A Slice of Goodness by Gabrielle Monk
The perfect slice. Cooked to perfection. Savoring every bite. Plain. Pepperoni. Meat lovers. Veggie. Chicago style. New York style. How do you describe pizza and what is your favorite topping? Who has the perfect pizza in the Jacksonville area? I have a feeling if you ask ten people, you will get 10 different responses. Although I don’t necessarily have a favorite restaurant, I do have my favorite type at each of the places mentioned. Pizza, for my family, is an easy Friday meal that we always enjoy.
We struggled when we first moved to Ponte Vedra Beach because finding the perfect slice at a variety of places wasn’t exactly easy. And the amazing thing about the places below is the fact that most of these places have locations at the beaches, Mandarin and/or Jacksonville. Just imagine having your favorite pizza at the tip of your fingers anywhere you go. And, in my opinion, this is the time that our local businesses need our support.
If you are looking for a more upscale pizza place where you may pay a little more, I would say head to V Pizza. You can make this a family event and sit on the Julep/Tap Garden/Flask & Cannon or Sidecar side, or hang out, get a little rowdy with your adult friends on the V side. However, wherever you sit, be prepared to wait (but know that the wait is worth it). If you’re a pepperoni girl like I am, take a chance as I did when my mom accidentally brought home the wrong pizza, mixing hers up with a friend. I like fruit but never mixed it on a pizza, that just never made sense to me. It began to make more sense once I took a bite of their Pizza Flyin’ Hawaiian. The pineapple mixed with the cheeses and pancetta is quite delicious and honestly, not something I would ever mix. So, I’d say take a chance and try something new. Trust me when I say, you won’t regret it.
What is it about that yummy mozzarella that just melts in your mouth? The clumps they add are seriously heaven and I’d say that most pizzas at V have this yummy touch. When asked about it, it was described as real mozzarella and I’d have to agree, so much better than the packaged kind at the grocery store. The dough is perfectly baked with a crispy touch. The ingredients that V Pizza uses are authentic in every way and the story behind V Pizza is quite interesting. If you have a few minutes, read their story online. And, if you don’t have a few minutes, make the time.
Al’s Pizza was our staple early on when we moved to Ponte Vedra Beach. A good old-fashioned pizza place that won’t break the bank. What some might call a true pizza joint. Whether you order plain cheese or a pizza with some type of topping, you are going to get a good pizza and, more than likely, see a familiar face while dining or picking up take out. The trick to a really good pizza at Al’s is asking for it well done and double cut. There is something about those early days when we would have the neighborhood kids over for pizza and my mom insisting on double cut because it went further with my friends on the street, and this is the way we order it today (12 years later). The well-done pizza keeps the cheese intact when it is carried to your table, picking up a to go order or just picking up the slice to take a bite. One piece of advice is to not forget to bring the $4 coupon from the Money or Mint Magazine like we often do.
I have never been one to like restaurants in a strip mall (I get that from my mom), but Renna’s is so convenient and yummy after shopping your way through Target in Jacksonville Beach, it just hits the spot. However, instead of ordering a pizza on my recent visit, I went in for some dough to make our own pizza at home (thanks Mrs. Arthur for the tip). For the low price of $3.23, you can make a pizza at home and turn it into a family affair, having the kids make their own with their own toppings. So much better than store bought dough, trust me!
Biggie’s Pizza literally lives up to its name by providing the largest slices on the planet. This is the perfect place to go if your family can’t decide on just one topping that everyone likes. Order by the slice ($4.00 for a slice of cheese and $5.00 for any other slice, keeping in mind it is the size of at least two slices) and everyone is happy. Biggie’s describes their pizza as New York style and even though I don’t exactly remember how my pizza tasted when I was in New York years ago as a young kid, I will trust that New York rocks the pizza if it is half as good as Biggie’s.
I have spent the last few weeks trying out a variety of pizzas and even though they all didn’t get a mention, take some time to also try Tony’s Pizza and Napoli’s in Ponte Vedra Beach, D&LP Subs in Jacksonville Beach and Carmine’s Pie House in Jacksonville.
In closing and as I mentioned in my opening paragraph, I don’t have a favorite pizza place, but I do have my favorites at each place. Step out of your comfort zone and try something new on the menu, I guarantee you will not be disappointed. Everyone loves pizza, and if they don’t, each of these places has other amazing items on their menu and it is a great way what to support our local businesses in 2022.
About the Author
Gabrielle Monks is a Class of 2022 graduating senior at Ponte Vedra High School. Gabrielle will be attending the University of North Florida where she will major in nursing.