Stockton was founded by two forward-thinking gentlemen, one German and the other Mexican, in the mid-1800s on fifty thousand acres of terrain allotted to them during the era of the Mexican land grants. The settlement's position on the banks of the San Joaquin River proved to be a favorable one during the days of the California Gold Rush and many hopefuls passed through there on their way to the mines. The original founders of the settlement were quick to realize the commercial potential offered by the floods of gold miners and opened stores selling supplies. The community grew, but was generally unfriendly to migrants of foreign descent, but that began to change after WW2. After Stockton's port area was expanded other industries took an interest in relocating there. This attracted more and more migrants seeking decently-paid employment and more than a few Italians with ambitions to open their own businesses in the form of pizzerias.
Whether it's the pizza chefs or the clients that are conservative, who knows, but Stockton is known for thick crust pizza. That's a style of pie that is all Italian and has been prepared in the same way since pizza was first invented. The dough can be hand-pressed, hand spun, or rolled, but it doesn't matter what method is used so long as the base keeps a certain thickness that maintains all the other ingredients and crisps up nicely when cooked. The true origins of thick crust pizza remain a mystery as the Greeks also lay claim to inventing it. It's not surprising everyone wants to be credited for the culinary magic of thick crust pizza or wants a slice of the pie glory, as a well-made pizza is a truly amazing thing. Whoever invented it and decided that a circle of bread dough smothered with tomato sauce and covered in melted cheese was a great idea definitely deserves to go down in history.
When you're discussing with your pals who makes the best delivery pizza in Stockton, you're bound to come up with the name 209 Pizza. If you don't, then you've never had the best delivery pizza in Stockton. 209 Pizza is a pie shop on Kelley Drive that focuses their trade on deliveries and take-outs which means your order doesn't have to compete for attention with a dining room full of customers. That also means once your order has been received, it's prepped, baked, and boxed ready for dispatch a lot quicker than any pizzeria with dine-in facilities. 209 Pizza might not have the most extensive range of pizzas ever, but what they do have are some great classic combinations and a couple of creatively topped fusion pies. They're generally spiced up with chili or tandoori flavors, so if you're not into heat better to steer clear and stick to regular pizzas.
Walk into Alfalfa's Pizza and Deli to pick up a take-out pizza and you'll not only get the best take-out pizza in Stockton, you can stock up on any groceries you might be short of at the same time. Alfalfa's Pizza and Deli premises are on East Weber Avenue and an unusual crossover between pizzeria and delicatessen. It's a great combination that works and you can even sit down to drink an espresso while you're waiting for your pizza to be cooked and boxed ready to go. For a small business, Alfalfa's has a super selection of pizzas, several of which border on gourmet. They also serve take-out or eat-in by the slice too, so no need to order a whole pizza unless you particularly want to. Whether you go for the meat or veggie version, you'll find their combination specials are exceptionally good.
There are quite a few cities south of Stockton that are worth taking the time to visit. Take the CA-99 and after fifteen miles you'll come to the first, Manteca. Manteca is renowned across California for the production of pumpkins, so it's the ideal place to go just before Halloween. If it's not close to the end of October, getting some for baking a batch of pumpkin pies is always another option. After you've loaded your car with pumpkins, stop off at Milan's Pizza of Manteca for a tomato pie before heading home.
Keep heading south down the CA-99 and a few miles on from Manteca is the city of Salida. If you like Wild West history then you'll be in seventh heaven here, as it has the biggest historic district in the state of California and all it's missing are a few tumbleweeds for extra authenticity. A short drive out of the suburbs of Salida will see you on the edge of the Caswell Memorial State Park where you can hike, bike, or take a swim in the lake or alternatively, pick up a pizza from De Pasquale's Pizza on East Rainbow Boulevard and have a pie picnic.
For a complete change, head north along the CA-99 for about fifteen miles and you'll come across Lodi. If you're traveling with kids, you might want to take a rest break in Armstrong and take them to the Micke Grove Zoo. If you escape without taking the kids with you, you'll find Lodi has a surplus of wineries where you can drop in to taste some of the excellent Californian wines made in the city. If not, the kids will probably enjoy looking around the World of Wonders Science Museum before feeding their faces on pizza at Guantonio's on West Lockeford Street.
Q: 🍕What restaurant has the best veggie pizza in Stockton?
Q: 🍕What restaurant has the best stone-baked pizza in Stockton?
Q: 🍕What restaurant has the best thin crust pizza in Stockton?
Q: 🍕What restaurant has the best gluten-free pizza in Stockton?