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Pizza, Columbia, SC

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Anyone beent to Pauline's Pizza on Forest Dr.? I had a pizza with fresh tomato, basil and fresh mozzarella or maybe it was goat cheese. (it was so unmemorable that I can't remember the puddle of cheese). When you'd pick up a piece it would flop on your wrist - that soggy. Where oh where can I get a good pizza, other than driving to Flat Rock?

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  1. who has good pizza in Flat Fock????

    1 Reply
    1. re: Spreadhead

      FlatRock Village Bakery. Fabulous pizza. Fabulous everything.

    2. Have you tried The Pizza Man on Rosewood? I like very much. Also, check out the Thai chicken pizza at Goatfeathers.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Ellen of SC

        Thanks Ellen, I am going to be right around the corner from Pizza Man tomorrow evening. But I was really thinking about a little place just off Rosewood on Howard St. called Utopia.

        1. re: Ellen of SC

          re: Pizza Man. This recommendation and the accolades I've seen for this place elsewhere puzzle me. I recently had a pie from Pizza Man, and while it was just one pie, I do not understand the appeal of this place. The toppings are adequate but the crust is awful. In fact, I've never seen anything like it in a pizza: it manages to be crispy and oil-soaked at the same time, as well as bereft of any flavor. I can appreciate how thin the crust is (I like a thin crust), but this was a greasy yet petrified tasteless cracker. Am I missing something?

          1. re: north2south

            You hit the nail on the head with your review of Pizza Man. I tried this place also based on the word of mouth buzz I heard around Columbia. It was awful and so was the staff and service. I sat at the bar and the chubby female beer tapper was rude, sloppy, and acted like she was doing me a big favor by allowing me to have some of their god-awful greasy crusted pizza. I've had better pizza at the chain places. There seems to be a problem in general with Columbia being up to par when it comes to restaurants and I mean big time.

        2. I had one of the speciality pizzas from Paulie's Pizza and it was really good. It was folded more like a calzone and had fresh rosemary, very different and good. But I would also check out Pizza Man and Za's on Devine. Za's has a good white pizza. And the greek pizza at Zorba's was pretty good, I think, although its been ages since I have eaten there. I miss the Parthenon that had fab pizza and salads, but sadly went out business last year!

          2 Replies
          1. re: AzraelK

            Oh yeah, Za's! I forgot about them - they do have good pizza. You should try their crab cakes. I'll give Paulies another chance. I ended up with Zorba's last night because I was too tired to wait 30 minutes at Pizza man for a to go pizza and then another 30 minute drive home. Zorba's was pretty good.

            1. re: SweetPea

              Ohhhh boy...when I lived in Columbia, I used to LOVE Zorba's greek pizza. That was some good stuff!!!

          2. I'm a big fan of Dano's on Rosewood. Their regular round pizzas are pretty good but not necessarily remarkable, but their Sicilian style crust is fantastic! I'm glad I live close by and can get it delivered. I ate inside one time - hated the bright lights and cheap couple of tables. Now I just get them to deliver one Sicilian which is so huge that it last me days...

            Can anybody tell me whatever happened to good old fashioned pizza joints? I mean the dank smoky pizzerias with dark, dark wood paneling, tiffany lamps, dim lighting, maybe a couple of arcade games in the corner, and surly employees? Pizza Man is hit or miss as far as the pizza goes, but the environment is the only place that comes anywhere near that, and I know for a fact that they do make their own mozzarella and sauce. I think I am just nostalgic for those days - I bet the pizza totally sucked...

            3 Replies
            1. re: deibu

              "...I mean the dank smoky pizzerias with dark, dark wood paneling, tiffany lamps, dim lighting,.." Try LaBrasca's! Don't expect surly wait staff though.

              1. re: Ellen of SC

                LaBrasca's! For crying out loud how did I forget that place? Oh, because I live across the river. I went to Dano's once but was unimpressed with a slice. I'll try the sicillian crust.

                1. re: Ellen of SC

                  That's right - I always forget about Labrasca's. It's awful for pizza, but as long as you think of it as an entirely different taste, it's good for a change. And I always have to get that "cheese salad" which is basically a bowl of cheese, a little iceberg lettuce, and tons of oil and vinegar... It's got those great 60's "textured" walls, covered in burns and smoke stains... Haven't been in over 2 years and I will definitely remember it next time!

              2. have you tried the pizza at Al Amir (next door to Za's)? really quite good

                2 Replies
                1. re: sardis

                  No, I haven't. I didn't realize they had pizza. Thanks for the suggestion, I'll give it a try.

                  1. re: sardis

                    Didn't love it. I want to "LOVE" the pizza.

                  2. The best pizza (NY style) I've had in the area is at Antonina's in Lexington (see http://www.antoninas.com/). It is better than Dano's (Rosewood), Paulie's (Forest), and Pop's (Hardin). I sampled a few of the other items on the menu at Antonina's but really the only thing worth driving there for is the pizza from what I can tell. I do not think Paulie's is good and ten minutes in a car makes it much worse. I had a good slice at Dano's---once. The several other times I've been there I've been disappointed. Pop's is adequate, and I stop in there every once in a while when the craving for a slice hits me, but I can't say it is a fine example of the genre. Try Antonina's and let me know what you think.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: north2south

                      Antonia's is on a stick note on my fridge. I should have paid attention to it. Thanks for the reminder. There is a place in Irmo - "Gina's" that can be very good for pizza and other offerings; but hit or miss. While convenient, sometimes I'm not willing to take the chance.

                      Wow, seafood pizza! I had that in Jamaica in another lifetime for breakfast a couple times. They laughed and laughed over that, but served it up with a smile and it was great.

                    2. Uno's in Lexington is pretty darn good if you like deep dish. Usually don't like chains but their yeasty crust wins me over. I have a friend who orders just their dough crust for takeout. Go to Sam's Club off Harbison and try a fresh slice of their supreme which beats LaBrasca's IMHO. Also like Pizza Man - kinda neat to get capers on a za. Anyone tried Capone's in Lugoff or the Italian Pie on Forest Dr.?

                      15 Replies
                      1. re: Doodad

                        Several years ago when I lived in Boston I was cooking one night and needed some ricotta cheese. The nearby convenience store didn't have any but there was an Uno's nearby. I went in thinking I'd be able to convince them to sell me some. No such luck. They didn't have any, they said. I expressed surprise, since various dishes on their menu called for ricotta cheese. "That's all made at a factory and shipped here for us to cook or heat up" I was told. Haven't been to an Uno's since.

                        1. re: north2south

                          try gina's pizza in irmo. She does really huge sicilian style pizzas and the price she charges for them is a steal.

                        2. re: Doodad

                          Uno's was removed from my list when they scored in the 70's on their food safety inspection,.... TWICE.

                          Antonina's is fabulous! great pie, decent service, every dish i've had has been wonderful.

                          mellow mushroom is a fav.

                          dano's is also good.

                          italian pie on forrest is OK. nothing to really comment about one way or the other.

                          1. re: Doodad

                            I live near Forest Drive and was so excited to have Italian Pie...until I tried it. I like several of their salads, but the pizza was nothing special to me. The crust was a little dry and the rest of it didn't seem to be cooked enough. And I've tried it more than once. I saw someone mentioned Pop's, but didn't say much about it. I heard good things from a co-worker, so another colleague and I went and we were not impressed. Perhaps we ordered the wrong thing -- can't remember what crust we ordered. Any body have any comments on Pop's?

                            1. re: AzraelK

                              spiranza's! yeah i know it's been a while. :-(

                              1. re: TBird

                                Whoa! Spiranza's? On the way to the airport? Chianti bottles with candles in them? Little brick building with virtually no parking and the kids worked there too? Parents yelled at them? I have been asking about that name for a year!

                                1. re: SweetPea

                                  I saw a sign in a Lexington shopping center a few months back advertising Spiranza's. I used to know their son, Vinny who had a place in Triangle City. Loved their pizza and antipasta.

                                  1. re: Doodad

                                    Hey Doodad, if you can point me to which shopping center that was I'd really appreciate it.

                                    1. re: Cpt Wafer

                                      me too

                                      1. re: Cpt Wafer

                                        Googled and the phone is disconnected. Wahhhhh. I was feeling hopeful. I was almost in the car.

                                        1. re: SweetPea

                                          Thanks SweetPea. I admire your initiative and appreciate your effort.

                                    2. re: SweetPea

                                      >I have been asking about that name for a year!

                                      Speranza is Italian for "hope". The owner's name was Tom Goldman. He worked at Mama Leone's in NYC when he was young. We used to go there after school and sit at his little counter and he would give us samples until we couldn't eat any more. Tom was a good guy. First person I ever saw hand toss pizza dough. He had great subs too. He would dress them with thinly sliced marinated eggplant. First place I ever ate eggplant. I think Tom passed away some time back.

                                      1. re: Cpt Wafer

                                        Wow. I used to go there in college. Loved that place. I remember thwe pizza toss to. My b-friend was from NY, but I'd never seen it. The kids were probably in middle school and they would squawk over homework while they were helping with the resto biz. Funny family scene. I could not remember the name and began asking my friends and my dad, but nobody could remember the name although they remembered the place. I sure wish I had know about Vinny's place.

                                        1. re: SweetPea

                                          Tom's kid(s) opened a place on Knox Abbott sometime in the '80s (I think). It was in a dead Sizzler next to what is now a Wachovia branch. They tried to go upscale. It was overpriced and not very good; so you didn't really miss anything.

                                        2. re: Cpt Wafer

                                          in high scool, i worked at spiranza's(not the original one at decatur, but the one that moved 1/2 block down the street beside t-square) and had the pleasure of watching tom tell jokes and spin pies, ultimately spinning the pie onto some poor unsuspecting patrons head! it was awesome and NEVER a dull moment. vinny worked there then too. ahhh memories... :-)

                                2. Best pizza in Columbia in my opinion is at Grecian Gardens. Best pizza around is in Orangeburg at House of Pizza.

                                  1. I've tried all of the places mentioned and the best (I grew up in New York) is without a doubt Dano's Pizza on Rosewood Drive. The crust is crispy, but won't cut your mouth, and the sauce is always good. They put just the right amount of cheese on their pies, too. It's really what I grew up eating, except it's (finally) in Columbia! I understand the owner is an Italian guy from New Jersey too... www.danosdelivers.com
                                    Hope that helps.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: mitchell98

                                      Did you try Antonina's? Unless Dano's has improved things recently or Antonina's has taken a nosedive, I think I'd have trouble agreeing with you. I've had Dano's and thought it was only okay in comparison to Antonina's. And I grew up in New York, too. I suppose I will have to try Dano's again.

                                      1. re: north2south

                                        Pops is still GREAT. I drive from near Columbia Metro airport to Pops for a Pizza. I'll have to try some of these other places though.

                                    2. In Columbia, SC, Pop's NY Pizza is the place to go (on Harden Street in Five Points). I've tried all pizza places in Columbia and the surrounding areas and everything else isn't real NY Pizza. Their pizza is real thin crust with an incredible sauce and that cheese that I only seem to be able to get in NY. The crust is crispy (unlike Dano's, which as others have said, is soggy) and the pizza's are huge. I measured the pizza Friday when I got it home and it was bigger than the 20 inches they say it is.

                                      If you haven't been back here in a while you need to go again. It really is the best.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: northsouth

                                        Just to clarify -- the above post is not by me ("north2south"). I maintain that Pop's is merely adequate, though I haven't been in a few months.

                                      2. I have eaten at Paulie's many times and have always had good pizza. I decided to try Dano's for the first time today and I feel like Paulie's is better. I folded the pizza slice and a " healthy " puddle of grease formed. Probably won't return, but do want to try Pop's.

                                        1. I wasn't impressed with Paulie's. My family is originally from New York and the best pizza we've found in Columbia is at Paul's Philadelphia Eatery on Senate St in the Vista. My daughter lives in Columbia and she took us to Paul's. They've only been open for a couple of months, but they make everything themselves. The cheesesteak was awesome too! We'll definately be back.

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: charleston mom

                                            I love Nick's House of Pizza in West Columbia's pizza, but mileage may vary on that. Still...their house special? OMG.

                                            1. re: charleston mom

                                              Haven't really heard anything about this place since I haven't been to the Vista in a few months, even though I live nearby. Looking at the website and the reviews online, I'm definitely going to check it out!

                                              Thanks for the info...

                                            2. I am from the Chicago area and i am always seeking pizzas compatible with what I have had at home. I have tried UNO's here I must say its pretty good but its not a true Chicago pan pizza with the cheese on top. and their crust is also way off tastes like cornbread a little to me. I also tried Pizzaman ordered a large cheese an sausage pizza i must say it was a light pizza weighed as much as a cheeseburger. crust wasn't too bad very thin very crispy a good sauce flavor an cheese over all not too bad. Also tried Al-amir an zorba I would say their pizza style is about the same thin crisp crust and sauce not too bad, I suppose these pizzas are better using their specialty with the veggies an chicken. I will be trying Ginas in irmo to see how that is update coming soon.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: Zukers

                                                Checked out Ginas their crust was the kind that flops around, it tasted good. The cheese was a bit sparse and the sauce was thinly spread. I ordered there 3 different times same results. So far the best pizza I have had in the area is unos still. I really like pan pizzas which is a chicago thing i grew up with.

                                              2. I popped into the new pizza joint on Gervais in the Vista the other day -- "Z Pizza." Apparently this is a California-based chain, a la California Pizza Kitchen. Don't go expecting a NY-style slice. This is an organic sauce, organic flour, pseudo-healthy, hoity-toity, skim (!) mozzarella kind of place. It is kind of hard to get excited about a pizza place that trumpets its use of lowfat mozzarella. Anyway, I was in the neighborhood and got a plain slice and walked out into the lovely weather eating it. The slice was $3.00 and pretty small. At those prices it has got to be good, right? Well that slice, which probably had been sitting around for a few hours in its glass-enclosed carousel judging from the looks and taste of it, was not good at all. That said, it would be unfair to condemn the place based on this lonely orphan of a slice. I think one needs to go in and order a fresh and fancy pie to see what this restaurant has to offer.

                                                6 Replies
                                                1. re: north2south

                                                  What about Pizza Man on Rosewood and Woodrow? It's the best in my books. If you go to Dano's, get the BBQ chicken on their "widow" crust (have to ask them for it). Paulie's is pretty good if you don't order the greasy meat toppings.

                                                  1. re: capitalguy

                                                    What's the widow crust?

                                                    I agree with Pizza Man though I can definately see how some people could hate it. I wish there were better pizza options in Columbia. Hopefully someone decides to open up a pizzera putting out Neapolitan pies.

                                                    1. re: youngbuk32

                                                      Widow crust is very, very thin and crispy

                                                  2. re: north2south

                                                    Don't waste your time. I tried slices at lunch - they had just made the pie so it had not been sitting around. Not that good - definitely nothing special. Not bad, but for the price ... no way, plus the crust seemed a little "premade". Then we ordered a whole wheat pie to go - pricey - 2 ingredients and the total was close to $19! It was a little better, but we won't go back. Employees seemed a little clueless on both trips (one of whom appeared to be the owner!)

                                                    1. re: north2south

                                                      Have you been to Paul's Philadelphia Eatery on the corner of Senate and Park yet? They have the best pizza...it is made from scratch. The owner is from Philadelphia and a Cert. Exec Chef....cheesesteaks and desserts are amazing too. It's a little hard to find, but right next door to the Flying Saucer in the Vista. Definately better than cardboard Z's.

                                                      1. re: charleston mom

                                                        I've been there. I had a small Tuscan pizza from there a while back and while I enjoyed the toppings I was a little disappointed in the crust which I found a little bland. Though this was a while back, close to when they first opened so it may have improved now.

                                                        I've actually been meaning to try it again but everytime I go there I can't stop myself from ordering a cheesesteak. I love their cheesesteaks and it's been preventing me from getting some of their hoagies which I've wanted to try.

                                                    2. Far and away the best pizza is ZPizza on Gervais. It's new and very good.

                                                      5 Replies
                                                      1. re: capitalguy

                                                        What did you have that you liked there? My one visit there (see above) left me unimpressed. What did I miss?

                                                        1. re: capitalguy

                                                          I totally agree!! ZPizza is the best!!!!

                                                          1. re: Sikorasc

                                                            cardboard...stale taste...no thanks

                                                            1. re: justalittlejaded

                                                              I could not agree more. Against my better judgement, I went back yesterday at lunch and the pizza was terrible. I had pepperoni slices - the crust was like something out of a frozen pizza nightmare - no charring, crispiness or crunch, let alone taste, and there was just nothing good about it. I don't care if they use organic ingredients, it just is not good. That's it for me!

                                                              1. re: atruebluedevil

                                                                Zpizza is far from the best. The crust is ok very little sauce or cheese unfilling pizza. Danos Sicilian (not reagular) pizza is awesome lots of cheese and sauce very filling and tasty. Unos pizza Since Im from Chicago its the closest thing I can get to a pan pizza with tons of ingredients never had a bad pizza from them yet. Last would be mellow mushroom defiantly a awesome pizza they are not friendly take out due to parking. Other OK places I tried Paulies, Pops, pizzaman, ginas and hungrey howies. Some bad places is la brascas
                                                                pie squared. I'm still searching for good pizza so my list will grow.

                                                        2. A few folks upthread recommended Gina's in Irmo. I had the opportunity to try it recently. It is small, and smells good when you walk in. They have garlic knots, which is a plus (why Dano's does not is a mystery to me). We ordered a couple of pies to eat there but we were not impressed. The crust is all wrong; it is doughnut-sweet and floppy as a noodle. I watched the folks in the kitchen for a few minutes. They make the pizza by rolling out the dough with a rolling pin until it is flat. Then they fold over the outer edge about an inch to make a raised outer crust. This is all wrong, and the result is a two-layer perimeter that was underdone. And was that cheddar cheese mixed into everything else on top of my pie? Why?

                                                          Perhaps I will go back to try their sandwiches or other dishes next time I'm out in Irmo, but for pizza, no thanks. I still think Antonina's is tops, but I go to Dano's more since its location is more convenient for me and it is pretty good.

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: north2south

                                                            I had the opportunity to retry Antonina's recently and I am sad to report that quality appears to be slipping. I also tried the new "Margherita" pie at Dano's. I think Dano's is okay generally for NY-style pizza but this pie is an abomination. With the old Kroger's shopping center being revitalized and expanded as a home for the coming Whole Foods, I have my fingers crossed that a good new pizza place will find a spot there, too.

                                                            Come on restaurant folks, it is not that hard. Here is a tip: once the dough is made and the ingredients laid out, it shouldn't take more than 6 minutes to assemble and cook a pizza. If you are cooking it for more than 5 minutes, you are, to borrow a chowhoundism, "doing it all wrong."

                                                          2. As a native New Yorker from a neighborhood with a mom n pop pizzeria on every corner, I have to say that Dano's Pizza on Rosewood Drive is the best around here. The sicilian is the best. I have never been let down for as long as I can remember. They have the best thin crust as well. Never soggy. Paulies on Forest Dr is gone. Pauly's on Park in the vista is gone. Italian pie on Forest is gone. Mellow Mushroom freezes their dough. Yuck! Pops in 5points is owned by an ex con. See the best of forensic files, dvd 1, the Madison Rutherford case. Z's is not real pizza. Its some Californian's idea of pizza covered with toppings to make you forget how crappy the basic 3 first ingredients taste. Do yourself a favor and order a meatlover or veggie lover or deluxe (a bit of both) from Dano's. So so good! Oh, and Antonetti's in Lexington is WAY WAY overpriced.

                                                            3 Replies
                                                            1. re: marshallstack24

                                                              Paulies is not there anymore village idiot bought them out and they are ok at best. I have to agree with mellow mushroom they have slipped and is only average pizza. Danos is still one of the best places for pizza and again I only order scicilian that is the one that tastes best the other flat crust pizzas are ok. Uno's I only order chicago style pan pizza, the rest of thier pizzas are average.Gina's is over priced and they are rarely open closed sunday-wed I dont think thier pizza is all that they are closest to me in irmo and I would rather drive to rosewood to goto danos. I also Like pizzaman which is very near danos they have a unique pizza tastey pizza but real thin cracker crust but good sauce and cheese flavor, they have terrible takeout service. I hate standing next to thier bar and bothering a waitress's for service. Hungry howies pizza average. labrascas aweful pizza, pie tanza good pizzas personal sized sauce and cheese good but the crust average floppy doughy. schianos is decent pizza. NY pops pizza again average.Also the place called godfathers pizza is a joke its a gas station selling cooked frozen pizzas. Places I would like to try tony o's on st andrews road and thirsty fellows ,

                                                              1. re: Zukers

                                                                Born and reared in the South I can't claim to know pizza, OK? (I know BBQ and fried chicken.) However, I enjoy the pizza at Pizza Man but detest the service. LaBrasca's is just a hoot - try it for the nutsy atmosphere, not the food. I like Village Idiot - OK so I'm an idiot... EH!

                                                                A couple of different spots - Thirsty Fellow has my idea of good pizza. Build your own - red or white sauce. Thin crust. Lots of toppings - plus, you cannot beat the beers they have on tap.

                                                                Goatfeathers. Yes. They have very good food - very good pizza - and the most unique atmosphere in Columbia.

                                                                Pizza Man
                                                                341 S Woodrow St, Columbia, SC 29205

                                                                1. re: EllenColatown

                                                                  i love docs BBQ.

                                                                  finally got to try Tony o's on st andrew and it tastes alot like pizzaman but with a better crust and they are cheap large cheese and sausage an mushroom 13 dollars with tax such a deal!

                                                            2. Sorry to resurrect such an old thread, but I was wondering if anyone could provide a more recent update for any of the pizza places mentioned. We prefer NY style pizza (vs. Chicago or California), but not the super thin cracker crust type.

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: punkin712

                                                                Danos on rosewood is the only place that comes to mind (only get their Sicilian pizza) TONY'Os closed down. I don't know much about whats in Lexington but there is a UNOs there that place is hit an miss I usually pick the Chicago style pan pizza hated everything else there. Mellow mushroom on gervais rd is ok I have better at other mellow mushrooms in other towns.Za's brink overn on divine unknown.the pizza joint off forest is awe-full and bland. verys restaurant off two notch is decent pizza not great.pie tanza oven brick pizza should be better than what I had ok at best. schianos is pretty good its been awhile since I been there. marcos pizza thats a pappa john type pizza chain pretty awefull pizza. pizza pro off farrow rd is unknown.zorbas ain't bad I do like them some. hungrey howies average chain pizza place. bellacinos again blah chain pizza place. ginas pizza is ok some like it but be prepared for not many open hours long pizza prep time and high dollar pizza costs. again theres a few places in lexington and west columbia I need to check out thats all I have. I'm from chicago and used to work in the pizza biz there for many years Some of the better places there is home run, ginas east and connies being my favorite. but generally most mom an pop places there make awesome pizza unlike here.

                                                              2. I haven't been on Chowhound in a while, but this is newsworthy. The Columbia area now has very good pizza -- like, right out of Naples good, with a brief stop in NY to add some modern toppings. It is Noah's Antica Pizzeria, in Irmo. Yes, Irmo. Stop complaining and just go. Bring a bottle of vino. It is currently a take-out shop with two small tables, with plans to expand. I ate there (I was worried the pizza wouldn't survive long in a box) and it was delicious. Not perfect, but leaps and bounds beyond any other pizza establishment in the area, as far as I know.

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: north2south

                                                                  No beer and wine license I take it? Either way, I know to trust your advice. Off to Noah's.