Pizza is an overwhelming, otherworldly category of eats to conquer. Beyond the blood-boiling semantics revolving around the best pizza debate (New York or Chicago style, Neapolitan or DiGiorno) many of us share a deep, emotional connection to pizza that transcends our food-lover egos.
After all, it is a food whose very purpose is to be a communal experience. Try sharing a burger with a few friends — not as pleasant or spiritually binding.
In Highland Park, where the popular place to congregate is the nationally acclaimed, rapidly gentrifying York Boulevard, there is a diverse array of shops, bars and restaurants. However, every wave of hipster coolness brings with it impostors. On this stretch of newness, there is only one pizza place in which to partake, Town Pizza, and it's unfortunately the hip, offensively overpriced, mediocre home of beet-topped and mole pizzas. (Why eat mole there when you could devour a plate of authentic mole less than 500 feet away for under $10?)
Personally, we prefer our pizza old school in Highland Park. So we dropped that tiny slice of culturally appropriated pizza and got our hands out of the freezer section because when you need to satisfy a pizza craving in Highland Park, there's nowhere better than these three locally owned, affordable and delicious spots. Plus, they’ve been making memories happen for this community longer than most millennials have roamed the earth.
Family owned and operated since 1977, this small joint near the intersection of Avenue 50 and Monte Vista is a hidden gem that cranks out delicious pies with loads of cheesy goodness. The crust is soft and airy with just the right touch of crunchy finish — a highlight that you won’t dare leave behind on your plate. Our favorite is the sausage pizza: simple, well-seasoned Italian sausage laden with melted cheese. Ideal for carry out, but there is a small dining area outside if you want to hang. This spot is cash only with an ATM available. 307 N Avenue 50, 323-256-1996
This Figueroa staple has been around since 1968. On top of delicious pizza, expect to stumble upon classic Italian fare, great service and one of the few places in Los Angeles County where you’re going to get a decent beer or glass of wine for $5. They hit it out of the park with their crispy, thin crust pizza, which has just the right balance of toppings to cheese to sauce to near-perfectly executed crust. The pasta dishes are also mighty satisfying and wont break the bank. Perfect for a date night but family friendly as well (carry out also available). This spot is cash only. 5566 North Figueroa Street, 323-254-0505, follieros.com
While its brick-and-mortar location inches just outside of the official Highland Park lines (technically this spot is a Cypress Park jewel), Junior Pizza has been delivering to Highland Park residents for nearly 20 years. This pizza deserves to be on the list because it’s satisfying any way you eat it and their specials (you can print some great coupons out on their site) are perfect if you’re looking to feed a crowd on a budget. Did I mention that eating it cold gave us the best positive-pizza flashbacks? We're pretty sure that most corporate chains are aspiring to achieve the recipe that these guys have perfected. Simple, tasty, no frills place plus free delivery. Limited seating inside but ideal for carry out. Cards accepted with minimum purchase. 3520 North Figueroa Street, 888-296-0819, juniorpizza.com