The Pizza Top-10: Ranking the best pies in Hawktown

Photo by Tim Taranto
Motley Cow — Photo by Tim Taranto

Pizza is a perfect food: The textural contrast between the gooey cheese, the crunch and chew of the crust, the snap of veggies and Italian sausage…you get all your food groups in one place, and can’t help but feel satisfied. A true comfort food. Are you hungry yet? Don’t worry, Little Village‘s ‘Za Top-10 is here for you:

10. The Mill

A visit to Iowa City is not complete without a beer at the Mill, because nothing says comfort like kicking back in a booth with a delicious pizza and soaking up some local sounds.
1-topping 12″: $11.50
Recommended specialty: The Peckinpah, a nod to the Western legend with black beans, chicken, jalapenos, red onions, peppers, tomato, cumin and mozzarella cheese.

9. Mellow Mushroom

Little Village‘s Dear Kiki loves the “Shroom” for their vegan, gluten-free and food allergen accommodations such as soy cheeses and marinated tempeh on their menu.
1-topping 14″: $13.77
Recommended specialty: Red Skin Potato Pie, owner Drew Knudsen’s favorite! “Tastes like a pot roast,” says Knudsen.

Illustration by Tim Taranto
Illustration by Tim Taranto

8. Wig & Pen

When you’re really hungry, hit this classic Coralville pub to catch the Hawks and dive into some deep dish.
1-topping 12″ Chicago-style: $18.75
Recommended specialty: Our Bread and Butter editor Frankie loves the Union Jack (Italian sausage, pepperoni, mushrooms, onions and roasted red peppers) with a Flying Tomato crust.

7. Falbo’s

Quality for the price, Falbo’s does the job.
1-topping medium deep-dish: $12.19
Recommended specialty: The mouth-watering Slaughterhouse Five with pepperoni, Canadian bacon, beef, sausage, bacon and cheddar cheese (not safe for vegetarians).

6. Mesa

Mesa features an extensive and varied menu with a convenient downtown locale.
1-topping 12″: $12
Recommended specialty: Avocado Delight, loaded with black beans, chopped tomatoes, feta cheese and avocados.

5. Pagliai’s

Step back in time and watch young men in paper hats toss some dough around.
1-topping 12″: $13.65
Recommended specialty: I’ve been getting the pepperoni black olive for 25 years and it’s never let me down.

4. Motley Cow

If you’re in the mood for a classy vibe and fresh, local ingredients, stop by the Cow and enjoy a craft cocktail with your ‘za.
Margherita 12″: $14
Recommended specialty: A favorite here is the house-made lamb sausage pizza, with tomato sauce, mozzarella and olives.

Forbidden Planet -- Photo by Eleanore Taft
Forbidden Planet — Photo by Eleanore Taft

3. Basta

Basta can accommodate your birthday celebration, or offer a quiet corner to share a ‘za with your sweetheart. The wine list offers the opportunity to explore some unique, earthy Italian wines that perfectly complement your ‘za.
1-topping 12″: $14.50
Recommended specialty: Add tomatoes and white anchovies to the Margherita San.

2. Forbidden Planet

For good coffee, cocktails and solid ‘za with the bonus of classic arcade games while you wait.
1-topping thin crust 12″: $11.25
Recommended specialty: Visit Margheritaville with the Master Jimmy Buffett: San Marzano tomatoes, brined mozzarella and basil. Or save some cash during lunch with their $5 made-to-order “metro slice” and soda deal.

1. Lincoln Wine Bar

Lincoln Wine Bar in Mount Vernon has all of the things — Beautiful wood-fired oven, live music, swanky ambiance, and a combination of locally sourced produce and fine imported seafood topping their ‘za. Worth the trip.
Margherita 12″: $12
Recommended Specialty: When the ingredients are this flavorful, a simple arugula and pesto pizza can blow your mind.

Curious what's happening this weekend? Sign up here to stay in the know.

Publisher’s Choice Award: The Wedge

“Sometimes I shed real tears that I can no longer buy a slice of the nutcracker between meetings downtown,” said Little Village publisher and “Godfather of the Late-night Slice” Matthew Steele.

Editor’s Note:

While it is with great joy that we celebrate the hard work of area restaurants, growers and chefs, it is also important that we acknowledge all of those in our community who are in need of food. The Johnson County Crisis Center Food Bank is located on 1121 Gilbert Court with food donations accepted Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., with the exception of Tuesday when the Food Bank is open until 7:00 p.m. Canned and dried foods, toiletries and fresh produce is greatly appreciated as well as financial contributions.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Little Village's

From Aug. 1-Sept. 30, cast your vote for your favorite places, people, eats and entertainment around the Cedar Rapids and Iowa City area.

Don't forget to explain your picks! The best answers will be published in LV's Best of the CRANDIC issue, out Dec. 3, 2019.

For 18 years...

Little Village has been telling the truth and changing our little corner of the world.

If you can, help us head into the next 18 years even stronger with a one-time or monthly contribution of $18, or any amount you choose.


A collaboration between The Englert Theatre and FilmScene


Help us build the greatest small city for the arts in America—right here in Iowa City. Learn more »

Donate Today

Strengthen • Grow • Evolve is a collaborative campaign led by two Iowa City-based arts nonprofits, The Englert Theatre and FilmScene that seeks a major reinvestment to strengthen the arts through modern and historic venues, innovative programming, and new models of collaboration.