Best of CU: Best pizza

By Casey Daly, Contributing Writer

Though many Illini travel from Chicagoland and crave a good pizza, the fact remains: it can be hard to find good pizza in Central Illinois. Manolo’s Pizza & Empanadas in Urbana is a hidden gem on a campus where Papa John’s is prevalent. The C-U area does have several places for some quality pizza, though, and the community has decided that Manolo’s pizza is the best in the area. 

Manolo’s Pizza & Empanadas stands on the narrow shoulders of Oregon Street, perfect for students quad-jumping between classes looking for a quick bite to eat. The shop specializes in the type of thin-crust that appeases the dreams of real Chicagoans and New Yorkers who are looking for a little taste of home. It is not Chicago style nor New York Style but a type of oven-baked thin crust that could only exist nearby Urbana’s culinary stars like The Bread Company. 

Manolo’s Empanadas are the cousin of the calzone, cooked crispy and chewy enough to melt in the mouth with a crunch. Manolo’s also knows that college kids love dip and provides dipping sauces. Manolo’s gives the pizza experience a twist, adding jalapeños, veggies and olives to its pies. It sometimes even experiments with chives, red pepper and other savory wonders to satisfy the more explorative pizza eaters. They even offer a gluten-free pizza; just be sure to ask about the availability ahead of time to ensure your pizza. 

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