The pizza slice is the real MVP of pizza, IMHO. The “goat,” if you will. Think about it: slices take the guesswork out of pizza, they are (usually) ready instantaneously, and there’s something (usually) for everyone. This is an ode to the convenience of a grab-and-go piece of hot dough, slathered in sauce and cheese. It might not be pretty, but it gets the job done.
Oftentimes, getting a late-night slice of pizza is synonymous with “soaking up alcohol after imbibing too much.” Just so the science is clear here, that’s not actually how it works — but just so we’re clear, I’m an equal opportunity slice consumer and will eat them with as much fervor whether I’ve just consumed two draft beers or gotten out of a dance class.
If the former, I have found Goodfellas (1211 Main St., Over-the-Rhine, goodfellaspizzeria.com) on Main Street and the Kitchen Factory (1609 Chase Ave., Northside, kitchenfactorynorthside.com) in Northside to be cheesy saviors. Both of these offer up some delicious specialty slices and are open until 3 a.m. on weekend nights.
Goodfellas makes a behemoth New York-style pizza slice — thin, hand-tossed, bigger than your head and baked until the crust is chewy and golden. Plenty of slice shops just do a standard cheese or pepperoni but Goodfellas caters to the OTR crowd by offering a smorgasbord of slice options. Go in for lunch, dinner or late-night and find the basics (which are delicious) and also pieces of specialty-topped pies sprinkled with assorted meats and veggies. Their gigantic breadsticks are also fantastic.
Northside’s Kitchen Factory does late-night by-the-slice pizza starting at 9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday (slices are also available during normal hours). You can get a whole pie if you’re really hungry or feeding several humans, or opt for a slice of cheese, pepperoni, spinach and feta or vegan cheese to go.
Also nearby is the Chameleon (4114 Hamilton Ave., Northside, chameleonpizza.com), which is a bar with a pizza operation inside. Slice toppings are simple: cheese, pepperoni or the veggie of the day. But the real magic here is the optional crust seasoning with little flavor flakes ranging from garlic and Greek to cooler ranch.
I’m old enough to remember when Lucy Blue had a walk-up pizza window on 12th Street in OTR, and while I’m convinced the magic of the night air made the slices even better, their full-fledged brick-and-mortar space, also on Main, gets the need-a-slice-now job done just as efficiently. At the Lucy Blue (1126 Main St., Over-the-Rhine, facebook.com/lucybluepizza) storefront, you may have to walk through a door now, but you can still grab pizza and go. A note: slices here are just cheese or pepperoni; none of your fancy banana pepper nonsense. Basic. Fast. Good. They also have a lunch pizza buffet during the week.
For more slice times, Mac’s Pizza Pub (205 W. McMillan St., Clifton, macspizzapub.com) in Clifton offers the same pared-down slice options as Lucy Blue, and their hours are a bit more random. The kitchen technically closes at 11 p.m. but the bar itself is open until 2 a.m. with late-night slices.
If you’re not in the city center, fear not: places like Catch-a-Fire Pizza (3301 Madison Ave., Oakley, catchafirepizza.com) in the MadTree taproom does late-night slices at its cafe from 10 p.m.-midnight on Friday and Saturday or large cheese or pepperoni pizzas. If you come during regular hours here and order a full pizza, they have inclusive options like gluten-free crust and cashew ricotta vegan cheese.
And Ramundo’s Pizzeria (3166 Linwood Ave., Mount Lookout, ramundospizzeria.com) offers regular hours and late-night New York-style slices topped with cheese or pepperoni (extra toppings cost 50 cents) or any of their specialty pizzas for less than $4 a slice.