Of our favorite small cities, Olympia, Washington ranks high. Located on the South Puget Sound, it’s small but vibrant and just a little weird—it’s where the “riot grrrl” movement kicked off in the nineties. It is also home to some of Washington State’s best pizza. We undertook a fact-finding mission to find the top picks or at least a selection of them. Our findings shouldn’t be surprising to locals and are all worth the trip for those wanting a quick culinary adventure.
Right before arriving in Olympia, we were alerted that Wicked Pies had changed owners the day before. The switch was dramatic, and the employees showed up to locked doors informing them that the spot would be closed for the day due to payroll issues.
As it turned out, their first day of opening seemed to go pretty smoothly. The restaurant still had its Twin Peaks-themed menu, and the quality was what it used to be.
Wicked Pies serves thin pizzas with a surprisingly robust crust. The “Prosciutto in a Pear Tree” comes with juicy pears, greasy prosciutto, and an olive oil base, yet the slices don’t approach any level of sogginess. Flavorwise, the palate is well-balanced. Sweet and slightly salty, with just the right amount of gorgonzola. None of the flavors are overpowering.
The breadsticks are worth trying, too—thick, fluffy, and savory.
What Wicked Pies will look like in the near future is anyone’s guess, but for now, it’s “business as usual,” as they say.
Sharing a building with Olympia Coffee and Spud’s Market—both top-of-the-class businesses—is Vic’s, a perennial favorite.
Any pizza is a safe bet here, with their “Vegan Surprise” being the one anyone should try. The “surprise” moniker comes down to the often-changing base—a Tex-Mex drizzle remains the only constant.
Frankly, what makes the pie so good remains a mystery to me. It’s flavorful and certainly doesn’t taste like whatever stereotype of “vegan pizza” I have. It also won’t be confused with a cheese-covered pie. It tastes like pizza, yet it’s unlike most other pizzas. The paradox might add up to the actual “surprise” more than its many variations.
That’s not to say that the traditional choices are any worse. The “Westside Locker” comes with pepperoni and sausage on Vic’s signature tomato sauce. The base has a gentle kick that gives the slice a distinct flavor.
Old School Pizzeria
Here’s a contender not just for Olympia’s best pizza but quite possibly Western Washington’s. That’s not a claim I make lightly: Old School has that je ne sais quoi you rarely find anywhere else.
While all the crusts in this taste-off are high quality, Old School is one step above. It sits somewhere between thick and thin, charred on the outside, with a chewy bite in between. In many ways, it is New York-style but also has its own distinct styling. It’s the type of crust I could gladly eat with only some olive oil for dipping.
There are nine specialty pies to pick from, the “Al Green” being the prime choice. Much like Vic’s vegan pizza, this one doesn’t sound like it should work, but it very much does. Broccoli on top of ricotta? No sauce? Weird stuff.
I don’t care much for broccoli, yet the “Al Green” is top-tier for me. It’s not one those pies where vegetables are thoughtlessly tossed on top—the flavors meld with the ricotta, giving the pizza a creamy palate. It’s also only served on Thursdays, so unless you live in Olympia, it’s not something you’ll get on a weekend trip. That said, I contend that a midweek journey would be worth it. Otherwise, you can always go on the other side of the spectrum: The “One Ton” topped with meat, olives, and mushrooms is as heavy as advertised but also delicious.
Olympia is a great little city—it was even the Digest’s home for a few years. There are other culinary reasons to go there, too, but pizza is a good starter. We picked three this time, but spots like La Gitana are also considered must-stops by many.