Pizza is one of those foods that brings us all together. Pretty much everyone can agree that if you need to feed a lot of people for not a lot of money, the answer is pizza. But just because you get a lot out of each pie doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice quality! All my friends make fun of me because I’m pretty particular about my pizza, so if I’m reviewing a pizza joint, you better believe it’s worth it!
Famulari’s is a local chain, with locations in West Ashley, Summerville, Goose Creek and a pretty new location on James Island. Each of the stores follow the same basic menu, with the exception of the James Island location, which brews their own beer and offers brunch. They’re most well known for being pretty much the only place in Charleston for serving Chicago-style deep dish pizza, and since Chicago is still on my domestic travel bucket list, I was really looking forward to trying deep dish pizza without having to hop on a plane.
Fams offers 4 different options for their 14-inch stuffed pizzas (although any of their specialty pizzas can be made into a Chicago Stuffed Pizza, or you can build your own). On my first visit, we kept it really simple with the Chi-Town Classic (mozzarella, double pepperoni, double sausage, chunky sauce, $25.99). The pie dense, it must’ve weighed like close to 10 pounds and I wasn’t sure how we’d be able to finish it. The chunky sauce was fantastic, with a nice bit of acidity and tang, with just a bit of sweetness to balance it out. There was a nice distribution of toppings, so I felt like I got an even spread in each bite. This was a definite winner.
On my second visit, we went in a different direction with the Greek (mozzarella, spinach, black olive, artichoke, feta, chunky sauce, $25.99), which was a really awesome choice. It was like a greek salad under a blanket of chunky red sauce, all things I love.
We also tried an order of their Spinach Cheese Bread (pan-baked dough loaded with fresh spinach, mozzarella, cheddar, and topped with “shake,” $6.99), which was delicious. The bread was perfectly cheesy and had a lot of flavor, and I liked the addition of the spinach to trick my brain into thinking I was eating something healthy.
Because I’m also obsessed with white pizzas, I also decided to try their version. The White (ricotta sauce, mozzarella, garlic, basil, tomato, $15.99 for a 14-inch pie) was absolutely delicious! Lots of flavor in the sauce without being overbearing, and I loved the addition of the tomatoes and basil.
I visited the brewpub on James Island for brunch with friends who were visiting from out of town. Their regular menu was basically the same, (although they do have double the number of appetizers, with amazing sounding dishes like fried cheese curds, zeppoles, and chicken tenders). The space was much bigger than their West Ashley location, and I absolutely loved how spacious and inviting their outdoor patio/beergarden was.
I’ve never been to brunch at a pizza place before, but the menu was so mouthwatering that I was really looking forward to it! There was a good mix of sweet (like french toast topped with Grand Marnier Syrup) and savory (deep dish frittata of the day, a smaller version of their Chicago-style deep dish, with a brunch spin), which is definitely required of a quality brunch. We started with an order of Beignets (deep fried dough, topped with powdered sugar, $4), which I absolutely love. Their version was made with some of their pizza dough, and was nice and pillowy and sweet. We probably could’ve eaten a 2nd order, but we restrained ourselves.
Since I tend to prefer savory foods at brunch, I opted for the Caprese Crostini (crispy toasted bread, topped with fried eggs, avocado, fresh mozzarella, tomato, basil, and extra virgin olive oil, served with your choice of side, $11). Eggs + avocado + bread = my favorite thing, so I absolutely loved this dish! Adding in the mozzarella and tomato made for a delicious and well-rounded open-faced breakfast sandwich that I will definitely be back for. I opted for the home fries as my side, and boy was I glad I did! They were super crispy outside, but nice and pillowy inside, exactly what everyone loves in a home fry. Plus, at only $11, I felt like this dish was a total steal.
They also offer a brunch-twist on a classic calzone, in the form of a fruit Turnover (dough filled with sweet ricotta and your choice of fresh blueberries or Granny Smith cinnamon apple filling. Topped with your choice of raspberry or caramel sauce, and served with your choice of brunch side item, $10). We had 2 people at our table order this, and they both loved it. The apples topped with caramel definitely had more of the makings of a classic apple pie, which I was a huge fan of.
The blueberry filling (topped with raspberry sauce) was really sweet and tasted like summertime. I was happy to have a bite of it, but it was a little too sweet for me. But my dining companion didn’t seem to mind, as she cleaned her entire plate.
All in all, I’ve had many fantastic meals at Famulari’s, and if you haven’t visited them yet (especially the brewpub), you should get on that post haste!
1291 Folly Rd
Charleston, SC 29412