This one goes out to some friends of mine.

Last week we put together an impromptu Great Pizza Hunt and after waiting far long than I should I’m going to post my review of Zio’s Pizzeria and the one I have received. If you were there, and you know who you are, either send me your quick review or post it in the comments and I’ll see that it gets added.

Now, I say to you who want to go again — where to next?

As this has the potential to go long, all this will be after the jump.

My Review: I went in calling Zio’s the best pizza in four states and man if they didn’t do everything in their power to disprove this. I went with a 4-topper of pepperoni, green pepper, pineapple, and onion, and it was, as best, okay. I don’t know much about rating pizzas, but it was a bit soggy for my tastes, and unfortunately a little bland. It was, overall, a fine meal to be sure, and on any other night I would even call it enjoyable, but when you go out specifically to be wowed by pizza, and you get what I got, you can’t help but come away a little disappointed.

2 1/2 Stars.

Via Jessi Long, AIGA Nebraska Board Member

For some people pizza is about the cheese, for others it’s the crust or the sauce. In my opinion, its the overall culmination of flavors, textures and visual presentation of the slice. And while we all know, any pizza joint in the beef capitol of the world can kick out a really awesome hamburger pizza, I thought the real test would come when the establishments are tested against their rendition of the veggie.

Zio’s Veggie:

Zios boasts their toppings as “always fresh and bountiful” and indeed my veggie request came piled with sliced mushrooms, spinach leaves, white onions, green peppers and broccoli florets. This was covered with a perfectly tanned mozzarella and topped with glistening artichoke hearts. Definitely one to approach with a fork and knife. The first bite was deliciously warm with the meaty taste of mushrooms and the perfectly blanched crispness of the broccoli. As the sun shone bright on the patio, I knew this glorious veggie would trump all others.

But as glorious as the first bite was, it was quickly overshadowed as the Omaha breeze placed the darkening rainclouds over our patio. As I progressed on the slice, I found the mozzarella, when baked over fresh, water infused veggies formed a dome that, when heated, left the moisture to go nowhere but through the crust. In turn, this caused what little of the sauce that remained to run right off the slice before it was served. So now, well into the slice I was eating fresh produce on a soggy new-york style crust. Great veggies, but not glorious pizza.

So the questions remain. Would I order it again? Would I recommend it to a friend? I would order it again, but only sans spinach and onions. Recommendations might be a little more difficult to pull off at this point, since I wouldn’t order it straight off menu.

Zios rating for veggie slice (based on 5 star system)

Meh. I’ve experienced better. (2)