Along with economic turmoil, last fall brought an embarrassment of affordable pizzerias. September saw the debut of ’Zaw (multiple locations including Capitol Hill, 1424 E Pine St., 206.325.5528), where quirkily named take ’n’ bake pizzas, such as the Vietzawm ($17/15-inch pie), come heaped with local ingredients. But the real story is that these cook-at-home pizzas blow away what you’ll find at many stay-and-eat pizzerias. Pizzas inspired by classic combinations, like the Formaggio IV ($16), a heavenly combo of feta, Asiago, Parmesan and mozzarella, are the best. Bonus: Zaw not only delivers (via bike, so the delivery zone is limited)—you can also order wine (a bottle of Erath Pinot Noir, $16) or beer (a six-pack of Fish Tale Blonde, $9) for home delivery.
Everything at LEED-certified Pizza Fusion (Capitol Hill, 1412 12th Ave.; 206.709.8400) is organic, from the veggies on the pie to the cotton used to make your server’s uniform (they’ll even deliver your pizza via hybrid car). Opened in November, Pizza Fusion’s big draw is a gluten-free pizza crust option. Though my gluten-free friends tell me that by gluten-free standards, the pizza’s pretty good, I found that the pale, brittle crust screamed “healthy,” and that I’d rather have my pizza with a little more sin.
Tucked between Columbia City and Seward Park, Flying Squirrel Pizza (Seward Park, 4920 S Genesee St.; 206.721.7629) is a pizza-and-pitchers-of-beer kind of place (Manny’s, $12; PBR, $7). Opened in October by local musician Bill Coury (Visqueen; Once For Kicks), the Squirrel serves chewy-cheesy East Coast–style pizza: Neither thin nor thick, the crust is just the right in-between soft and slightly charred kind. Toppings range from pulled pork and homemade sausage to arugula and artichoke hearts. I liked every pie I tasted, especially the No. 3 pizza: chunks of homemade sausage, chopped fresh garlic, mozzarella, all on a fresh, zesty tomato sauce ($16.50/15-inch pie). Salads (spinach with Gorgonzola, bacon and pecans, $6–$8) are fresh and generous. And for dessert? A big scoop of Molly Moon’s ice cream ($3/scoop).
Since its debut at the Sunday Ballard farmers’ market in 2004, Veraci Pizza has experienced ever-growing lines. So in late October, owners Marshall Jett and Errin Byrd Jett did what pizza fiends have been praying for: They opened a sit-down or pick-up pizzeria (Ballard, 500 NW Market St.; 206.525.1813)—complete with a blazing igloo-shaped wood-fired oven. Fans crowd the handful of tables, devouring the oh-so-thin-crusted pizzas topped with seasonally aware toppings, sold by the slice ($4–$5) or whole ($18–$22/15-inch pie) alongside antipasti plates ($8) bearing slices of Salumi salami and local cheeses. House-made gelato ($3/scoop) is also on the menu, but taste before you buy: The vanilla was pure heaven, while a pistachio was icy and gritty.