Warning: This story will make you hungry. When it comes to pizza, Jefferson City restaurants know how to please. Whether you’re craving a classic supreme or want to try a funkier flavor (buffalo chicken, anyone?), you’ll find something local to love. Let our pizza roundup be your guide.
In 1961, the pizza scene in Jefferson City forever changed. In a year that saw the inauguration of John F. Kennedy, the activist movement of the Freedom Riders in the southern United States, and the division of East and West Germany, a Greek immigrant, Arris Pardalos, was on his way to establishing a Midwest landmark.
Having first operated out of a small building at 117 W. High St. (now the restaurant’s roomy bar), Arris’ has since expanded to four total buildings. Situated in the shadow of the Missouri Capitol, the location of Arris’ makes this restaurant the perfect stop for tourists and locals alike. But it’s the acclaimed pizza options, like the “Hercules” and “Hippocrates,” that keep customers coming back.
Renea Marston has been working at Arris’ since 1991 and says she takes pride in being a part of the establishment. She also says that the employment experience and restaurant style is “family oriented, and it’s always been that way.” Arris’ can seat 200 of its closest friends — quite the upgrade from the 50 it originally sat in 1961. And while the days of scoring a large “special” pizza with Greek sausage for the price of $2.00 may be gone, the homemade dough and locally sourced ingredients used today make for that same mouth-watering experience customers had more than 50 years ago.
117 West High Street, Jefferson City, MO
West Main Pizza
Owned by the Christiansen family and operating at 1931 West Main since 2014, this is a neighborhood staple for many local residents. With a family friendly atmosphere, unique pizza, 10 beers on tap, live music offerings, and large patio, West Main Pizza will keep you warm in the winter and keep you coming back every other night in the summer.
“My goal is for our product to look good, taste good, and make the customer happy,” says shift manager Nick Monroe. West Main serves square-cut, thin crust pizza and is not afraid to experiment away from the norm — “The Urban” steers clear from toppings like pepperoni and sausage and instead incorporates chicken and bacon. But what makes this pizza delectable is the barbecue dressing that sauces the restaurant’s homemade crust. In the mood for some heat? How about the “Wild Buffalo” pizza? Don’t worry, no bison here — just West Main’s take on a buffalo chicken pie.
West Main serves pizza in a variety of sizes, from a personal 12-inch to a large 16-inch. They even offer a cauliflower crust that provides guilt-free indulging without sacrificing taste.
It’s a friendly spot to grab a drink, meet a friend or two, and listen to local music talent. Order a pizza while you’re at it — freshness is delivered at West Main Pizza.
West Main Pizza
1931 W Main St, Jefferson City, MO
The Pizza Company
Established in 1996, The Pizza Company in Jefferson City has gained a reputation for serving up square-cut, brick-oven pizza the right way. Located on the town’s Eastside, The Pizza Company is owned by Scot Drinkard, a proprietor of two other Jefferson City establishments, Spectators and The Office.
Customers who frequent The Pizza Company comment about the restaurant’s outdoor patio, lunch buffet, and large banquet area. But what keeps customers coming back are pizzas like the “Redbird,” which is loaded with pepperoni, Italian sausage, bacon, mushrooms, onions, jalapeño, and mounds of mozzarella cheese.
“This place is a part of the community,” says Angelia Etter, manager. “It may have changed hands, but recipes have not changed.”
After opening a to-go box or gazing at the table following a completed order, customers may be surprised by the enormous size of particular toppings, like the hand-pulled sausage pieces. With a stature that rivals meatballs at risk of rolling off of a traditional bowl of spaghetti, this sausage stands pat in the pizza’s trenches of mozzarella. The crust is hand-crimped and extra crunchy, an attribute that will make it hard for any pizza lover to set down. Needless to say, The Pizza Company is delicious.
The Pizza Company
1508 E McCarty St, Jefferson City, MO
Two blocks from the notorious Missouri State Penitentiary in Jefferson City’s historic Eastside resides the town’s only microbrewery, Prison Brews. Since 2008, Prison Brews has provided fantastic drinks and eats, including their wood-fired pizza, to customers from all around.
Prior to opening Prison Brews, the restaurant’s owner, Deb Brown, was in the classroom. A former educator for 30 years, Brown found time in the summer, in between perfecting her craft as a teacher, to perfect homebrews. When she retired, she wanted to expand her homebrew hobby and try her hand at offering a restaurant experience and theme that was “different from everyone else.”
Prison Brews offers menu speciality pizzas like a tomato, feta, and bacon pizza; a pizza of the week; and even the option to build your own pie. Behind mock prison bars, customers can watch employees hand roll and meticulously weigh dough at nine ounces a piece just prior to wood-firing their pizza at upwards of 600 degrees. With melt-in-your-mouth flavor, if you’re a cheese lover, don’t miss the “Blanco” — a fine mix of feta, Parmesan, Asiago, and mozzarella.
Whether you’re in the mood for great pizza, local craft beer, or even trying your hand at bocce (yes, there are leagues), Prison Brews is the spot to be.
305 Ash St, Jefferson City, MO 65101
In terms of “brick and mortar,” Theo’s Midtown may be one of the literal new kids on the block, but on the inside, the food that owner Theodore Mastrogiannis and employees create for customers makes age only appear as a number. Theo’s Midtown is known for their pizza and Greek dishes, and Mastrogiannis’ lineage of food and restaurant experience might as well feature sauce coursing through their veins. After all, Mastrogiannis’s father, Alex, owns and operates Alexandro’s on the Missouri Boulevard.
Once the location of the Jefferson City Bus Station, Theo’s décor is highlighted by its modern and aesthetically bright focal points. Stepping one foot in the door, customers will see the restaurant’s fast-paced kitchen on display and a Missouri walnut bar that comfortably seats 10 patrons. The 14 beers, both local and domestic, always on tap, nicely complement the welcoming atmosphere and, of course, tasty pizza.
Since their pizzas are named for loved ones, like the “Alex,” “Venus,” and “Brooklyn,” Theo’s pays homage to a sense of family. With pies ranging in size from 12 inches to 16 inches, with a 10.5-inch gluten-free crust; an eclectic choice of sauces, such as garlic cream and tzatziki; and toppings like greek sausage, pastrami, and even sauerkraut, Theo’s offers customers a strong choice selection for those with even the widest range of flavor desires.
620 W McCarty St, Jefferson City, MO
Ria’s Restaurant & Lounge
With roots in the Jefferson City restaurant business as far back as 1978 (Pizzeria Napolitana), the Totsikas family has been making dough rise at their newest endeavor, Ria’s, since 2008. Located on the Westside along West Edgewood Drive, Ria’s is a large restaurant that serves lunch and dinner selections of classic Greek dishes from gyros and pork souvlaki to spanakopita, and, you guessed it, pizza.
One of the favorite draws to Ria’s is their lunch buffet. Offered between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., Ria’s can see demand that has them serving upwards of eight pizzas at once. All of Ria’s pies are made with fresh mozzarella and feature toppings like pepperoni, sausage, and various vegetables — the same recipes used from their Pizzeria Napolitana days. Ria’s also boasts an extensive list of specialities, including the gyros special, topped with traditional gyro meat, roma tomato, and feta, and the meat lovers’ pizza, topped with beef, bacon, sausage, Canadian bacon, and pepperoni.
Ria’s knows what it takes to stick around in the competitive hustle and bustle of restauranteering. Their history, accommodation for big groups, traditional flavors, and contemporary selection makes Ria’s a must stop for pizza lovers and foodies alike.
Ria’s Restaurant & Lounge
3550 West Edgewood Drive, Jefferson City, MO
Kate & Ally’s
For 16 years, Rich and Colleen Burkemper have operated one of Jefferson City’s go-to pizza places. With their daughters’ names gleaming onto the west-headed lanes of the Missouri Boulevard, Kate and Ally’s NY Pizzeria is “Big City Pizza” with big taste.
Kate and Ally’s sits on a cozy corner of the Jefferson Plaza. Once inside, customers are greeted with the likes of classic rock music, tables and booths topped with red and white checked tablecloths, and friendly faces wearing the restaurant’s signature tie-dye shirts.
Kate and Ally’s makes their own dough and sauce and serves a variety of pizza styles, each representative of a popular pizza namesake across the U.S. If you’re in the mood for a classic, try the New York style; it’s hand tossed and layered with mozzarella. If you prefer thin and crispy pizza, order the St. Louis style, which is made with the famously gooey provel cheese known across the region. If you’re feeling adventurous, tackle the Chicago style pizza, a hand-pressed deep dish crust that is filled with crushed tomatoes and mozzarella. Among their most popular orders is the restaurant’s “Deluxe” pizza with sausage, pepperoni, mushroom, olives, and pepper. Between the sauce’s tang, the mozzarella’s pull, and savory toppings, this pizza is worth coming back time and again.
Kate & Ally’s
1418 Missouri Boulevard, Jefferson City, MO
Obie’s is not the type of restaurant to have flashy billboards or indulge in commercial radio advertisements. They let their pizza do the talking for them, and after eating there, who would blame them? This pizza is one heck of a mass marketing tool.
Since 1986, Obie’s Pizza has been operating out on the Westside’s Apache Flats area of Jefferson City. Owned by Darrel and Ronda Moses, Obie’s takes pride in their homemade dough, hand-chopped veggies, and tremendous amount of toppings that might have you guessing whether or not there is sauce and crust underneath. That’s how pizza should be: no toss up on whether or not you’re getting your money’s worth.
The pizza Obie’s produces offers a square or pie cut and is cooked in a brick oven with temperatures nearing 575 degrees. With dough made each day, the first bite of crust mimics a light and flaky pastry, a change of pace versus a more traditional pizza crust.
Obie’s is worth trekking to if you love billiards (they have three tables and leagues), unique tastes like their taco pizza (you read that right — it’s awesome), $2.00 domestic beer, and especially good people.
506 Cheyenne Dr, Jefferson City, MO