featured-food-and-wineIssue 24

Dishing it Out: Tastiest Pies in the County

Luigi’s Pizza to Go KitchenLocated in a nondescript strip of storefronts on Yosemite Avenue in Modesto, Luigi’s Pizza To Go Kitchen is almost literally a hole in the wall. Step into the little shop and you’re met with two tables, a handful of chairs, a beautiful brick oven and the smiling face of owner Pete Warda. Luigi’s is one of the area’s hidden gems, as countless reviewers on Yelp and Facebook can attest. The pizza here is elevated pizza parlor fare: thin, chewy crust strong enough to stand up to a load of heavy duty toppings and baked blisteringly hot. Look for toppings in classic pizza parlor style: combination, supreme, pepperoni, and mushroom. Don’t miss the Manly Meat Lover’s which is piled high with pepperoni, salami, sausage, Canadian bacon and ground beef. And don’t forget to grab a side (or two) of Luigi’s own garlic cheese stuffed bread balls. You can thank us later.

Luigi’s Pizza to Go Kitchen is located at 1905 Yosemite Blvd. in Modesto

Chefs of New YorkChefs of New York specializes in the flavors of New York styled pizza: rich tomato sauce, crisply bubbling cheese and toppings on a classic thin crust or buried in a Sicilian deep dish. Look for the traditional pizza toppings like pepperoni or combination as well as a menu filled with incredible Italian inspired toppings from fresh spinach, tomato and ricotta to chicken marsala with mushrooms and onion. Look for the Margherita, which features gorgeously fresh tomato, fresh mozzarella rounds, and fresh basil leaves atop a hearty sauce infused with roasted garlic cloves. Close your eyes and you’ll swear you’re in Rome. As owner Vinny Altadonna says, “breathe, relax, and smile. Our pizza is one of the eight great wonders of the world.” Pizza lovers flock from all over the area for these pies, and a new storefront on J Street in downtown Modesto is now making it easier than ever to get your slice.

Chefs of New York has locations at 2307 Oakdale Rd. and 1325 J St. in Modesto.

Kraving Kebab PizzaSince 2012, Kraving Kebab has been pushing the envelope in the local pizza market. Inspired by a unique pizza he had in Sweden, owner Sargon Shamoon has introduced the area to a whole host of culinary mashups that the public has fallen in love with. The eatery, located in Scandia Village on Golden State Boulevard in Turlock, specializes in kebab pizza, which pairs traditional Turkish or Greek kebab flavors with the pizza tradition and drizzles the result in a light garlic white sauce. The result is bursting with unexpected flavor that is truly delicious. Look for the Kebab Supreme which also adds in diced mushrooms, tomatoes, bell peppers, parsley, and whole pepperoncini for an out of this world flavor combination you can’t get anywhere else. And if you’re adventurous, don’t miss the chance to order the pizza that started it all, the Swedish which brings together the unexpected flavors of chicken, banana, pineapple, and curry for a shockingly incredible harmony.

Kraving Kebab is located at 217 Golden State Blvd. in Turlock.

Crust & CrumbThe newest pizza shop on our list by far, Crust & Crumb is the first brick and mortar location for the long-time owners of Edith’s Bakery, a favorite farmers market shop throughout Stanislaus County and beyond. One step inside this eatery on Main Street in Turlock and you won’t have a doubt that these folks know bread. A bakery case stuffed with delectable doughnuts, loaves, and pastries plays foreground to a piping hot set of brick ovens which produce some of the best artisanal pizza we’ve ever experienced. According to owner George Kosmas, the difference at Crust & Crumb is all in the region: they source nearly every component of their pizzas from local makers. The craftsmanship shows. Their pizzas are works of art that perfectly balance rich flavorful toppings against decadent cheese and a perfect crisp yet light crust that reportedly takes two whole days to create. Look for the Pulled Pork Pizza with house smoked pulled pork paired with onion, pineapple, and a drizzle of barbecue sauce with a kick or the transcendent Greek Pizza with Kalamata olives, red onion, garlic, feta cheese, and a fresh spinach layer hidden under the mozzarella.

Crust & Crumb is located at 428 Main St. in Turlock.

10 East-Photos Just So-16
Traveler’s PizzaAt 10 East Kitchen & Tap House on Main Street in Turlock, rustic, wood-fired pizza is the name of the game. The pies are classic New York style thin crusts paired with farm-fresh toppings. The pizzas are delivered on wooden cutting boards with oblong crusts dotted with the characteristic char marks of the wood-fired brick ovens they’re baked in, with crisp cheese and complex sauces pushed right up to the edges. The pizzas at 10 East don’t always stay close to home—the same wood-fired pies are also available through owner Derek Walker’s Traveling Pizza catering business. The Traveling Pizza brand specializes in making delicious, handcrafted pies to order in a mobile brick oven that reaches up to 1000 degrees fahrenheit. Look for the Piney the Elder, which pairs mozzarella, pine nuts, chicken, tomato, mushroom and feta cheese with a house-made fresh pesto sauce or, for the meat lovers, the incredible Supplication, with piles of meats and veggies laid atop a creamy garlic sauce.

10 East Kitchen & Tap House is located at 10 E. Main St. in Turlock.

Michael’s PizzaMichael’s Pizza Bar and Grill was a gift that Michael Calder brought Modesto from Stockton in 2012 and ever since he’s been using only the finest handpicked ingredients to whip up some delectable pizza. Not only do they have a special dough recipe that’s been passed down for generations, it’s also a two-day process that they never intend to rush. In fact, it gives their crust that perfect rise that creates a flavor you’ll crave. We gave the Stanislaus and the Veggie Garlic Cruiser a try and both excelled at a fresh taste that balanced sauce with crunch. The Veggie Garlic Cruiser had a creamy garlic sauce, feta cheese, spinach, zucchini, artichoke hearts, garlic, mushrooms, red and green onions and sundried tomatoes. The Stanislaus was equally tasty, with mozzarella, Sciabica olive oil, tomato and basil, topped with fresh spring mix, balsamic reduction drizzle and toasted almonds. The restaurant has a fun biker vibe and a full bar, so it’s perfect to stop in for a delicious dinner.

Michael’s Pizza is located at 500 N. Carpenter Rd. in Modesto.

Pizza FactoryThere are plenty of Pizza Factories in the area now—but they’ve been delicious ever since their first days in Oakhurst, California. Pizza Factory has done fundraising for local groups and even supported a No Bully Zone initiative— all with a side-order of a scrumptious slice and a comfortable atmosphere. Our two favorite pies are the All Meat and the Husky Special. The All Meat came topped with Lean Canadian bacon, salami, pepperoni, ham, signature sausage, and bacon. The Husky Special was just as meaty, with pepperoni, mushrooms, ham, onions, green peppers, and, of course, bacon.

What’s great is you can get a slice of Pizza Factory in almost every city in Stanislaus County—but we decided to stop by the shop at 6901 Hughson Ave. in Hughson.

Milano’s Pizza and GreekMilano’s Pizza and Greek is seriously high on our list of best pizzas. They started out with a dream to make the best pizza fused with Persian and Greek elements from the freshest ingredients, and we feel like they succeeded. All of Milano’s pies are flash-baked with flavors from countless culinary cultures and we can’t wait to head back and try more. We tried the Hawaiian Pizza, with the standard Canadian Bacon, pineapple, and extra cheese, but our favorite had to be the extra-spicy Mexican Style Pizza, which had seasoned morsels of beef, chorizo, sausage, fresh shredded onions, topped with fresh cilantro and jalapeños. Milano’s Pizza and Greek is the perfect example of big things coming in small packages. We’d recommend picking up a pie and taking home a slice of some of the best cheese, sauce, and mouthwatering unique taste around!

Milano’s Pizza and Greek is located at 2900 Standiford Ave. in Modesto.

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