Issue 30

Omaha’s Largest Pizza Review, Ever – Part 2

Omaha’s Largest Pizza Review, Ever – Part 2

For our food review this issue we revisited an event we held last year, appropriately named “Omaha’s Largest Pizza Review, Ever.” We gathered nearly 20 of Omaha’s pizza places and invited the public to share in the pizza extravaganza. The event was a benefit for The Food Bank and included music by Cass Fify and the Family Gram, Bluesharks and The Matt Cox Band.

We invited nearly every independently-owned pizza place in town to participate in the review – we also invited Godfather’s since they’re such an Omaha classic. Some places declined, and some places didn’t return our messages but, in the end, we ended up with 19 places that certainly represent some of the best pizza that can be found in Omaha. The participating pizza places were asked to send five pizzas, all the same kind, their choice.

The review was held at The Waiting Room (6212 Maple St.) in Benson. We also had Lucky Bucket Brewery on hand with $2 Lucky Bucket pints. Despite a nasty storm, nearly 200 people showed up and the pizza eating was frantic – we went through 95 pizzas in about two hours. 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 Jeff Snow, Jeremy Hunter, Marq Manner and Derek (from Like last year, 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 (10821 Prairie Brook Rd.)

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.)

Frank’s Pizzeria (711 N 132nd St.)

Sgt. Peffer’s Café Italiana (1501 North Saddle Creek Rd.)

Mama Alvino’s Pizzeria (2861 Capehart Rd.)

Pizza Shoppe (6056 Maple St.)

Goodnights Bar & Gourmet Pizza (1302 Mike Fahey St.)

Bene Pizza & Pasta (12301 W. Maple St.)

Dante Pizzeria Napoletana (16901 Wright Plaza)

Pizza Gourmet (7515 Pacific St.)

94/95 Sports Grille (17857 Pierce Plaza)

Vivace (1108 Howard St.)

Godfather’s (6303 Ames Av.)

Clancy’s Pub (7120 Pacific St.)


The People’s Choice – The People’s Choice Award was a runaway. 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. Worth noting is that every participating restaurant received at least one vote for first place. The winners were;

  1. Mangia Italiana
  2. Dante Pizzeria Napoletana
  3. Sgt. Peffer’s Café Italiana
  4. Orsi’s Italian Bakery
  5. Pizza Gourmet
  6. Mama’s Pizza

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;

  1. Dante Pizzeria Napoletana (8.9)
  2. Orsi’s Italian Bakery (7.6)

Vivace (7.6)

  1. Sgt. Peffer’s Café Italiana (7.3)
  2. Mama’s Pizza (7.1)
  3. Pizza Gourmet (6.8)

94/95 Sports Grille

Goodnight Pub & Gourmet Pizza

Don Carmelo’s

Judge’s Comments:

Don Carmelo’s – “Nice, balanced sauce – great flavor. Crust is cheesy and crisp.” Jeff Snow

Mama’s Pizza – “Huge pieces of spicy sausage with a great, medium-thick crust. A sauce that doesn’t overpower with a good amount of cheese on the pizza. Damn good pizza.” Marq Manner

La Casa – “Nice fresh, tasty sauce. The light crust and sauce shine in this pizza.” Jeff Snow

Frank’s Pizzeria – “Good, tangy sauce. Good New York style pizza that confident in sticking to the basics.” Marq Manner

Sgt. Peffer’s – “Very creative – good combination of toppings. Great with the salsa.” Jeremy Hunter

Dante – “The crust is crispy and chewy like a nice, French baguette. Great sauce and cheese along with fresh basil. Overall, a great pie.” Jeff Snow

Vivace – “A little surprised by how good it is. The pizza is really good and the clams work well in the composition. Great Italian sausage and the crunch from the onions play nicely to the overall texture and taste.”

Lo Sole Mio – “Loaded with beef and onions with a good, soft, thin crust.” Marq Manner

Goodnights – Thin crust that’s not too chewy or crispy – it’s good. The sweet sauce goes well with the spicy meats.” Jeremy Hunter

Bene Pizza and Pasta – “A thin style crust that is very crispy – nice!” Jeff Snow

Mama Alvino’s – “Nice crust that rivals Orsi’s (I double-checked). Chock full of toppings – there was a lot in there and lots of cheese. It was great.” Marq Manner

Orsi’s – Nice. A good balance of ingredients. The crust holds up well without getting in the way.”

Mangia – “A thin and moist crust that’s tasty. A good combination of flavors.” Jeremy Hunter

Pizza Shoppe – Good crust and interesting sauce and flavors with a good mix of toppings. A nice change of pace.” Marq Manner

Pizza Gourmet – “A great thin crust with toppings and sauce that are well done.” Jeff Snow

94/95 Sports Grille – “I like the surprising zing of heat. Not bad by any means.”

Clancy’s – “Nice, tightly packed pizza that has a lot of flavor. A great basic pizza that I could eat a lot of.” Marq Manner

Pudgy’s – “The crust reminds me off breadsticks. A good effort for gluten free. I’m giving them some marks for effort.”

Godfather’s – “Doughy crust and that slightly burnt taste with minimal sauce that we all grew up with. Not great but this is comfort food for people that grew up in Omaha.” Marq Manner

The Publisher’s PickVivace – I’m a traditionalist when it comes to pizza. I like the basic toppings – nothing fancy like chicken, or seafood, or Thai sauce. I know those types of pizza can be great but that’s just not my deal and I’ve never ordered a pizza like that. Ever. Give me a basic pepperoni pizza and I’m as happy as a clam – which brings me to my publisher’s pick. Vivace’s clam, sausage, prosciutto, potato and sweet onion pizza was incredible. I never would have tried it any other way than at the pizza review but, once I did, I was sold. It takes something special to get me to think outside the box when it comes to pizza and this one did the trick. Besides that, the open clams on the pizza makes for a cool presentation. A close second place finish for the Publisher’s Pick was Dante with their mobile wood-fired pizza oven – impressive by itself but even more so when they’re out cooking in a thunderstorm – nice work!

So those are your winners, as voted on by the public, our judges and me. So many restaurants participating and the close scores in the voting show the great quality of pizza that is cranked out by so many Omaha restaurants. I didn’t hear any 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 – Part 3” 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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