Pizza of the Past: 10 Missoula Pizza Restaurants We Miss the Most
I recently got a little carried away during a conversation with some co-workers. I must have been hungry at the time because I was passionate about the topic that was brought up. You see, we were discussing current pizza options in Missoula, and our conversation quickly turned into a ton of nostalgia. We began to reminisce about local pizza places that are no longer around in the Garden City.
As soon as we began to name off a few of our favorite pizza places, a flood of other places we miss having began to pile up. We narrowed the list of former pizza restaurants in Missoula down to our top 10 pizza places we wish we could bring back.
1. Tower Pizza
The whole reason this pizza conversation even began was because we were remembering how much we enjoyed Tower Pizza. Tower Pizza opened for business on Brooks Street in 1971. They closed their doors in 2017. Bridge Pizza now occupies the former Tower Pizza location.
2. Howards Pizza
Howard's Pizza was always a favorite of mine. Not to sound cliche, or steal a marketing message from Olive Garden, but every time I visited Howards Pizza on South Ave, it "felt like family." Everyone at Howards Pizza was always fun to be around and the food never disappointed. Especially the pizza. We miss the square-cut pizza from Howards the most.
3. Pizza Pipeline
During my time at the University of Montana, it was safe to say that I lived off of Pizza Pipeline. It was located near the campus on Higgins. They offered a great combo deal for broke college kids like myself (large pizza, large breadsticks, 2 drinks $20). Plus their pizza sauce had a little extra "zing" than other pizza places at the time. Fun fact: my college roommate ate so much Pizza Pipeline that he actually built a couch out of old pizza boxes.
4. Bob's Pizza
I kind of miss the days of being a "mallrat." The days when there was nothing better to do than to just wander aimlessly around Southgate Mall. Those days typically involved a visit to Bob's Pizza. Nothing super special about the pizza. But it was affordable, quick, and always a safe bet to satisfy the hunger you built from walking around a mall all day.
5. Zimorinos Pizza
Bob Zimorino opened up his first Missoula restaurant decades ago. The infamous "Red Pies Over Montana" was a popular spot for pizza. Bob's family recipes were what made his pies so special. The one I miss the most is the pizza he made that included Bob's special "Aunt Angie's Meatballs." Zimorinos Pizza on Broadway closed in 2019.
6. Stageline Pizza
I first discovered Stageline Pizza after they opened their first location in White Sulpher Springs in 1987. I have been a fan ever since. With locations all across Montana, Stageline was a pizza that I knew would always be affordable and consistent. One of my favorite memories of Stageline Pizza is the first time I ordered a JUMBO pizza. The menu says they are 20-inch pizzas. But, after it was put in an oversized box, it seemed much bigger. Almost like you would need a flatbed pickup or strap the box to the roof of your car to transport.
7. Godfather's Pizza
This chain pizza restaurant has always had a soft spot in my heart. I remember having a birthday party at Godfather's Pizza when I was in primary school. I remember winning a rubber ball in some silly game and terrorizing the entire restaurant with it as I bounced it around the dining room. One of the things I miss the most about Godfather's Pizza is the taco pizza. It is a pizza that is tough to match.
8. Blackjack Pizza
Blackjack Pizza was always my go-to spot for affordable pizza when I couldn't convince myself to cook dinner. The thick crust and the generous toppings made it a very filling meal for an affordable price. Rarely could I finish a pizza alone. I typically would always need help with a Blackjack Pizza.
9. Little Big Man Pizza
This is reaching a long way into the time machine, but many remember Little Big Man Pizza. Formerly located on Paxon and Brooks, Littel Big Man was everything about the 80s and 90s that you miss the most. It was a teenage hangout, complete with arcade games and delicious pizza. What more can you say about Little Big Man Pizza?
10. Shakey's Pizza
Shakey's was located on Benton Avenue behind what is now the Montana Club. The building still stands and these days is the Treasure Chest hobby store. It consisted of long wooden tables and short stools. Plus, a big window with a viewing ramp so kids could watch the dough being made in the kitchen. They even had a piano player that would entertain guests on busy nights. Needless to say, Shakey's Pizza was a popular Missoula hangout.
So there you have it. 10 pizza restaurants that we wish we could bring back to Missoula. Which ones did I miss? It doesn't take long before you realize just how much you miss some places that have been gone for years.
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