When visiting a new town, city or college campus, a quick Google search will tell you the best places to stay, eat, visit, see, and do. But it’s a little trickier to find a specific thing such as the best pizza, the best craft beer, or the best view in the new place that you happen to be visiting. The same can be said about Columbus, Ohio – more specifically, the area surrounding The Ohio State University.
Although it originated in Italy, pizza has become an American staple. Pizza shops, restaurants, and cooks all over the country have come up with thousands of variations to a dish that has become so popular in the land of the free and the home of the brave. Pizza is a food that is easy to make, it’s fairly inexpensive, and it’s incredibly difficult to make it taste bad. Each and every place cranking out the delicious Italian pie knows that, so, they do whatever they need to do to stand out above the rest. The Columbus restaurants preparing this cheesy treat are no exception. Some of the best pizza that I’ve had here in Columbus can be found just minutes from Ohio State University.
We'd be kidding ourselves if we said there were only five worth partaking of; Columbus is a secret pizza mecca and even draws high marks from those hailing from New York City and Chicago alike. But just as a starting point, here are a couple that should really do the trick.
5. HOUND DOGS Hound Dogs, located on High Street just north of Hudson St, leads us off. Honestly, you can’t go wrong with any pizza that Hound Dog makes, but personally, I think the bacon cheeseburger pizza is the way to go. I mean, who doesn’t like bacon cheeseburgers? And the fact that it’s on a pizza just makes it that much more phenomenal. Along with their killer pizzas, Hound Dogs produces some great subs and side dishes. This area of High St isn’t as well traveled as the strip south of Lane Avenue, but if you’re into the older-than-college-students crowd, Hound Dogs is highly recommended.
4. VARSITY CLUB If you’ve ever tailgated before an Ohio State football game, you’ve undoubtedly seen the Varsity Club. Opened during the Woody Hayes era at OSU, the Varsity Club has been servicing their Columbus customers since 1959. They are known mainly for there pizzas and for good reason. Any pie you choose will certainly be tasty, but the deluxe pizza has to be the choice when heading to VC for some pizza. The deluxe pizza contains pepperoni, sausage, mushrooms, onions, green peppers, and cheese. Along with pizza, the Varsity Club is turning out some outstanding burgers and appetizers.
3. TOMMY’S PIZZA Maybe the most famous of Ohio State University pizza parlors is Tommy’s Pizza on Lane Avenue (2 locations). With limited seating and an old-school pizza joint feel, Tommy’s Pizza has a homey quality about it. You have to go with a classic here, folks. The pepperoni pizza is the best choice at Tommy’s. The pepperoni pizza resembles that of Donato’s. It’s cut in rectangles, covered in crispy pepperonis, and super greasy. Tommy’s has been an Ohio State constant since its doors opened in 1952. While in Columbus and you’re in the mood for good pizza, Tommy’s is definitely a very good option.
2. SICILIA True Italian-style pizza can be found here at Sicilia Fine Italian Specialties. Large slices, thin crust, and lots of cheese, Sicilia has one of the best pizzas in the University District. Sicilia is located next to Out-R-Inn on E. Frambes Avenue. Like Tommy’s, getting a classic at Sicilia is the correct play. This time, though, the simple, Kevin McCallister-preferred pizza type is cheese. If just plain cheese isn’t satisfying enough for you, I highly recommend the supreme steak pizza. Basically, it’s a Philly cheesesteak in pizza form. Sicilia is open late and also offers pizza by the slice for a reasonable rate of just 2 dollars per slice.
1. PIZZA RUSTICA Pizza Rustica has locations outside of Ohio and Ohio State. Hell, they even have locations outside of the United States is countries such as France and Dominican Republic. Though Pizza Rustica is a chain, its only location in Ohio is on High Street in the South Campus Gateway area of Ohio State, so, it’s fairly unknown among residents of Columbus and Ohio State. This should be no more. Pizza Rustica, like Sicilia, sells pizza by the slice and is an ideal nightly ending point after an evening of enjoying the campus nightlife. The BBQ chicken pizza is my recommendation. It’s sweet, salty, and surprisingly, the chicken is cooked extremely well. If you're in the 614, I encourage you to head out to one of these 5 places and try them for yourself.
As we mentioned, it'd be next to impossible to make a list inclusive of all the best places out there. If we missed your personal favorite, let us know which and why in the comments below.