By Jeff Louderback
Dayton is known as one of the most competitive pizza towns in America, according to Pizza Today Magazine. There is even a Dayton-style pizza – the pies cut into squares popularized by Cassano’s, Marion’s and Ron’s. Centerville and Washington Township (and neighboring towns) have an array of pizza shops that entice even the most refined palate.
There are options from national names as well as chains like Rapid Fired Pizza, Cousin Vinny’s and Jet’s to delicious pub pizza at destinations like Bargo’s and Pour Haus. And there are restaurants and taverns that are known for their specialty pies, like the “8 Great Centerville-Area Pizza Destinations.”
Before we explore those shops that offer the best pies in the area, how about a few pizza history tidbits?
Pizza as we know it in the United States – the variety with tomato sauce, cheese and toppings – did, in fact, originate in Italy. Legend says that baker Raffaele Esposito was tasked to make a delectable pizza for Italian King Umberto I and Queen Margherita when they visited Naples in 1889. His creation was a pie that featured a flat bread topped with fresh tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, and basil. That masterpiece is still known today as Pizza Margherita.
Historians note that flat breads adorned with a variety of toppings had been sold by street vendors and eaten by the poor workers of Naples for decades.
In America, pizza gained popularity by the volume of four million Italian immigrants who arrived between 1880 and 1920. They brought their fondness for pizza, and their skills to make the delicacy, often preparing pies in their kitchens and selling them. New York City’s G. Lombardi’s became the first licensed pizzeria in 1905. After World War II, the migration to the suburbs resulted in the debut of an abundance of independent pizzerias.
Here are “8 Great Centerville-Area Pizza Destinations.” You might debate about where they should be ranked on the list, but we are sure you will agree that these pizzerias are worthy of recommending to locals and visitors alike. All of these destinations are open to carryout, and some have delivery.
Doubleday’s Monster Pizza
Regarded as the “Cheer’s of Centerville,” Doubleday’s Grill & Tavern at Cross Pointe Center is a beloved destination for sandwiches, burgers, steaks, salads and other traditional dinner items. The adjacent Monster Pizza has established its own loyal following.
Frankie’s Favorite (loaded with pepperoni, sausage, mushroom, peppers, onions, and covered with cheese), Son of Frankenstein (covered with pepperoni, sausage, mushroom, black olives, onions, and covered with cheese; and recommended on thin crust), Transylvania (topped with grilled BBQ chicken breast, tomatoes and onions covered with cheese; recommended on thin crust), and Voodoo Veggie (your choice of homemade white sauce or traditional red sauce, loaded with spinach, tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, peppers, banana peppers and covered with cheese; recommended on thin crust) are among the vast selection of pies.
For more information, visit https://www.facebook.com/DoubledaysGrill.
Centerville Pizza and BBQ
It is rare to find one restaurant that attracts customers from an hour radius for more than one specialty, but family-owned Centerville Pizza and BBQ does just that.
Located at 9470 Dayton Lebanon Pike across from the Centerville Kroger Marketplace, Centerville Pizza and BBQ is an inviting destination for Benny’s Broaster Chicken, hickory-smoked barbeque, oven-baked subs, calzones and hoagies. Pizza enthusiasts rave about the vast selections.
In March, the special of the month is the Ultimate Four Cheese Pizza, which includes mozzarella, provolone, cheddar, and parmesan cheese highlighted with a garlic butter cheese Crust
The Ultimate BBQ (with homemade BBQ sauce, smoked pulled pork, onion, mild banana peppers, bacon, mozzarella, provolone and cheddar cheese) and The Works (pepperoni, mushrooms, ham, sausage, green peppers, onions, ground beef, black olives, and extra cheese) are favorites as well.
For more information, visit www.mycentervillepizza.com.
Mackenzie Manley’s place is affectionately known as one of the best “dive bars” in the greater Dayton area, but Mack’s is known for more than spirits, sports viewing, billiards and darts alone. The pizza list is extensive.
You can order a pizza every day of the week here and never get bored. Mack & Cheese Pita Pizza, Twisted Chicken Pot Pie Pizza, Bleu Cheese Pizza, Ham-Bac-Apple, Foghorn Leghorn (with buffalo sauce among other toppings) and the fiery Ticket to Hell (with Molten Siracha pizza sauce among other spicy ingredients) are among the specialty options. Mack’s, of course, has the traditional pizzas, too.
If you’re feeling exceptionally courageous and hungry – and perhaps you want a culinary challenge – try the Mack Attack. This monster has a large pizza crust and tomato sauce layered with pepperoni, sausage, bacon, ham, and chicken. That is covered with cheese and spices, topped with a medium crust spread with a thin coating of sauce and adorned with more pepperoni, sausage, cheese. The edges of the crust are rolled together, brushed with butter, and sprinkled with a parmesan mixture. It’s been said that even the manliest of men (or the women with the heartiest appetites) can only eat two slices. Consider it a family challenge during these times of self-quarantining.
For more information, visit www.mackstavern.com.
Dorothy Lane Market
Pizza’s history is traced to Naples, and Dorothy Lane Market’s Naples-style pizza reflects that heritage.
Properly prepared Naples-style pizza is baked directly on the hearth of an extremely hot oven. Dorothy Lane Market’s “Naples” oven reaches temperatures well over 1,000 degrees in the upper part of the oven, resulting in the undeniable crust of a Naples-style pizza, with its charred exterior and chewy interior. DLM makes the dough from scratch, adds handmade ingredients and bakes the pizza on the hot hearth of its special Naples-style oven.
The Margherita (homemade red sauce, fresh mozzarella, fresh whole basil, extra-virgin olive oil, sea salt), Spicy Sausage (homemade red sauce, hot Italian sausage, red chili flakes, fresh ricotta, basil), and The Carnivore (homemade red sauce, mozzarella, provolone, pepperoni, hot Italian sausage, bacon, parmesan, Italian seasoning) are enticing. The Dolce Piccante (extra-virgin olive oil, garlic, Calabrese salami, hot Italian sausage, fresh mozzarella, red onion, hot honey, basil), Fig and Goat Cheese (extra-virgin olive oil, fig preserves, gorgonzola, goat cheese, pancetta, arugula), Alsatan (extra-virgin olive oil, crème fraîche, bacon, caramelized onions, gruyère, emmental, mozzarella, provolone, black pepper) and Apollo (extra-virgin olive oil, goat cheese, spinach, fresh tomato, wild mushrooms, caramelized onions, Kalamata olives, oregano, sea salt) offer unique alternatives.
Marion Glass invested in life savings to open a pizza restaurant on August 19, 1965 at 460 Patterson Road in Dayton.
Marion’s Piazza was a first in Dayton since he offered inside seating. At the time, pizza parlors were strictly carryout restaurants.
Marion chose the name “Marion’s Piazza” because he liked the atmosphere of an outdoor courtyard café, so he created that atmosphere to serve his signature thin crust pizza cut into squares.
Marion’s Piazza is not operated by Marion’s son, Roger Glass, and has nine locations in the Dayton area, including the longtime restaurant in Centerville at 241 N. Main St.
The Deluxe (Pepperoni, sausage, mushrooms, onions and green peppers), the Super Cheese (pepperoni, sausage, mushrooms, onions and green peppers topped with a mound of cheese) and the Ham and Sauerkraut are among the favorites.
For more information, visit www.marionspiazza.com.
Offering a simple menu featuring homemade Neapolitan-style pizza and Sicilian-style pizza, Flying Pizza is another Dayton pizza institution.
The Flying Special (with pepperoni, sausage, mushrooms and sliced meatballs), the Fly’n Hawaiian (ham and pineapple), and the Veggie are popular Neapolitan-style choices. The thick Sicilian squares have an array of available toppings.
There is nothing fancy about this shop. Just consistently good pizza!
For more information, visit www.theflyingpizza.com.
Known for its cheesesteaks, Submarine House has a wide assortment of cheese steaks and grilled subs with homemade bread. The Super Duper Cheesesteak should be part of your Dayton delicacies bucket list, and for a different take on pizza, Submarine House has three cheesesteak-themed pies.
The Italian Cheesesteak pizza features Marinara sauce, cheese, grilled steak, pepperoni, onions, mushrooms & hot pepper relish. The Chicken Cheesesteak pizza offers homemade oil and vinegar sauce, cheese, grilled chicken, onions, mushrooms and hot pepper relish. The Cheesesteak pizza has homemade oil and vinegar sauce, cheese, grilled steak, onions, mushrooms and hot pepper relish. The pizza menu, of course, also includes traditional pies like cheese, veggie and deluxe.
For more information, visit www.submarinehouse.com.
Old Scratch Pizza
A newcomer to the Centerville area, Old Scratch Pizza has carved a niche as one of greater Dayton’s most beloved and innovative pizzerias from its original location in Dayton. Old Scratch serves traditional Neapolitan-style pizza prepared in 800-degree wood-burning ovens.
Old Scratch sells an abundance of appetizers like whole roasted cauliflower and meatballs. Pizza options range from Margherita (Tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, basil, Romano, olive oil)and Marinara (tomato sauce, oregano, olive oil (no cheese) to the Angry Beekeeper (Tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, basil, spicy salami, housemade hot honey, olive oil), the Brooklyn (tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, basil, housemade meatball, and sausage), and Mr. Scratch (tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, basil, housemade sausage, caramelized onions, and Calabrian chilis).
Those are some of the red sauce pizzas. Old Scratch also showcases a variety of white sauce pies, including the amusingly named Brussel Crow (Brussels sprouts, wilted shallot, taleggio, bacon, and apple cider reduction).
Old Scratch founder Eric Soller told Pizza Today, “Part of what makes all of our pizzas special is our house-made dough, made in the Neapolitan tradition with just ‘00’ flour, water, salt and yeast, and aged for 72 hours. On the vegetable side, people love our whole roasted cauliflower. We brine the cauliflower overnight and roast it in our wood-fired ovens. It is a hit. We served over 6,000 heads of cauliflower last year! Who knew people loved cauliflower so much?”
For more information, visit www.oldscratchpizza.com.