Special Report

Regional Pizza Chains That Really Should Go National

Source: Jasmine C. / Yelp

800 Degrees Woodfired Kitchen

Restaurateur Adam Fleischman of the Los Angeles-based Umami Burger chain launched 800 Degrees in 2012 in partnership with chef Anthony Carron. There are now four L.A. locations, plus one each in Las Vegas, New York City, and Aventura, Florida, with Miami coming soon. (The chain also has several outposts in Tokyo, the UAE, and Qatar.) Specialty pizzas include the Tartufo (truffle cheese, mushrooms, roasted garlic, and arugula) and the Angry Bee (a basic Margherita with the addition of soppressata, Calabrian chiles, garlic, and honey). More than 40 toppings are available for custom-made pies.

Source: Courtesy of Artichoke Basille's Pizza

Artichoke Basille’s Pizza

Artichoke pizza (with a creamy sauce), not surprisingly, is the specialty at this New York-based operation, with 11 New York area locations plus one each in Berkeley, California, and Newington, Connecticut. (A few more are on the way.) Other offerings on the small menu include an equally unusual crab pizza (crab sauce, mozzarella, and surimi stuffing) and one called the Staten Island (meatballs, tomato sauce, red onions, and ricotta).

Source: Courtesy of Aurelio's Pizza

Aurelio’s Pizza

Opened in 1959 in the Chicago suburb of Homewood, Aurelio’s expanded into franchising in 1974 — the first Chicago pizzeria to do so — and today has more than 40 locations, mostly around Chicago and the Great Lakes, with outposts in southwestern Florida, Las Vegas, and the Atlanta area. Though the chain serves Chicago-style thick crust pizza, its specialty is the thin-crust style. All the usual toppings are available, but a signature specialty is the Taco Pizza (seasoned ground beef, cheddar, black olives, tomatoes, lettuce, mild Ortega chiles, sour cream, and salsa.)

Source: Courtesy of Buddy's Pizza

Buddy’s Pizza

Detroit-born, with 13 locations around Michigan, Buddy’s focuses on its home city’s unique pizza style — square, with crunchy crust, and classically topped with Sicilian-style pepperoni underneath layers of Wisconsin brick cheese (underneath so that the pepperoni doesn’t burn in the high heat of the pizza oven). Numerous other toppings are available, including such uncommon choices as turkey, beets, carrots, and dill or cilantro.

Source: Courtesy of Chanello's Pizza

Chanello’s

Founded in 1987 in Hampton Roads, Virginia, Chanello’s now has 40 pizzerias around Virginia and North Carolina. The chain’s new Extreme Pepperoni Pizza is topped with that spicy dried sausage in three forms — diced, sliced, and in small cupping pieces. There’s also a double bacon cheeseburger pizza, and the E.B.A. (“Everything but Anchovies”), which loads on pepperoni, sausage, ground beef, Canadian bacon, bacon, onions, green peppers, mushrooms, black and green olives, tomatoes, and mozzarella. (Even anchovies are available on request.) Pizzas are served with the chain’s own buttermilk ranch dressing for dipping.

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