Jacksonville is a jewel of a city on the Floridian coast with an amazing culture and some incredible beaches. It wasn't always so prestigious nor did it always go by the same name. Its early history was marred with occupations by both the British and the Spanish and it was only in the 1820s that Jacksonville became fully American and was renamed for the first state governor, Andrew Jackson.
Agriculture provided the main income in Jacksonville until well into the late 19th century when tourism began to take over. After suffering through wars, fires, and outbreaks of yellow fever, Jacksonville finally started to make it good. The continual growth of tourism to the city alongside its involvement in the silent film industry guaranteed a swift and very prosperous economic growth. As more hotels were built to accommodate the increase in visitors to the city's sunshine coast, many Italians migrated to the area to work, created communities of their own, and opened restaurants selling pizza.
Jacksonville is known for New York-style pizza and you'll find it on almost every menu of the city's pizzerias. Jacksonville may be a thousand miles south of the Big Apple, but it's the pie that was invented there at the beginning of the 1900s that's the favorite with pizza chefs of this Florida city. Why it's the go-to who knows, but it is and it's a great bite that the locals and tourists alike totally enjoy. While New York-style pizza is an Americanized version of a traditional pizza from Naples, it's one that has won the hearts, and stomachs of pizza fans all over North America. The succulent combination of super-thin dough smothered with tomato sauce and topped off with a layer of cheese that melts when cooked is an absolute winner all round and has made New York-style pizza one of the best-selling pies of all time.
Because of its general make-up, New York-style pizza doesn't always travel well. The thin base can get cold very quickly leaving you less than satisfied with what arrives at your door. To get the best New York-style delivery pizza in Jacksonville you should order from one who promises swift delivery. Try Vino's Pizza and Italian Cuisine and you won't be disappointed with your pie. Vino's is located on State Road 13 in a premises that looks more like a 1950s American diner than it does an Italian pizzeria. Don't be fooled by appearances; these guys know exactly how to dispatch the best New York-style delivery pizza of any pizzeria in Jacksonville. They'll send out one made from gluten-free dough too and have an entire range of specialty pies you'll probably feel more than inclined to work your way through - one delicious slice at a time.
When you want to make the most of your day on the coast and don't want to waste a moment of sunshine sitting in a restaurant to eat, the best thing to do is get a take-out and eat on the beach. You can get the best take-out pizza in Jacksonville from Mega's Pizza and you won't have to go far to pick it up either as Mega's is just a few minutes from the seafront on Beach Boulevard. Mega's Pizza is a modern establishment decorated in clean lines possibly inspired by the sunsets of its coastal location. Sand-colored tables and floor tiles bring a beach-style element into the interior too. It really is as fresh as a sea breeze inside and the pies from Mega's are fresh as well. Plan on picking up one of their pizzas loaded with seafood or chicken and pesto and you'll have finished it before you've made it as far as the door.
Have a change of scene from the shores of Jacksonville by taking a twenty-mile trip inland in a westerly direction to Baldwin. Baldwin is a town that grew from a single tavern to what it is today. It's also one with an independent spirit and didn't consolidate with Jacksonville when all the other neighboring towns did. Baldwin sits on the edge of the Cary State Forest so after a hike through the trees pick up a pizza on the way home from Papa Sean's on the side of US90.
Set off to explore the hinterlands of Florida by driving north for about twenty-five miles until you reach Yulee. You'll find plenty to stop off and look at on the way especially if you appreciate nature. Explore stunning landscapes in the Four Creeks State Park and the Nassau Wildlife Management Area then, if you want to know more about the state, you can visit the Florida Welcome Center before stopping for a pie at Marco's Pizza on State Road 200.
Green Cove Springs is a small city twenty-eight miles south of Jacksonville that's built on the site of a natural sulfur spring alongside the St John River. The therapeutic waters are now channeled into the city's public swimming baths where you can take a dip before strolling down Ferris Street and eating at a local pizzeria called D'Fontana's.
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