Flagstaff in north-central Arizona is the gateway city to some of North America's most iconic natural wonders. They're incredible sites like the Grand Canyon, the Coconino National Forest, and Mount Elden that now attract hundreds of thousands of visitors every year.
Flagstaff's economy wasn't always based on the tourist industry though, and the city's prosperity initially came from the lumber mills and agriculture until Route 66 was completed in the mid-1920s. Once the historic highway ran through the city it entered into a boom era and quickly became known as the City of Seven Wonders.
Tourism influenced Flagstaff's rapid growth and drew many migrants to the area from all over the country. With an expanding population and a regular influx of visitors, Flagstaff was a prime location for entrepreneurs in the hospitality industry. Pizzerias were among the new businesses opening up all over the city and it wasn't long before pizza was a popular feature on Flagstaff's gastronomical landscape.
Go to eat pie in Flagstaff and you won't be going hungry as Flagstaff is known for its deep-dish pizzas. While a deep dish pie is similar to a Chicago-style pizza in appearance, it's a long way from being exactly the same. The main difference between the deep dish pizzas in Flagstaff and a Chicago-style one is the way the ingredients are layered. If you like your cheese on top where you can see it rather than being covered up with tomato sauce, you'll be in pizza heaven in Flagstaff. The deep dish pizzas in Flagstaff are thickish bases of dough baked in a round pie pan to help maintain its shape. The central pie well is smothered with sauce first, followed by any extras like pepperoni, bacon or veg before being liberally doused with grated cheese. You'll need a knife and fork to tackle tucking into the chunky slices of a deep dish pizza - unless you like to get into a big mess when you eat.
Go all out and spoil yourself with the best delivery pizza in Flagstaff by ordering your pie from Grimaldi's Pizzeria. They know a thing or two about baking pies that other pizzerias in Flagstaff don't. Grimaldi's may have only a medium-sized premises on East Piccadilly Drive, but it's one that's an authentic Italian pizzeria right down to its bare brickwork and red-checked tablecloths. Grimaldi's stands out from other pizzerias because they bake in a brick oven the traditional way. That's a method of cooking pies that takes a lot of skill and experience on the part of the chef, otherwise the pizzas end up as cinders. Try Grimaldi's Don Pizza and you'll get a pie loaded with meatballs, pepperoni, and sausage, just the way the Italian mamas used to make it. If you prefer avant-garde, go for the white pie with garlic or the bacon, asparagus, and spicy honey pizza. They're unusual, to say the least.
You'll find the best take-out pizza in Flagstaff if you go to the Pizza Edge pizzeria on the US 89. It's a convenient place to stop at too if you're heading out of the city in the direction of the Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument. There are plenty of parking places right outside the door so you won't have far to walk from your vehicle before you have a pie in hand. Most of Pizza Edge's menu is posted on the windows so you may well get a good idea of what you want before even entering the premises. That's a time-saver if nothing else. Inside you'll find the pizzeria is clean, tidy, and finished with an attractive but not overpowering décor that's easy on the eye. Pizza Edge's pies are just as good looking as their premises would lead you to expect. Go for the House Special or if you're a mega meat-eater, the Combo.
There are so many amazing landscapes all around Flagstaff that it's hard to choose what direction to go in. Head south twenty-nine miles and you'll come to Sedona which has outstanding desert, red rock cliffs, and deep ravines. It's also bordered by both the Slide Rock and the Red Rock State Parks. After you've seen enough Arizona stone to last you a lifetime, pop into Piccazzo's Healthy Italian Kitchen and gorge on a pie.
When you want to go somewhere scenic to enjoy a pizza, there's only one way to go from Flagstaff and that's south to Mormon Lake. This tiny community is more of a campsite than a village and right on the edge of Mormon Lake as well as surrounded by the pines of the Coconino Forest. Pick up your pie from the Mormon Lake pizzeria and take it for a picnic by the shore.
If you like visiting historic places in scenic settings, take a trip from Flagstaff out to the small village of Fort Valley. There's some open meadowlands there where you can spot wildlife like elk and deer or pick up a fossil or two. On the way pop into the Museum of Northern Arizona and on the way back, pick up a pizza from Fratelli's.
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Q: 🍕What restaurant has the best gluten-free pizza in Flagstaff?