When the first pioneering settler built his log cabin tavern on the banks of the Cedar River, he had a while to wait before any customers arrived. In fact business was so slow he sold up to two timber merchants who then used the site, which was close to a set of rapids, to build a mill where they processed wood from the cedar trees that grew in the area. The later construction of a dam on the river and its close proximity to the Mississippi River meant it was an ideal place for transporting timber from and more mills joined the first. Other industries were encouraged to set up alongside them and Cedar Rapids began to grow into the city it is today. With stable employment on offer for several hundred people at a cereal mill and a meat packing plant, migrants found it a great place to resettle too. Prudent Italians took advantage of the increasing wealth of the city and opened restaurants to appease the appetites of the workers with the popular Italian dish known as pizza.
Cedar Rapids is known for its thin-crust pizzas, but it's not any old thin crust they serve up in this Iowa city. The pizzerias in Cedar Rapids produce pies of a very high standard with imaginative topping combinations that are seriously a cut above the norm. Thin crust is a variation of a traditional pizza that makes it easier and less filling to eat. Most folks can devour an entire thin-crust pie on their own as it’s the same size as a regular one and so contains substantially less dough than a thick crust or New York-style pizza would. That's a bonus as having to share your pizza would be a shame especially if you've gone for one of the gourmet, specialty or fusion pies you'll find on the pizzeria menus in Cedar Rapids. They're definitely thin-crust pizzas you'll want to keep all to yourself no matter how generous you are.
Pizza is pizza – or is it? Order a pie from Fong's Pizza and not only will you get the best delivery pizza in Cedar Rapids, you'll get to choose from a distinct range of pizzas that may well make any Italian's mouth drop in disbelief. If you're debating between getting a pizza or Chinese takeaway delivered, stop thinking, you'll have solved your dilemma in one at Fong's. Fong's on 3rd Street South East have created some unusual fusions that make a great change from regular pies if you're a frequent pizza consumer. Walk past Fong's premises and you could be forgiven for mistaking it for an orientally themed restaurant which it is, in part. It's also a pizzeria that delivers such original pizzas as General Tso's Chicken pizza topped with a stir-fry of breaded chicken, water chestnuts, and baby corn. That's a taste explosion everyone should try once in their lifetime.
There's nothing wrong with making life easy and that also applies when it comes to getting a take-out pizza. You can get the best take-out pizza in Cedar Rapids from Zio Johno's and do it without even getting out of your car. Zio Johno's is on Edgewood Road South West and has a drive-through, so all you need to do before you get there is call and order the pie you want to pick up. It's that easy. While the drive-through at Johno's might be a modern convenience, this pizzeria's premises internally are more traditional trattoria-style. The arched windows give it an airy atmosphere and the murals of Venice create true Italian appeal. The pizzas they make in this Cedar Rapids pizzeria are pretty authentic too and so good they'll have you driving around the block to come back and queue for second helpings. Don't miss trying their Angelo pizza with Italian sausage, salami, caramelized onions, red peppers, and olives. It's a taste test winner.
Head due north out of Cedar Rapids for around eighteen miles and you'll come to the city of Center Point. It's a good place to escape to for some outdoor fun time as it's bordered by both the Pleasant Street State Recreation Area and the Wildcat Bluff Recreation Area. Spend the day hiking trails, wildlife spotting, or even kayaking down the Cedar River before stopping off at the Pizza Place on Franklin Street for a pie as you head home.
When you’re passing through Anamosa, a city twenty-eight miles east of Cedar Rapids, don't be fooled into thinking the castle-like building you'll see there is a historical fortress. It's not. It's the state's high-security penitentiary so unless you're visiting an inmate, better to keep driving. Stopping for a stroll in the Wapsipinicon State Park is a much better option. There you'll be able to explore open spaces, woodlands and creeks with pretty stone bridges before going to Casey's on East Main Street for a pizza.
Follow the road south from Cedar Rapids to North Liberty and you'll discover not only a city with such oddities as the world's largest wooden nickel but the impressively scenic Lake McBride. The lake is a superb spot for boating, fishing, hiking, cycling or just lazing on the beach there if the sun is shining. If the great outdoors gives you an appetite, you can pick up a pizza from Wig and Pen Pizza on Highway 95 North East.
Q: 🍕What restaurant has the best wood-fired pizza in Cedar Rapids?
Q: 🍕What restaurant has the best gluten-free pizza in Cedar Rapids?
Q: 🍕What restaurant has the best veggie pizza in Cedar Rapids?
Q: 🍕What restaurant has the best calzone pizza in Cedar Rapids?