Celebrating National Pizza Month!

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Everybody loves pizza! This month is National Pizza Month, so thought it would be a good time to enjoy one of my favorite things to eat.

Unfortunately, there are too many pizza places in this town and I couldn’t get to all of them. Apologies for not including them all, but here are the ones I was able to enjoy (in alphabetical order.)

BACKSTREETS SPORTS BAR

915 SE 47th Terrace, (239) 945-7555

It’s in the name, a sports bar, so don’t expect fine dining or a quiet pizzeria with Italian chefs. Backstreets is full of fun energy, great for a night out.

Poker table, karaoke every night between 9 pm and 2 am and live entertainment every night. Acoustic acts play every evening and full bands play Friday and Saturday nights. Honestly, I’d recommend coming here to have fun instead of eating quality food, the good food is just another benefit, but the atmosphere is what sticks with you.

Their drink menu probably outweighs their food menu, accompanied by a number of beers and wines, plus a recommended “Shot of the Month.” Their food menu is just as good with a different discount every day of the week and the reported “Best Happy Hour in Town,” according to them, which they might be right about.

Getting to the pizza, I’m going to admit that I don’t remember that much about what I ate because everything else about the visit took over.

What I do recall about it was that it was the type of pizza you’d expect in a sports bar, simple and laid back, but well made. A great pizza to order for a Superbowl party.

Sunday – Thursday 11 am to 2 am, Friday – Saturday 11 am to 3 am. Limo service: (239)-314-9040 but only after 6PM.

CHICAGO PIZZA

1341 SE 47th Terr, (239) 945-2262

Everyone in Cape Coral probably already knows about this place. Most have driven by it or seen it on the “Best of Cape Coral” list for three years in a row.

It’s small on the outside with a dinky parking lot, but it must have a Harry Potter enlarging spell cast around it because, when you walk inside, it seems to have added on two extra sizes. Comfortable and quaint, a pleasant atmosphere for easy relaxation. There’s a reason they’ve been voted “Best in Cape Coral” so many times.

Chicago is famous for deep dish pizza, so of course they have that. But they also have thin crust, which personally I usually like best, but if you’re coming to this restaurant, I suggest going for the deep dish.

It’s clearly designed to be on a thick crust. The sauce and cheese and everything combined were fantastic, but it was just too much for a thin crust to handle. They have only a few toppings, but it felt like a supreme made in a gourmet restaurant or in Hell’s Kitchen.

A must for pizza fans and Chicagoans.

Monday – Thursday 11:30 am to 9 pm, Friday 11:30 am to 10 pm, Saturday 12 pm to 10 pm, Sunday 12 pm to 9 pm.

DANTE’S COAL FIRED PIZZA

900 SW Pine Island Rd, (239)-800-2112

The fact that its name matches the name of my second favorite poet has nothing to do with how much I love this place.

It’s the perfect name for a restaurant that sells coal-fired crust pizza that’s thin and crunchy without tasting burnt. I’m biased towards coal-fired crust though, it’s my absolute favorite, so I walked in knowing I would love it.

It’s the type of pizza that would likely be seen in a European café. If you like crust and extra cheese, I wouldn’t go here. It runs more on flavors, herbs, oils and such. Dante’s is one of the few places in Cape Coral where you can eat half a large pie and not feel overstuffed.

They sell excellently flavored wings dressed in lemon, rosemary and olive oil which are baked instead of fried. This makes them tender, and I advise everyone to try the garlic sticks. These are far better than any bread sticks I’ve ever had. Soft and buttery on the inside, salted with garlic on the outside.

Monday – Thursday 11 am to 9 pm, Friday – Saturday 11 am to 10 pm, Sunday 11 am to 9 pm.

DON ANTHONY’S PIZZA

303 NE 3rd Ave, (239)-673-8023

Don Anthony was either a huge movie fan or he’s appealing to film buffs. In the front window is a cartoon gangster that looks like he’s from the Flintstones, with a thick cigar in his mouth. You walk in and are surrounded by Vito and Michael Corleone from The Godfather.

It’s a small place with maybe six or seven tables max, decorated with maps of Italy for placemats. Every time I’m there, it’s empty and that’s a crime. Don Anthony’s is one of my favorite pizza places, but it doesn’t get nearly the amount of attention it deserves. Yes, it’s small and in a hard-to-see location, but Holy Cow!

Their pizza deserves some kind of award. First, there are so many options, complete with delicious Italian desserts such as cannoli’s, tiramisu, and limoncello cake (one of the best limoncello’s I’ve ever had.)

The pizza is on a whole other level; the baby bear of pizza. Not too thin or thick, not greasy or dry, not over-cooked or soggy, but just right. In fact, the Martin Scorsese of pizza’s, Meryl Streep if she was ever transformed into a pizza pie. This place should be packed full of people daily, but right now it’s hidden among a little group of buildings that’s impossible to be seen from a speeding car.

Monday – Thursday 11 am to 10 pm, Friday – Saturday 11 am to 11 pm, Sunday 11 am to 10 pm

LEONE’S ITALIAN DELI

916 SE 14th Ave, (239)-458-0013

With cafeteria style ordering in a deli atmosphere, it’s impossible to get more casual than this. The woman behind the counter took our order in a “no funny business” attitude with a thick Sicilian accent. While it almost frightened the leisurely Saturday out of us, they get the orders out fast. It’s set in a busy work area where lots of people come in during their lunch break.

Leone’s is not a leisurely dining experience, but more of a quick-paced snack with well-prepared pizza. An authentic Italian taste that’s hard to find, a bold flavor created from olive oil, oregano and pureed tomatoes all set on dough that was baked to perfection.

We had two cannolis with it. To be honest, I’ve never had a cannoli before so I’m not much of an expert, but I’m sure they can’t all be that good! Just about swallowed these things whole. You can get one with almond cream, pistachio, lemon, vanilla, and probably some others I’m forgetting.

Closed Sundays & Mondays, Tuesday – Thursday 9 am to 6 pm, Friday 9 am to 7 pm, Saturday 10 am to 5 pm.

LUCIANO’S PIZZA

728 SW Pine Island Rd, (239)-360-8112

I don’t want to call this a bad place because it’s not. It’s difficult to run a business, and every restaurant has its bad days, but Luciano’s needs to fix a few things. The dough was the best part, good enough to convince me that Luciano’s should be baking bread instead of pizzas. Crust was near perfect, it was just everything else that didn’t work. There was just too much.

We got a small vegetarian and, while it looked like artwork, the minute I picked up a slice the entire top fell off. Cheese, spinach, olives, mushrooms, and tomato sauce skidded down into a sad lump pile in the center of the box. The cheese was great though. I don’t know what brand of mozzarella they used, but I’m going to look for it.

Once I put the toppings back on and ate it, I got a mouthful of TOMATO. I know that sounds odd considering marinara sauce is made from tomatoes, but everyone’s had that one pizza where their sauce tasted too tart from too much tomato. That was the problem here.

After a few bites, it developed a unique aftertaste that I usually feel after eating key lime pie; not an altogether bad thing in my book. Then, to top it off, because of the oily cheese and abundance of garden-fresh sauce, it got soggy on the bottom. I know a lot of people don’t seem to mind that, and if you don’t then kudos to you, but I’m not one of them.

Monday – Thursday 11 am to 9 pm, Friday – Saturday 11 am to 10 pm, Sunday 12 pm to 8 pm.

MARIA’S PIZZERIA

1224 SE 46th Lane, (239)-945-6006

I went here once a long time ago and got their linguini in clam sauce, which I remember was mouthwateringly delicious. I went back again this time for the pizza and it was also a well-prepared, savory dish.

The interior is designed to be a cross somewhere between fine dining and remote Italy. The result is a simple elegance tailor-made for a Saturday dinner, comfortable with a sweet waitress who did whatever she could to recommend various dishes.

Maria’s pizza is one of the best out there because it’s found a middle ground in preparation. Pleasant with the right amount of everything. Overall, the perfect place to go and relax with a glass of wine and a large pizza to share. It’s fine dining that doesn’t cross the line into actual fine dining.

Open 4 pm to 9 pm everyday.

MONA LISA PIZZERIA

3108 Santa Barbara Blvd, (239)-673-9309

Compacted within a small building is a limited number of tables, a kitchen, a counter and a tiny rack of wine. It’s take-out meets high-class. Plastic cups for your beer, and food made with proficient hands. There was only one man behind the counter, single handedly taking the orders, cooking and serving them. I don’t know if this is a daily thing, but for one man doing it all, the food got to our table quicker than I could read the labels of chips he had on the front counter.

Everything was wonderful, not just the pizza. The pizza which was exceptionally good, but also everything else. The bread on their sandwiches was, as my picky food companion called it, “the best bread I’ve ever had” and, trust me, she eats lots of bread.

I know it’s a pizza place and I’m reviewing the pizza, which was delicious, but I really went crazy over their fries. My mouth is watering just thinking about them again. Plain with only a dash of salt, fried to a light crisp and still managing to taste like a potato.

Have you ever eaten the fries at McDonalds and thought, “this has to be some otherworldly food”? Well, Mona Lisa’s fries are better.

Monday – Saturday 11 am to 9 pm, Sunday 4 pm to 9 pm.

NICE GUYS

1334 Cape Coral Pkwy E, (239)-549-7542

I went to Nice Guys for a review on vegan restaurants that I wrote earlier this year and fell in love with their vegan menu. At the time, I didn’t try their regular pizzas because I was only doing vegan options then. And it was the greatest vegan pizza I’ve ever had, kicking any dairy-free frozen pizza out of the ballpark.

I went back again to try their regular menu and, even though I didn’t think I could love this place more than I already did, it went from being a fantastic pizzeria to being one of the best, if not the best, in my world. They had the same quirky interior as before: it looks like a record store, an upstate New York bar and an arcade had a love child inside an artist’s loft. There’s more artwork than wall space and the tabletops have shellacked images cut from magazines, sexy women for the bar and oldy movies for the tables.

Nice Guys is for anyone wanting to try something new. They sell the oddest topping combinations with jokey names. One is called “A Sweet Corn Named Desire” (movie fans should get this reference) and another named “Don’t Worry Brie Happy.” I had a marvelously superb treasure of heaven called “General Tso’s Pizza” that had fried chicken, broccoli, pineapples, garlic and a sweet type of hot sauce with a spicy aftertaste. We also got an item called a “Truffle Shuffle” (any Goonies fans out there?) covered in Parmesan cheese. Normally, I hate Parmesan cheese and the “Truffle Shuffle” was absolutely covered in it, but it was FANTASTIC.

I don’t know how else to describe how much I love this place other than to start running around in circles like SpongeBob and shouting the confession on a loop until someone tells me to shut up. If you’re not the type to eat in bars, then order it over the phone and pick it up as carry out. They’re the friendliest people, all smiles and easy going. Normally the call-in orders are ready in twenty or thirty minutes.

Closed Monday, Tuesday – Saturday 4 pm to 1:30 am, Sunday 12 pm to 1:30 am.

OVERTIME PIZZERIA

1708 Cape Coral Parkway, (239)-541-3367

Busy atmosphere and a crowded lunch hour make the service a little slow, but no less accommodating. They’re a sports bar so it has all the usual sport bar qualities; a TV set for every booth, one huge TV near the bar, a loud and amusing tone produced by sizeable dinner parties, and a large menu catering to the different varieties of people who come in on weekends.

To satisfy this large clientele, they have a broad menu consisting of mixed drinks, wines and beer (some brewed in Cape Coral and Fort Myers,) a great many types of pizzas from which to choose, and countless sandwiches, burgers and other entrees to try if you don’t like pizza. It’s called a pizzeria, but there’s much more than just pizza there.

It seems like a place that started selling pizza in the beginning, but then decided to add a bunch of stuff to their menu because there are so many options it’s hard to believe it’s called Overtime Pizzeria and not just Overtime Sports Bar. However, by the taste of their pizza, I think they’ve earned the right to be called a pizzeria.

I’ll admit I didn’t expect much coming from this place, pizza-wise. Being a sports bar, I assumed they’d have good sandwiches and wings but average pizza. I did not expect something so good. Ordering the small vegetarian, I got a fairly large pizza heartily covered in broccoli, sliced grape tomatoes, spinach leaves, and mushrooms, that proved me wrong and tasted fantastic.

Sunday – Thursday 11 am to 11 pm, Friday – Saturday 11 am to 12 pm.

PARADISE PIZZA

842 Lafayette Street, (239)-945-1555

Set in a small dining area that gives off a homey feel. It’s one long hallway with booths pressed against the wall near stacks of empty pizza boxes in the back, creating an endearingly disheveled look.

The pizza itself wasn’t bad, but I just have one thing to say…cheese attack! I understand that there is a high demand for extra cheese on everything, but this place should be called Paradise Cheese. There was so much cheese it looked like a yellow spider-web clinging to bread as the slices struggled to separate.

Nevertheless, it wasn’t bad pizza, I’m just not one to smother my dough in mozzarella and cheddar. I’m sure anyone who wants a simple pizza with lots of cheese will be happy going here. We ordered a large and they weren’t stingy on the size. It was a generous amount.

Excellent service, good fried ravioli’s, and fantastic wings. Pizza was good, but come for the wings as they stole the show.

Closed Mondays, Tuesday – Saturday 11 am to 10 pm, Sunday 4 pm to 10 pm.

Here is a list of other pizza places in the Cape that I couldn’t get to in time. I’m including them in case you don’t like any of the ones listed above. Here’s a bunch more that you can try out.

  1. IRagazzi Pizza, 159 Hancock Bridge, (239) 772-9005
  2. Joe Daddy’s Pizza, 2481 Del Prado Blvd N., (239) 573-6600
  3. Marco’s Pizza, 290 Nicholas Pkwy, (239) 458-400
  4. Sicily Trattoria, 1211 Cape Coral Pkwy E., (239) 945-7285
  5. Lelulo’s, 3123 Chiquita Blvd S., (239) 205-6935
  6. Uncle Angelo’s, 2612 Santa Barbara Blvd, (239) 458-4567
  7. Ciao Woodfired, 823 SE 47th Terr, (239) 471-0033
  8. Salvatore’s Pizza, 1327 Pine Island Rd, (239) 573-7900
  9. Mangia Bene Restaurant, 2301 Del Prado Blvd S., (239) 673-8290
  10. Street Treats, 532 SE 47th Terr #4 (239)541-4328
  11. Gino’s Pizza, 3015 SW Pine Island Rd #104, (239) 282-9200
  12. Chicago Beef and Dogs and Pizza, 3812 Skyline Blvd Unit E ,(239) 347-8111