The perfect pizza is something that’s absolutely wonderful to behold and to eat. When asked about what their favorite food is, most people would say pizza. That round and thin (or not so thin) layer of bread, covered with tomato sauce, cheese, herbs, maybe meat or other toppings is most people’s go-to meal for any occasion. Pizza is ubiquitous, that’s why it can often be wrong. Regrettably, you might end up with a pizza that fizzles in the cheese realm or get an especially sodden crust that will just sweep the ingredients off of the bread.
Everyone has their own idea about just what a “perfect pizza” is, but finding one can be a hit or miss proposition. Finding the best pizza restaurant is important, and once you do, it’s likely you’ll never go anywhere else.
With pizzerias seemingly on every corner in America, how can you minimize the risk of having a disappointing experience? Before you take another chance at a pizza restaurant, you should have an idea of what you’re looking for in your next pie.
Things That You Should Expect from a Pizza Restaurant
Tasty Food at Affordable Prices
Value is very important when choosing a pizza restaurant. Let’s face it, when we want to go out for pizza (or bring it home) we aren’t looking to break the bank. Is the price set where you can afford a pizza whenever you want a pizza? Do they offer specials or discounts? Is the pizza as large as you would expect it to be for the price you paid? Are the portions of food sufficient enough to leave you content?
Has Excellent and Honest Reviews
Before you go to a pizza restaurant, be sure to peruse their online reviews. A few negative reviews should not be a deal breaker if the vast majority are positive. A solid reputation online usually relates to a desirable dining experience and gives you a better idea of what to expect before you enter the restaurant.
They Have Been Around
A pizza restaurant that has been around for years is likely to be popular among both locals and tourists. Longevity can also indicate a family-owned and operated business that maintains high standards of excellence so that customers keep coming back.
A Variety of Menu Options
Obviously, the pizza itself is the foundation of a pizza restaurant. Sauce, cheese, and crust are the bases. From there you should have a wide range of toppings to choose from to ensure that you get exactly what you want.
A good pizza restaurant should have other options besides pizza, especially if you’re going with a group. Though it might be difficult to comprehend, someone in your group might actually want to eat something besides pizza. So make sure you review the online menu before heading out the door.
It is also important that a pizza restaurant has offerings for patrons with unique diets or those who have strict food requirements. Just because you need to go gluten free shouldn’t mean you have to miss out on pizza. Done right, a gluten free pizza is delicious. The pizza restaurant’s website should provide this information, if not make a call to the place.
Has Outdoor Seating
Popular pizza restaurants can get very crowded, and it’s ideal to have an alternative spot to enjoy your pizza.
So let’s see. You have browsed the menu, read some reviews, and learned a little about the business. Maybe you’ve even sought out second opinions from friends. You’ve made a choice. Here are some tips that will help you determine if you are in the best pizza restaurant in your area. Use the following criteria to rate the restaurant. Try it at a few places where you have taken the initial steps that we described. Once you find the best pizza in your area you can thank me.
It’s All About the Crust
A good pizza starts with good dough. When examining your pizza make sure to check the bottom and the crust. The bottom should be well done to offer a nice crisp bite and the crust should be toasted on the outside but fluffy and light on the inside. That’s a good indication that the dough was prepared properly and allowed enough time to rise and rest. Preparing dough daily and allowing it to rest overnight at a controlled temperature makes for a quality crust. It is also important for a pizza restaurant to invest in top-line ovens because a good pizza needs to be cooked a certain way to allow the toppings to get fully cooked without burning the crust. When reviewing a pizza, check that the slice is pliant, not stiff, and crisp yet fluffy, with everything cooked all around.
Ask Yourself: Is the crust too thin? Too thick? Too soggy? Too hard? Is it sweet or bitter? Does it have those bread bubbles that are so good?
Investigate the Sauce
A pizza restaurant that is serious about its pizza will make its own sauce. You should enjoy savory and bright notes rather than sweet or dull.
Ask Yourself: Is the sauce too thin? Too thick? Too spicy? Not spicy enough? Does it taste like ketchup?
What About the Cheese
Quality cheese is a must and a sure sign of inferior cheese is one that evaporates when hot. Overcooked cheese is definitely a no-no. Having grainy, crunchy, or rubbery cheese on your pizza will affect your whole meal experience. Of course it’s okay to eat, but it might be difficult to enjoy.
Ask Yourself: Do they put so much on the pizza that it tastes greasy? Do they skimp so much that you can see the sauce and the crust?
Look for Fresh Ingredients
You can always tell if ingredients are fresh by how vibrant they look and how well they hold up even after they’re cooked. Stay clear of wilted, packaged vegetables and look for a place that invests in whole, fresh veggies. A quality pizza restaurant will hand pick, wash, and chop vegetables in house, and the very best will also have fresh spices, not dried.
When dining out in new pizzeria look around for the following indications:
A clean dining area means a clean kitchen and vice versa. The restrooms are generally a good indication too.
Ask Yourself: Is the pizza restaurant clean? Are the floors dirty? Are toppings and/or sauce splattered on the walls and floor? If the health inspector were to show up for a surprise visit, would you see the worker’s sweating?
Look for employees who seem like they care. Satisfied employees mean they are in a good mood when making your food, which means they are putting care and attention into preparing it and they are presenting it with pride. The best pizza and best service go hand in hand.
Ask Yourself: Are the workers happy? Do they thank you for your business? Are they attentive to your needs? Are they intrusive? Do they anticipate your needs? Do they suggest appropriate add on items?
We discussed this earlier but now, in the actual pizza restaurant, you will be able to make a realistic judgement call. Some pizzas are more expensive than others. We all know that. But is the pizza that the restaurant is serving worth what you’re paying for it?
Opting for a family-run or locally owned chain is always a good idea. You’ll be getting the “home treatment” and you’ll know everything is run with care and attention to detail. You’ll also find that the employees are more interested in their jobs because they have a relationship with the owners. All this translates to a better experience and to better food.
Ask Yourself: Can you speak to the owner directly? Does the owner seek you out to thank you for your business and ensure that you had a quality experience? If the owner is there, will he/she take criticism? Owners who care will usually want to hear about your experience: what you liked and didn’t like.
At TJ’s Take and Bake Pizza we take great care in preparing our pizzas fresh in every way. Our dough is prepared daily, the sauces are prepared in house, and vegetables are washed and chopped daily. We carefully select the finest ingredients and put much care into our preparations so that you and your family can enjoy a well-balanced and delicious meal. We are a small business and our mission is to offer fresh food just like you would have made it yourself at home.
At TJ’s we always prioritize your satisfaction and comfort more than anything else. Follow our guide to avoid a bad pizza experience, but when on Hilton Head come visit us and indulge in the best pizza restaurant on the island. If you can’t dine at TJ’s because you aren’t anywhere near Hilton Head Island, then use our guide. We want people to enjoy fabulous pizza everywhere!