Santa Cruz, California – Pizza My Heart

Restaurant: Pizza My Heart
Cuisine: Pizza/West Coast/American/Italian
Last visited: July 20, 2010
Location: Multiple locations in California
1116 Pacific Ave Ste B
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
Price Range:

1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: Tres Excellent!!

Food: 4.5 (based on few items I tried)
Service: n/a
Ambiance: n/a (I tried airport location)
Overall: n/a
Additional comments:

  • Family owned pizza chain
  • Since 1981
  • Very popular to locals
  • Award winning pizzas
  • Fresh ingredients
  • Some gourmet toppings
  • Home made, hand tossed dough
  • They let dough rise 36 hours
  • New York/Boston style pizza
  • Thin crust big slices pizza
  • Pizza by the slice or to-go
  • A bit expensive
  • Salads available
  • Lunch/Dinner

**Recommendations: Award winning pizzas: Big Sur, Virgin Creek, Watsonville Apple, Little Sur, Fort Point. The Steamer’s is also their famous clam pizza.

Pizza My Heart is a family owned pizza chain that started on the West coast of Capitola, California. It’s not the traditional Italian pizza but it’s more of a New York or Boston style pizza where the pies are massive, the slices are gigantic, the toppings are easy, and the crusts are thin yet foldable. This style of pizza isn’t that popular in Vancouver, BC and so far the only other one I’ve tried was at Home Slice Pizza in Austin, Texas. I made the stop to Pizza My Heart during my lay over in San Jose while waiting for my flight to Texas, so unfortunately I didn’t get to visit an actual location. Apparently the locals are crazy for Pizza My Heart and some call it California’s best pizza.

I actually didn’t know it was a pizza chain and I didn’t know about their award winning pizzas so I didn’t get to try any. Being at the airport location the menu was also limited to a select few. I’m not a calorie counter…obviously… but it was kind of annoying to see the calories listed beside the pizzas on the menu (they’re starting to do that at more more fast food places in the US). Locals find it reasonably priced, but I think $4 for a slice is pretty steep even considering the size… unless you order the pizzas whole, then it’s worth it.

Pizza My Heart really focuses on the dough and they allow it to rise 36+ hours before it’s hand tossed into a pizza. It’s actually really fun watching the staff hand toss the pizza dough because they’re huge! The toppings and flavours are not the basic ones, but they’re actually very west coast, Mediterranean and some what gourmet with clams, Feta, basil, apples  and clams appearing on the list. They offer meat, vegetarian and even breakfast pizzas and the ingredients are noticeably fresh with generous toppings.

On the table:

D’Lex Chicken & Bacon –

  • Chicken, Bacon, Mushrooms, Garlic, Green Onions in a White Sauce. Named after a favorite customer from Santa Cruz. $3.99USD
  • 12” – $17.50 14” – $22.25 18” – $27.75
  • This pizza has no tomato sauce and instead it’s a white sauce that resembles a bechamel sauce made from butter, flour and milk. They don’t go overboard with it, but it’s just enough to complement the loads of fresh ingredients they put on top.
  • I loved the nice big pieces of seasoned chicken breast, crispy salty bacon, refreshing green onions followed by nutty fresh garlic. A great combination!
  • The leopard spotting (leoparding) on the pizza was actually great!  But since it was made from one of those big stainless steel pizza deck ovens it didn’t have the authentic charred taste a firewood brick oven would give. Although I could see the leoparding the crust was a bit inconsistent with some parts crispier than others.
  • The leoparding was more impressive here than from Home Slice Pizza, but the crust from Home Slice Pizza was just better and more flavourful.
  • I think they also used some cornmeal to prevent the crust from sticking and it actually made it even more crunchy which I liked.

Maui Wowie – 4/6

  • Canadian Bacon & Pineapple $3.75USD
  • 12” – $14.75 14” – $18.75 18” – $23.75
  • This is ham and pineapple pizza, which I really like. They are super generous with the toppings and I like how they go on top of the cheese rather than underneath. I’ve never had a “Hawaiian pizza” with so many pineapples before. The pizzas actually don’t bake for very long as the pineapples don’t  brown, but are still warm and juicy.

  • I love how thin the crust is and they go easy on the cheese and sauce and really let the flavour and texture of the crust stand out.

Chicken Walnut Salad – 5/6

  • Mixed Baby Greens, Candied Walnuts, Chicken, Gorgonzola with our own Balsamic Dressing $5.35USD (Price increased?)
  • I know it’s just a pre-packaged chicken salad, but it was excellent and made with very fresh high quality ingredients! I’m sure it’s brought in daily. I’m not sure if it’s served like this in their actual stores though.
  • There was nice pieces of chicken, lots of sweet and sticky softly coated candied walnuts rolled in sesame seeds and a decent amount of gorgonzola cheese.
  • Everything is in whole pieces rather than crumbled up so you know exactly how much your getting.
  • The combination is great and the flavours are perfect with sweet, salty, tangy and nutty flavours.

  • The home made balsamic dressing is a highlight and it’s quite amazing. It’s super thick and creamy and sweet and tangy in flavour. It was almost like a balsamic glaze or reduction. It was delicious and they give you a lot… although a little goes a long way since the flavour is so intense.


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