Pizza is the quintessential meal for college students. Whether you’re microwaving a slice for lunch in your dorm room, ordering it for dinner delivery when you’re too lazy to pull yourself out of bed or eating it in a hammered state at 3 am, pizza is a tried and true BFF of the college student. Ann Arbor, one of the top college towns in America, is also saturated with some of the best pizza around. This list is an attempt at narrowing the many pizza joints in AA into one, top ten list. These rankings were determined by a multitude of different factors such as taste, price, uniqueness, hours and location, all relevant to the average U of M student.
10. Backroom Pizza
Known as the place for late-night, drunken pizza lovers, Backroom Pizza is your typical, college-town pizzeria. Commonly referred to as the “Taco Bell of pizza,” you’ve had Backroom plenty of times, but never sober (trust me, you don’t want to do that). Backroom grabs the number ten spot purely because it serves its purpose well: a quick, cheap and convenient place for pizza.
9. Pizza Bob’s
Potentially our most versatile restaurant on the list, Pizza Bob’s comes in at the number 9 spot. As an Ann Arbor landmark, this State St. steadfast has been around for over 35 years. Known primarily for their chapatis and milk shakes, this is probably the place your parents are going to want to go to if they’re U of M alum. However, these rankings are largely determined by the quality of each restaurant’s pizza, and in my opinion, Pizza Bob’s is just OK. However, if you’re a fan of a whole wheat crust, this is the place for you.
Another late-night destination, NYPD is probably the most polarizing pizza place on our list. On one end of the spectrum, there are those who will live and die by NYPD. A lot of people claim it is their favorite slice on campus, drunk or sober. And then there are the opposing opinions. As a native New Yorker, I cant tell you that NYPD’s “New York Pizza” is not very authentic. Even though they’re are lacking on credibility, their mac and cheese slice is out of this world. That’s enough for me to garner the 8 spot.
7. The Original Cottage Inn
Our first true sit-down restaurant on the list, The Original Cottage Inn first opened its doors in 1948. I’m pretty sure Michigan was still called Catholepistemiad at that point. Regardless of its antiquity, Cottage Inn is still serving great food today. They offer an awesome lunch buffet in addition to thick and cheesy pies. However, considering the fact that this is a conventional restaurant, they are held to higher standards with the quality of their pizza than pizza places 8-10. And on that merit, The Original Cottage Inn is only marginally better.
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6. South U Pizza
By far my favorite spot for late night pizza, South U is always the move for my friends and I for a 2 am slice. Located relatively close to the Hill area, South U attracts a lot of freshmen. Although it is usually pretty loud and crowded, it is worth it (make sure to order the buffalo chicken slice if they have it available). My few qualms with South U is that their variety is non-existent and their pizza is very greasy. However, if you’re looking for something to satisfy your drunchies, South U for the win.
5. Pizza House
This #5 ranking may come as a surprise to some. Pizza House, consistently lauded as one of the best pizza places on campus, is nothing to scoff at. Serving as the home to feta bread and some of the best chapatis in AA, Pizza House is both a late-night spot as well as a place you can eat at during the day. However, Pizza House is expensive. The first time I had Pizza House, I ordered a $9 personal pie. Having been studying for my first ever exam here at U of M on a Saturday night, I was looking forward to eating some good food and wanted to see if the hype for Pizza House was real. Long story short, I get back to my dorm to find that the pizza was minute, but very tasty. Pizza House is a top 5 spot on campus, but for the price, you can eat elsewhere for better.
4. Anthony’s Gourmet Pizza
These last 4 places are very close in ranking and all definitely worth a try. Anthony’s comes in at the number 4 spot on our list. Known for its Chicago-style “stuffed” pizza, Anthony’s is a place you need to check out when in Ann Arbor. Described as being “built like a pie with two layers of crust,” the stuffed pizza single-handedly puts Anthony’s in the top 4. Unfortunately, the rest of their menu isn’t very extensive and it’s is quite expensive. When you’re there, make sure to order the Carnivorous Delight Chicago Style Stuffed Pie. You’ll be doing yourself a favor.
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The difference between our #2 and #3 spot was extremely small. NeoPapalis comes in at our number 3 spot for a variety of reasons, primarily because of the fact that they just serve an awesome pie of pizza. They make, as you could have guessed, Neapolitan style pizza, which is typically a pie that has a soft, thin crust with a wet and soggy center because there is more sauce than cheese on the pie. They have some awesome toppings, my favorite by far being the candied bacon. Pro Tip: Even though they claim to not deliver, they DO deliver to Zaragon West, which is right across the street.
2. Bigalora Wood Fired Cucina
Bigalora comes in at our number 2 spot, and deservingly so. Narrowly edging out NeoPapalis simply because Bigalora offers an egg as a topping (peep my bio for clarification), this is one of the premier destinations for Ann Arbor pizza. As their name suggests, Bigalora serves wood-fired pizza and does it very well. They have some incredible options, particularly the Brussels sprout pie and the prosciutto pie topped with egg. The service and the rest of their food is spot on too. Overall, it’s a truly great place to eat pizza.
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1. Mani Osteria
The number 1 pizza place in Ann Arbor, in my humble opinion, is Mani Osteria. This place is known throughout Michigan and is consistently praised as one of the best restaurants in the state. Although they offer many other options, they’re particularly known for the their pizza. With plenty of delectable selections to choose from, you’ll find yourself over-ordering every time. The Tartufo (fontina, truffle and egg) is godly and the S.P.H.A.M. (sausage, pepperoni, ham and meatballs) is nuts. Good portion sizes and not overly expensive for the quality of ingredients they’re using. If your parents are in town, this is the place to go.
Let me know in the comments if you agree or disagree with these rankings. If you happen to eat at any of these places, why not take a photo of it and use #spoonfeed?