Pizza in Live Oak

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The staff at the original location of Pleasure Pizza has spent more than 35 years perfecting their recipes, and they've passed the proverbial pizza torch to two additional locations in Santa Cruz. The restaurant also serves sandwiches, brunch, and house-specialty entrees, including fish tacos and fish and chips, which chefs craft with an eye to locally sourced ingredients. And, of course, they have pizza?18 different kinds, each hand-crafted with homemade crust, daily.

800 41st Ave
Santa Cruz,
CA
US

Husband-and-wife owners Joe and Georgette Hammana developed a knack for restauranteering while working in the family restaurant in Beirut, Lebanon. After immigrating to the United States, the duo opened Joe’s Pizza & Subs, which serves New York–style pizza pies and more than 50 sandwiches and burgers. The menu, which contains many of Georgette’s original recipes and grade-school report cards, offers something for everyone, from specialty pizzas to vegan and Middle Eastern cuisine.

1207 Pacific Ave
Santa Cruz,
CA
US

Like clockwork, the dining room lights begin to flicker and the servers suddenly disappear. Music begins playing and diners are soon treated to a five-minute performance?complete with a choreographed dance number, a series of flames erupting from the grill tops, and a jaw-dropping display of dexterity from the eatery's internationally recognized pizza-spinning competitors. This happens every Friday and Saturday night at Kianti's Pizza & Pasta Bar, and it's exactly the sort of vibrant, festive atmosphere that owners Kelly Kissee and Tracy Parks-Barber wanted to create when they founded the restaurant in 2004.

Applause-inducing entertainment aside, the main goal of the servers and the chefs is to treat their guests to family-style Italian cooking and routine high fives. Diners can customize their own personal pizzas by adding as many as 30 different toppings?including everything from italian sausage and garlic to mushrooms and almonds?before the chefs bake each pie to an oven-crisped golden brown. Additionally, the menu features hearty sub sandwiches, pasta dishes smothered with garlic cream sauce, and hand-formed meatballs.

1100 Pacific Ave
Santa Cruz,
CA
US

Since 1994, Wingstop's franchise locations—more than 600 currently operating or in the works—have cooked up and served more than 2 billion wings, and amassed a considerable following. Whether regular or boneless, these modern-day game-day staples come in one of the shop's 10 signature flavors: Louisiana rub and hickory-smoked barbecue have a classic spicy kick, whereas tanginess prevails in the lemon pepper, Hawaiian, and teriyaki.

Because the wings are always made to order, they derive their heat from their seasonings and their recent stay inside the fryer, rather than from heat lamps or tiny, individual Snuggies. The same amount of care goes into the Wingstop's housemade sides, which range from fries that are cut daily at each shop to the bourbon baked beans. Even the honey mustard, blue cheese, and ranch dipping sauces are mixed onsite.

845 Almar Ave
Santa Cruz,
CA
US