Where Local and Global Appetites Collide

Tucson Pizza: Chris Bianco – The Pizza Man Cometh

Pizzeria Bianco Tucson
Welcome to Tucson

The long awaited Pizzeria Bianco finally opened its door in downtown Tucson on July 24, the day before the debut of the “modern street car.” Now that is an astute marketing move.

Numerous articles have been written about Bianco and local anticipation runs high. It’s not every day a James Beard Award winning chef hangs his proverbial toque here.

The burning question is – Will Tucson wait in line for the pizza? I’d venture to guess YES! But it also depends on the demographic and the triple digit temperatures. Right now the hours are limited from 4 to 9 or 10 pm depending on the night of the week. Eating at Bianco will be a status symbol to some.

I already ate at Pizzeria Bianco in the Town & Country Shopping Center in Scottsdale earlier this year. Actually, there was no line around 2:30 in the afternoon and we just sort of breezed in to enjoy the casual retro atmosphere.

It was our $87 lunch when you add a $48 bottle of Scarpetta sparkling rosé, a pizza and Caprese salad. What the heck…we were on vacation.

Was the Bianco pizza the best of the best?

Not sure…a lot of memorable components went into that lunch – being on vacation, not getting lost-look ma/no GPS, enjoying my friend’s company, feeling rested and relaxed, drinking good wine…

If you don’t want to wait in line, remember there is plenty of good pizza to be eaten around Tucson – here are a few of Circle of Food’s favorites:

Falora pizza Tucson
Purple potatoes at Falora

Falora recently celebrated its first anniversary and already made Eater.com’s one of the 24 hottest pizzerias to open in United States in 2013. Located in historic Broadway Village, Falora marries a blend of authentic Napoli pizza-making with contemporary twists. Location: Midtown/San Clemente & Sam Hughes neighborhoods

pizza and beer garden
Reilly pizza – downtown Tucson

Reilly Craft Pizza and Drink
If you don’t want to wait in line at Bianco, walk around the corner to Reilly, a former funeral home turned pizzeria and beer garden where artisan pizzas are served along small plates (think shrimp & grits), salads, sandwiches, pasta and one of the best salted butterscotch budinos (pudding) in the land.

Rocco's Sam Hughes neighborhood UA adjacent
Rocco’s Chicago Style Pizza

Rocco’s Little Chicago
Rocco’s has been serving up authentic Chicago-style stuffed pizza in Tucson since 1998. According to their website, “Buttery crust is filled with quality mozzarella and tasty ingredients to create a pizza marvel. Everything at Rocco’s is made fresh daily using only the finest ingredients.” For people like me, they also serve thin crust – plus salads, soups, sandwiches, chicken wings and amazing chocolate chip cookies the size of your face. Hands down or thumbs up, Rocco’s has the best signage out front. Location: Midtown/Sam Hughes neighborhood/Sunshine mile

best pizza in the Foothills
Tavolino pizza

Tavolino has the most perfect patio with refreshing misters so you can almost get a facial while eating pizza. Or sit inside in the comfortable but elegantly appointed ambiance. Tavolino’s pizza is made in a wood-burning rotisserie and the crust, though not thin, is reminiscent of good crusty bread. They have a fabulous happy hour too with $5 pizzas. Location: Foothills

Best pizza Dove Mountain
Vero Amore Mediterranean pizza

Vero Amore
Vero Amore has the bragging rights for claiming to be Tucson’s Only Certified Authentic Neapolitan Pizza. According to the Los Angeles Times (no less) the “Certified” means the Mussmans had training in Naples, use an 800-plus-degree volcanic brick oven, house-made mozzarella, San Marzano tomatoes, prosciutto from Parma, salami from Genova and a thin crust that’s perfectly al dente. Location: Fort Lowell District/Plaza Palomino and Dove Mountain/Marana

 What are your favorite pizzas?

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