Any way you slice it: buzz’s pizza picks for CU

By Ben Tschetter

With the recent closing of campus-favorite pizza place Azzip, you might be wondering where to get a decent slice of pizza around town. That’s where this article comes in handy. Champaign-Urbana recently won Midwest Living Magazine’s award for “Best Midwest food town,” and what’s a good food town without great pizza? Our town includes dozens of great pizza places, so you don’t need to go another minute without one of life’s greatest delicacies. buzz has put together our selections for all your pizza cravings and endeavors right here in CU.

Manolo’s Pizza and Empanadas

Located on West Oregon Street, just across the road from the Krannert Center in Urbana, Manolo’s brings incredible pizza and empanadas to campus. Manolo’s features tasty New York style pizza in many unique flavor palettes that you won’t find just anywhere. From your basic toppings such as pepperoni to specialty combinations like Apple Butter Bacon, Curried Chicken, and Cuban Black Bean (just to name a few), they offer a wide selection of pizza, so no one will be going home disappointed. And while you’re there, be sure to try the mouthwatering empanadas as well. Manolo’s is open until two in the morning most evenings, and they deliver, so you don’t have to go without a pizza or empanada during late-night study sessions or after a concert at the Canopy Club.

Papa Del’s

A local favorite pizza joint is Papa Del’s, located on Neil Street, just outside campus in Champaign. For a list of pizzas in Champaign-Urbana, Papa Del’s is an essential part of the list. It may take a while to get a table, but locals will tell you the wait is well-deserved, with a popular deep-dish style pizza in just a few minutes. The high-quality local pizza flavor has been raved about for years, and is a popular place to eat on game days, for events, and just for a weekend lunch. They also have a big selection of other great Italian foods. Don’t be afraid to leave campus for a slice of their pizza – they aren’t very far. 

Vinny’s East Coast Pizzeria

Big, cheesy, gooey, New York slices are one of the best ways to enjoy the food staple known as pizza. At Vinny’s, that’s what you get. As close to a typical New York-style pizza slice as you will get around Champaign, Vinny’s hits the nail on the head and is one of the most delicious pizza restaurants in town. For a very reasonable price, even on a college student’s budget, a couple of heavenly slices will fill you up. Vinny’s is a great place to drop by for a quick bite, or a long study session. They also have pasta, calzones, and more, and they are located right next to Jarling’s on Kirby Ave, so you already know what’s for dessert.

Monical’s Pizza

While Monical’s is a small chain, it still is definitely worth mentioning. Monical’s is a bit pricier than most pizza places in town, but they make an incredible pizza. For thin-crust lovers, Monical’s is for you – their extra cheesy and flavorful pizza, topped with basil and garlic salt, on top of a crispy thin crust is among the highest-quality eating experiences around. Their gourmet pizza is one you won’t want to miss – and pair it with a salad and their house-recipe French dressing, and you have yourself a meal. This one’s a bit further from campus, but totally worth the 10-minute drive. They have locations nearby in both Champaign and Urbana.

Giordano’s Pizza

Plenty of UIUC students are highly familiar with this Chicago-based pizza chain, but for us townies, getting a Giordano’s was a big deal. Champaign’s Giordano’s is located in the Market Place Mall on the Northwest side of town, but take a trip with a group of friends here anyway. Come to Giordano’s with an appetite, as this thick-crust pizza is loaded with sauce and toppings that will fill you up after just a couple of slices. For a little taste of up north, this is the most authentic deep-dish pizza you will get in town. Giordano’s is also a great date spot, as one personal sized pizza feeds about two people. Come in and enjoy some quality deep-dish pizza in a somewhat fancy Italian restaurant atmosphere.

Pizzeria Antica

For the last pizza place, we have Pizzeria Antica. This newer restaurant is located just a few minutes from campus in downtown Champaign on East Chester Street. Antica is quite possibly the freshest, most organic and most authentic pizza in CU. They use only the best ingredients, including many that are locally grown, and pride themselves on crafting authentic Neapolitan pizza. The flavor doesn’t disappoint, and no pizza is made without the finest preparation and craftsmanship. Antica is another slightly more expensive option, but after trying the fresh, authentic pizza, you will understand right away. They also have authentic imported Italian wines and sodas to try. Antica is a great date location, especially for those who like to try something new.