Iconic slices: Crozet Pizza comes to the Corner

Crozet Pizza is coming to the Corner on Elliewood Avenue sometime before Halloween. Now, that's pretty exciting news. The pizza is legendary, and students on the Corner are going to go nuts for it. But for those familiar with the Crozet Pizza story and with the particular mystique it holds, the arrival of another one, right in town, is more than exciting news– it's major, like a realignment of our little universe.

Indeed, the idea of Crozet Pizza duplicating itself in another location takes a little getting used to. You think Bodo's was slow to expand? Crozet Pizza has been in the same spot for 35 years. It's an iconic destination eatery. It's like the White Spot opening another White Spot in another college town.

For over three decades, a journey to Crozet Pizza has been a legendary rite of passage for students and newcomers. A big part of the mystique has always been the drive out to little Crozet for slices of the most divine, homemade pizza in a quirky, ramshackle building with a wood stove, well-worn booths, and walls of business cards and other memorabilia. Over the years, that mystique has put Crozet on the national map and landed the little pizzeria on a bunch of impressive "best of" lists, including National Geographic's travel guide, which dubbed it the best pizza in the world. Later, USAToday included Crozet Pizza in a list of 51 great American pizza parlors.

"It took awhile," says Mike Alexander, who owns Crozet Pizza with his wife, Colleen, "but I think we finally found the right place."

The right place is 20 Elliewood Avenue, which was the Buddhist Biker Bar & Grill for many years, and most recently The Backyard. Alexander says the old building has the features that will allow them to re-create the "same quirky vibe" as the Crozet store, plus a much needed addition: more space.

So while the "quirky vibe" may be the same, the experience (which Alexander characterizes as "hip without trying to be hip") will include a lot more seating, inside and out, and a full-bar for soaking in the Corner's nightlife.

"I think it's really going to make a big splash," says Alexander, who has partnered with Trinity owners Ryan Rooney and Kevin Badke. "We're prepared to be slammed for the first several months."

After some brainstorming, they've also come up with an official name: Crozet Pizza at the Buddhist Biker Bar, reviving what they believe was a cool venue.

"It will really be a tribute to my father-in-law," says Alexander, "who started the place in the mid-1970s, and turned it into a cool place."

Indeed, Bob Crum and his wife Karen officially opened Crozet Pizza in 1977, and Mr. Crum hand-made every pizza that was eaten there for the next 27 years. In 2004, the Crums passed the business on to their daughter, Colleen, and her husband.

"It was his baby," says Alexander. "I just tweaked a few things."

This latest tweak, a major expansion for the the business, is clearly something that Alexander hopes will turn into something bigger.

"We'd eventually like to open similar places in other college towns," he says. "But we'll launch on the Corner first and see what happens."


It's the place, not the pizza!

I've been to the Crozet location several times and have never understood the hype. I've never had a pizza there I would rate above a perfectly OK. "Divine" is an incredible exaggeration. There's almost as much nonsense fluff surrounding the place as there is around Peter Chang. I like the woodstove and I can see why someplace, anyplace, especially with what used to be a nice drive was exciting back when it opened, but I can't for the life of me see why anyone other than those within walking distance or a very short drive would bother now.

The White Spot hasn't been the same since Lyle sold it and they expanded the menu. It's just another counter diner now, which is fine in its own right, but it doesn't have some quality it used to for me.


You've been there "several" times? And you feel entitled to rag on a place that has had customers coming back for more for the last 35 years? Did it occur to you that you might be missing something? Maybe you don't understand the hype because you simply don't understand.

Agree that much of the magic is in the trip. With Christian's right around The Corner it will be interesting to see how magic the transplanted pizza seems in town.

I ordered a pie from Crozet pizza when I lived in that area and when I got it home there was a clump or RED hair on it!! Not a piece of hair, but a clump! Never went back and never will!

Gotta be better than that overpriced stuff at Mellow Mushroom. Anyone know where you can get just a greasy pepperonni pizza loaded with cheese for under 12 bucks? Charlottesville has the worst pizza of any college town I have ever seen.

It will add options, I guess, and at least this site will have beer, which the Crozet site didn't have last time i went there years ago. Hope they don't keep using cheap paper plates, though. Not sure how they think they will survive the absence of free parking at the Corner. And, no, Crozet Pizza won't be the best in town, or even in the neighborhood, as Christian's has it beat. Maybe the competition will force one of them to get bigger into delivery. Keep in mind -- the true devotees of CP seem to be non-Crozetians, while the locals out there instead generally opt for Sal's. Will Cvillians rever CP the same way if it doesn't involve the ceremonial trek out of town?

I wish Crozet pizza the best, but for my money, it's Dr. Ho's Humble Pie in North Garden. Lousy service, but a great pie.

I think these guys ripping off the Buddhist Biker name is a crime. I used to go there back in the day and it was my place. Knew all of the people and was treated well by the owner. Ripping off their name so you could somehow capitalize on someone else's hard work is horrible.

I also hope that the old owners sue to stop such treachery. Alexander and the Trinity guys should come up with their own ideas.

Crozet Pizza -- no pizzazz, all humdrum.

Walter White, try College Inn or Tip Top...

Cheapish good pizza: Fabio's on High St. I think it's $12.50 for a large with pepperoni, but the mediums are a couple of bucks cheaper and still pretty big. They also do slices.

Fabios is skimpy with the sauce and cheese. I will give Tip Top a try though. Best around is Frank's Pizza in Lexington, VA. Dr. Ho's was awesome, until they got new owners. Then the service went to heck along with the pizza.

I still haven't been to the place across from the JPA bridge. What's the word on that from people who have been?

Whole foods does two fresh made pizzas on Tuesday for one price. I got two pizzas with two toppings for $17 bucks. The pizzas are quite large too.

It's good ZA....I miss Barnaby's

Sal's 4 Life.

Barnaby's was the best!

Sadly, the today's Crozet Pizza is but a pale, tasteless shade of what it was when Bob and Karen Crum operated the place and Bob made every pie himself. Typical story, new owners change a tried and true formula to save a dime or put their personal stamp on the product, hire disinterested people to do the actual work, and the quality goes down. I ate at Crozet Pizza for 30 years, but no more.

God Bless Bob & Karen Crum! Why, I remember a time, you whippersnappers, when you could not get into Crozet Pizza without a reservation.

the pizza was once legendary, it is true!
it is not now, and that also is true!
crozet pizza the brand should stay in crozet, it should not be taken to the corner and called crozet pizza.

Wow, going head to head with Christian's Pizza? No comparison. At all. I don't think they have a chance.