Memphis

The Best Pizza Places in Memphis

Hog and Hominy
Hog and Hominy
Hog and Hominy

Let’s face it. Pizza is the perfect food. It’s delicious. It’s shareable. It’s easily modified. And you can pay someone to bring it right to your door. But pizza is so much more than delivery. Memphis’ many casual and fine-dining restaurants from Downtown to Germantown serve up all manner of perfect pies in all manner of styles. We’ve even got a food truck with a wood-fired oven inside! Any way you slice it, these are the best of the best.

Elemento Neapolitan Pizza
Elemento Neapolitan Pizza
Elemento Neapolitan Pizza

Elemento

CrosstownFast casual genuine Neapolitan pizza
Passed down for over five generations, Elemento’s dough is made in the traditional Neapolitan way from imported flour, imported sea salt, fresh yeast, and water from the Memphis Aquifer. The sauce contains only San Marzano tomatoes. The toppings are up to you. This fast-casual restaurant makes pizzas to order in about 90 seconds thanks to their imported wood-fired oven, which can reach 1,000 degrees.

9 Dough 1

Various locationsOld-school mobile pizzeria
Grisanti is a name well known to Memphians and most often associated with delicious Italian food. Alex Grisanti, a fourth-generation restaurateur, was seeking work-life balance when he decided to take the cheflife on the road. Now he turns out gourmet 8-inch personal pizzas featuring lobster, buffalo chicken, barbeque chicken, meat lovers, and lots of fresh veggies. They are all made to order in two minutes.

Slice of Soul Pizza Lounge
Slice of Soul Pizza Lounge
Slice of Soul Pizza Lounge

Slice of Soul Pizza Lounge

Madison HeightsGourmet pizza, cleverly named, and served in style
Memphis’s first pizza lounge is lit. Before ordering, take a minute to read the menu in its entirety as it is the funniest, most badass menu to ever go to print. Slice of Soul’s specialties are pizzas on artisan flatbreads with the best names ever (Al B. Green, Memphis Meat Mafia, BAR-BQ-Kays) and the Westwood whole wings. There is some sort of event — karaoke, trivia, comedy, #blackcoffeecinema, live music, or maybe a DJ — every night and you can count on good times and great food specials.

DoughJo

South MainNew York-style pizza that’s Puck AF
Puck Food Hall features a stall dedicated to perfecting New York Style pizza. Dough Jo, which is owned by the City Block Salumeria folks, can be found in the very back on the second level and definitely has some of the best selection of meat toppings in the city. Though a regular slice of cheese will definitely do ya. Stop in for lunch or dinner.

Trolley Stop Market
Trolley Stop Market
Trolley Stop Market

Trolley Stop Market

Medical DistrictNew York-style pizza with farm-to-table toppings
JillBilly’s Pizza inside the Trolley Stop features New York-style crust and sauce. Since the restaurant has a direct line to Whitton Farms (same owners), customers can count on fresh toppings that please all manner of pizza lovers (but especially the vegans and vegetarians). Buy it by the slice for lunch or dinner or order a whole one for take out or delivery.

Aldo’s Pizza Pies

Downtown/MidtownNew York-style pies that you should get covered in vodka sauce
Aldo’s Midtown location’s rooftop patio is the premiere place to enjoy a slice and a pint in Memphis, weather permitting, though the downtown patio is pretty great for people-watching. This New York-style pie is commonly ordered with Aldo’s famous vodka sauce, which is a go-to for those looking to branch out from regular old tomato. Slices are available at both locations as well as delivery.

Faith Elizabeth Roane
Faith Elizabeth Roane
Faith Elizabeth Roane

Hog & Hominy

East MemphisNeapolitan-style pizza in trendy digs
Thanks to James Beard award-winning chefs Andrew Ticer and Michael Hudman, Hog & Hominy delivers a taste of Italy to your table with the city’s most authentic Neapolitan pizza. Its margherita is likely the best in Memphis, with tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, and fresh basil leaves. The chewy, lightly charred crust can easily be overwhelmed by some of the heavier toppings, but the flavors and textures work so you’d be hard pressed to actually find something to complain about.

Memphis Pizza Cafe

Midtown (& other locations)Super thin and crispy crust with delicious toppings
Memphis Pizza Cafe has crowd-pleasing, super-crispy,¬†thin-crust pizza that can hold its own against any toppings. Its thinness also allows you to eat twice as much as you could at other pizzerias. It makes a mighty fine buffalo chicken pie, but the local favorite is the Alternative, a simple pizza with no sauce — save for olive oil — topped with garlic, tomato, crushed basil, and cheese.

Broadway Pizza

Binghampton/East MemphisThick, hearty pies with the toppings baked under the cheese
Broadway Pizza is a Memphis institution. It served pizza and soul food from an unassuming joint on Broad Ave for decades before opening a second location in East Memphis in 2014. While it’s certainly no deep dish, Broadway offers a thick crust and¬†heavy portions of sauces & toppings, all baked in and under the cheese. You’d be hard-pressed to eat more than a slice or two. Call ahead to reduce your wait time — it takes more than a hot minute to cook these monsters.

High Point Pizza

High PointNeighborhood joint serving thin-crust pies to hungry locals
High Point is your quintessential neighborhood pizza joint, located right near the access point to the Shelby Farms Greenline. (Biking to/from your meal is not required, but highly recommended). The menu offers a great selection of standard and specialty pizzas, and the daily special always brings the wow factor (i.e. Pize Toscano: olive oil sauce, manchego, Asiago, crimini mushrooms, arugula, and prosciutto, and finished with a balsamic truffle glaze). The crust is thin and foldable, and is brushed with a mouthwatering garlic butter.

Holly Whitfield/Thrillist
Holly Whitfield/Thrillist
Holly Whitfield/Thrillist

Little Italy Pizza

MidtownNew York-style pizza when you want something on the run
For a taste of authentic Italian New York-style pizza in an unassuming atmosphere, you’re headed to Little Italy. Choose the cheese pizza or add pepperoni for an extra kick of spice (and grease). You’re getting a pie with slightly sweet tomato sauce, precisely melted cheese, and¬†whatever toppings you add. The flaky, thin crust gets those perfect blackened bits and cracks just right when you fold it up, because folding is basically required at Little Italy.

Coletta’s Restaurant

South MemphisPioneers of the BBQ pizza (and they make heart-shaped pies on Valentine’s Day)
Many pizza places in Memphis — and around the country — offer a “barbecue pizza,” but Coletta’s is where to go for the original deal. It fires up a traditional cheese pizza in its piping-hot pizza oven, and then adds a generous layer of house-smoked pulled pork shoulder after it’s done, so the meat stays tender and tasty. Pour on a dose of Coletta’s barbecue sauce, and you’re ready to eat BBQ pizza from the place that invented it. And don’t forget to stop in on Valentine’s Day to get a heart-shaped pie. They’ll even make it half and half if you and your date can’t agree on toppings.

Pete and Sam’s

East MemphisLocal institution that serves up the popular ‘baby pizza’
Pete and Sam’s is an institution. While pizza isn’t its main focus, it is certainly worth a trip just to try it, especially if thin crust is your thing. This is the one and only place where you can actually get a “baby pizza” as a side dish to your entr√©e. The baby pizza is about 3-inches wide, and is crispy like a cracker. Pizza is also available in standard sizes, but the baby pizza is where it’s at. Just don’t put it in a corner.

Midtown Crossing Grill
Midtown Crossing Grill
Midtown Crossing Grill

Midtown Crossing Grill

CrosstownNo frills thin-crust pizza at great prices
Midtown Crossing Grill offers oven-fired crusts that hit that sweet spot between thin & thick, and crispy & chewy. MCG offers a variety of off-the-wall combinations, but you should make note of the Hangover. It’s like a big, bold breakfast on said crust, with Alfredo sauce instead of tomato sauce, plus crispy bacon, caramelized onion, a melted blanket of medium cheddar, and a fried egg or two plopped right down in the middle.

The Cove

Broad Avenue Arts DistrictItalian-style pies with unique toppings in a nautical setting
We know. The Cove is primarily known as a cocktail and oyster bar, but they have excellent pizza too. The Binghampton is the favorite of regulars. It features a horseradish cream sauce paired with spiced Italian beef, sliced pickles, and crushed Kettle chips. All of the Cove’s pizzas are served on a crispy pita crust and are easily consumed by one person, though I’ve seen a few kind souls share a slice or two. On the second Sunday of each month, Kunal Jadhav, a regular, makes delicious Indian-inspired pizzas (think chicken tandoori, palak paneer) and donates the proceeds to charity.

Garibaldi’s

University District/East Memphis/GermantownTraditional handmade pizzas in classic Italian digs
Garibaldi’s has been in business for over 40 years, and for good reason. Their breads, doughs, and sauces are prepared in-house daily using only the finest, freshest ingredients. Also, two words: lunch buffet. There are three locations now, but the original is the one near the University of Memphis. There’s a U of M Tigers room, pinball, and cheap pitchers of beer. Perfection.

Exlines’ Best Pizza in Town

Raleigh/Bartlett/Whitehaven/East MemphisSimple pies with great deals and no frills
Another mainstay of the Memphis pizza scene for over 40 years, Exlines’ four locations offer an incredible lunch deal. Get a 6-inch pizza, salad, and bottomless drink for $7. And lunch doesn’t officially end until 5pm. The pizza isn’t gourmet, but it’s mighty good, and best of all, always comes out with a smile.Sign up here for our daily Memphis email and be the first to get all the food/drink/fun in the Blues City.

Stacey Greenberg would marry a pizza if it were legal. She’s the author of the award-winning blog, Dining with Monkeys.

Memphis

The Most Beautiful Places to Visit in Tennessee

Get some fresh air.

Michael Hicks/Flickr
Michael Hicks/Flickr
Michael Hicks/Flickr

As the late Charlie Daniels famously used to say, “Ain’t it good to be alive, and be in Tennessee!” That’s because Tennessee truly is a special state filled with beautiful places. If you’re of a mind to travel, here are some of the most breathtaking sites and sights across the state.

Anthony Heflin/Shutterstock
Anthony Heflin/Shutterstock
Anthony Heflin/Shutterstock

Big South Fork

Oneida
Named for the major tributary of the Cumberland River, Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area covers almost 200 square miles along the border of Tennessee and Kentucky. Boasting many natural bridge and arch formations, an extensive system of hiking trails, and five developed campgrounds, Big South Fork has something to offer for adventurers at any level of experience looking to get out into the wild.

Alisha Bube/Shutterstock
Alisha Bube/Shutterstock
Alisha Bube/Shutterstock

Fall Creek Falls

Spencer
The gorgeous cataract is the tallest free-fall waterfall east of the Mississippi. Beautiful from above, the 256-foot tall falls is even more impressive after taking the hike down to the pool at its base. It’s worth the hike back up to the parking lot afterward, we promise

Weidman Photography/Shutterstock
Weidman Photography/Shutterstock
Weidman Photography/Shutterstock

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Gatlinburg
The most-visited national park in the United States draws more than 10 million tourists a year to marvel at close to a thousand square miles of dense forests and mountain ranges that exhibit remarkable biodiversity. Drive or hike through the park to one of many scenic overlooks to spy the beautiful fog-shrouded peaks that give the ancient mountains their name.

Bluegrass Underground
Bluegrass Underground
Bluegrass Underground

The Caverns

Pelham
This cave complex outside the small town of Pelham just off of Interstate 24 is a dual threat. Not only does it host daily cave tours featuring a single room that’s longer than three football fields, giving the attraction its former name of Big Room Cave, but it’s also a premier performance venue. Currently, the spot has established a series of concerts in an above-ground amphitheater where music fans can purchase socially distanced pods of seats overlooking the sweeping vistas of Payne’s Cove below.

Oleg Shpyrko/Flickr
Oleg Shpyrko/Flickr
Oleg Shpyrko/Flickr

Cherohala Skyway

Tellico Plains
The Cherohala Skyway is a 43-mile stretch of elevated highway connecting Tennessee with North Carolina and features multiple overlooks offering views of the Unicoi Mountains and the two national forests through which it passes, the Cherokee and Nantahala forests that combine to give the skyway its name. A favorite of motorcyclists, the Cherohala is one of the greatest scenic drives in the region.

Michael Hicks/Flickr
Michael Hicks/Flickr
Michael Hicks/Flickr

Walls of Jericho

Belvidere
Once hidden away on private land, the Walls of Jericho is still rarely visited since it’s a pretty grueling hike in and out of the 8,900-acre wilderness area. Those that make the trek are rewarded with multiple waterfalls and rippling creeks along the way to their final destination, a dramatic natural amphitheater with 200-foot sheer rock walls that seep water from the Turkey Creek to create a dramatic water feature.

Sean Pavone/Shutterstock
Sean Pavone/Shutterstock
Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

Clingmans Dome

Bryson City
Visitors can literally look down on the state of Tennessee from this peak, the highest point in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The observation tower is surrounded by a rare evergreen forest and affords a wraparound view that reaches 100 miles on a clear day. As a bonus, there aren’t many mountain tops where you can drive all the way to the apex and park your car a short walk along a paved trail to find breathtaking views like these.

Flickr/Guillaume Capron
Flickr/Guillaume Capron
Flickr/Guillaume Capron

Reelfoot Lake

Samburg
Tennessee’s only major natural lake (you can thank the TVA for all those great reservoirs), Reelfoot Lake was formed when a series of earthquakes along the New Madrid fault in 1811-12 actually caused the Mississippi River to run backwards and fill in the land in northwestern Tennessee that had subsided due to the tremors. Known for gorgeous bald cypress trees, Reelfoot is known as paradise for fishermen and duck hunters. Bird watchers can also spy numerous nesting pairs of bald eagles.

Flickr/Joel Kramer
Flickr/Joel Kramer
Flickr/Joel Kramer

The Lost Sea

Sweetwater
Tucked in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains, The Lost Sea is the nation’s largest underground lake at almost five acres. Beautiful subterranean features such as stalactites, stalagmites, and delicate crystal anthodites are visible as part of glass-bottom boat tours called The Lost Sea Adventure. Wild cave tours are also available for more intrepid spelunkers who want to go even deeper into the cavern.

Wayne Silver
Wayne Silver
Wayne Silver

Townsend

Townsend
Known as “The Peaceful Side of the Smoky Mountains,” Townsend is the least-crowded entrance into the national park. Even if you don’t ever actually cross into the park, the views from Townsend where the Cumberland Plateau meets the Tennessee Valley and the Smokies is breathtaking.

Flickr/HD_Vision
Flickr/HD_Vision
Flickr/HD_Vision

Twin Falls

Rock Island
Rock Island was created when the Army Corps of Engineers dammed the Caney Fork River in the early 20th century to help provide hydroelectric power to Nashville. The resulting reservoir has steep wooded banks leading down to the lake with lots of generations-old vacation homes taking full advantage of floating boat docks and water activities. Twin Falls is a striking cascade near the powerhouse where water flows out of an underground cave before falling 80ft into a pool below.

Flickr/Matthew Paulson
Flickr/Matthew Paulson
Flickr/Matthew Paulson

Cades Cove
Cades Cove

Sometimes the valley can be just as beautiful as the mountains, and Cades Coves at the foothills of the Smokies is an excellent example. An 11-mile one-way loop circles the cove offering the opportunity to enjoy the natural beauty and abundant wildlife of the verdant valley without ever leaving the comfort of your car. There are also some cool historical sites along the loop, including three churches, a working grist mill, and other restored centuries-old structures. Grab a self-guided tour booklet at the entrance and take a drive through history.

Flickr/L P
Flickr/L P
Flickr/L P

Crystal Shrine Grotto

Memphis
A true oddity, Crystal Shrine Grotto is the largest man-made crystal cavern in the world. Crafted in the 1930s by artist Dionicio Rodriguez (a self-taught sculptor from Mexico), Crystal Shrine is a sort-of-kitschy/sort-of-beautiful retelling of scenes from the Bible illustrated in sculptures made using rock quartz crystal and semiprecious stones. Once you pass through the hole in a large concrete stump, you’ll be entering into a magical world.

Flickr/J. P. Lu
Flickr/J. P. Lu
Flickr/J. P. Lu

Tellico Plains

Tellico Plains
Located where the Tellico River emerges from the Appalachian Mountains, Tellico Plains is a prototypical sleepy little mountain town with picturesque landscapes of rolling fields, ancient barns down below, and spectacular mountain views looming from above. With easy access to the Cherohala Skyway and the Cherokee National Forest nearby, Tellico Plains is a lovely home base for a weekend of outdoor adventures.

Flickr/Tim Moore
Flickr/Tim Moore
Flickr/Tim Moore

Natchez Trace Parkway

Fly
The Natchez Trace Parkway is a 444-mile-long drive from Nashville to Natchez, MS. Although it’s slow going thanks to a 55 mph speed limit, it’s worth taking your time to enjoy the pastoral scenery and historical markers along the way that trace the history of the original inhabitants and settlers of the region. Particularly striking is the concrete double arch bridge across Highway 96 near Fly close to the northern terminus of the parkway. Acrophobics might want to close their eyes when crossing. (But not if you’re driving‚Ķ)

Flickr/Brent Moore
Flickr/Brent Moore
Flickr/Brent Moore

Falls Mill

Belvidere
Although the latest round of health regulations forced the 140-plus-year-old mill to cease commercial operations, the waterwheel is still turning at this historic facility near Belvidere. In addition to a bed and breakfast and a museum of antique, water-powered machinery and even a dog-powered butter churn, Falls Mill is worth a visit just to sit in the placid picnic grounds along the creek to listen to the stream cascading across the wheel and into the pool below. Spring foliage is particularly dramatic in the woods surrounding the mill.

Chris Chamberlain is a Nashville writer — follow him on Twitter at¬†@CeeElCee.

Related