The cheese pizza at Michael’s Pizzeria. Photos by Brian Addison.
We at the Post love our odd, idiosyncratic “holidays”—mostly those that involve libations and gastronomy. Rum. Breakfast burritos (technically not a holiday but we feel it deserved its own Burrito Crawl). Tacos. Beer and more beer.
Today, we honor a classic, a legend, a luminary food that has led both hearts and minds toward late night binges and midday cravings. Ladies, gents, and everyone in between, we give you National Cheese Pizza Day—and our fair city is chockfull of the cheesy delight. In fact, we are home to 132 pizza joints according to Yelp! (and those are establishments specifically categorized as pizza-focused, equating to one pizza joint for every 3,544.6 Long Beach residents).
We broke that down to some of our favorites and we happily invite you to suggest your own in the comment section below. And no, no, we don’t mean bougey “flatbreads” or French bread frozen offerings. We mean straight up, unapologetic, unadulterated cheese pizza.
In no particular order, it’s time to get your carb on and bring an Italian home.
Milana’s New York Pizzeria (165 E. 4th St.)
The pizza spectrum at Milana’s in Downtown Long Beach is vast. We have two suggestions for this oh-so-special day of celebration. First, there’s the only way to go today: traditional, fundamental, no-apologies needed plain cheese pizza. Order a whole pie or pick up a slice. For those heretics who choose to ruin the holiday’s sanctity, we give you the Hells Kitchen pizza, an awesome example of pie-ology that has a plain cheese pizza served with sunny-side up eggs on top. The powers of breakfast, dinner, and New York combined to give you something you will never fuh-get about.
Micheal’s (5616 E. 2nd St.; 210 E. 3rd St.) [Pictured at top]
Zagat loves ‘em. We love ‘em. Long Beach loves ‘em. And though Milana’s might cringe at the idea of using a knife-and-fork to mow down on an unsliced pizza, Michael’s prefers it no other way. Their dough is made daily and rendered to crispy-yet-soft perfection in their wood oven. Their mozzarella is even made in house, offering an unfound delicacy and freshness to an otherwise common cheese. With two locations—one in Naples and one in Downtown—Michael’s offers you more accessibility to honor thy Round God. For the more irreverent of cheese pizza goers, they’ll even give you a free topping today.
Canadian Pizza (1241 E. 4th St.)
It ain’t New York. It ain’t traditional Italian. This is American pizza at its finest, the kind that makes your inner fat kid wanna do the happy dance. First, we have the 2-for-1 special that runs all day, erryday. That’s right: two of whatever pizzas you want for the price of one so don’t go small, go big or go home. But what makes Canadian Pizza stand out is not their use of Canadian bacon but their crust, with its buttery, cornmeal deliciousness that brings this pie to the status of flavorlicious.
Dean’s Pizza (929 Redondo Ave.)
There are three words that capture what makes Dean’s cheese pizza so spectacular: Thai, curry, sauce. Long Beach has a prominent Thai community, so it only makes sense that this East Long Beach principal pie generator combines our city’s love of pizza with a unique blend of seasonings found in many of our favorite Thai dishes. If you want to step it up a notch—and by notch, we mean spit in the face of the Plain Cheese diety—try their signature Thai Curry Pizza that adds bell peppers, basil, chicken and onions to the pizza mix.
Deli News (5555 E. Stearns St.)
This Long Beach institution has been serving starving students from neighboring Cal State Long Beach their doughy pizza for years (and also happens to be our Mayor’s favorite restaurant). They’re quick, it’s classic, and guess what? Their 8-slice plain cheese pizza is $5. Five flippin’ bucks. Just make sure you actually have five physical dollars since this place is old-school: cash only, little ones.