Best Pizzas in Springfield Il

In the heart of Illinois, Springfield has no shortage of classic Italian pizzerias. Chicago may have more fame for their thin crust pizzas with aromatic sauce, but don’t underestimate the capital city. The always good Imo’s, Bellacino’s, Godfather’s and Pizza Hut are well represented. But, here are those Springfield neighborhood jewels where the pizza is great and everybody knows your name.

Pizzas began as long ago as when people first started mixed flour with water and baked it under the stones of the fire to use more as a plate. Pizza comes from the Italian word pizzicare, meaning to pluck or pinch, which officially makes it fingerfood. As great dishes evolve over centuries, they adapt to regional tastes and ingredients. From anchovy to zucchinni and thin crust to deep dish, pizza styles abound the world over. Come to think of it, there’s really no bad pizza, bad boyfriends, maybe, but no bad pizza.

A truly good pizzeria doesn’t just bake cardboard crusts with exactly 4 ounces of bland tomato sauce, 18 slices of unremarkable, equally spaced pepperoni and rubbery cheese that sits like a brick in your stomach, it’s an American tradition. Great pizza is gustatorial performance art; an experience never to be quite the same again. The crust is flavorful with the toppings in a lavish freeform .

ANTONIO’S

Antonio’s Pizza, located at 217 North Grand Avenue West is perhaps the ideal place to go when you are really famished. No scant toppings here. Their Belly Buster is not for the faint of heart. It comes in medium, large and extra large crust generously lathered with nine toppings and may burst the buttons on your pants. Dainty eaters may need a fork. Antonio’s truly understands pizza doesn’t call for the whisper of garlic, but the scream. Take that, Chicago.

GABATONI’S

Gabatoni’s is arguably the grand master of traditional pizzerias in Springfield. Situated at 300 East Laurel, you can smell the roasted garlic and baking mozzarella a block away. They are famous for their cracker thin crust, with cornmeal and pepper toasted on the bottom, a perfect vehicle to convey homemade sausage and toppings to your mouth. Try the SMOP, sausage, mushroom, onion and pepper pizza or a half and half to satisfy your cravings. Gabby’s may be more of a social occasion than a meal. Your chair may have duct tape on the vinyl, but there’s laughter in the main dining room as families with elbows on checkered table cloths throw back the pizza, pasta and beef poor boys.

JOE’S ITALIAN PIZZA

Joe’s Italian Pizza at 1552 West Jefferson Street is not to be underestimated. Joe’s is a succulent surprise in a small strip store. How the shops down the way can resist the aromas wafting out of the door is beyond me. This family style pizzeria lavishes on the toppings and the prices are easy on the wallet. Joe’s pizzas can hold their own with anyone’s, including Chicago, New York or St. Louis styles. The crust is homemade and the toppings are heaped on the pizza like it’s the end of the day. Don’t miss their Italian beef sandwiches, either. Eating in is recommended, or you may be in danger of eating the whole thing on the way home.

SAPUTO’S

Saputo Twins Corner, called the first family of Italian eating in Springfield has been open for over 60 years and is family owned and operated. At 801 East Monroe Street, it may be better known for its fantastic lasagna and other pasta, but with so many years of practice, the pizza is great. In fact, this writer’s mother discovered pizza for the first time while pregnant with her in 1953. As the story goes, mom never had cravings with any of the kids until she tasted Saputo’s pizza. Saputos remains so popular that dinner reservations are a must.

BERNIE AND BETTY’S

Bernie and Betty’s is another seasoned Springfield institution. Located at 1101 S. Spring Street, it has been a favorite with State workers for lunch for years. It serves a varied menu, but don’t miss the thin crust pizzas. While packed at lunch time, you can always get carry out seven days per week.

Like the song lyric goes, “If the moon hits your eye, like a big pizza pie that’s amore.” There is no definitive pizza. It has become a matter of taste. Yet, whether it’s hand-tossed, deep dish, or classic soda crust, dripping with red sauce, or pesto, with one topping or nine, something about pizza speaks to our hearts like no other food. Check out http://springfield.diningguide.com for a guide to great pizzerias in Springfield. Here, pizza is true amore.