The Ultimate Guide to Pizza

DISCLAIMER: The information in this article was fact checked and accurate at press time, but 417 Magazine cannot guarantee its accuracy indefinitely.

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The Big Slice
1450 E. Sunshine St., Springfield, 417-720-1928

Slices at this New York–style pizzeria are so big that they take up an entire dinner plate. Scratch thatthey hang off of a dinner plate. “We offer a 12-inch and an 18-inch, but the 18 usually gets closer to 20 inches,” says Nathan Doran, who co-owns the restaurant with Levi Grant. Equally present are big flavors, as every pie boasts a robust, simple-yet-effective sauce made of tomatoes and a few spices. Many of the toppings are equally large (you’ve gotta check out the size of the pepperoni), and you’ll find a couple of exotic options, including a Jamaican jerk spicy sausage. In addition to whole pies, pizza is offered by the massive slice daily. Roll it, fold it, lift it, bite it! If you’re not in the mood for thin crust, try the Sicilian-style pie that’s made with an extra pound of dough and baked twiceonce with just dough and sauce and again with another layer of sauce, cheese and toppings. And in case you have special dietary restrictions, know this: The Big Slice also offers 9-inch gluten-free pizzas. Try This Pie: The Classic Cheese “This is probably our signature pie because plain cheese is Levi’s thing–we use the best cheese you can buy,” says Nathan Doran, co-owner of The Big Slice.


Firelight Pizza Company
On Saturday mornings, this food truck serves freshly made pies at Farmers Market of the Ozarks, 4139 S. Nature Center Way, Springfield. Contact the truck at 417-848-4541.

Firelight Pizza Company owner Jason Brock gets to the Farmers Market of the Ozarks extra early every Saturday morning to shop for toppings for his artisanal pizzas. “A lot of times, our toppings for the day depend on what’s in season,” Brock says. After purchasing the fresh goods, Brock gets to work crafting pies in his mobile food truck that’s fully equipped with a wood-fired pizza oven from Italy. Among the most popular pies here are the breakfast pizzas and the pizza topped with Willow Mountain mushrooms. All the pies come with a perfectly crisp-yet-chewy wood-fired crust. Try This Pie: The Breakfast Pizza at Firelight Pizza Company, the breakfast pizza comes with mozzarella, market-fresh goat cheese and herbs and a farm-fresh egg.


Pizza House
312 E. Commercial St., Springfield, 417-881-4073,

Pizza House has been serving up the same style of thin crust, square-cut pizza since it opened in 1958. “We keep with what’s always worked,” says current owner Stacey Schneider, who has worked at the restaurant since she was 15. “What’s always worked” includes a very limited menu of pizza, salad and soda. This strategy allows the more than dozen employees to devote all of their focus to making fresh dough, stirring up fresh sauce and even grinding fresh mozzarella cheese from 40-pound blocks. And Schneider even cooks many of her regular customers’ pizzas to order. “I know the little things, like who likes their crust a little darker around the edges,” she says. While the recipes are all the same as they were more than 50 years ago, one thing has changedPizza House recently started taking credit cards.  Try This Pie: The owner’s favorite creation, which is a pie topped with hamburger, mushroom and fresh tomato


Pappo's Pizzeria
221 E. Walnut St., Springfield, 417-866-1111,

The signature crust at PaPPo’s Pizzeria, owned by Briana Mathews and Jonathan Swisher, can best be described as hand-tossed. Just like the dough, the sauce here is made fresh every day with plump Roma tomatoes, fresh basil and a handful of secret ingredients. The restaurant has several not-so-typical topping options, including slow-cooked roasted pork, Genoa salami, capicola, sliced family-recipe meatballs and feta, fontina, gorgonzola and Swiss cheeses. And its specialty pizza list is long and impressive, including a steak pizza with homemade pesto, sirloin, fresh mushrooms, red onions and gorgonzola, Parmesan, Romano and asiago cheeses! There’s also a breakfast pizza here, and cheese, sausage and pepperoni pies are sold by the slice from 11:30 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Try This Pie: Add ricotta cheese to the meatball pizza, which comes with sliced meatballs, red sauce, mozzarella, Parmesan and fresh basi


Artisanal pizza 

Never looking exactly the same, these pies are delicately crafted with hand-tossed dough and topped with fresh, seasonal ingredients and fresh mozzarella, which is sometimes accompanied by non-traditional cheeses (such as feta, goat cheese or bleu cheese). They’re often personal size and sliced into small wedges.


California-style pizza

Sliced into wedges, these are thin-crust pies that are often topped with mozzarella and non-traditional cheeses and specialty sauces. Toppings come in traditional and non-traditional varieties (including barbecue chicken and Thai chicken), and pies are often wood-fired.


Chicago-style deep dish

A deep-dish pie that’s most often topped with mozzarella and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheeses, this pizza features a chunkier sweet or savory sauce that often comes on top of the pie. Toppings are usually sliced large, and the pie is sliced in wedges and baked in a deck oven. 


Chicago-style thin crust

Made on a thin and firm crust that’s slightly crunchy, this less-well-known Chicago-style pie features mozzarella and Parmigiano-Reggiano, savory or spicy sauce and large toppings. Pies are baked in a deck oven and tavern cut, which means they’re sliced in small rectangles, squares and wedges.  

New Yorkstyle pizza 

Thin, hand-tossed dough forms a base for these large pies, which come with wide and foldable slices. The pizzas are often topped with mozzarella and sweet or savory sauce and served “plain” (topped with only cheese) or with traditional toppings, and they’re baked in wood, coal or deck ovens.


Sicilian-style pizza

This pie is often rectangular in shape and made with a super-thick crust that’s chewy in the center and slightly crunchy on the outside. It features mozzarella cheese, sweet or savory sauce and traditional toppings, and it’s cut in squares and baked in a deck oven. 


St. Louisstyle pizza 

St. Louis–style pizzas feature thin, cracker-like crunchy crust, provel cheese (a mix of provolone, Swiss and white cheddar) and sweet or savory sauce. Toppings are often large pieces of vegetables and meat, and the pizzas are baked in a deck oven and tavern-cut in small rectangles or squares.


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