Photo courtesy of Ciao! Facebook page

ITHACA, N.Y. — Ithaca based restaurant Ciao! has been ranked in the annual Hot 100 Independent Pizzerias List — a national ranking of pizzerias based on sales.

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Ciao! ranked No. 85 on the list, grossing $2,830,000, last year according to “Pizza Today” magazine, which compiles the annual list.

The restaurant — owned by Mark Campagnolo — ranked No. 94 last year, earning a spot on the list by beating out more than 38,000 independently owned pizzerias, General Manager Bill Oechslin said in an email.

Ciao! reportedly grossed $2,350,000 during its last ranking, according to the 2014 list. 

Jeremy White, “Pizza Today” editor-in-chief, said in a news release, “Making it here isn’t easy — it’s a testament to many factors such as great food and service, solid marketing and old-fashioned hard work. The pizzerias on our Hot 100 list have managed to really set themselves apart from the competition.”

Ciao! has been open since 2010 and is located at 2 Hickory Hollow Lane and open for lunch and dinner all week. 

Listed below are some Yelp reviews of the pizza:

1 —“Great food, good service and fair price. What else should you expect from an Italian restaurant?

We were served Italian bread as appetizers. I LOVE this kind of bread and they are really hard to find in Ithaca.

We shared pizzas, pasta and chicken wings. The pasta was a little greasy so I kept with the pizza. The pizza was great! ahhhh so good!

We also ordered a Chianti Classico wine (highly recommended to match with pizza). The waitress did know the formalities on how to serve the wine. I was impressed, because I did not expect that.”

2 — I loved ciao! What a great little place located just north of downtown ithaca.

The food and ambiance here is fantastic! For an appetizer we ordered stuffed hot peppers which where awesome, however I wish they gave you more than 2 of them for $6.00! For dinner we had the Tuscan sacchetti and the chicken pazzo pizza. The sacchetti was creamy and tasted amazing! We absolutely loved the dish! The pizza was great as well, fresh toppings, great tasting chicken and the dough was cooked perfect just as Woodfired pizza should taste like! I heard complaints about burnt pizza? Hmmm I’m not sure if people realize that’s what Woodfired pizza is, a pizza cooked on an open flame so of course your going to get dark spots! If you don’t like this style, don’t order it!

I’ll definitely be back here! This is a perfect dinner after the beer and wine stops!”

3 — “Ciao makes much of its wood-fired ovens and the char on the bottom of the pizza.  If you like that kind of pizza, as I do, this is a big selling point.  You want one of those thin and crispy pizzas that you can find only in New Haven or New York, or perhaps in a Grimaldi’s somewhere in the country.

Unfortunately, the pizza does not deliver on the promise. It is decent enough but just average.  It could be a bit thinner and does not have any char, at least the one I had.  It was all right, but nothing I could not have found in many pizzerias in New York State.

The other food, like the salad, lasagna, and calzones that my friends had, all looked good, and they all enjoyed the food.  The pasta fagiole was pretty flavorful as well.  

All in all, the food is good, but the pizza fails to blow me away.  I wouldn’t object to going again but would probably search for another restaurant the next time in Ithaca.”

4 — “Solid four star restaurant. The pizzas are good (if slightly overpriced) and the atmosphere is really nice. Feels like a nice local suburban place. Would definitely bring people here if they were visiting the area but didn’t want to head down to the Commons.

5 — Tasty pizza (they’re small though, so think one pizza for 2 people, not for 4), friendly service, vegetarian pasta options, yummy house salad, reasonable prices, comfortable seating area for families.

Bottom line: Nothing earth-shattering, but good for the price! Reminds me of Olive Garden. Will return.”

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Jolene Almendarez

Jolene Almendarez is Managing Editor at The Ithaca Voice. She can be reached at; you can learn more about her at the links in the top right of this box.