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Bella Notte Blaze Dominos Donatos Goodfellas JoeBolognas   Mods PapaJohns PizzaHut Puccinis

Pizza would seem to be a simple food, a round doughy pie crust covered with cheese and other toppings, then baked in a brick oven. When the peasant women in the hills outside Naples evolved the first Pitsa, which used only mozzarella, tomatoes and basil, they never dreamed their creation would become a worldwide favorite. Today, everyone has their own ideas of what kind of crust, cheeses and toppings they want. Lexington has 37 pizza outlets, some of them chains with a dozen locations, each with its own marketing appeal. We have thick, thin, cheese filled and toasted crusts. We have every kind of cheese imaginable. We have 103 kinds of toppings, some quite common like anchovies, pepperoni and sausage, some more imaginative, like zucchini, smoked salmon and jalapenos. Most people cheat themselves by ordering only from home delivery outlets. The very best pizzas we found were at sit down restaurants. As of September 1, 2016, it became official : Lexington has the highest ratio of pizza outlets to population of any city in America.

Bella Notte Bella Notte is an outstanding Italian restaurant but many people never think of ordering carry out pizza there. However, its Margherita is wonderful. It's just basic mozzarella, marinated roma tomatoes, basil with medium crust, but the very best ingredients are used, and it's baked in a brick oven to just the right crispness. If you're a little more adventurous, the Barbequed Chicken Pizza features wood fired grilled chicken with smoky barbecue sauce, red onions, smoked gouda and cilantro. There's the Original, Bella Notte's take on the Naples Pitsa that started the whole Pizza phenomenon. The Original contains black olives, pepperoni, sausage, mushrooms, roasted red peppers, red onions, mozzarella and provolene cheeses. Finally, there's the Quottro Formaggio, a white pizza (meaning tomato free) featuring roasted garlic, olive oil, asiago, mozzarella, provolone and parmesan cheeses. Each is $9. One of the advantages of picking up your pizza at a top restaurant is you can include one of their appetizers in your order. We highly recommend the Bella Original Bruschetta, an array of wood fire charred peasant bread, basil pesto, roma tomatoes, fresh basil and warm gorgonzola. From downtown, take Upper / Limestone / Nicholasville Road out past Fayette Mall. Turn right at the Ford Dealership, then make the first left onto the service road. Bella Notte is the third establishment on your left.
With a pizza outlet on every block, each one has to do something to make itself unique. Blaze is a national chain whose gimmick is high speed low cost. It's sort of a Subway for Pizza. You walk down a line and tell the attendants which toppings you want on your pizza. The fireman then sticks your pizza in a 900 degree blast furnace while you watch from a safe distance and in 90 seconds you receive your steaming pie. This process works surprisingly well. Blaze pizzas are whole wheat flour, thin crust, fresh tomato versions with a gluten free option. You pay $7.25 for the pizza regardless. You could theoretically pile on all 48 toppings for the $7.25. The problem is the taste. Neither the crust, the sauce or the toppings have the rich flavor pizza conneisseurs are used to. Whether this is because the overwhelming heat blanches the flavor out, or because the ingredients are bland to begin with is hard to say. However, if you want a decent pizza fast hot and cheap, Blaze is your place. They do a great job with their side items. Salads are made with fresh local ingredients and include Tomato Basil, Beet & Goat Cheese, Gorgonzola & Roast Veggie, Chicken and Antipasto. Drinks include Tea, Lemonade, Beer & Wine. For Dessert, you really have to order one of their S'mores. They toast those on the edge of the blast furnace. It might be the best S'more you ever had, but it will certainly be the most unique. Blaze has locations at The Summit and Hamburg Place. Blaze
dominos Domino's is the second oldest Pizza chain in the country, having been founded in Ann Arbor, Michigan, in 1960. It's also the world's largest. Domino's is a delivery and carryout chain, and originated the tradition that if your pizza was not at your door in 30 minutes it was free. However, in 2009 a national survey found Domino's dead last in customer preference among all major pizza chains. Customers said its pizzas were tasteless. Stung, Domino's embarked on a year long project to totally revamp its menu, recipes, procedures and training. By 2013 it had zoomed to top three status and remains there. Its current menu offers nine American Legends : Spinach & Feta, Wisconsin Six Cheese, Philly Cheese Steak, Veggie, Chicken Bacon, Hawaiin, BBQ and Spicy Chicken. There are eight Sandwiches : Sausage Pepper, Spicy Chicken, Meditteranean, Chicken Habanero, Philly Cheese Steak, Chicken Bacon, Italian and Parmesan. You can order Pasta Bowls: Chicken Alfredo, Italian Sausage, Chicken Carbonero and Pasta Primevera. There's also a Design Your Own Pizza option.
Of all the pure home delivery places, Donato's is the best. It's pricier than its rivals, but what's a few dollars when you want good pizza?? Donato's is not into gimmicks. It doesn't offer cheese filled crust, extra thick anything, beer baking, folded crust, double toppings, or double deep dishes. But its Marghareta and Chicken Spinach Mozzarella pizzas are the best tasting we've found among the home delivery outlets in Lexington. And there's more. If any of your group are not quite in the mood for pizza, but want something similar, Donato's offers five kinds of Strombolis, nine kinds of Hot Subs, and two kinds of Hoagies. We particularly like the Roast Veggie Sub. There are also Wedge Fries and a Three Cheese Garlic Bread you can't find anywhere else. 728 East Main. 269-5700. About a mile East of downtown. donato's
Goodfellas Goodfellas Pizzerias specialize in New York Style pizza. The first pizzas in the U.S. were served in New York in 1905, and Goodfellas preserves that original type. This includes making the dough from high gluten flour, hand tossing them and baking them in a brick oven. A New York pizza is large and cut into only eight very wide slices. They have a thin crust which cannot be carried flat, so everyone folds or rolls them over. The cheese goes on the bottom and the thin layer of tomato sauce goes on top. A true New York pizza uses only Mozzarrella cheese. Goodfellas bends this format to suit modern tastes : they offer lots of other toppings and a gluten free option. If you like thick crusts, small pizzas or other pizza styles this place may not be for you. But thousands of UK students think this is the best pizza in the world and they love the large servings and low prices. Goodfellas also serves a fine Steak. They prepare them in the pizza ovens, where the intense heat sears the surface and seals in the juices. Their Calzones and Cannolis are among the best in town, too. The restaurant itself gives off a gangster era vibe, with lots of black and white and a hint of Mafia. On the downside, you may not be able to find a table; especially on weekends Goodfellas is almost always crowded. The Goodfellas pictured here is on the UK campus behind Two Keys Tavern just off South Limestone. There's also a downtown location on Mill Street.
Joe Bologna's is synonymous with Lexington Pizza. Joe opened the town's first pizzeria back in 1972 on Euclid Avenue. By 1989 he had outgrown the original location and moved into an abandoned church. The bar is where the altar was, these are the original 1891 Eastern Kentucky pine floors, and Joe's is one of the few restaurants in America with 41 stained glass windows. But the main reason to visit Joe is his pizza. You can order the crust you want. Most people order the thin, and it's excellent, very crisp, perfectly baked. But you can get yours a little or a lot thicker.. With four decades of UK students now bringing their children back, Joe's is a tradition. Two of those traditions are Fried Banana Peppers and Breadsticks. The sticks are drowned in garlic butter and the banana peppers are crisp. Most people consider them the best in town. The All Time favorite pizza at Joe's is the Lite Supreme, a thin crust light on cheese and heavy on toppings. It has homemade sauce, onions, green peppers, hot peppers, green and black olives, zucchini slices, shredded carrots and tomatoes, mushrooms, pineapple, and grated romano cheese. Or there's the Meatball Pizza, a medium crust piled high with sliced meatballs, marinara sauce and mounds of mozzarella sauce. The Hawaiin is a thin crust with ham, green peppers, pineapple, barbeque sauce and mozzarella cheese. 120 West Maxwell. Four blocks from Vine Street. Joe's
The former Calistoga Restaurant (corner of Winchester Road and Sir Barton) is now Kentucky's first location of Mod Pizza. Mod, the national chain founded in 2008 in Seattle, features free choice of whichever and as many toppings as you want for the same price. They offer their very own Mod Red Sauce on most (but not all) pizzas. There are 10 basic varieties. The Dominic features white sauce, asiago, basil, red onion, tomatoes and sausage. The Mad Dog features mozzarella, pepperoni, sausage, ground beef and Mod Red Sauce. Other varieties come with roast red peppers, pesto, mushrooms, garlic, artichokes, chicken, jalapeños, These are the foundation pizzas, to which you then add the toppings of your choice. There are Salads, Beverages and Desserts. With a location at the entrance to Hamburg Mall and across the street from the new high school, Mod should do fine. The nearest existing Mod location is in Louisville.
Papa John's is a Kentucky success story. In 1983 John Schnatter sold his 1971 Z28 Camaro for $2800 to purchase used equipment and began selling pizzas out of his father's suburban Louisville tavern. 10 years later he had a nationwide chain, and tracked down and bought back that original Camaro. It now sits in the lobby of the headquarters building. Today, Papa John's is the third largest pizza chain in the world, still headquartered in suburban Louisville. Papa John's is a carryout and delivery business. Despite the fact that delivering pizzas is their primary focus, Papa John's has continuing trouble with this process. Thousands of UK students complain that Papa John's takes longer to deliver than any other pizza outlet, and makes more mistakes. So how does Papa John's stay in business? Because they make very good pizza. Back in the 1980s, they were the first chain to emphasize fresh, local ingredients and prepare everything on site rather than shipping it frozen. Today, rivals have caught up to this trend, but Papa John's retains the loyal customer base from the time they were ahead of the curve. Their pizza is a more Midwest style : thick stiff crust, heavy tomato sauce, heavy cheese, basic old school toppings, more salt, smaller pies, narrower slices. Shown here is the Papa John's next to the Coliseum on Euclid Avenue. Papa John's
pizza hut Pizza Hut (Wichita 1958) was the first national pizza chain to colonize Kentucky (1970 in Lexington), and for a long time they were the best source of pizza in a state with few Italians and no history with the food. Now, individuals and fine restaurants make pizzas locally from scratch while large chains like Pizza Hut have abandoned local cooking and gone to frozen ingredients and even frozen entrees. So Pizza Hut scrambles for its life in a competitive market. Attempts to update have been mixed. They dropped their original pizza recipe (which many old timers still think was a major mistake), and have dropped the calzones (which were hugely popular but not a large profit generator). They now offer five $10 pizzas (meat, cheese, pepperoni, veggie and combo) plus a build it yourself model. There are three pastas (chicken alfredo, meat marinara and lasagna). They offer $5 specials : Pizza Rollers (four, sushi sized, stuffed with pepperoni and cheese, with ranch or marinara sauce); Panormous Pizza (one topping, four slices); and Pzone (foot long, ellipsis shaped, your choice of pepperoni, meaty or veggie). They have Wings, Breadsticks, Cheese Sticks and Cinammon Sticks. They do offer the best prices in town. Pictured here is the one on South Limestone, across from the UK's Gatton College of Business & Economics.
Puccini's is another pizzeria which grew into something more. It has become quite a popular neighborhood restaurant with a full menu, drink list and daily specials. However, Puccini's was serving pizza before any of those other items, and it still does a fine job of it. Specialties begin with the King of Hearts (artichoke hearts, mushrooms, bacon, black olives and capers). There is the Cactus Delectus (yellow and red bell peppers, chorizo sausage, chiles, cilantro, and jack cheese; the Twice Baked Pizza (new potatoes, bacon green onions, smoked gouda, and buttermilk herb dressing); and the Razorback (pepperoni, smoked sausage, bacon, basil and garlic). But perhaps the best item on the menu is the Shrimp Santori Pizza (sesame, chili oil, red onions, sun dried tomatoes, and fresh basiil. The usual price range is $7.60, $13, and $17 for small, medium and large. For non pizza lovers at your table, Puccini's offers the finest Calzones in town, various pasta dishes, and a Hot Italian Sub. Chevy Chase Place. East High Street. From downtown, head East on High until you enter Chevy Chase, pass Euclid Avenue, and see the Liquor Store. Turn right. Puccini's is third down the row in Chevy Place.
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