Image: Hank Drew

JUST A HALF-DOZEN years ago, Seattle was a middlin’ pizza town, dominated by an omnipresent delivery giant and a few nostalgic independents. Fast-forward to the present and suddenly everybody’s default dial-a-dinner is the subject of rapt attention and furious loyalties.

So we set out to make sense of the pie profusion. We call it the Great Seattle Pizza Smackdown.

First we ate and ate (and ate), culling the myriad contenders down to a manageable couple dozen. Then we divided rivals by type, mindful that a crackling Neapolitan slice and a puffy beer-crusted pie are barely even the same food. And we let regional tics inform the selections. The city that launched a thousand Greek-style pizza joints has barely a Chicago-style deep-dish slice to be found. Go figure.

Oh, there will be arguments. And that’s as it should be; pizza’s a rough-and-tumble kind of food. But know this: Just like the old saw goes, pizza really is like sex—even when it’s bad, it’s still pretty damn good.