You'll have to drive to the small Iowa town of Adair to enjoy the best pizza in the state
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Looking for a great place to have pizza, Iowa? Well, hop into the car and drive to this little spot in Adair.
Global travel site Big 7 Travel recently revealed its list of The 50 Best Places for Pizza in America — one per state.
And Zipp's Pizzaria at 301 Audubon Street in Adair was recognized as the best place to have pizza in Iowa. The restaurant is located about an hour west of Des Moines off I-80.
"A fun and lively pizza joint that does hearty pies with regularly changing specials – right now we have our eye on their Pickle Pizza with garlic butter," the post read. "Thick and mega-cheesy, they also do frozen pies so you can enjoy them at home."
Results from each state were chosen from combined scores of votes cast by Big 7 Travel's 1.5 million-member social community and a panel of food judges who "scoured the tiny pizzerias, the family restaurants and the hip newcomers" to create this list.
"It's kind of humbling," said co-owner, Jim Zimmerline, 53. "I like all kinds of pizza and I don't think I'm the best. It's nice to be thought of that we're the best, but there are other places that I consider too. But it must mean you're doing something right. And it's free advertising. Nothing beats free advertising."
Zimmerline, who is also a photographer, owns the restaurant with his wife, Tammy, 53.
The Zimmerlines opened Zipp's in May 2012 with the goal of doing something different from the usual restaurant. "I had no clue what I was going to do, even with the pizza," Zimmerline said. "I got really lucky. My wife and I both did."
Pies are still made the same way now as in the beginning, with sausage and seasoning blends made in-house.
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Zipp's has gained a reputation for making one-of-a-kind pies like pickle wrap pizza and chili dog pizza, just to name a few. Crab rangoon pizza will be offered for the Lenten season and Zimmerline is currently contemplating mac and cheese pizza.
Zipp's unique pies
Here are a few other crazy concoctions you'll find on the menu:
- The Italian Stallion: Red sauce, capicola, hot salami, garlic sausage, Italian sausage, banana peppers, provolone, pepperoni, black pepper, granulated garlic, basil and oregano.
- The Whole Hog: A pork lovers' dream, this pizza is loaded with Italian, garlic and mild sausage, red sauce, capicola, provolone cheese, pepperoni and bacon. Then it's topped with Corky's Cookout Black Pepper Seasoning. The large version of this pie weighs in at five pounds.
"Living out in the sticks, as I call it, in Adair with 800 people in its population, we have gone the non-traditional way," Zimmerline said. "I have twenty to thirty specialty pizzas."
Pizza inspiration at Zipp's comes in many forms. Some pizzas are created by the Zimmerlines. Some pizzas are created by their staff of 30-40. Some are created by their customers, like the BLT pizza.
There's even a pizza created by the Zimmerlines' son, Cody, called the '23.' It's named for the number on his high school baseball jersey — finely-chopped jalapeños and garlic are pressed into the crust and then topped with red sauce, homemade garlic sausage, banana peppers, pepperoni, black pepper and granulated garlic.
"I always joke around that it takes 23 minutes to make the dang thing," Zimmerman said. "And it really does."
Pizzas start at $6 for an 8-inch thin crust; $8.50 for a 10-inch thin crust; $10.50 for a pan pizza; and $12.50 for a 14-inch thin crust. Prices go up from there for additional toppings and specialty combinations.
And if someone in your party is not in the mood for pizza, there are plenty of appetizers, salads, sandwiches and desserts to be had, including a homemade chocolate chip ice cream cookie sandwich with a choice of vanilla or chocolate ($2.75).
Beer and wine are available at Zipp's along with non-alcoholic beverages. And you can order margaritas either frozen or on the rocks with homemade sour mix.
The 65-seat restaurant fills up quickly, and there's an additional party room that seats up to 75.
Zipp's goes frozen
Zipp's has started selling frozen pies for takeout, which are $6 for a 12-inch thin crust with one topping:
- Canadian bacon
- Zipp's Special: mild sausage, onion and green pepper
- The Zipper: garlic sausage, provolone, black pepper and garlic
- Sausage and pepperoni
- Plain cheese
"We have people drive two hours just to eat pizza," Zimmerline said. "I never thought that would happen."
Throughout the years, local websites have recognized Zipp's for having amazing pizza like Travel Iowa in 2016 during March Madness, Only In Your State in 2018, a KCCI poll (for Travel Iowa) and several other local and national top ten lists.
Both of the Zimmerlines can be seen in the restaurant on a daily basis, Jim in the kitchen and Tammy in the dining room. Jim also owns a lawn care service — Jim's Lawn Care. Recently, he's been busy helping clear snow from the roadways while Tammy runs the restaurant.
"If I'm not there, she is," Zimmerline said. "She's the bread and butter. If it wasn't for her, it wouldn't be happening. And if it wasn't for my staff, it wouldn't be happening, either. I've got some really great help." Many people on the Zipp's staff have been employed for years, including Tammy's mother and sister.
Jim and Tammy Zimmerline grew up a block away from each other and graduated from Adair-Casey High School in the same year. The two have been married for 26 years.
Location: 301 Audubon St., Adair
Hours: Tuesday through Thursday, 5 -9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 5-10 p.m.; Sunday, 4-8 p.m.; closed Mondays.
Contact: (641) 742-3533; Facebook