It’s Pizza Night

Johnny's Pizza signature items: Johnny's Bruschetta, Johnny's White Pizza and Meat Lover's Pizza.

Quick cleanup, travels well for summer adventures, pleases just about everyone, and it’s affordable — pizza night is a welcome event in my family’s meal plan (let’s be honest, there’s rarely a plan).

Each of these local restaurants takes pride in serving from-scratch, top-quality pizza (and more) with friendly Southern charm that makes you feel like family.

Johnny’s Pizza

Enjoy oversized slices, premium toppings, and friendly service at four Johnny’s Pizza locations in Wake County, including one in Fuquay-Varina.

There are 85 items on the menu at Johnny’s Pizza — tasty appetizers, rich pasta entrees, salads, and hot subs — but today we’re here for the New York-style pizzas.

Nearly six months ago, owner Johnny Pavlik started a weekly initiative called Pizza for Poverty, bringing pizza to homeless and food insecure individuals in downtown Raleigh.

Generously sized and made with premium ingredients, the pizza at Johnny’s isn’t the only thing enticing customers for repeat visits.

“We just so happen to have quality product and customer service,” says Stephen Roark, manager at the Fuquay-Varina location. “We keep a very family-friendly vibe in store.”

The Fuquay location, one of four in Wake County, opened December 26, 2020, and quickly queued a two-hour wait for delivery. Needless to say, Fuquay residents can’t get enough of Johnny’s unique specialties like Brooklyn White Pizza with spinach and sausage or Bacon Cheeseburger Pizza.

Johnny’s Pizza
722 N. Judd Pkwy NE, Fuquay-Varina
johnnyspizzafuquay.com

Anna’s Pizzeria

Chicken Bacon Ranch is the second most popular variety at Anna’s Pizzeria.

The family connections of Anna’s Pizzeria owner Yury Rojas can be felt just by looking at the menu at the downtown Fuquay-Varina restaurant. There’s Grandpa Luigi’s Baked Pastas, Cousin Carlo’s Heros, Mama Theresa’s dinners, and, of course, the eatery’s namesake, Anna, who was Rojas’ aunt.

Assistant manager Nina Nearhoff says that family atmosphere continues in the way Rojas treats his employees, and they pass that along to the customers.

“You get really close with the customers. I’ve met a ton of town employees and am really close with many police officers,” says Nearhoff. “I’m getting to know the community, and they recognize me.”

Walk-ins along Main Street are common during lunch and dinner, seeking signature flavors like Anna’s most popular pies: Anna’s Special and Chicken Bacon Ranch.

“We also make dinners on a pizza,” says Nearhoff, citing unique combinations like Chicken Marsala pizza and Baked Ziti pizza.

By-the-slice options are plate-sized, though you probably want to save room for Anna’s Famous Zeppolis, powdered sugar-sprinkled Italian donuts.

Anna’s Pizzeria
138 S. Main St., Fuquay-Varina
annaspizzeria.com

Acme Pizza Company

Chicago-style pizzas at Acme Pizza Company take about 30 minutes to bake, but the deep-dish results are worth the wait. Toppings are sandwiched between two layers of crisp crust, and sauce goes on top.

“It’s a process, but it’s well worth it,” says Gywnne La Russa, owner of Acme Pizza Company in Holly Springs, which specializes in Chicago-style deep dish pies.

On Tuesdays and Fridays, Gywnne La Russa bakes homemade brownies, which are used for brownie ice cream sandwiches or sundaes, or eaten on their glorious own.

“They have a bit of a cult following,” La Russa says. “I bake five trays, and they disappear that day.”

“You start with a deep pan, buttered, and roll out the dough. The cheese and ingredients go in the middle, and another layer of dough is sealed above them. The sauce goes on top.

“The quality of ingredients is so important, but also expertise in making it.” These deep-dish pizzas take about 30 minutes to make, but an order of the award-winning garlic knots passes the time quite enjoyably. Acme also serves traditional hand-tossed crust, chicken wings, burgers, and more.

Gywnne and her husband JP settled in Holly Springs, by way of California, more than 10 years ago, with the intent of opening a business that could be embedded in fabric of the community.

“It was a risk when we came here. We didn’t know anybody. Having people try (the pizza) for the first time — it’s so fun being able to give something to someone that makes them happy,” says La Russa.

Acme Pizza Company
204 Village Walk Drive, Holly Springs
acmepizzaco.com

Homegrown Pizza

The House Pizza stars with smoked tomato sauce layered under spinach, roasted red peppers, caramelized onions, shiitake mushrooms, mozzarella, and feta.

For 20 years, owner Dan Henry has been unlocking the doors to Homegrown Pizza at 7:30 a.m. to begin the day’s preparations.

“Everything is made fresh every day,” says Henry, including the sauces, salad dressings and thin California-style crust, which Henry describes as sweeter than New York style.

The House Pizza features smoked tomato sauce, which begins with whole tomatoes smoked over hickory wood chips, then blended with classic marinara sauce for a layer of flavor that is well loved among patrons.

“Some people order (the smoked tomato sauce) on other specialty pies,” says Henry.

As the first sit-down restaurant in Holly Springs, Henry has witnessed many pizza nights.

“It’s a tradition that reminds you of when you were a kid. Kids love it; parents like it — pizza night pleases everybody.”

Homegrown Pizza
4928 Linksland Drive, Holly Springs
homegrownpizza.com

Yep, There's More.

You didn’t think that was all the great pizza in town, did you?

Assaggio’s Pizzeria Ristorante
941 E. Broad St., Fuquay-Varina
assaggios-fuquay.com

Blaze Pizza
316 Grand Hill Place, Holly Springs
blazepizza.com

Cristo’s Bistro
5217 Sunset Lake Road, Holly Springs
cristosbistro.com

J&S New York Pizza
500 Broad St., Fuquay-Varina
jandsnypizza.com

Manhattan Pizza
305 Matthews Drive, Holly Springs
manhattanpizza.com

Michelangelos Pizza
7280 GB Alford Hwy, Holly Springs
michelangelospizza.com

Papa’s Subs & Pizza
511 North Main St., Holly Springs
papassubspizzahollysprings.com

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