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Politics, religion and pizza: Three topics not to be discussed in public unless you’re looking for a fight.
Deep dish or thin crust? Pepperonis only or the works? New York-style or Chicago? The debate is as old as time.
Because Myrtle Beach is a bit of a miniature melting pot, drawing visitors and transplanted locals from all over the nation, the Great Pizza Debate is particularly hot and saucy. Unlike other regions of the country that have reached a consensus on how they prefer their pies, the Grand Strand is a virtual Pizza-Palooza of options. Thin-and-crispy peacefully co-exists with thick-and-gooey, no matter how wrong the other side may be.
But the beauty is there is no right or wrong. One man’s all-meat pizza is another man’s veggie pie. It’s all a matter of personal taste. But there are some pizzerias that stand above the rest on the Grand Strand, a place that takes its pizza very seriously. Here are the top five places to get your favorite kind of pie:
Amici’s Brick-Oven Bistro: There’s something about the flame-kissed flavor of a brick-oven pizza that sets it apart from the rest. Fans of it keep coming back for seconds, refusing to return to the more traditional style. Several places on the Grand Strand boast brick ovens, but Amici’s has perfected the wood-fired crunch. In fact, Amici’s is so busy it recently opened a second location at Broadway at the Beach, a little sister store called Little Amici’s. Both offer a full menu of Italian classics, but it’s the pizza that packs the housel.
Godfather’s Pizza: This once-successful chain has fallen on hard times nationally with many locations closing. But one survivor is still serving up the tasty style of pies in the downtown Myrtle Beach area. Godfather’s spare no expense in constructing their mammoth pies, piling it high with toppings and real mozzarella cheese. The quality level might explain the chain’s financial issues since the pizza price wars broke out in America. This location offers a lunch buffet for folks who can’t get enough Godfather’s.
Mellow Mushroom: This Atlanta-based regional uses a hippie-theme to peddle its delicious pies, many of which feature bizarre combinations, like the Kozmik Karma, the Magical Mystery Tour and the Mighty Meaty. But a big part of this place’s appeal is the lengthy beer menu, featuring a wide selection of microbrews from all over the globe. With more than 60 beers on tap, you won’t have any trouble finding something good to wash it down. The Mushroom also offers a nice spread of salads and starters for the non-pizza lovers in your party.
New York Pizza: Folks from the Big Apple can find a little slice of home at this tiny pizzeria in a Myrtle Beach strip mall. Not only does the thin and crispy crust deliver a New York crunch, but the counter-style service and order-by-the-slice options are familiar ones to fans of Empire State-style pizza. Patrons can choose their own toppings and watch and wait as their pie emerges hot from the conveyor-belt oven. Dine in for the full New York pizzeria experience.
Ultimate California Pizza: This popular local chain offers more than 50 gourmet toppings, including filet mignon, shrimp, Thai peanut chicken, pulled pork, coconut, and goat cheese. There are several stores on the Strand, including the Game Zone location on Restaurant Row that features a video arcade for the kids. UCP also serves excellent salads and sandwiches, but it’s the pie that are to die for.
(Photo courtesy: UltimateCaliforniaPizza.com)