1. Earth, Wood & Fire, 1407 Clarkview Rd., 410-825-3473. The pizzeria opened to great fanfare last spring, immediately drawing followers in the Mt. Washington and Ruxton areas. And no wonder. The coal-fired pies come with terrific toppings, from the traditional to the exotic. Look for pizzas of the week like honey-mustard chicken.
2. Hersh’s Pizza & Drinks, 1843-45 Light St., 443-438-4948. We don’t mind making a detour to South Baltimore to devour one of Hersh’s Neapolitan pizzas, cooked in a wood-burning oven. They range from a basic cheese and Margherita to kale and pistachio and prosciutto and arugula—all delicious.
3. Joe Squared, two locations including 133 W. North Ave., 410-545-0444. The original location in the Station North Arts district is appropriately hip with music, art, and, of course, the delectable, square, coal-fired pizzas. The toppings are never boring. Undecided? Get the flag pizza, divided into thirds with different sauce-and-topping combos.
4. Matthew’s Pizza, 3131 Eastern Ave., 410-276-8755. You won’t go wrong at Matthew’s, which has been around since 1943. The crusts are pleasantly chewy; the toppings, traditional and yummy. We like them all, but we do have a particular fondness for the crab pie, packed with backfin.
5. Pasta Mista, three locations including 822 Dulaney Valley Rd., Towson, 410-321-8855. This no-frills pizza joint packs in the patrons, who crave the thin crusts, generous toppings, and fresh ingredients. Slices are available, too. We’re partial to the white veggie with broccoli, spinach, tomatoes, and mozzarella and Parmigiano cheeses.
Pizza Fact: The top pizza sales days are, in order: Super Bowl Sunday, New Year’s Eve, Halloween, the night before Thanksgiving, and New Year’s Day.