Pepperoni is so last week! Local restaurants get creative with unusual (and tasty) new pizza toppings. Would you like pickles on that? We’re not talking about a cheeseburger or sandwich, we are talking about pizza! The usual suspects for pizza toppings like pepperoni and mushrooms are getting pushed aside for more interesting adornments… Restaurants are getting far more creative with their take on traditional entrees and pizza is on the list of getting a recent makeover. Toppings are going way beyond pepperoni these days.  Would you like your mac and cheese on that? Or how about your Cuban sandwich?  These are some of the creative takes that local restaurants are offering on a crust. Here are a few local spots that are changing things up on top of dough.

 Photo 1

1  Loaded Barrel Tavern

At the end of a late night of bar-hopping on downtown Bradenton’s Main Street, you need a big slice of a cheesy pizza—stat! The place to go for that is the Loaded Barrel Tavern. Mostly known as a drinking establishment, many people are surprised to discover that this bar also serves up downtown Bradenton’s best (and most creative) pizza. In addition to the regular menu, which includes some interesting pizza offerings like “Memphis Yard Bird” with a ranch dressing base and spicy buffalo chicken, Loaded Barrel offers an outlandish Pizza of the Week that always creates a buzz. How about “The Cuban?” A pizza with a yellow mustard base, mozzarella and Swiss cheese, roasted pork, salami and ham, topped with pickles? Or maybe you are more of “The Carolina” fan—crust topped with slow-cooked pulled pork, mozzarella and cheddar cheese, sweet Vidalia onions and topped with, of course, pickles.  Another favorite is “The Dictator” with a mashed potato base, mozzarella and cheddar cheese, bacon and green onions, topped with sour cream. 

 Photo 2

2  Solo’s Pizza

Located on Anna Maria Island, this local’s joint is the kind of spot “where everybody knows your name.” But even if you aren’t a regular, you’ll still feel welcome to come inside the dark pub, sit at the bar, play a game of pool and stay a while. Don’t forget about the pizza. The White Pizza comes loaded up with mozzarella, Romano, Parmesan, Ricotta and Feta plus tons of fresh garlic. You can really feel like you are “in the know” here when you put in a special request for their Cheeseburger Pizza—it’s not on the regular menu, but it’s certainly a favorite of patrons. This thin-crusted pizza is topped with ground beef, cheddar cheese, shredded lettuce, tomatoes and onions, drizzled with mustard and finished with pickles. 

Photo 3

3  J. Burns’ Pizza Shop

Also on Anna Maria Island, this new restaurant on Pine Avenue is a simple, “no-frills” pizza and subs joint, but the pies speak for themselves—thin-crusted and piled high with toppings. When you’re craving an ooey-gooey slice, this place makes the cut! The Taco pie is becoming a local favorite with seasoned ground beef, three cheeses and the winning ingredient—Cholula hot sauce. All pies here can also be made with gluten-free crust, so dig in!