Pizza Al’s has the most Brooklynesque pizza in Morgantown, by a long shot. The exact opposite of deep dish and any fancy wood-fire oven cooked pizza, the slices are large and floppy.
Morgantown’s sole location is near Towers on University Ave. With a new location "coming soon" to University Town Centre, there is also one in Sabraton and one in McMurry, Pennsylvania.
Pizza Al’s is the place to check out if you and your friends or family are seeking a filling meal and not just a late night drunk pizza after hitting downtown’s clubs and bars.
Its pizzas are all decent in size, ranging from a small, 14 inches; medium, 18 inches and a large, 20 inches.
"Pizza Al’s is a social pizza," said Lena Gaudio, self-proclaimed pizza connoisseur and WVU student. "It’s the perfect pizza to order for March Madness watch parties.
Unlike the first two stops, in Mountain State Brewery Company and Vintage Room, there are no specialty pizzas to choose from. Pizza Al’s is fully left up to the customer, however there aren’t a ton of topping options available. White pizza is the additional alternative to your traditional red sauce pizza.
Though Pizza Al’s is obviously a pizza-oriented and focused restaurant, it does offer some sandwiches, calzones and salads to complement your Brooklyn-style pie. Inside, there are a few tables and TV’s, but it’s primarily a carry-out shop that doesn’t have nocturnal hours.
My pineapple pizza was a bit greasy, but who doesn’t enjoy a greasy pizza? Grease is one of those elements that enhances taste.
Anyone who has been a student at WVU has likely been at Casa D’Amici at least once, if not more. By no stretch of the imagination is it the finest dining establishment in Morgantown, but its convenient location makes it a popular destination any late night of the week. Even on nights when people don’t typically go out, it’s open until 1:30 a.m. But from Wednesday to Saturday, you can count on Casa to appease your late night pizza craving until 3:30 a.m.
Although it’s a staple of Morgantown, Casa probably isn’t the place you want to refer your family to when they come to visit you. It’s the last resort pizza place when you’re looking for a specialty slice of pie. But if you are on the go, it’s one of the few late night restaurants where you can get that heavenly piece of cooked dough with sauce and cheese.
Some customers find it to be satisfying, while others aren’t so fond of what Casa offers.
"Casa is good if every other place is closed and both of your legs are broken and you’re inside Casa so you don’t have any other option," said Chase Marshall, an avid pizza connoisseur and WVU student.
Location has always been everything when it pertains to the success of a business. If Casa has one thing going for it, it’s undoubtedly its optimal location smack dab in the middle on High Street.
Located in The Wharf District of Morgantown, Mountain State Brewing Company is commonly visited for its hand-crafted microbrews and a wide-range of other craft beers. In addition to the long list of offered beer, Mountain State Brewing Company makes some flatbread pizzas.
All pizzas are wood-fire cooked in a hand built oven on soapstone hearth. The menu includes over 20 different flavorful pizzas or "flatbreads." And if you don’t like getting one of their signature menu items, there’s the option to create your own by adding as many toppings as you’d like. The flatbreads are made in three sizes and range in cost, depending on amounts of toppings and which specialty pizza you choose.
The wood-fire oven gives the crust a nice crispy finish and a different flavor not available at your everyday chain restaurants. Mountain State offers all types of food, from salads to appetizers to sandwiches. The wood-fire oven is even utilized for a few of its smoked sandwiches.
I went with the Sweet Kickin’ Chicken, which has a sweet chili sauce, roasted chicken, bacon, pineapple, baby spinach, onions, mozzarella cheese and fresh cracked pepper to top it off. Though spicy foods aren’t really my cup of tea, this pizza has an ideal amount of sweetness to counter the tang. Any pizza with pineapple is going to be exotic and that’s how I’d describe it.
"I think the most unique part about Mountain State is just the atmosphere we have," said manager Hannah Jennings. "It’s really upbeat and exciting."
Mountain State Brewing Company’s lengthy menu options and strange pizza topping combinations will keep you coming back time and time again.
Another restaurant better known for its selection of fine wines and cocktails, Vintage Room is below and next to Bent Willey’s on Chestnut Street.
Similar to Mountain State Brewing Company, the pizza is cooked wood fire-style, leaving a beautifully charred crust with the proper amount of crunch. Parmesan cheese is sprinkled on the charred crust to add some extra flavor to each.
I played it safe by getting the Margarita pizza, which tastes pretty similar no matter where you go. It has shredded mozzarella cheese, tomatoes, basil and fresh mozzarella covering a marinara sauce base with a balsamic dressing drizzled on top. The sauce isn’t too sweet, but the balsamic dressing somewhat makes up for the missing flavor.
Each pizza offered comes in one size and can feed up two people or make for a nice appetizer. You have to take Vintage Room with a grain of salt, given it’s basically bar pizza and doesn’t focus its energy strictly on pizza. However, since it is a late-night hangout, pizza is available after hours. On Fridays and Saturdays, Vintage Room will serve pizza until 1 a.m., making it an ideal stop in between, or after a trip to the bar.
"We get more people to come in for a sit down dinner throughout the evening," said manager Chris Strakal.
Vintage Room and Bent Willey’s share the same owner but have completely different pizza ingredients. Strakal said Vintage Room’s pizza toppings are gourmet, whereas we all know Bent is plain and sold by the slice.
The vibe of Vintage Room was calming and has a neat setup with plenty of drink options. A slice of their woodfire pizza is the perfect compliment.
The newest pizza spot near WVU’s campus is Lotsa Mozza, which has been around since October. Lotsa Mozza has just one location, on High Street, in a refinished interior and exterior of what was formerly Daniel’s Men’s Clothing. Across from D.P. Dough and nearby Casa D’Amici, Lotsa Mozza has surely provided some competition to both pizzerias.
The made-to-order design is diverse, yet simple. Customers walk in, choose a dough, sauce, cheese and toppings without the hassle of waiting x amount of minutes for pickup or delivery. All pizzas on the menu are personal-sized and usually feed one.
Out of the five pizza places visited, Lotsa Mozza is hands down most convenient for college students, who are always on the go and looking for something in a hurry. And since it’s downtown, it’s a short walk from campus for students and staff to stop by around a usually busy lunch time, knowing the line moves rather quickly and efficiently. The prices are all fairly reasonable for a
After carefully going through the endless options, it was the classic Margherita I chose. Its version of the Margherita had more pop than Vintage Room’s because of the addition of roasted garlic.
"The most popular item on the menu is going to be the build-your-own, just because of all of the options," said manager Adam Witkowski.
Lotsa Mozza stays open until midnight Sunday - Tuesday; 2 a.m. on Wednesday and 4 a.m. from Thursday - Saturday.
The modern design and fast food-like setup of Lotsa Mozza makes it an appealing option.