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The beginning of a cheese pizza at Goodfellas on Court Street Athens, Ohio Sunday February 5, 2023.

Students debate the best pizza in Athens

Pizza originated in Naples, Italy, in the 1700s to feed the overpopulated and poor community near the bay. Funnily enough, pizza now stands as a renowned college kid delicacy for nights out and nights in. 

It does not matter if they are staying in to host a small group of friends, headed back home at 1 a.m. after a long night out or if they simply need a pick-me-up midday between classes – pizza remains an easy option for students throughout the week. 

“It's mostly a great cheap convenience,” Oli Arambula, a sophomore studying political science and history, said.

Athens houses a variety of options for pizza throughout town. Ranging all the way from Nelson Court on South Green to Avalanche Pizza on E. State St., there are plenty of options.

Nelson Court serves pizza daily and is available to students via their meal plan, but oftentimes students choose not to utilize their plan and opt to dine out around Athens. 

“I have the Flex 14 meal plan, I use half my swipes each week and use the other half on groceries while eating at off-campus restaurants throughout the week,” Adam Ward, a sophomore studying journalism, said. “Pizza always ends up being a go-to.”

Court Street caters to this never-ending need for baked dough topped with sauce, cheese and an endless amount of toppings. Courtside Pizza and GoodFellas sit on the familiar brick street, and Ohio University students cannot seem to get enough of either establishment. 

“GoodFellas (is my favorite pizza in Athens) because it's cheap, in the perfect spot and I prefer thick dough,” Arambula said.

GoodFellas is a pizzeria that prides itself on “preventing hangovers and providing a great meal.”

They specialize in thick crust slices and have been in Athens since 1995. Pizza lovers can find them in Athens at 6 W. Union St. and 35 N. Court St.

A pizza being made at Avalanche! in Athens, Ohio on Sunday February 5, 2023.

Despite many students coining GoodFellas and other local establishments as their favorite pizza in town, Courtside Pizza is a clear front-runner among Bobcats. 

“I think it’s better because it’s in a convenient location on N. Court Street and it’s not as expensive as the other options around town,” Ward said. “I think it's the best late-night place because of the hours, service and quality of pizza.”

Ward is not the only one who favors Courtside; others are so fond of Courtside that it finds itself on their list of places to take their visitors. 

“I go to Courtside semi-regularly, probably every two weeks,” Alyssa Donaghue, a freshman studying math and chemistry pre-med, said. “It is a bit expensive for a college student but if I ever have friends or family in town I make sure to bring them there. It’s my favorite spot.”

Courtside Pizza is located at 85 N. Court St., just down the road from both GoodFellas locations, and provides competition for good reason. 

“My favorite thing about Courtside Pizza is the sauce,” Donaghue said. “It is by far the best pizza I’ve ever had for sure. I also like the restaurant's atmosphere. The servers are very kind and it’s a great place to grab a slice of pizza and hang out with friends.”

Courtside prides itself on craft and tradition, they hand toss all pies to size in-house. They are a part of the North End Restaurant Group alongside The J Bar and North End Kitchen and Bar.

It’s safe to say that it’s not always about the pizza itself, but the people and place you share it with. As students settle into their home away from home in Athens, pizza is a familiar indulgence they can count on and it brings them together.

Even when students tend to not prefer pizza, the atmosphere and comradery surrounding the meal keep them coming back for more. 

“You should know I hate pizza, but it is the perfect 1 a.m. meal when I'm with my friends and we're up and hungry together,” Arambula said.

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