Adriatico’s Chicken Pesto pizza. Credit: Michael Lee | Outreach and Engagement Editor

I’m not exactly sure what I was expecting when I walked into Adriatico’s.

Two to three times a month, I would order one large cheese and one large pepperoni pizza with the Sicilian (pan) crust for the student organization I am a part of: Society of Professional Journalists.

That was really all I knew of the pizza shop.

But when I stepped in, it was a lot different than I thought: a glass casing of various gelato flavors, a wide-open space with bar tables, normal-sized tables and booths and eight flat-screen TVs, most of them showing that night’s NCAA March Madness games.

I sat down at one of the booths as three other friends joined me to order some pizza. I was surprised to see so many other options than what I normally ordered for delivery when I opened the menu. So naturally, I built my own personal pizza with three toppings that probably shouldn’t go together: garlic, pineapple and onion. On the other hand, my friends ordered the Supremo, the Chicken Pesto and a Buffalo Chicken Zoni (basically a calzone).

A personal 8-inch pizza topped with pineapple, garlic and onion. Credit: Michael Lee | Outreach and Engagement Editor

Not only was there pizza, but, for those over 21, I was surprised to see a selection of craft beers, some local, from places like BrewDog and Seventh Son. Overall, the atmosphere felt a lot like if you combined a sports bar with a pizza parlor.

After about 40 minutes of waiting and watching basketball on the TVs, we received our food. When I took a bite, the taste was mostly the same as the cheese pizza I would order often for my student org, but fresh out of the oven with additional toppings.

The crust was nice and crisp, and the sauce-to-cheese ratio was pretty good, so I can understand why such a solid pizza was voted as Ohio State’s best.

Before leaving, I had to try the one thing I’ve never seen sold inside a pizza shop before: the gelato. For $3.25, I got two scoops, one scoop of chocolate chip cookie dough, and another of peanut butter cup — peanut butter ice cream with mini peanut butter cups.

It was luscious, milky and honestly could compete with some of the ice cream shops in Columbus.

In the end, to many students, Adriatico’s is just that free pizza you have at workshops, events, or your student org meetings. That’s probably why it was voted as the best pizza at Ohio State. But after experiencing it in the brick-and-mortar store, it really is so much more.