#91 Monza and #97 EVO

February 3rd and 4th, 2017

Charleston, SC

To celebrate my 30th birthday, we took a weekend trip down to Charleston with two of our good friends (one who also had a birthday this week!). We had never been to Charleston before, and we loved it! We had a really cute AirBnB with uneven floors and an outdoor porch, although we would have enjoyed that more if it had been just a few degrees warmer.

We did have an ulterior motive for choosing Charleston as our weekend getaway. There are two new additions to the 2016 list based in Charleston. We hit the first one, Monza, on Friday afternoon.

    

We tried two pies here. The first was the Ciccio, which was a white four cheese pie with garlic, and it was incredible. The second one was the Von Trips, with fresh tomato sauce, sausage, and greens. In case you didn’t know, both of these pies are named after race car drivers from the 50’s. Monza is apparently named after the legendary Italian racetrack. We didn’t notice the racing theme of the restaurant until the very end of our lunch.

Even if we aren’t the biggest racing fans, we are absolutely fans of these pizzas. Unusually, we were split as to which was our favorite. I liked the white pizza, which surprised me because I’m generally a sauce person. Eric loved the sausage.

Both pies are true Neapolitan-style pizzas, baked in the wood fired 1000 degree oven using imported Italian flour. The pizzas are a big larger than some of the other Neapolitans that we’ve had along the way, and the crust was a little less chewy. They weren’t loaded with sauce, either.

Overall, we’d rate this one pretty high, and probably higher than a few of the Neapolitan pizzas that we had last year.

We had our second pizza for lunch on Saturday, and we were lucky to have our friends’ car because EVO is a little bit outside of downtown Charleston. EVO stands for “Extra Virgin Oven” (not to be confused with EVOO). Like Pizza Moto, this restaurant had its start in a pizza truck, and opened its doors in North Charleston in 2007.

All of these pizzas featured seasonal ingredients that were locally sourced, which we loved. We got to try four different pizzas here. Eric had the Calabrese and Squash, which was loaded with garlic pesto, spicy calabrese, roasted butternut squash, arugula, corn, feta, mozzarella, and parmigiano-reggiano. Even with this huge list of toppings, the pizza tasted perfectly balanced and you could taste every one of the flavors. We had to try the recommended Pork Trifecta, and the special of the day that had spring onions and roasted garlic. To round it out, we also had one of the Fresh Veg, with spinach, artichokes, red peppers, roasted garlic, sweet onion, olives, and cheese. And LUCKILY, one of our friends likes olives! We always need to have their company when we go pizza tasting.

These pies weren’t quite as good as Monza’s, and they reminded us a little of Metro Pizza in Vegas, or Pizzeria Locale in Denver. Which kind of makes sense because they are all ranked at pretty similar numbers. They definitely get points for toppings, though. I also wish we had gotten to try one of their salads, but our stomachs are only so big.

EVO also has beer on tap from several local breweries. We were too full of pizza to get beers with lunch, so instead we stopped at Coast Brewing Co. and Revelry for some local beers before dinner a bit later.

We loved Charleston (for more than just the pizza) and with its up-and-coming foodie scene, we aren’t surprised that it finally made it on to the list.

To visit:

Monza
451 King Street
Charleston, SC 29403

EVO
1075 East Montague
North Charleston, SC 29405

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