Article By Ross Hardy
Like most red-blooded males, I LOVE pizza…thin pizza, regular crust, deep dish on occasion…and following my article on the best burgers in the county I was bombarded with requests to find the best pizza joints in the area. So with a hunger in my belly, and a hope that the local pizzerias had a ‘by the slice’ option to save my expanding stomach line, I set about sampling what Hernando County has to offer.
Disclaimer: Being that my mood generally determines what I think of a slice, I know that pizza preference is a very personal, subjective thing. There are a lot of good places around here so please don’t be offended if your favorite place isn’t ranked among my top picks.
- Nina’s Cucina‘s Pizza Sophia features a thinner-style curst that crisps very nicely and is topped with plum tomatoes, spinach and feta cheese. The Chef let me in on the secret of how he is able to create this perfectly crisp yet supple crust but…well, I can’t tell you. Words cannot do this pizza justice! During subsequent trips I haven’t been able to bring myself to opt for another of Nina’s options because it is so delicous. I knew for sure it was a winner when my mother-in-law, who is a fantastic Italian cook, commented that “this is the way pizza is supposed to taste”. Truer words were never spoken. You will not be disappointed! Nina’s offers individual sized pizzas (nothing over $8) that are perfect for a dinner. The menu includes gourmet pizzas featuring specialty ingredients such as roasted tomatoes, peppers, feta, spinach and prosciutto, as well as simpler offerings such as sausage, a margherita pie, chicken, and more of the classic options. Nina’s Cucina is located at 1427 Kass Cir Spring Hill, FL 34606. Call (352) 556-5286 to order a pizza. Pick up or dine-in only.
- Pizza Villa was ranked number one for the “Best of Hernando” for pizza and it definitely lives up to the hype. I tried two different options to get a good overview of their selection. The first was The Chef’s Sauce, which is a plain cheese pizza with a delicious garlic tomato sauce. The second pizza was topped with sausage, pepperoni, mushroom, peppers and onions. The crust is thin but still thick enough to withstand the volume of sauce and toppings. Wonderful is the word that springs to mind regarding the sauce. Very flavorful and you actually get a good portion of it on the pizza. The toppings were fantastic. It’s a REALLY, REALLY, good pizza. They offer individual sized pizzas for lunch. Most places do pizza by the slice but there is something about an individual pizza that is just very pleasing to me. I’m British, I’m strange, and I’m ok with it. Pizza Villa’s Spring Hill location is located at 13122 Spring Hill Dr Spring Hill, FL 34609. Call (352) 684-0184 to order a pizza. The Brooksville location is located at 7038 Coastal Blvd Brooksville, FL 34613. Call (352) 596-8956 to order a pizza. Pick up or dine-in only.
- PJ’S Brick Oven Pizza‘s stuffed slice is over the top. It’s fantastic. I am a convert. I will never go here again without getting it. Imagine an actual pie (as in the dessert), but it’s pizza. It’s a bottom crust topped with an inch or two of mozzarella, ricotta and other goodness and a TOP CRUST and that’s what you have. You know what? Just check the picture, I can’t explain it and do it any sort of justice. My only criticism, (and I’m really splitting hairs here) is that they only do one type of “stuffed slice”. This pizza is really something that you have to try. I love it, and you won’t convince me that it doesn’t have magical properties. If you’re on a diet, break it. They do pizza by the slice and I love sampling a variety so I also tried pepperoni, the special, and against my better judgment the white pizza (I don’t like white pizza but thought I would try this one). These pizza options were also good, though I found that personally I still don’t care for white pizza. PJ’s Brick Oven Pizza is located at 2144 Mariner Blvd Spring Hill, FL 34609. Call (352) 688-6866 to order a pizza. Pick up or dine-in with delivery to most of Spring Hill.
- Mario’s always ranks high on the list when it comes to best pizza, consistently finding a place in the top three of the “Best in Hernando” awards in the local paper. Needless to say I was excited to try it out for the first time. They have an open concept kitchen, so freshness is guaranteed. I ordered the pizza with mushrooms, peppers, onion, pepperoni and sausage (a common combination) and sat with eager anticipation for the offering to come to the table. How was it? Good! Everything I expected. Crust was great, sauce was plentiful and tasty, the ingredients were noticeably fresh and overall the combination was one of the better flavor combinations throughout my whole pizza adventure. The pizza entered my top 5 without question. They do a really good lunch special consisting of two slices and a soda for around $5 too. Mario’s is located at 4369 Commercial Way, Spring Hill, FL 34606 (in the Target plaza). Call (352) 596-1500 to order a pizza. Pick up or dine-in only.
- Marco’s was the franchise offering the steepest competition. I ordered a concoction known as the ‘Bob Special’. There is speculation as to the true combination of ingredients, but as best I can tell it’s the meat special with mushrooms and jalapenos added. You are welcome to play around with the toppings as you please and let me know your favorite combo. The crust is medium in thickness and where the pizza excels is the sauce as it is rich and extremely tasty and makes the pizza. The ingredients are good as well but they really play second fiddle here. I could eat that sauce on anything probably. As far as chain pizza places go this is way out at the top for me and it really does compete. This is one of the only places that I allow myself to break my ‘no chain restaurants’ rule for, so hopefully that speaks for what I think of it. Marco’s is located at 14319 Spring Hill Dr Spring Hill, FL 34609. Call (352) 684-1101 to order a pizza. Pick up or dine-in with delivery to most of Spring Hill.
- Slice of Life Pizzeria‘s the florentine is delicious. It has roma tomatoes, spinach, fresh garlic, feta and mozzarella, and no sauce. Just one slice and I wanted more..The flavor was strong, but in a great way. Imagine you have really good sautéed spinach, and then put it on a pizza with feta. It’s REALLY good. I’m going back there to have a few slices of this bad boy SOON. Slice of Life is located at 188 Mariner Blvd Sprng Hill, FL 34609. Call (352) 683-7500 to order a pizza. Pick up or dine-in with delivery to most of Spring Hill.
- Two Guys From Brooklyn has really good pizza for a really good price. The $3.99 lunch special gets you 2 slices and a soda. $3.99! The pizza has a sesame seed crust, which adds something different and exciting and it’s a thinner New York style and it is GOOOOOOD. Lots of sauce, lots of nice gooey cheese.Two Guys From Brooklyn is located at 1413 Kass Cir, Spring Hill, FL 34606. Call (352) 683-4355 to order a pizza. Pick up or dine-in with delivery to most of Spring Hill.
This experience has shown me that the great thing about pizza is that you can try so many different types and love them all. You may be in the mood for a good thick crust, meat pizza one day or a thin crust vegetarian the next. The real beauty is that there is always somewhere out there to cater to your craving. I encourage you to get out there and support your local restaurants. They take the time and pay the personal attention to detail that I respect as a small business owner myself. As always, follow all the latest places that I try on the Hernando County Food Lovers Facebook page at www.Facebook.com/HernandoFood and Happy Eating!
About the Author: Ross Hardy, 31, runs the Hernando County Food Lovers page on Facebook giving people information on locally owned and operated restaurants and trying to broaden people’s love of different foods. Check it out and become a fan at www.facebook.com/ HernandoFood. He is also a REALTOR and Owner at RE/MAX Marketing Specialists. Check out his blog at www.hardyrealtor.com/blog