The original location of Harris Pizza opened in 1960 in Rock Island, Ill. It’s since grown to four locations and is owned by Ryan Mosley, the grandson of founders Leonard and Mary Harris.
Harris Pizza’s sausage pie is it’s most famous, thanks to the homemade pork sausage laced with fennel and a secret spice blend. “There’s over a pound of sausage on a pizza, making the whole pizza approximately four pounds,” says Mosley. The sausage is layered under a thick helping of gooey cheese. “At Harris, we have our own proprietary blend of cheese that is produced in and hauled back directly from Wisconsin.”
The Quad Cities region also claims to have invented another style of pizza: the taco pizza. Most credit the taco pizza to Happy Joe’s, but Harris makes a venerable version topped with crunchy tortilla chips.
Frank’s Pizza is the oldest pizzeria in the Quad Cities, serving strip-cut pies since 1955. Located in Silvis, Ill., it’s known as one of the best places to get traditional Quad Cities-style pizza. Sparkly red vinyl chairs and laminate tables make it feel like you’re stepping back in time — in a good way.
Frank’s Pizza uses scissors to cut its pizzas into long strips, a signature of Quad Cities-style pizza. The crust at Frank’s is light and buttery and not as malty as other area pizza spots.
Frank’s sausage pizza is a beautiful thing, and many credit Frank’s with inventing the style. The restaurant is also known for perfectly cooked fried chicken and Italian beef sandwiches.
Bad Boy’z Pizza and Pub is part biker bar, part sports pub and part pizza place. With locations in Davenport, Iowa, and Moline, Ill., Bad Boy’z serves Quad Cities-style pizza cut into thin strips. Customers can order each half with a different topping, and calzones, baked pastas and salads are available.
A protégé of Harris Pizza, Clint Doran owns Clint’s Draft House Pizza & Grill with his wife, Linda. The original location opened in 1993 inside a bowling alley in Moline, Ill. In 2015, it moved to the current standalone location in Moline.
Clint’s serves traditional Quad Cities-style pizza in a friendly sports bar atmosphere and is known for an extra-crispy crust.
Traditional Quad Cities-style pizza layers the toppings underneath the cheese, as shown here at Clint’s Draft House.
Benny’s Pizza has been slinging pies in Milan, Ill., since 1992. While its known for Quad Cities-style pizza, the tomato salad is a must-try in the summer.
The Banker's Special, with sausage, mushroom, green pepper and onions, is a popular order at Benny’s Pizza.
Fat Boys Pizza, owned by Tom Bruchmann, has been an institution in Davenport, Ill., for the last 40-odd years. It’s carry out only, but customers can eat their pie in the Meat Market bar next door, which is also owned by Bruchmann and shown here.
Fat Boys Pizza’s dough and sauce are made from scratch, and the sausage is spiced in house. The crust is a littler thicker than a typical thin crust. Specialty pies include pizzas with names like Garden (pictured), Hell and Purgatory.
One of the newer pizza joints in the area, Field of Pizza’s first location opened in 2006 in East Moline, Ill., with a second location following in 2009 in Moline, Ill. A buffet with multiple pizzas is offered during lunch and dinner.
The Garden Fields Pizza, shown here, combines zesty pizza sauce topped with sausage, pepperoni, mushroom, onion and green pepper, which is then smothered in mozzarella cheese.
Gunchie’s offers tacos, ribs, wings and more with a volleyball court in the backyard — complete with sand.
The Davenport, Ill., pizzeria serves a variety of toppings on its Quad Cities-style pies, from Buffalo chicken to Philly Cheese Steak.
In Rock Island, Ill., Huckleberry’s Pizza makes Quad Cities-style pizza, although it eschews the regional strip cuts for wedges. The Fresh Garden pie is served with broccoli, fresh spinach, tomato, red onion, mushroom, green pepper, black olives, and mozzarella and asiago cheeses.
Similarly opting out of strip cuts, Pizza & Subs does still have its toppings under the cheese. Open since 1978 when it introduced calzones to the area, Pizza & Subs is a fixture in Rock Island, Ill., and has more than 15 calzones on the menu.
Joaquin and Rose Espejo bought Pizza & Subs in 1987 and have been making Quad Cities-style pizza there, like this half sausage, half pepperoni pie, ever since.
In Davenport, Iowa, Pizza Shack serves strip-cut Quad Cities-style pizza. A half sausage, half cheese is shown here. There’s no seating, solely take-out and delivery.
The newest Quad Cities pizza spot, Quad City Pizza Company was opened by father and son Larry and Brandon Tice in Bettendorf, Iowa, in December. The pair formerly co-owned Fields of Pizza with partner Bob Fields, who is still operating the East Moline, Ill., location.
Quad Cities Pizza Co. offers a spin on traditional Quad Cities-style pizza, with a sweeter flavor and a triangular cut.
The dough and sauce are made in-house and a special cheese blend tops a thick layer of toppings.
A bit further up the river from East Moline on the Illinois side, Riverbend Pizza Place sits in Port Byron, Ill., right on the banks of the Mississippi. It’s been serving classic Quad Cities-style pizza for more than 30 years. Here, you can see a pizza with sausage, pepperoni and other toppings laid on top of the sauce, awaiting a thick blanketing of cheese to be sprinkled over the toppings.
Riverbend Pizza Place’s baked pizza is gooey and bubbly, with the thick layer of toppings hiding underneath the cheese.
Saint Giuseppes Pizza —
lovingly referred to by locals as Saint G’s — recently moved from its original location in Moline, Ill., to a newly renovated spot with expanded seating in East Moline, Ill. Joe Schilling (pictured) owns the restaurant that was started by his father, Bobby Schilling, in 1997.
Saint Giuseppe’s serves strip-cut pizza with a malty crust and loads of toppings covered by bubbly cheese.
The baseball-themed Slugger’s Pizza opened in the mid-1990s in Silvis, Ill., and is now owned by the Schulte family.
Slugger’s offers an all-you-can-eat pizza buffet for lunch with various toppings on Quad Cities-style pizzas and a salad bar.
Opened in Milan, Ill., in 2000, Spinner's Pizza is almost as well known for its signature bubble bread as for the Quad Cities-style pizza made with a sweeter sauce.
A full-service bar and restaurant, Sport’s Fans Pizza has been in Bettendorf, Iowa, for more than 20 years. Aside from selling strip-cut pizzas, the restaurant hosts Buzz Time Trivia and screens various sports games — it’s especially popular during football seasons and Hawkeye games. There’s also free popcorn.
In Moline, Ill., Stashu & Son’s sells freshly made sausages and meats to cook at home, so you know what’s on their pizzas is high quality. Satshu’s is beloved for its calzones, and the pizza is popular among locals — there’s even a gluten-free crust available. Owned by the Krol family, the late Stanley “Stash” Krol opened the restaurant with his sons, who still run it, in 1985.
In Moline, Ill., The Yankee Doodle is a well-loved dive bar/laundromat/liquor store/restaurant.
The Yankee Doodle turns out a solid Quad Cities-style pizza pie that locals appreciate.
Locally owned and operated since 1995, Uncle Bill’s Pizza has two Davenport, Iowa, locations serving traditional, handmade, Quad Cities-style pizza. The dough, sauce and ground sausage are all made from scratch, and it shows.
In Davenport, Iowa, Wise Guys Pizza is popular for its lunch and dinner buffet serving traditional Quad Cities-style pizzas. The restaurant goes out of the box with toppings like mac and cheese, spaghetti and meatball, and bacon cheeseburger. There’s a second location in LeClaire, Iowa.
While it’s near impossible to find Quad Cities-style pizza outside of the immediate Quad Cities region, native Quad Cities son Greg Mohr and his partner Scott Weiner brought the style to the deep dish haven of Chicago with Roots Handmade Pizza.
In line with Quad Cities tradition, Roots pizza dough contains a malt-heavy “spice jam,” spicy red sauce with chili flakes and cayenne pepper, and strips that are cut with scissors.
Roots Handmade Pizza has a chewy, nutty, quarter-inch thin crust that’s heavily spread with creative toppings before the cheese goes on at the end. Funky pizza flavors like taco, short rib and even chili cheese curd accompany the more classic options, like sausage, on the menu.