Pizza in Meridian

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Mazzio's Italian Eatery's staff rolls out a buffet for lunch and dinner populated with tasty Italian cuisine that they also serve à la carte. The restaurant's staff has been perfecting its culinary modus operandi for more than 50 years, long enough to evolve the pizza selection to include three levels of thickness. Chefs bake standard, deep-dish, and thin crusts—available in gluten-free form—and load each with toppings such as caramelized onions and giant pepperoni. The kitchen makes pasta plates to order, some baked in the oven, such as lasagna, and some tossed in sauce, such as the mainstay spaghetti and meatballs. The signature calzone radiates the ambrosial scent of pizza dough stuffed with meat and cheese, and it's meant to be shared, unlike a pogo stick.

118 Service Dr
Brandon,
MS
US

More than 50 years go, Mike Ilitch was poised for major-league glory. An up-and-coming shortstop for the Detroit Tigers, his baseball finesse was blossoming when an injury derailed his sports career. But although the wound stunted his athletic aspirations, it steered him toward a new path, and on May 8, 1959, he and his wife opened the first Little Caesars location, a then-unheard-of carry-out-only joint. The career shift and novel technique eventually proved triumphant. Today, the pizzeria's iconic, toga-clad mascot adorns storefronts on five continents. In each shop, staffers forge the signature Hot-N-Ready pizza, a freshly baked pizza designed for instant pickup, and warm, garlicky Crazy bread. With a storied half century under their belt, Mike Ilitch and his family strive to give back, supporting local organizations and creating their own charitable programs.

315 Crossgates Blvd
Brandon,
MS
US

CiCi’s Pizza combines the variety of a buffet with the thrill of bottomless pizza. Each pie is crafted with dough made from scratch daily and then slathered with homemade marinara and showered with toppings ranging from traditional pepperoni and Italian-style sausage to creative combinations including buffalo chicken and mac 'n' cheese. The buffet is stocked with a plethora of fresh pastas, as well as signature salads with the option to put tossing talents to the test at the salad bar. After they've feasted on savory options, diners can revisit the buffet for dessert including freshly baked brownies, slices of apple pizza, and cinnamon rolls drizzled with icing—or they can eat dessert first, thereby tearing an irreparable hole in the space-time continuum.

361 Ridge Way
Flowood,
MS
US

Fred Cerami’s first venture into the food industry was selling hot dogs on the streets of Hattiesburg. He loved feeding people, but wanted to incorporate his Sicilian heritage and generations of family recipes into his work. So in 1977, he left the streets, came inside, and laid down his roots within the kitchen of Cerami’s Italian Restaurant. Today, Fred’s daughter Alissa runs the restaurant, but not much else has changed. The kitchen still churns out homemade ravioli, lasagna, and spaghetti with meatballs, Italian flags still adorn the walls of the dining room, and Fred’s old Hattiesburg hot-dog wagon is still there, enjoying its healthier second act as an all-you-can-eat salad bar.

5417 Highway 25
Flowood,
MS
US

Against vibrant red walls, a large mural paints a scene of two young lovers embracing beneath the glow of stars and streetlights on an Italian boulevard. It's an ideal evocation of Rossini Cucina Italiana's private dining nooks, where couples can retreat to enjoy an authentic Italian meal bathed in soft, romantic light from a wall-hung lantern. Of course, guests can also reserve a table in the brightly lit dining area, grab a seat on the outdoor patio, or initiate a massage train with all of the other patrons to experience a more communal vibe. As patrons relax in the elegant eatery, chef Tony whips up traditional handmade pastas, hand-cuts tender beef fillets, and drapes seafood entrees in subtle wine sauces. He also offers the Feed Me Tony option, where he'll personally customize feasts from start to finish and pair the appropriate wines to each course.

207 W Jackson St
Ridgeland,
MS
US

It's hard to find unhealthy options on the menu at Smoothie Q Factory. That's because the shop specializes in fruit-filled smoothies and veggie-filled sandwiches and salads. These options all provide fast nutrients for when you're in a hurry to be taller than your best friend.

201 Ring Road
Ridgeland,
MS
US