The Top 25 Pizza Parlors in Cincinnati

The CM staff debated our favorite pies to bring you a new list of the top 25 pizzas in the Queen City.
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Deep dish. Thin crust. Detroit-style. Neapolitan—whatever your favorite pie, you’ll find it here in the tri-state. Because you loved our 2018 Top Pizza Parlors list, our team of nine tasters reexamined and ate their way across 45 of the area’s independent pizza joints and restaurants, scoring their offerings on crust, sauce, cheese, toppings, and extras (presentation, service, overall taste, and reheatability). Once the last slice was consumed, we debated our findings for the new list of 25 pizza joints you see before you. Dig in!

A Tavola’s Margherita Pizza (tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, basil, Maldon sea salt, extra virgin olive oil)

Photograph by Andrew Doench

1. A Tavola

(↑1 from 2018)

When it comes to pizza in Cincinnati, A Tavola sits at the head of the table. Pizzas bake for just a few minutes inside the wood-fired oven at this Madeira spot to achieve that crunchy-yet-fluffy-inside Neapolitan crust. Specialty pies range from rustic to inventive—go spicy alla vodka with a Pizza Francisco, try sweet jam and onions on the Fig & Prosciutto, or build your own pie from nearly 30 topping selections. You really can’t go wrong, and the menu encourages you to share a couple pies, pastas, and starters with everyone at the table. Arancini fried risotto balls, potato croquettes that lay on a bed of buttery paprika aioli, classic Italian Cacio e Pepe. Just ask the knowledgeable bar staff for help with the wine pairings. 7022 Miami Ave., Madeira, (513) 272-0192, atavolapizza.com 

Francisco Castillo pulls a pizza from A Tavola’s oven.

Photograph by Andrew Doench


2. Two Cities Pizza

(↑3)

Even though the Chicago-style pizza at this Mason pie palace is loaded with cheese and toppings, the thick and buttery crust has a solid snap when you cut through—no soggy bottoms here! The veggie toppings are cooked but still crisp, and there’s the perfect amount of stringy cheese in the middle. The New York–style pies are solid, too, with a crust that’s got more chew, but too much body to actually fold. We tried the Miss Brooklyn, with grapes, arugula, goat cheese, and a balsamic drizzle, a totally tasty pie, if not your typical slice. 202 W. Main St., Mason, (513) 770-0000, twocitiespizza.com


3. Camporosso

(↑1)

This former gas station now houses two Italian ovens imported by owners Eric and Amy Redfield (“Camporosso” is Italian for “red field”). One oven cooks up your classic American pies while the other is for artisan wood-fired pizzas. For something special, the meat-lovers pizza is a huge upgrade from the usual—perfectly crispy crust, cupped and charred pepperoni, sopressata salami, sausage, and applewood-smoked bacon. The best part? You can sit at the bar, enjoy the extensive wine and bourbon selection, and watch your pizza get made from start to finish. 2475 Dixie Hwy., Ft. Mitchell, (859) 331-0155, camporosso.com


The Chicken Parm at Joe’s Pizza Napoli include housemade Gen 4 sauce, roasted chicken, Parmesan breadcrumb blend, fresh mozzarella, and fresh basil.

Photograph by Andrew Doench

4. Joe’s Pizza Napoli 

(First appearance)

If not for the line stretching out the door on a Friday night, Joe’s Pizza Napoli might be fairly unassuming. Joe’s family has been slinging meatballs and sauce for four generations (the house marinara is fittingly called the “Gen 4” sauce), tracing its roots back to the Italian city of Cutro. The highly recommended Viva Las Vegas, Joe’s entry to the 2021 International Pizza Expo Competition, is a brilliant hodgepodge of meats and cheeses atop generous dollops of Gen 4 sauce and perfectly charred crust, all sprinkled with Calabrian chiles and topped with a heap of dressed arugula. Makes the line out the door totally worth it. 507 Chamber Dr., Milford, (513) 248-0082, joespizzanapoli.com

The Viva Las Vegas pizza at Joe’s Pizza Napoli has garlic-infused extra virgin olive oil, oregano, Parmesan-Pecorino Romano blend, fontina, mozzarella-provolone Blend and fresh mozzarella, goat cheese, Italian sausage, house-made meatballs, Calabrian chilies, fresh garlic, Gen 4 sauce, breadcrumbs, and arugula lightly dressed with house-made garlic vinaigrette.

Photograph by Andrew Doench

Joe’s Pizza Napoli’s Roma pizza comes loaded with San Marzano tomatoes, pepperoni, Italian sausage, fresh mozzarella and a mozz-provolone blend, oregano, and Parmigiano-Reggiano blend.

Photograph by Andrew Doench


5. Lucy Blue

(First appearance)

Lucy Blue pizzas bring a lot to the table. A chewy crust supports gourmet toppings, you can see the seasoning, and its pizzas even reheat well for breakfast. Fan of large, old-school pepperoni? This spot can make your dreams come true. It’s worth visiting in-person for takeout, even if you don’t plan to stay and sip a glass of wine. The folks here love the space and the food Lucy Blue makes, and it shows. 6732 Clough Pike, Anderson, (513) 788-1001, lucybluecincy.com


Bircus Brewing Co.’s Goetta Grip pizza (tomato sauce, goetta, Grippo’s Bar-B-Q potato chips, mozzarella and smoked mozzarella, and garlic oil drizzle).

Photograph by Andrew Doench

6. Bircus Brewing Co.

(First appearance)

The greatest acts in Ludlow can be found on the stage at Bircus Brewing, but its wood-fired pizza might just steal the show. The Goetta Grip pie is just so Cincinnati—mounds of goetta, smoked mozz, garlic oil, and a heaping scoop of crushed Grippo’s Bar-B-Q chips on top—and is as flavorful as it is breathtaking. The thin crust is delightfully crispy but not overdone and can support the toppings on a variety of loaded pies like the fresh ingredients on a Virginia or a spicy, carby Hot Potato. Add tasty craft beer, high-flying shows, and friendly service, and you’ll want to stay awhile under the big top. 322 Elm St., Ludlow, (859) 740-3118, bircus.com

While Bircus Brewing Co. has some interesting topping combos, your little ones will probably want the Pizza Bambino (plain cheese).

Photograph by Andrew Doench


The Garden of Eden Pizza from Your Mom’s Pizzeria in Mt. Adams.

Photograph by Andrew Doench

7. Your Mom’s Pizzeria

(First appearance)

This humble pizza shop might be no-frills—think paper plates, Cokes in plastic bottles, cannoli in a case by the counter, and a cool but tiny dining room—but make no mistake, Your Mom’s Pizzeria has served five-star ’za since it opened in April. Using a family recipe and a special blend of mozz and provolone, the Iannis bake their New York–style crust until soft in the middle with a crispy crunch. The Shiesty (named after Joe Burrow) comes with sweet peppadew peppers that explode in your mouth, little clouds of ricotta, pepperoni, and a drizzle of Mike’s Hot Honey sauce. It’s like a touchdown for your tastebuds. 1045 St. Gregory St., Mt. Adams, (513) 381-1888, yourmomspizzeria.com

Francesca and Tracy Ianni of Your Mom’s Pizzeria.

Photograph by Andrew Doench


Trophy’s The Grandma Pie (garlic, olive oil, whole milk mozzarella, basil, and red sauce).

Photograph by Andrew Doench

8. Trophy Pizza

(First appearance)

We’re going to go out on a limb and say this is probably the most authentic New York–style pizza in the tri-state. We know, we know—it’s a big claim for a joint that just opened six months ago. But with a native east coaster as a co-owner (Jim Rowe grew up in New Jersey and lived in Brooklyn), these foldable, floppy slices are as big as your head with just the right ratios of cheese, sauce, and crispy pepperoni. If you’re not into the slice life, you’ll be more than happy with the Grandma Pie (garlic, olive oil, and whole milk mozz). 10325 Reading Rd., #102, Evendale, (513) 769-1111, mytrophypizza.com

Trophy’s New York-style pepperoni pizza.

Photograph by Andrew Doench


9. Taglio

(↓8)

With 13 specialty Detroit-style pies, Taglio truly stands out in the crowded Cincinnati pizza scene. You can build your own, but the pepperoni and hot honey is a great place to start if you’re unfamiliar with the rectangular-shaped, sauce-on-top version of pizza popularized in The Motor City. You can also try all of the specialty pizzas in a New York style, with the sauce in its traditional spot. Try the hot honey there, too. 3531 Columbia Pkwy., Columbia-Tusculum; 56 E. 12th St., Over-the-Rhine; 9321 Montgomery Rd., Montgomery, (513) 321-0454, eattaglio.com


10. Poseidon’s Pizza

(First appearance)

Whether this pizza is for or from the gods is up for debate, but either way it’s a suitable offering for a first date or your Friday night party posse. Anything off the menu will put you in the good graces of your muse: Poseidon’s offers great pizzas to share. They’re conversation-starters. While the crust is surprisingly fluffy without going bready, you might not notice under curious toppings like Grippo’s potato chips, hot honey, and Cincinnati-style chili. 8640 Haines Dr., Florence, (859) 534-1417; 2513 Ritchie Ave., Crescent Springs, (859) 841-8071, poseidonspizzacompany.com


11. Cork N Crust

(First appearance)

Wine and pizza are on menus everywhere, but Cork N Crust holds both in high regard. It’s a place that named one of its pies after Chardonnay and takes care to list ideal wine pairings on the menu. The scratch-made thin crust comes out of the oven with just the right amount of char, loaded with gourmet toppings from fresh charcuterie fare to hearty Italian favorites. The Bellevue pie comes loaded with meats atop mozzarella, provolone, and perfectly balanced tomato sauce, and the aforementioned Chardonnay has a garlic-infused olive oil base with more roasted garlic, mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, and rosemary. Cheers. 710 Fairfield Ave., Bellevue, (859) 431-2675, corkncrust.com


12. The Gruff

(First appearance)

Next time you’re pregaming a Reds or Bengals game, skip The Banks and head just across the Roebling Bridge. The first place you’ll see is a deli/grocery/bar/bottle shop/pizzeria with three yellow goats on the front. Burgers, shakes, sandwiches, and charcuterie boards abound, but the winner is certainly its brick-oven pizzas. The olive oil smoked brisket pizza is the perfect mix of smoky, sweet, and savory, but the best option is the truffle sausage. Thank us later. 129 E. Second St., Covington, (859) 581-0040, atthegruff.com


13. Padrino

(First appearance)

For more than a decade, Padrino’s Milford location has been a spot for family outings, first dates, and everything in between. Check out the specialty pizzas: The Bruschetta supersizes the classic appetizer with a garlic butter base and oodles of melty mozzarella and fresh basil. Mediterranean lovers, meanwhile, will be head-over-heels for Nick the Greek, topped with feta, olives, grilled chicken, and all the fixin’s you’d expect. No wonder it’s a menu mainstay. 111 Main St., Milford, (513) 965-0100; 14 N. Grand Ave., Ft. Thomas, (859) 957-4082, padrinoitalian.com


14. Ramundo’s

(↑8)

There’s not a better New York slice joint in the city than this east-side classic, which sports exposed brick and speedy service. There’s also probably not a better deal on this list—you can nab two slices and a drink for just $10. One tasty specialty pizza is named after native east-sider and former NFL center Austin King, with sausage, mushrooms, onions, peppers, pineapple, pepperoni, and bacon. The best-known pizza, however, is the Paisano: white sauce, prosciutto, spinach, tomatoes, goat cheese, and the most sesame-seed-covered crust you’ve ever seen. 3166 Linwood Ave., Mt. Lookout, (513) 321-0978, ramundospizzeria.com


15. The Works

(↓2)

Walking into The Works on a Saturday night is like walking into a family-style dinner where everyone’s got a seat at the table—even if you’re eating in a century-old waterworks building or in the vintage train car that’s attached. Thanks to the brick oven, pizzas, come out at rapid-fire speed. The Commish and the simple pepperoni are among the most popular, but the Mediterranean, with its juicy chunks of artichoke and black olives, and the Chicken Bianca, a white-sauce pie topped with veggies and bacon bits, left us with empty plates and only a single leftover slice for the next day. 20 Great Millitzer Pl., Loveland, (513) 697-8408


16. Trotta’s

(First appearance)

This place takes carryout to the extreme with a pizza drive-through. Grab a hot slice of cheese, pepperoni, or the special with your six pack and be on your way in two minutes. Unless you’ve driven through Trotta’s, you wouldn’t know they have an extensive menu with a lot of toppings available, since there’s almost no online presence. But something like the BBQ Chicken pizza catches your eye and the next thing you know you’ve ordered, exited the drive through and are waiting for delivery in the lot. 3501 Werk Rd., Westwood, (513) 451-5555


17. Brooklyn Pizza & Pasta

(↑4)

Large foldable slices are the specialty at this nondescript strip-mall storefront, and they’ll transport you to the namesake borough in a New York minute. The chewy crust and cheese-to-sauce ratio are spot on. Choose from 16 signature pies with the same excellent foundation if you’re a bit hungrier—from a 10-inch personal size up to 16 inches. Service veers toward the “Whaddya want?” approach, which only adds more NYC authenticity. 9797 Montgomery Rd., Montgomery, (513) 791-0900, brooklynpizzapasta.com


18. St. Francis Apizza

(First appearance)

This East Hyde Park carryout spot has a bit of a monopoly on New Haven–style apizza—though here, it’s served with the caveat that it’s “New Haven-ish.” Cheese lovers may balk at the idea of the nontraditional pie, served with double tomato sauce and barely noticeable traces of pecorino romano. But there’s a little something for everyone at St. Francis. The sauce-less Fancy White, with its melty blobs of mozzarella and ricotta atop light and airy hand-tossed crust, is the polar opposite of the New Haven–ish, but it’s also equally delicious. 3392 Erie Ave., Hyde Park, (513) 532-2571, saintfrancisapizza.com


19. Rosie’s Italian Kitchen

(First appearance)

Owned by the same couple who runs Crown Republic Gastropub, Losanti, and two other restaurants, Rosie’s has transitioned from a casual New York–style slice spot to a comfy family restaurant with a full antipasti, pasta, and steak/chicken/seafood main course menu. Luckily, there are still three 12-inch pizzas on the menu: Honey (pepperoni and hot honey), Tie-Dye (vodka/pesto sauce), and Margarita. They’re beautifully wood fired with a nice char on the crust, though still chewy toward the middle—and it reheats nicely the next day. 300 E. Seventh St., downtown, (513) 381-1243, rosiesitaliankitchen.com


20. Fireside Pizza

(↓10)

It’s funny how the pizzeria in a renovated firehouse feels like it’s been in Walnut Hills forever, now that the surrounding neighborhood is going through such a transformation. Fireside keeps churning out amazing wood-fired pies in its unique space; it was the only Cincinnati spot named in Yelp’s “Top 100 U.S. Restaurants” list last year. Popular options include the white pizza topped with roasted garlic and three cheeses (mozzarella, provolone, parmesan); the Greek, featuring spinach, red onions, kalamata olives, and feta); and the Eli’s BBQ pizza with oven-roasted chicken topped by Eli’s signature rub and BBQ sauce. The bar carries over two dozen local craft beers. 773 E. McMillan, Walnut Hills, (513) 751-3473, firesidepizzawalnuthills.com


21. Queen City Pizza

(↑3)

Though Queen City Pizza has a few tables, they’re not really for eating. They’re more for the locals waiting for carryout. This place is a neighborhood secret and the those in the neighborhood would probably like to keep it that way. The staff here is proud of what they’ve built over 30 years. You can tell because they make four fresh doughs every day: traditional, thick, thin, and Chicago. The surprise is that the Greek pizza is so popular here, since it’s garlic-and-olive-oil based with no red sauce. (But I’d recommend you get a little on the side for dipping.) 2580 Queen City Ave., Westwood, (513) 661-1700, queencitypizza.com


22. Adriatico’s

(↓8)

This Clifton Heights classic’s pizza has been a favorite among University of Cincinnati students and alumni for decades (more than four, at this point), and when you order it with the Sicilian-style bread, you’ll easily understand why. It’s thick, so thick that it won’t collapse under the generous helpings of cheese, sauce, and toppings. For the most bang for your buck, check out the Inflation Fighter in “Bearcat” size. It’s whopping 30 slices covered in pepperoni, ham, beef, sausage, green olives, black olives, green peppers, onions, and mushrooms for about $60. Enough to feed a football team. 113 W. McMillan St., Clifton Heights, (513) 281-4344, adriaticosuc.com


23. Fratelli’s Pizzeria

(First appearance)

This strip-mall joint in West Chester has some of the most authentic New York–style pies you’ll find this side of the Big Apple. Miraculously, it nails the crust: crispy yet foldable with a slight char on the bottom. And the clean, sweetly acidic tomato sauce will at least transport you to Little Italy, if not the big one. In true New York fashion, Fratelli’s sells slices. They’re only available at lunchtime on the weekends, though—a gentle reminder that you’re not actually in Manhattan. 6890 Tylersville Rd., West Chester, (513) 777-5061, fratellispizzeria.com/


24. Krimmer’s Italianette

(First appearance)

No matter where it’s located, Krimmer’s has a reputation as the neighborhood pizza place. This applies to the Silverton spot that’s been there more than 60 years as well as the more recent North College Hill location. It’s been around long enough that the customers and staff call each other by name. The dough is always fresh, the service always friendly, and the specials are always interesting, such as The Big Gripp. Grilled chicken, crispy bacon, topped with mozzarella, provolone, ranch dressing, and crushed Grippo’s Bar-B-Q chips. Nobody in Cincinnati corrupts the concept of pizza better’n that. 1704 W. Galbraith Rd., North College Hill, (513) 521-7650, italianettepizza.com


25. Mad Monks Pizza

(First appearance)

Most of the pie names here are inspired by songs from the band Phish, but not the Gripponator—the white-sauced chicken barbecue pizza topped with Grippo’s Bar-B-Q chips is a different kind of funk. New York–style crust gets its crisp in a real pizza oven (no conveyors here) but be warned: The crust on our #1 IRT Supreme got pretty floppy in the center, whether due to too much sauce and toppings or an over-enthusiastic toss, we’re not sure. Still, it’s an enjoyable pie, made even better by a pint from 16 Lots Brewing Company. 753 Reading Rd., Mason, (513) 486-1819, madmonkspizza.com


How We Did It

Yes, we know it’s pretty much impossible to empirically rank pizza joints. There’s no way to do a controlled, double-blind, peer-reviewed study. But we can’t let that get in the way of exploring Cincinnati’s pizza landscape! Our team of nine tasters tucked into a universe of 45 independently-owned places—your favorite chains are on another list—then scored them on crust (not too chewy, not too crispy), sauce (not too sweet, not too spicy), cheese (flavor and amount), toppings (ditto), and extras (presentation, service, overall taste, reheatability, the OMG factor, and a bonus category), with 50 points possible. Then we met to compare notes and hammer out the final rankings. Try our top pies and see if they’d make your top 10, or tell us what you consider is the best—better yet, help crown Cincinnati’s favorite pizza joint in our readers’ choice Slice Wars bracket here. And if you’re rusty on the city’s pizza offerings, there’s no better way to try loads of pizza in one place than at our annual Slice Night event supporting the UC Cancer Center (the 2023 edition arrives at Yeatman’s Cove on Sept. 20). The best part? There’s really no such thing as bad pizza.

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