Road trips are inspired by all sorts of things! Sure, you could take a road trip to see a major landmark or piece of American history, travel to experience a different city’s culture, or pack your bags for a scenic exploration. But the ultimate road trip? It culminates in pizza, of course!
Here are a few of the top pizza spots in the U.S. (and the cost of a large pizza at each one). Stop at any one to refuel on your next drive, or plan the ultimate pizza road trip and taste every pie for yourself!
Lombardi’s (New York, NY)
There are probably thousands of pizza spots in and around New York, and hundreds selling fabulous or noteable pies. But Lombardi’s is an American treasure, and a necessity for the bucket list of any pizza-lover. Officially licensed in 1905, Lombardi’s was America’s very first pizzeria. That’s right, Gennaro Lombardi started selling pizza before Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona, Alaska, and Hawaii became states. The shop did close its doors in 1984, but reopened (just down the street!) a decade later where it still stands today. There’s probably no other pizza that will allow you to consume a century of American history along with melted cheese and tomato sauce, making Lombardi’s worth of a cross-country road trip from anywhere in the U.S. 18” (cheese) pie: $22.50.
Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana (New Haven, CT + other locations)
Gracing the top of The Daily Meal’s 2015 list of 101 Best Pizzas in America, Frank Pepe’s likely derives its fame from a mixture of longevity and it’s unique specialty, the White Clam pizza. Opened in 1925, Frank Pepe’s is the oldest pizzeria in New Haven where they’ve been baking pies in their signature coal oven for over 90 years. With locations across Connecticut and even into Massachusetts and New York, it’s a short drive for a White Clam pie from most of the North East. Come from anywhere in the states to visit to the original pizza shop, enjoy the beauty of New England, and try classic, New Haven-style apizza. The famous White Clam make for a perfect summer road trip snack! 18” (cheese) pie: $17.25 (New Haven location).
Papa’s Tomato Pies (Robbinsville, NJ)
Papa’s is the oldest continually operating pizza joint in the U.S. Nick Azzaro, the owner, is a third-generation pie maker; his grandfather Joe Papa first opened Papa’s in 1912. There’s some controversy over whether Papa’s or Lombardi’s is technically the oldest pizzeria in America (Lombardi’s opened first but was closed for a decade; Papa’s has operated continually for 104 years). Suffice it to say, Papa’s has been serving up tomato pies for over a century and it’s a spot you don’t want to miss! Their website describes the pizzas as a Trenton specialty with thin, crispy crust and sparing amounts of cheese added to the crust prior to the sauce. Take a road trip on the Turnpike to try this tomato pie! Large (cheese) pie: $14.
Pequod’s (Chicago, IL)
We all know there are a few cities that must make the list when talking about destination pizza, which brings us to Chicago. With it’s own signature, deep-dish style, this city’s pizza is a must-try for anyone who considers themselves a pizza-lover. Pequod’s caramelized crust edge has earned it a cult following, not to mention spots on plenty of “Best Pizza” lists. And Ted and Marshall taught America just what lengths one who knows the beauty of Chicago-style will go to when they drove from NYC just for a deep dish pie. If you want in on the action of a pizza that Thrillist says ought to be on everyone’s bucket list, plan a road trip to the windy city. 16” thin crust (cheese) pie: $17.05. 14” deep dish (cheese) pie: $18.75.
Double Mountain Brewery & Taproom (Hood River, OR)
The pizza at this brewery in idyllic Hood River is just calling to the souls of those of us who love a good road trip. Double Mountain serves up New Haven-style apizzas, running their oven close to 700 degrees to create those classic spots of char, which you can wash down with beer straight from the brewery. As if that wasn’t enough to start our engines, this road trip will reportedly take you through the breathtaking the Columbia River Gorge. So pack your bags because the beauty - and the pizza - of the Pacific Northwest awaits! 16” (cheese) pie: $16
Imo’s Pizza (St. Louis, MO + other locations)
One doesn’t often hear the phrase “St. Louis style pizza” (unless perhaps if you live in St. Louis...) but the city does indeed have a style all it’s own. Rumor has it this pizza is among the most maligned of pizza styles. But for anyone who considers themselves a true connoisseur of ‘za, the unique cracker-thin, unleavened crust with Provel cheese is a must-try. Imo’s is a staple of St. Louis, having grown out of Ed and Margie Imo’s desire for delivery in 1964. Head to one of Imo’s 90+ locations and enjoy a beautiful road trip across the American Midwest on your way! 16” (cheese) pie: $14.65 (at the only location in the original shop’s zip code, 63110).