert city here] has the best pizza!” you may have just exclaimed. But allow me to present three exemplary Cedar Rapidian pizzerias:

Starting with Zoey’s… OK, yes, Zoey’s is in Marion, but “Marion” is still basically Cedar Rapids (please send your complaints to editor@littlevillagemag.com). Let’s just move on: Zoey’s first opened its doors in 1991 and across these decades has been making some of the finest Chicago-style pizza outside of the Windy City and furthermore, having eaten at many of Chicago’s best, I would dare assert Zoey’s can go toe-to-toe with any of them. Sure, they also do a thin crust and it’s great, but CR has a lot of that. I go to Zoey’s because the next best thing is a 4+-hour drive.

Zoey’s Pizzeria (690 10th St, Marion) — Zak Neumann/Little Village

Next up is Tomaso’s (on Center Point Road near the co-op). Like Zoey’s, Tomaso’s also does an exceptional Chicago deep dish and a New York thin crust, but you go to Tomaso’s for their Detroit. Before I get into that — we need to talk Tomaso’ses. There are several in the area (plus a semi-related spot called Rosco’s) and they’re all good, but I am specifically talking about the original location, which is independent from the rest. Got it? Good. As I was saying, the Detroit-style pizza is a thing of beauty. Imagine, if you will, a deep-dish pizza whose cheese is taken all the way out to the far edges where it perfectly caramelizes. If I had to pick an all-time favorite pizza, or just favorite food, this is it. Tomaso’s: subjectively and objectively great.

Tomaso’s (3234 Center Point Rd NE, Cedar Rapids) — Joseph Servey/Little Village

Let us finish with Need Pizza. If the deep-dish stylings of Chicago and Detroit aren’t to your liking (because, I don’t know, maybe you lack taste. Please send your complaints to editor@littlevillagemag.com), then this one’s for you. Need makes New Haven-style pizza, which is like a cousin to the classic New York ’za but lighter on cheese and with a thinner, chewy/charred crust that’s a bit bagel’ish.

Need Pizza, Cedar Rapids — Zak Neumann/Little Village

At Need, you order your pizza either red, white or plain. Red is with the usual tomato sauce with mozzarella. White is sauceless with olive oil (not a white sauce), garlic and mozzarella. Plain has the red sauce but lacks the mozzarella and is instead sprinkled with parmesan. You’ll figure it out and it will be delicious however you choose to build it. Incredible pizza aside, Need also puts as much attention towards their beer selection as they do their food, which is a thing that many places (pizza joints especially) could learn from.

A special shout-out to the new Czech Village spot Hospoda, with great Neapolitan-style pizza and on-point draft selection where one can enjoy a proper Pilsner. Cowabunga!

This article was originally published in Little Village’s December 2022 issues.


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