Pizza pies for wintertime

A pie from Rocco's in Vineyard Haven. — Marnely Murray

Pizza is a divisive subject. I wouldn’t be surprised if it has caused breakups and divorces, and maybe even wars between nations. Whether you’re a thin-crust lover or a deep-dish advocate, I’m not here to judge. I’m here to put the spotlight on some of the most creative pies on Island this season — because nothing is better than grabbing a pizza to bring home and eat while on the couch, wiping your greasy fingers as you go. Like I said, I’m not here to judge.

But first, what makes a good pizza pie? The three key parts of a pizza are the crust, the sauce, and the cheese — three simple components that when put together with love and care can create one of the most popular dishes in the world. But like I mentioned, pizza is such a challenging subject, I can’t even describe what a “good” crust would taste like. Is it thin and crispy? Thick and chewy? Charred all over, or not charred at all? The same is true of sauce. While some prefer a more savory tomato sauce of puréed tomatoes, other want a hint of sweetness from ripe tomatoes. Heck, some people don’t even want tomato sauce, and prefer a white pizza. Oh, and the cheese … can we all agree fresh mozzarella is the best? We can’t, because there are pizzamakers who prefer a blend of cheeses! Oh pizza, how we love to dissect you. But trust me, here on Martha’s Vineyard, there’s something for everyone.

Wolf’s Den offers a Big Mac Pizza ($14.99/small or $22.99/large), for those of us who make a beeline to the first fast food burger joint we pick up on Google Maps the second we get off-Island. This Big Mac Pizza is a sesame crust baked to perfection and then slathered with their secret sauce, topped with seasoned ground beef, tomatoes, shaved onions, pickles, and shredded lettuce. Close your eyes and you’ll think you’re eating a fast food burger!

The ever-so-popular Potato Pizza ($18.98) at Offshore Ale has a cult following; it’s seriously that good. Carb lovers will unite over this pie of mashed potatoes slathered on a pizza crust and sprinkled with bacon, cheddar cheese, and scallions.

If you’re looking for a restaurant that showcases flatbreads made in wood-fired ovens, Rockfish serves them up perfectly charred and crispy. Their Smoked Salmon Flatbread ($18) is a delight for the senses, with delicate smoked salmon woven between red onion, capers, olive oil, arugula, and a dill crème fraîche that brings it all together. When you’re looking for an elevated pizza experience, Rockfish has it.

The past week I was talking to a friend about how we both missed good Greek food, and it reminded me of the Greek Pizza ($13.95/small, $18.95/large, $20.95/extra-large) at Edgartown Pizza. With all the components of the perfect Greek salad, this pizza is topped with feta cheese, black olives, tomatoes, and spinach, delivering the cure to any Greek craving you need to satisfy.

And last, but never least, is the White Italian Pizza ($17.95) at Rocco’s Pizzeria. A very simple, classic preparation, this is the pizza I’ll normally crave, because I can easily forget about tomato sauce. Rocco’s version blends ricotta, Romano, and mozzarella cheeses with a hint of rosemary. Cooked to a crisp, the cheeses bubble up and become spotted with a hint of brown. Hands down a favorite.

So whether you still dream of the deep-dish pizza you had on your last trip to Chicago, or crave that New York–style pizza on a daily basis, know that there’s plenty to choose from on-Island. Pizza lovers, unite!