DAYTON EATS: October is the right time to celebrate pizza

Credit: The Meisbergers

Credit: The Meisbergers

When it comes to simple dishes that satisfy none tug at my heart strings or stomach more than pizza.

Pizza to me is a gateway to childhood, it’s a door to unlocking carby cheese loaded satisfaction that envelops me, satiates me, comforts me, and leaves me with a smile on my face.

I love the diversity of pizza. Like people it comes in so many forms and offers a completely different flavor experience depending on your destination of choice.

In a typical week I usually enjoy pizza a few times. I have many destinations for pizza that I enjoy, but the one I frequent most is Flying Pizza on Main Street in Downtown Dayton.

Frank and Tony Graci have taken over the Flying Pizza helm from their dad, John Graci, who opened the downtown location Oct. 1, 1971. The brothers continue to run a New York style pizza joint that feels more like you are in the Big Apple when you walk through the doors than our sweet Gem City. The parlor offers few frills, but big energy thanks to the knows-no-stranger personality on Tony who cracks me up every time I walk through the door.

Credit: Alexis Larsen

Credit: Alexis Larsen

While I was waiting in line for Flying Pizza last week a gentleman named Jesse Flucas stood next to me and shared that he had been coming to Flying Pizza since he was five years old in the 1970s.

“This is the best pizza in Dayton; this has been my spot since I was a kid,” said Flucas.

And that’s how I think about pizza. It’s very personal and we all have our favorite spots.

October isn’t only the 52nd anniversary of Flying Pizza downtown, it is also national pizza month.

Pizza options are incredibly wide ranging in taste preparation, and looks.

Square cut or slices? Foldy and floppy or hearty and firm? Thin crust or deep dish? Neapolitan or an Americanization of this Italian classic? And then there are the infinite topping choices and ingredient options that vary from pizza place to pizza place because with sausage alone there are an incredible array of distinguishing flavor and quality. And speaking of sausage, Oct. 11 is National Sausage Pizza Day.

As the saying goes, “you can’t buy happiness, but you can buy pizza, and that’s kind of the same thing.”

Here’s a look at my list of spots to grab pizzas locally. I truly like them all and have met very few pizzas that I didn’t like, but Tony and Frank and their wonderful staff (Cass and Mark especially!) and Flying Pizza hold a special place in my heart and on my waistline.

Beavercreek Pizza Dive

4021 Dayton Xenia Rd., Beavercreek

937-431-8669 or

Order up!: Go for the gold with the Bomber - their biggest baddest pie on the menu. This meat lovers pie is loaded with cheese, bacon, ham, pepperoni and sausage inside a double-layer crust.

Cassano’s Pizza King

Mutliple locations

Order up!: It’s called Pizza King for a reason because folks love it and it’s considered a Dayton classic. They have a great video on their website giving some pizza history if you are interested in learning about this local institution. I say go pepperoni pizza — a classic from a classic.

Dayton’s Original Pizza Factory

1101 Wayne Ave., Dayton

937-224-4477 or

Order up!: I am a huge fan of their cheeseburger deluxe pizza made with ground beef, onions, tomato, pickle, bacon, ketchup and mustard sauce, cheddar, mozzarella and provolone. It marries a burger with a pizza and, for me, that’s the best of two worlds.

Dewey’s Pizza

131 Jasper St., Dayton

937-223-0000 or

Order up!: Dewey’s pizzas are awesome and their salads are just as good. Order a Smashing Pumpkin pizza made with a whipped pumpkin ricotta base, mozzarella, crumbled Italian sausage, roasted shallots and toasted pumpkin seeds. If you are with company split the pizza and a Harvest Salad made with field greens, toasted pumpkin seeds, figs, Boursin cheese, Nueske’s applewood smoked bacon and topped with housemade apple cider vinaigrette dressing.

Credit: Alexandria Storch/Figlio

Credit: Alexandria Storch/Figlio

Figlio Wood Fired Pizza

424 E. Stroop Rd., Dayton

937-534-0494 or

Order up!: I’m a sucker for truffle, so their truffled mushroom pizza is hard for me to resist, but I also love the spring chicken pizza topped with tomato and corn salsa, avocado, cheddar, basil pesto crème fraiche and, of course, the aforementioned chicken.

Flying Pizza

Multiple locations

Order up!: Anything is good, but if you want to do the Alexis order up a slice of sausage and a slice of deluxe and ask them to keep it in the oven longer to crisp it. If you head to the downtown Dayton location tell Frank and Tony Alexis sent you! Odds are you might just see me there.

Gionino’s Pizzeria

Multiple locations

Order up!: The Akron-area franchise has more than 50 locations throughout Ohio. Its Third Street location was opened at the edge of Huffman Historic District by businessman Tony Clark, who also owns DK Effect, a bar and arcade that sits next door. In addition to pizzas, they have a full menu of other delicious options. We always go for the Gionino’s Best made with pepperoni, sausage, ground beef, mushrooms, onions, green peppers, black olives and banana peppers.

Joe’s Pizzeria

4313 Airway Rd., Dayton

937-253-8154 or

Order up!: With more than 60 years at making pizza for Dayton, Joe’s knows what it’s doing. Like Flying Pizza it is an old school unpretentious mom and pop shop that hits the spot.



Little York Tavern and Pizza

4120 Little York Rd., Dayton

937-890-6700 or

Order up!: Buffalo chicken pizza, Reuben pizza, taco pizza, Greek pizza, Sicillian pizza, Hawaiian pizza ... it’s a trip around the world when you go to Little York Tavern.

Marion’s Piazza

Multiple locations

Order up!: No pizza list is complete without Marion’s. There are few of us that don’t have our orders on lockdown. I’m a Marion’s Deluxe girl myself. I see you Super Cheese, but you’re too much for me.


Multiple locations

Order up!: I love that they have a simple pepperoni French bread pizza on the menu. It’s hard for me to give my attention to other options when I go, but my will is strong. Still, this is a favorite along with the Spicy Sinatra made with spicy red sauce, pepperoni, sausage and banana peppers.

Credit: Submitted Photo

Credit: Submitted Photo

Old Scratch Pizza

Multiple locations

Order up!: This Midwestern Neapolitan spot that bakes up artisanal pies is an absolute favorite of mine since it opening its first location at 800 S. Patterson Blvd. in October 2016 in the shadow of Miami Valley Hospital. Founder Eric Soller and his wife Staphanie are graduates of the New England Culinary Institute in Vermont. These are chefs chefs, so it’s no surprise that these Neapolitan-style pizzas are consistent culinary delights.

Credit: Alexis Larsen

Credit: Alexis Larsen

Oregon Express

336 E. 5th St., Dayton

937-223-9205 or

Order up!: I think OE has the best Reuben pizza I have ever had. The pizza dough is topped with a Thousand Island sauce, corned beef, sauerkraut, rye croutons and Swiss cheese. I have enjoyed many sandwiches and pizzas here over the years, but this is the one I consistently revisit.

Pies and Pints

52 Plum St., Beaercreek

937-429-7437 or

Order up!: Consider the brunch pie, which is available from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. The dough is topped with scrambled eggs, bacon, cheddar, mozzerella and drizzled with chipotle crema and a scattering of scallions. It serves as proof that pizza doesn’t just have to be for late nights and last minute.

Pizza Bandit

700 E. 4th St., Dayton

937-476-1895 or

Order up!: This is a spot in the Oregon District that serves up Tuesday through Sunday. Be sure to follow their social media for special events and to see featured pies which can get very, very creative. They’ve featured crab rangoon pizza, elote pizza and a Cincinnati chili sauce pizza and that’s just getting started on some of the pies they’ve been able to dream up.

Ron’s Pizza House and Tavern

One South Main St., Miamisburg

937-866-4321 or

Order up!: I like the Santa Fe thin crust pizza topped with taco-seasoned ground beef, provolone, black olives and served with shredded lettuce, cheddar cheese, green onion, diced tomato, salsa and sour cream. Add jalapenos for an extra kick! If that’s not appealing, there’s always Ron’s Deluxe Pizza with the signature thin crust that never disappoints.

South Park Tavern

1301 Wayne Ave., Dayton

937-813-7491 or

Order up!: Pizza, beer and live music in that order. This pizza menu is one of the most robust and creative in town. You can order anything from poutine pizza to a seafood blanco pizza to a chicken bacon ranch to a humble pepperoni and everything in between. This is a pizza menu worth exploring.

Troni’s Italian Restaurant

1314 E. Dorothy Lane, Dayton

937-643-9921 or

Order up!: They don’t have a large pizza menu, but they do have a bruschetta pizza and an eggplant pizza that you won’t find anywhere else in town alongside the classics that you would expect.

Credit: Ken-Yon Hardy

Credit: Ken-Yon Hardy

Wheat Penny Oven and Bar

515 Wayne Ave., Dayton

937-496-5268 or

Order up!: This is a great spot to get your gluten-free pizza if you have special dietary needs. I love the philomena made with sliced meatballs, sweet peppers, onions and oregano. Chef Elizabeth Valenti has won accolades and awards at the International Pizza Expo, and she has a long history with pizza expertise. They have a pizza lunch special that is perfect to enjoy during the day.

This is a short list believe it or not. I didn’t mention Doubleday’s Grill and Tavern, Giordano’s, Godfather’s Pizza, Kramers Tavern, LaRosa’s Pizza and so many others.

DAYTON EATS runs Sundays in the Life & Arts section of the Dayton Daily News and features the latest on menu updates, special dinners and events, new chefs, interesting new dishes, and food adventures. Contact Contributing Writer Alexis Larsen at

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