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Best Pizza

Magpies Gourmet Pizza
Four Locations

READERS' PICK: What can be said about this perennial favorite that hasn't been blathered a bazillion times before? Sure, the pizza is stupendous with lots of thick, gooey cheese, a staggering choice of traditional white, whole-wheat, cheese or herbed crust, and a smorgasbord of ingredients ranging from the pervasive pepperoni to the chichi sun-dried tomato. If a Magpies pie can't win 'em over, recycle 'em along with the empty box. The reader's choice for 11 years running, this love affair was made to last.

READERS' POLL RUNNER-UP--TIE: Too many pizza places settle for the anemic, New York-style pie: thin crust, a spittle of sauce, and some processed cheese product right out of a bag. But not Zachary's! Owner Dave Ellis has redefined the genre with meat and cheese behemoths that could feed small nations and leave plenty left over for a late-night snack. Zachary's, 1019 E. Sixth St., combines traditional ingredients in intriguing ways: The Flying Z crowds chunks of pineapple, garlic, jalapeños, provolone and more than a pound of mozzarella onto its wonderfully thick crust. And if something like the Flying Z seems too exotic, loosen your inhibitions with one of the 25 draft beers. Zachary's is a University favorite, meaning seats are hard to come by on a Friday or Saturday night. So call ahead if you don't want to wait. But don't think you've tasted pizza until you've tried Zachary's.

Carefully crafted gourmet pizzas that fill up your gut without emptying your wallet, Picurro Pizzeria (three locations) offers zesty, yummy pies that're exceptionally good. From regular old pizzas topped with pepperoni, cheese and mushroom to exotic "Particularly Picurro's" pies topped with yuppie fodder like chicken breast, sun dried tomatoes and feta cheese, Picurro Pizzeria makes one tasty round Italian bread thing.

A REAL SCREAM: New York City pizza is about horizontality--it's flat, baby--flat, sweet and greasy as a pompadour. And it's about being ambulatory. Brooklyn Pizza Company, 534 N. Fourth Ave., does the best job in town of recreating that compelling eat-it-on-the-street taste and texture of East Coast pizza; and set as it is on bustling Fourth Avenue, you can duck in, get a slice to go, and eat it all peripatetic-like. Each slice is chewy, sweet and light. And if you decide to sit down, Brooklyn Pizza has the coolest '50s dinette tables we've seen, ever. Plus, for the degenerates among us, they deliver beer and cigarettes.

Case History

1998 Winner: Magpies Gourmet Pizza
1996 Winner: Magpies Gourmet Pizza
1995 Winner: Magpies Gourmet Pizza

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