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Durham, NC - Seeking decent pizza

Greetings 'Hounders,

Are there any good pizza places in Durham, preferably closer to Fayetteville Rd/Southpoint Mall area?

I'm looking for something different... definitely NOT the standard chains (i.e. I am not interested in places like Domino's, Pizza Hut, etc.) I have tried Randy's Pizza at several locations as well as Amante's. Both are decent, definitely several steps ahead of the typical chain restaurants, but nothing truly special. I almost hate to say it, but I do have a soft spot for I Love NY Pizza, though the freshness and variety of the toppings at Amante's put it to shame. Maybe it's the crust I like. Also gave Mellow Mushroom a shot...enjoy it very much, but it's too far away for a weeknight.

Any suggestions?

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  1. the best pizza in the area you're talking about is actually at University Mall in Chapel Hill - alfredo's pizza villa. about an 8 minute drive from southpoint. If you like the crust of I Love NY Pizza and long for fresh toppings (as well as pizza that hasnt been sitting around for hours and hours), go to alfredo's. I'm willing to bet that you won't be disappointed.

    1 Reply
    1. re: batdown

      Another vote for Alfredo's, especially when Alfredo himself is working there. Also, if you want their best effort, order a pizza, don't get one of their premade slices. A fresh made pizza always tastes better than something that's been sitting around. I also sometimes go by there and just buy their dough to make pizzas at home. Heating up a pizza stone on the gas grill does a very good job.

    2. Pops in Downtown Durham is the best I've had. They've even opened Pops Backdoor so you can order ahead and pick up a pie to take home.

      2 Replies
      1. re: jojo_kramer

        I really like Pops' backdoor. Great crust and an incredible topping selection. I've also solidly enjoyed the pizza at Brixx (Meadowmont, off 54, outskirts of Chapel Hill).

        1. re: statolith

          .Another vote for pop's backdoor. I just had my first this evening -- a #12 calzone with NC shrimp, bacon, red onion, and roasted red pepper. Cheese a plenty and traditional red sauce on the side. Twas awesome. Of course I had a ravenous appetite after moving brewery tanks all day...so just about anything might have hit the spot.

          I live only two miles from Ciao Bella in North Chatham county, which some people love, but I find the crust too sweet and cakey. It's not bad...but I just don't see it as a destination pizza place like some do. Perhaps because it's so close to home.

      2. Randy's is usually my first choice but I prefer it by the slice. I've been known to request a whole pie uncut and give it another blast on my pizza stone when I get home. The locations seem to vary. For some reason the MLK and Northgate stores seem better to me than the Woodcroft location? I really like the crust at Cinelli's and if I'm not mistaken it's the same as Bocci on Fayettville Rd. near southpoint.
        I've only been once but the pizza I had at Carmine's (Eastgate Shopping Center CH) was really good.
        You might want to give Rockwood (by Nana's & The Q Shack) a try too.

        1 Reply
        1. re: LBD

          Rockwood has not gotten good reviews on this forum.

          Broad St. Cafe has good wood-fired pies.

        2. Pop's Salty Egg and Prosciutto pizza is awesome. All their pies are great. Rockwood Filling Station is catching up to Pop's with their gourmet wood-fired oven pizzas. There's a lot of good food to be had closer to (or in) downtown D-town.

          Randy's is the closest to NY style I've found. You're not going to get "real" NY or New Haven pizza here because no one has the ultra-high temp coal fired ovens they have up there.

          1. Try Bocci at Sutton Station on Fayetteville a 1/2 mile north of I40, I really like their Nonna's pizza and their Brick Oven (with prosciutto an basil). Definitely a cut above the standard stuff.

            1. Another vote for Bocci's brick oven style pizza. We get the sausage pie with sauteed greens on the side. Don't love their other dishes, but this is definitely the one to try if you're in the Fayetteville Rd. area. Let us know what you think.

              2 Replies
              1. re: suse

                klaatu47 (nice reference with the name, btw) and suse - I will try Bocci's brick oven pizza soon; it's very close to where I live. Sausage pie with sauteed greens on the side sounds really good! Thanks for the suggestion... I'm keeping my fingers crossed. I remember going to Bocci's once before and NOT being impressed whatsoever with the pasta dish I ordered... let's hope for better in the case of the brick oven pizza.

                1. re: suse

                  One more vote for Bocci's as best Pizza in Durham - though, it isn't spectacular, just pretty good. Nonna style is my pick - but others are pretty good too. I've also had mostly good luck w/ their pastas.
                  Next is Pop's, then a dropoff, then the Randy's/Pulcinella tier. Didn't care for Alfredo's at all.
                  (Note: I'm a Chicago-style person, by preference.)

                2. It's worth a drive from Durham, down 15-501 through Chapel Hill toward Pittsboro to Ciao Bella's in Cole Park. It's a little difficult to see from the road, as it's tucked into a corner next to Torrero's Mexican. Look for the "PIZZA" sign, and don't confuse it with the worthless Olive Branch cafe or Village Pizza. Talk to the owner, Russ.... some of the best pizza in the Triangle area. Truly a hidden diamond in the rough.

                  1. I vote for Pulcinella's in the Woodcroft Shopping center.

                    1. Pizzeria Roma in the Patterson Place Shopping Center on 15/501 (Kohls is there) is the best pizza I've encountered in Durham. Inside is no frills, but the pizza is fantastic and the people are so nice. To be honest, I was underwhelmed with Randys. Never tried a pizza at Bocci, but their stombolis leave a lot to be desired. I would stick to other items there.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: elpea70

                        I gotta disagree about Bocci's strombolis and calzones.

                        They are freakin' awesome. The dough on those buggers are baked perfectly golden brown - crispy on the outside and a little chewy on the inside. The red sauce they use is great. Nice acidity with a touch of sweet. Plus, they have a great selection of toppings/fillings to include as you choose.

                        1. re: ToothTooth

                          If you ever make it to Raleigh, go to Miltons at Six Forks and Strickland and try their stromboli. You'll never eat stromboli at Bocci again! In all seriousness, I like Bocci, and maybe I was there on a bad stromboli night.

                        2. re: elpea70

                          I haven't had their pizza but the subs bring back fond memories of college food back in the early 1970's and the pizza does look awesome. The by-the-slice slices are HUGE and there's a lot of turnover at lunchtime so they don't get stale.

                        3. Cinellis is pretty good for around the Duke area. If you want really good pizza, you have to go to the 5 points area in Raleigh, LIlly's pizza. They are my favorite pizza spot and are always on point. A word of caution though, this isn't an NY style joint, for lack of a better word, it's very hipster, which is fine by me, it's just not your "grab a slice and go" type of place.

                          That said, I live in Durham and take trips over to Lilly's regularly, no one in the triangle can touch them. Now I'm hungry.