Favorite

Best Pizza 

Magpies

Readers Pick

A friend of ours spent a month in Italy this past summer, and when she got home, the first thing she wanted was a bottle of soda pop and some real pizza. Apparently, the Italians haven't quite mastered the knack for making that favorite of all Italian-American dishes, pizza. Over there, everything is on a thin crust with a non-spicy tomato sauce, a sprinkling of cheese and maybe a vegetable or two.

No wonder they don't have any war heroes; there's nothing worth fighting for.

Anyway, our friend got off the plane at Tucson International and picked up a Magpie's on the way home. True story.

There's probably a reason why Magpie's Gourmet Pizza has been voted Best of Tucson 14 years running. Actually, there are several. How about the fact that they offer a choice of eight different cheeses (as well as something called "soy alternative," which we don't want to talk about)? And nine different meat toppings, including capicolla and anchovies? But that's nothing compared to the 20 veggie toppings, with everything from artichokes to zucchini. Then, just in case a pizza with Swiss cheese, oven-roasted chicken and fresh-roasted eggplant isn't wild enough for you, they also offer pineapple and pinon nuts.

(It should also be mentioned that they offer low-fat and cheeseless pies, but that goes against everything God intended when He invented the pizza.)

Magpie's also offers a wide variety of salads for dining in or taking out. There's the Greek salad with feta cheese, cucumber slices, artichokes and a bunch of other stuff on a bed of mixed greens; the classic antipasto with three kinds of meat and a variety of cheeses; and several others, including a roasted chicken salad and a spinach salad to die for.

A big favorite at Magpie's is the calzone, sort of a pizza taco, folded over and sealed for your messy dining pleasure. The calzone comes in five different versions, including our favorite, the meatball. You can also build your own calzone, but with all the great toppings available, you do so at your own risk.

Magpie's also features breadsticks, buffalo wings, pizza by the slice, and even dessert, including cheesecake and tiramisu.

An extra-special feature at Magpie's is the take-and-bake pizza, a pie that is prepared by the staff, then wrapped up and sent home with the patron for baking at the customer's leisure. Pop that thing in the oven for 15 minutes, and you have perfect pizza any time you want it.

Magpie's is open for dining and take out and offers delivery in limited areas. Give them a try and see for yourself why Magpie's is the Best of Tucson this year and every year.

Runners up:

2. TIE Picurro, Various locations

2. TIE Zachary's, 1028 E. Sixth St.

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