Walk the cobbled streets of Charleston today and you'll feel as if you've been time warped back to the Colonial era. The only difference between then and now is you can get a pizza whereas in the 17th and 18th century you couldn't. Charleston is a city in South Carolina that was founded on a peninsula surrounded by three rivers that juts out into a large bay on North America's southern coastline. From its early days onward it has been a favored spot for maritime activities including illicit ones conducted by the pirate Blackbeard. Prosperous from the start, Charleston's economy was centered on shipping, slavery and the production and transportation of cotton. That all changed after the end of the Civil War and the abolition of slavery. Forced to diversify, the city's business magnates concentrated on developing maritime trade, and Charleston is now one of the largest container ports in the country. Although Italians are numbered among the minority ethnic races in the city, they're the ones who arrived by boat, opened restaurants and brought pizza to this time-capsuled location.
Whether the first Italians in Charleston were ones who jumped ship or ones who traveled overland from other cities nearby, is one of life's conundrums. Wherever they came from originally, or whatever style of pie they baked initially, they've decided to make one type of pizza their own and Charleston is now known for its New York-style pizzas. New York-style pizza dominates the pizzeria menus in Charleston almost as much as it does in the city where it was created almost a hundred years ago. The popularity of this style of pizza knows no bounds. The dough base used for New York-style pies is much thinner and considerably larger than a traditional Italian pizza. When cooked, it stays relatively soft rather than crisping up and can be folded, which helps keep the cheese and topping ingredients in place when you're eating on the go. It also means just one slice, rather than an entire pizza, is a big enough meal for most folks.
When you order in a pizza you want one that arrives looking as if the chef actually enjoyed making your meal for you rather than having thrown the ingredients on willy-nilly. You'll get one made with love and in reality, the best delivery pizza in Charleston, when you order one from Mario's Italian Grill. Mario's Italian Grill occupies a super smart premises on Savannah Highway that's worth remembering about if you decide to eat out sometime. The décor is a colorful combination of contemporary and classic with pink and mauve painted walls and polished wood furniture. It's warm and welcoming, but a little overwhelming as the glow from the overhead lighting reflecting off the walls would keep you warm on a chilly day. Extra heat is generated from the kitchen too as these guys are baking pies non-stop and if you go for their Little Italy or Supreme, you'll soon know why.
If you've been getting a breath of fresh air while strolling around West Ashley Park and hunger strikes, lucky you, because you'll be in the ideal place to pick up one of the best take-out pizzas in Charleston. Head over to Magwood Drive where you'll find Baroni's New York Pizza and you'll be able to grab a slice or two to stave off those hunger pangs. Baroni's premises are geared for take-outs even though they have a few tables and chairs inside. It's a pizzeria that's somewhat cramped and a bit on the disorganized side until it comes to the kitchen. That's where these guys show just how professional they are. While New York may feature in their name, they're also ace at baking thick crust, calzones and strombolis too, so you're not going to be limited in your choice of pies for a take-out.
If you’ve got time on your hands one Sunday afternoon, take a drive along the Ashley River Road to Summerville. On route to Summerville you can stop off at the Magnolia Plantation and Gardens for an insight into the Antebellum era, then at Magnolia Place where you can see the oldest landscaped garden in the US. When you've made yourself feel guilty for being too lazy to mow the lawn, drop in at Wicked Crust Pizza on Old Trolley Road for a conciliatory pie.
Drive east out of Charleston over the Cooper River and in less than twenty minutes, depending on the traffic, you'll be in Mount Pleasant. If you want a historic day, pay a visit to the Patriot's Point Naval and Maritime Museum or the Boone Hall Plantation. If you just want to chill out for a while then head for the Isle of Palm Beach where you can wander along the seashore or fish from the pier before going to Coastal Crust on Simmons Street for a pizza.
Escape from the coast and venture inland on a thirty minute trip from Charleston to Moncks Corner. This rural town sits on the southern edge of Lake Moultrie which is an ideal spot for launching a boat or kayak, wildlife spotting or spending the day sprawled on White Point Beach. If you enjoy viewing or photographing ruins, you'll find the Biggin Church worth stopping at before you go to the Stoner's Pizza Joint on the old U-52 for lunch.
Q: 🍕What restaurant has the best gluten-free pizza in Charleston?
Q: 🍕What restaurant has the best veggie pizza in Charleston?
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Q: 🍕What restaurant has the best white pizza in Charleston?