You could call it Pepperoni Alley: The unlikely axis of Central Ohio's pizza scene is a 2-mile stretch of High Street in Worthington that boasts four pie-slinging pubs. From old-school classics to new gourmet toppings, we found unique flavors coming from the ovens at all four stops on our Worthington pizza tour, with notable beer selections to wash it all down.
You could call it Pepperoni Alley: The unlikely axis of Central Ohio's pizza scene is a 2-mile stretch of High Street in Worthington that boasts four pie-slinging pubs. From old-school classics to new gourmet toppings, we found unique flavors coming from the ovens at all four stops on our Worthington pizza tour, with notable beer selections to wash it all down.Villa Nova Ristorante
5545 N. High St.
Villa Nova feels like a secret hideaway, even though the neighborhood regulars who fill the cozy bar have known about this place for years. The vintage decor includes a steam-punk-worthy wall of shiny brass pressure gauges (owner Frank Colleli served in the Merchant Marines), which only adds to the timeless feeling.
The Pizza: This is classic tavern pie, with a thin crust underneath and a bubbling sheen of cheese on top. Go for pepperoni to complete the hot and crispy trifecta.
The Beer: Hope you like it cold. Really cold. The half-dozen domestics on tap are served at bone-chilling temperatures in frozen glass mugs. Hoster's Gold Top (another local classic) is our favorite way to wash down the hot pie.
Another Bite: You'd expect a family-run restaurant to get the traditional recipes right, and the spicy Homemade Italian Sausage Sandwich hits that spot perfectly.Natalie's Coal-Fired Pizza
5601 N. High St.
This intimate live music club is bathed in the glow of an actual coal-fired oven (proprietor Natalie Jackson returned from NYC with a taste for the real deal). The stage hosts nightly jazz, folk and roots rock sets, while the oven cooks some of the best pizza in the city on a crisp-and-chewy New York-style crust.
The Pizza: You can't go wrong with any of the specialty pies on that top-notch crust. One standout is the Aurora Borealis, a deft balance of salty, savory and spicy with apple-wood bacon, asparagus and hot pepper flakes.
The Beer: The dozen drafts focus on Ohio creations-an even better deal during Drink Local Happy Hour. One recent pick, Four String Big Star, is a hoppy, citrusy white IPA that goes down easy.
Another Bite: The only drawback to Natalie's house-made Arancini stuffed with goat cheese and risotto is that it might not leave you hungry enough to order another pizza. Nah, get another pizza anyway.Dewey's Pizza
640 High St.
This Cincinnati chain's family-friendly Worthington pub is bright, open and always bustling. Kids love the window into the kitchen that lets them watch pizza makers spin dough in the air. You can also thank proprietor (and former musician) Andrew DeWitt for his great taste in tunes: Dewey's boasts an excellent indie-rock soundtrack.
The Pizza: That hand-tossed crust is topped in both traditional and gourmet styles. We especially like the Meatball pie, with its hearty Italian meatballs, fresh basil and mozzarella.
The Beer: The eight crafts on tap at the small bar rotate seasonally, leaning on Ohio selections. A recent highlight was Dewey's Storter, a smooth stout-porter hybrid made for the pizzeria by Cincinnati's Mt. Carmel brewery.
Another Bite: If you like your pie inside-out, check out Dewey's great calzones, stuffed with cheese and fillings of your choice and ready for dippin' in pizza sauce.Pies & Pints
7227 N. High St.
Tucked in the renovated Shops at Worthington Place mall, this regional chain draws a buzzing, beer-centric bar scene beneath the big-screen TVs, with lots of families gathered around pizza in the dining room and on the big patio.
The Pizza: Pies & Pints' specialty menu includes creative combos like chipotle chicken and Thai shrimp. The signature Grape Pie features a refreshing burst of fruit balanced with fragrant, fresh rosemary and gorgonzola on a traditional crust.
The Beer: The 40 rotating taps span a wide range of craft picks (helpfully organized by style on a giant board behind the bar). The malty sweetness of Zanesville's Weasel Boy Plaid Ferret Scottish Ale goes nicely with any of the pies topped with that rich gorgonzola.
Another Bite: Do not pass up the excellent Char-Grilled Hot Wings. The cumin-scented dry rub and citrus-sriracha marinade give these flappers a smoky, spicy kick.