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Best Pizza in the 319

Seth Keppler, Graphics editor

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A lot can be said about the many pizzerias established in Cedar Rapids and the surrounding metro area. Some people favor Zoey’s and some people favor Tomaso’s, but who really has the best pizza in Cedar Rapids? To find out I will grade three great pizzerias on a letter grade scale, considering four different factors: Their taste, texture, price, and presentation. In order for it to be a fair competition I will order the same kind of New York style thin crust pepperoni and sausage pizza from each individual pizzeria.

Tomaso’s, a pizzeria with multiple locations in the Cedar Rapids area, has a long lasting reputation for outstanding taste, and proudly states on the box, “Best Pizza in Cedar Rapids Or It’s Free.” Fresh out of the box this pie looks like something out of an art gallery, tiles of pepperoni covering a somewhat thin layer of cheese and fresh tomato sauce all sprinkled with the finest of italian sausages, it is simply mouthwatering. The essence of this pizza tastes as if it is its own planet. All the ingredients coalescing in perfect jaw-dropping harmony, zesty pepperoni living with savory tomato sauce, herby sausage, and cheese in between. However, the pizza could use more cheese. The price of the pizza was $24, something Tomaso’s is also well known for: expensive pizza, but with good pizza comes a higher price so Tomaso’s scores a C+ for that. The texture of Tomaso’s pizza was a very crispy but tasty crust, something you’d expect from a New York style pizza resulting in a fair B for texture. In the presentation category this pizza scores an A for its ability to make one cry tears of joy. Accounting for the taste of sausage, pepperoni, and sauce this pizza is almost perfect, however the cheese seemed scarce and is essential in creating a world class pizza, resulting in an A-. Considering all factors above Tomaso’s pizza scores an overall A-.

Zoey’s Pizzeria, a legendary pizzeria in Marion has a long lasting reputation for marvelous pizza, and their New York style pepperoni sausage is a masterpiece. Straight out of the box this work of art resembles an Italian rendition of Van Gogh’s ‘Starry Night’ with its cascading flows of cheese. Zoey’s pizza, famously known for being super cheesy, capitalizes perfectly on taste and texture with a gooey blanket of mozzarella cascaded over a slightly chewy crust and tangy sweet tomato sauce. The sausage brings an herby zest that tastes like it had been imported straight from Sicily. However the pepperoni seemed to be camouflaged in with the flavor of the tomato sauce. The pizza, like Tomaso’s was $24 resulting in a C+. The texture of the pie is exemplary and receives a well earned A. The presentation of the pizza is otherworldly. The pizza looked good enough to marry, and for that reason I give Zoey’s an A for presentation. Zoey’s executed the taste of cheese, sauce, and their sausage perfectly, however the absence of pepperoni-ish flavors results in a A-. With all these categories in mind, I give Zoey’s pizza an overall A.

Ruby’s Pizzeria, a fairly new pizza joint in downtown Cedar Rapids, may not be as highly revered as Zoey’s or Tomaso’s, but it certainly is worthy to be ranked amongst them. Ruby’s pizza hits the cheese marker right on the spot, it maintains perfect zen between not enough cheese and too much cheese. Succulent tomato sauce, and flavors of cheese, pepperoni, and sausage all collide but are suddenly brought back together by wholesome Italian herbs sprinkled gingerly throughout the surface area of the pie. The sausage provided good flavors of herbs but it lacked the zesty factor required for an authentic Italian sausage taste. The pepperoni is exquisite and delivers wondrous flavors of spice that tingle the whole flavor palate. Ruby’s price is astounding for the amazing pizza they provide, only $19 for a large two topping pizza so an A- in the category of price. For taste Ruby’s receives a B- for its great cheese pepperoni, however the sausage lacked the vital zest consistent in authentic Italian sausages. The texture was good with subtle crunch in the crust of the pizza, resulting in a B+. Ruby’s presentation is phenomenal, a beautiful pie baptized in herbs and blanketed in a divine covering of cheese, simply radiant, so an A of that. Overall Ruby’s pizza scores a solid B+.

Through many methods of cross-examination, testing, and tasting I have determined Zoey’s to be the best of all the pizzerias in the Cedar Rapids area, scoring an overall A. There are still many more pizza hotspots in Cedar Rapids that are certainly worthy to compare to Zoey’s, Tomaso’s, Ruby’s, and beyond, and I encourage you to go analyze, compare, and contrast them too.


Infographic by Seth Keppler

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Best Pizza in the 319