When most people think of South Carolina cuisine, slow-cooked, pit-smoked barbecue usually comes to mind. Or maybe seafood on the coast. But Pizza? Not so much.
Well, think again. A steady influx of former New York and Chicago residents, plus Southerners who know what customers like, have made America’s favorite food a highlight of many visits to South Carolina. We’re talking local restaurants that major in pie-logy.
Here’s a list of some of the best local pizza places:
Schiano’s Old Time Pizza
This Columbia institution, with two locations, has been around for more than four decades. You don’t last that long in the pizza game if you don’t produce quality pies. Frank Schiano’s family-run restaurant is famous for its thin crust and bounteous toppings.
Thirsty Fellow Pizzeria & Pub
Located a stone’s throw from the University of South Carolina’s Colonial Life Arena, this gathering spot draws basketball fans and concert attendees for a variety of food choices. But the star on the menu is pizza—thin crust and “create your own” combinations—plus an extensive beer lineup.
This popular pizza joint has three locations close to downtown, but it's the Five Points restaurant that has become a staple for University of South Carolina students who flock to the dining and entertainment village for great pizza, beer and sports on TV. USC alumni keep coming back, too. Check out the Jason Bud Man Special.
Located in North Charleston’s popular East Montague area, EVO (short for Extra Virgin Oven) features a craft bakery as well as a pizzeria. Founders Matt McIntosh and Ricky Hacker got their start in the kitchen at the famed FIG restaurant in downtown Charleston before opening their own three-letter establishment in 2005.
Locally owned with a Wisconsin influence, this Summerville-based operation now has five Lowcountry locations, including Goose Creek, West Ashley and James Island. Their calling card is their excellent crusts, rich sauces, fabulous cheeses and a deep-dish pizza that one regular calls “a hidden pleasure.” They’re also getting into the booming craft beer market. Hard to argue with that.
Located on Upper King Street near downtown Charleston, Indaco (Italian for “indigo”) has a full array of rustic Italian dishes, but a favorite is their wood-fired pizzas. A specialty of Chef Michael Perez is his Sweet Corn Pizza. Trust us on this.
With locations in Greenville and Travelers Rest, this is an Upstate favorite with a simple menu philosophy: Pizza. Salad. Ice Cream. House-made dough, made-from-scratch sauces, thin crusts and even gluten-free options make Sidewall a destination for everyone. And their ice cream (homemade, of course) uses local milk.
Trio – A Brick Oven Café
Part of Greenville’s Main Street restaurant scene, Trio has been serving up great brick-oven pizzas for 20-plus years. Choose from 15 signature pizzas, including Goat Cheese, Cheeseburger, Spinach and Artichoke, Portabello, Southwestern or your standard cheese model.
This pizzeria has been a Spartanburg institution since 1995 and stays true to its New York style with hand-tossed, thin-crust pizzas by the pie or slice. No subs or wings, just pizza, calzones, breadsticks and the “famous” spinach salad. Dough and sauces are made from scratch. Favorites include The Hunter (six meats) and The Gatherer (six veggies).
Dough Boys offers quality ingredients, big pies with loads of toppings—and lots of choices, too. Try one of their 18 Local Legends pizzas, with selections like Spring Break Jake (all cheese), Kim’s Veggie (spinach, broccoli, sweet onion) and Bubba’s Baby (double sausage, mushrooms), or build your own thin-crust or hand-tossed pizza. The menu also features calzones, salads and specialty subs.
The “first and only Neapolitan-style wood-fired pizza on Hilton Head,” with an emphasis on fresh local ingredients, this favorite has won multiple “The People Have Spoken” Readers’ Choice Awards and prides itself on a commitment to sustainability. Along with its island location, Local Pie has a restaurant in nearby Bluffton. Check out their Sicilian pies and classics, too.
Reviewers call Piace “a pizza-lover’s hidden gem” and the “best pizza around, hands down.” Specialty pizzas include Greek, Hawaiian and Margherita, but a favorite is the namesake Piace. You'll also enjoy “Wednesday is Pasta Day” specials, calzones (“best in Beaufort”) and cannoli. The restaurant has locations on Lady's Island and in Beaufort.
Debuting around 2008 in Myrtle Beach, it became so popular, Capriccio underwent a major expansion in 2014, adding a large space to its location in a shopping center. Specialties are thin-crust, New York-style pizza, but also a thicker, square Sicilian pizza. Traditional toppings are augmented by meatballs, olives, eggplant, broccoli, fresh garlic, anchovies, cherry peppers and pineapple.
Mama Mia Pizzeria
The brainchild of two longtime pizza shop workers who decided to open a place on the Grand Strand, Mama Mia established itself when the owners handed out samples to front desk clerks at hotels and hospitality workers. Specialties include the Gladiator, topped with filet, sauteed mushrooms, green peppers, onion and tomato. Among other favorites are Cheesesteak pizza and the BBQ Magnifico.
Rapone Brick Oven & Italian Kitchen
This North Myrtle Beach restaurant opened in 2017 and established itself as a favorite with its Neapolitan pizzas and speed-heating, wood-burning brick oven. Many of the toppings—including San Marzano tomatoes, meats and cheeses, notably Di Bufala mozzarella—are imported from Rapone, Italy, the hometown of business partner Potito Leccese.