Issue 30

Omaha’s Largest Pizza Review, Ever

Omaha’s Largest Pizza Review, Ever

We decided to change up our food review for this issue of Food & Spirits Magazine. Rather than our normal, round-table style restaurant review, we wanted to do something a little bit bigger so that we could try food from more than one restaurant, and so that we could invite the public to share in our food orgy. So, after much consideration, we came up with “Omaha’s Largest Pizza Review, Ever.” Everybody likes (if not loves) pizza so it was a natural fit and it went over incredibly well.

We invited nearly every independently-owned pizza place in town to participate in the review. Some declined, and some our messages didn’t get returned but, in the end, we ended up with a list that certainly represents some of the best pizza that can be found in Omaha. The participating pizza places were asked to send three pizzas, all the same kind, and they were also asked to decide what type of pizza they would send.

The review was held at Jake’s Cigars & Spirits (6206 Maple St.) in Benson. We also had Sterling Distributors on hand with samples of Cuervo Silver and Jeremiah Weed Sweet Tea Vodka. Over 130 people showed up and the pizza flinging was fast and furious – we went through 33 pizzas in less than an hour. All those that came were asked to vote for their top three pizzas. Food & Spirits Magazine’s judging panel was also on hand to record their expert opinions on the pizza. Our judges this issue were A.J. Swanda, Brian Young, Kelly Schumacher and Derek (from We awarded a People’s Choice, a Judge’s Choice and the Publisher’s Pick.


La Casa Pizzeria (4432 Leavenworth St.)
Mangia Italiana (6516 Irvington Rd.)
Don Carmelo’s Pizzeria (3562 Farnam St.)
Orsi’s Italian Bakery (621 Pacific St.)
Lo Sole Mio (3020 S 32nd Ave.)
Pudgy’s Pizzeria (16919 Audrey St. # 110)
Mama’s Pizza (715 N Saddle Creek Rd.)
Johnny Sortino’s Pizza Parlor (7880 L St.)
Frank’s Pizzeria (711 N 132nd St.)
Caniglia’s Venice Inn (6920 Pacific St.)
Sgt. Peffer’s Café Italiana (1501 N Saddle Creek Rd.)

The People’s Choice

The People’s Choice Award was about as close as it could get. Those voters were asked to pick their top three choices and we assigned every first place vote three points, second place votes got two points and third place votes received one point. There was only three points separating first and second place and two of the top three were somewhat of a surprise. Also worth noting is that every participating restaurant received at least one vote for first place. The winners were;

Mangia Italiana
La Casa Pizzeria
Lo Sole Mio

The Judge’s Choice

Our judges were asked to rank the pizzas on a ten point scale, with ten being the best. Although there was some overlap in the results from the people’s votes, it was a surprise that the judge’s votes ended up being fairly different. The judge’s choices were;

La Casa Pizzeria (8.25)
Pudgy’s Pizzeria (7.75)
Mama’s Pizza (7.0)
Sgt. Peffer’s (7.0)
Judges Comments:
Mangia Italiana – “Good cheese and lots of toppings. Toppings were flavorful and the crust was nice and thin. I like the spice.” A.J. Swanda

Mama’s Pizza – “Medium crust thickness and a decent amount of toppings. Seasoned well and comes across as better than your average pizza.” Brian Young

La Casa – “Yum! Doesn’t look like your average pizza since there is more meat than cheese, but it tastes great!” Kelly Schumacher

Frank’s Pizzeria – “Looks good. Nice and fresh looking. A lot of cheese on the crust and the chicken isn’t dry – unique.” Derek

Sgt. Peffer’s – “The white chicken pizza was delicious. Just chicken and white sauce but simple and quite tasty. Just a touch of crispiness on the soft crust – yum!” Kelly Schumacher

Johnny Sortino’s Pizza Parlor – “Nice crust, good flavors and a very nice sauce. The cheese also had a good texture and the crust has excellent flavor.” A.J. Swanda

Pudgy’s Pizzeria – “The Chicago style deep dish was surprisingly great – I had never had one like this before. Crust is thick and crispy and loads of juicy sauce and toppings.” Kelly Schumacher

The Publisher’s Pick

My pick for the best pizza in town, although I love it, is really a sentimental pick. When I first moved to Omaha, I lived at 13th and Pacific so the closest pizza place was Orsi’s Italian Bakery. It was one of the first food items I fell in love with in Omaha and I was surprised to learn that so many people haven’t heard of them, even though they’ve been around for, literally, over 100 years. The large pizzas are a full sheet pan at Oris’s so they are massive and loaded down with heaps of toppings and cheese. Quite a treat!

So those are your winners, as voted on by the public, our judges and me. The wide variation between the people’s and judge’s choice is simply due to the great quality of pizza that is cranked out by so many Omaha restaurants. I didn’t hear very many negative comments during the review and, as I mentioned, every restaurant that participated received at least one first place vote from the public. Given the tremendous response, we’ll be putting together “Omaha’s Largest Pizza Review, Ever II” for next year – see you there!

Erik Totten

Erik Totten

Erik Totten is the founder and publisher of Food & Spirits Magazine in Omaha, Nebraska. He's worked in publications for the last 21 years at all levels. As well as serving as a writer, designer, photographer and editor, he's also founded two publications which have allowed him to grow into being a publisher, which he would describe as his 'true calling'.

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