Pizza anyone? In many households pizza is the word of the day. It’s quite a staple today in modern society, as it was for the Neapolitans in the 1800s. With so many different styles and versatile flavors, the longevity of pizza has surpassed that of most food.
East Grand Rapids has the good fortune to have some of the best authentic pizzerias around. It was my mission to taste some of the best pizza East Grand Rapids has to offer. I gathered up some locals and off we went, making our way around the town. We searched the BEST in three categories:
- Classic cheese pizza
- Most unique flavor (standard crust)
- Best gluten free crust
Everybody has a different opinion about what makes a good pizza; whatever your preference, you are bound to find a good slice of pie at one of these winning locations.
BEST CLASSIC CHEESE PIZZA – FRANCA’S PIZZERIA
If you’re in the mood for some ooey gooey cheese with a crust stretched to perfection, Franca’s has the goods. Their classic extra cheese pizza had an amazing cheese flavor, with a slightly crisp top and a crust that held the cheese to perfection. Every bite had equal amounts of cheese… no losing all the cheese on the first two bites! When placing your order for the classic cheese pizza, request a medium, extra cheese pizza, with the crust stretched to perfection.
Franca’s Pizzeria is owned by Daniele and Davide Uccello—two brothers who immigrated from Italy with their parents in 2011. Learning the pizzaioli trade from their dad and uncle, the two set out to carry on the Uccello name. The Uccello name is known to pizzaiolos around the world as winning the “Best Pizza in America” by the World Pizza Championship held in Parma, Italy (2016). The award winning woodfire pizza known as Pizza D’Italia can be enjoyed at the Uccello’s Rockford Pizzeria—Flo’s Woodfired Pizzeria.
Franca’s celebrated their first anniversary on May 23, 2023. Their special day was celebrated by giving back to the community in providing 200 pizzas to local homeless shelters.
MOST UNIQUE FLAVOR — KURDISH PERA PIZZERIA
Pera Pizzeria is known for its authentic Kurdish flavors and genuine service. The “Kurdish” pizza won our hearts with its unique flavor. We were amazed when we took our first bite, not expecting the burst of Armenian spices that lingered on our pallet. This is not a traditional pizza. The flavor is bold, with a moderately crisp onion, paired with a woodfired crust, sure to leave you wanting a second and third slice.
Pera Pizzeria is owned by the Tosun family. Immigrating from Turkey in 1998, they started their culinary journey in Manhattan, where papa Tosun worked at a small pizzeria. Family and friends encouraged the Tosuns to move to Grand Rapids in 2006. After many years working for other pizzerias, the Tosun’s son Guney, convinced his parents to open their own pizzeria. Pera— named after Papa Tosun’s home city near Istanbul — opened in August of 2022, living out the quintessential American Dream.
BEST GLUTEN FREE CRUST – BIG BOB’S PIZZA
Gluten what??! Big Bob’s Pizza—hands down the best gluten free crust I have had yet!! Say goodbye to the mundane cardboard texture that us gluten free survivors are used to, and say hello to living again. The crust was complimented with deluxe toppings that include bacon with a perfect crunch.
Big Bob’s Pizza is owned by Rob Lutz and his sister Jen Brandow. Known for being “The Cheers of EGR” you can have your beer and drink it too! Rob and Jen worked restaurant hospitality growing up, and loved visiting their aunt and uncle’s bar, The Blind Lemon, in Cincinnati, OH. They often dreamed of opening a restaurant together one day. Being locals of East GR, they were informed of the business opportunity to own Big Bob’s Pizza. They jumped at the opportunity and never looked back.
My Name is Sarah Holtzlander; a local real estate broker. I love getting to know the various communities and local businesses of Grand Rapids. Stay tuned for more of “The Best” that Grand Rapids has to offer.