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The newcomer's guide to great pizza in Charleston

Pie in the sky

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Pizzas may be round like the sun, but the moon can never block our love for these glorious cheese pies. They're also an essential part of the college student experience. Luckily, Charleston's reputation as a foodie town extends to pizza, as the peninsula and surrounding areas are packed with places creating all sorts of 'za. From New York style to gourmet to late night, we've got you covered. Bonus — looking at pizza won't burn your retinas.

Best all-around

D'Allessandro's Pizza
229 St. Philip St.
Downtown
(843) 853-6337
dalspizza.com

Don't let the extremely hard to spell name scare you away. D'Allessandro's, or D'Als, offers the best pizza experience on the peninsula. The restaurant boasts a great college atmosphere (including a unicycle chandelier) and tasty pies featuring a wide assortment of fresh ingredients. Among its many positive qualities, D'Als has reasonable prices — 10-inch personal pizzas start at just $8. They've also got some killer lunch combos, including a 10-inch one topping pizza, side salad, and fountain drink for a cool $7.50.

The best games

Paisano's
1246 Camp Road
James Island
(843) 762-1135
1798 Ashley River Road

West Ashley
(843) 818-4969
paisanosji.com

Although Paisano's is not downtown, the amenities make it worth the trip. The two locations include an assortment of board games and arcade machines for you to play while you wait. The pizzas are reasonably priced, starting at $6.99 for a small cheese with each additional topping at $0.99, and each pie hits that delicious sweet spot of perfectly greasy goodness that only this food group can achieve. They also have a pie called The Colbert, which features a bleu cheese base, chicken, bleu cheese crumble, and hot sauce. We were unable to confirm whether that's Charleston native Stephen Colbert's ideal pie.

The Late Night Fix

Gilroy's
353 King St.
Downtown
(843) 937-9200
gilroyspizza.com

We've all been there — it's 1 a.m., you're starving, and every pizza place is closed because, well, it's 1 a.m. Gilroy's, however, won't fail you. This hole-in-the-wall King Street joint has been open since 1974. The pizzas are cheap and greasy, the walls are adorned with license plates, and the furniture is scruffy at best. It's the perfect atmosphere for some simple, late-night pie.

New York State of Mind

Sabatino's
151 Calhoun St.
Downtown
(843) 577-8861
sabatinosnypizza.com

If you're looking for a very short vacation, come to Sabatino's to take a step into Manhattan. Tucked behind Moe's across from the Francis Marion on Calhoun Street, Sabatino's serves up New York style (specifically, Bronx style) 'za. That means massive slices and low prices. Make sure to season your slice with the ubiquitous glass jars of parmesan and pepper flakes.

Fancy artisanal craft pie

Luke's Craft Pizza
271 Ashley Ave.
Downtown
(843) 410-1695
lukescraftpizza.com

Go too fast, and you might miss it — this tiny carry-out only joint sits in a miniscule building on the corner of the Crosstown and Ashley Avenue. The two-person operation, run by co-owners Luke and Brittany Davis, focuses on keeping it simple with fresh ingredients like casalingo salami, cremini mushrooms, and housemade spicy honey. Each pizza is made to order, and 14 inch pies start at $14. Place your order early — Luke's only sells 50 pies a night.

The First Date

Monza
451 King St.
Downtown
(843) 720-8787
monzapizza.com

With exposed brick, wooden tables, tasteful race car-themed black and white photography, and good pizza, Monza's got all the makings of a successful first date. The Neapolitan wood-oven pizzas feature imported Italian wheat flour and locally sourced ingredients and run around $15. You won't go broke, so if all goes well, you can save money for the second date.

The Best Chain

Mellow Mushroom
309 King St.
Downtown
(843) 723-7374

19 Magnolia Road
West Ashley
(843) 747-4992

4855 Tanger Outlet Blvd.
North Charleston
(843) 790-9000
3110 Hwy. 17 North

Mt. Pleasant

(843) 881-4743
mellowmushroom.com/store/charleston

Sometimes you just want something familiar. Mellow Mushroom delivers. This Atlanta-based pizza chain proves that corporate pizza doesn't have to suck. The King Street storefront features pizzas (including classics like the Magical Mystery Tour and Maui Wowie), calzones, salads, soft pretzels, sandwiches, and wings. There are also gluten-free pizzas for the health conscious and tons of craft beer available for those over, ahem, 21.

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