The other night, my lovely and affable niece, Karley, had to cancel Gina’s Pizza plans with me because she had to pick up her sister and my oldest niece, Tenley Molzahn, from the E News studio. Now, granted, since Tenley has achieved some level of fame after her stint on The Bachelor, we’ve all stepped in to try to accommodate her much busier lifestyle but Karley’s cancellation of Gina’s was a VERY BIG DEAL because there’s NOTHING like Gina’s Pizza in the world.

I was so ready for Gina’s Pizza, in fact, that I finally folded, called them and ordered a small pizza to go. Once your heart’s set on Gina’s, even steak and lobster pales in comparison. Ranked as one of my top five restaurants in town, Gina’s Pizza is where I take all my tourist friends and family – so, given that I have people in my “Ocean Skybox” about every 3rd week, you can imagine that I’ve had a lot of pizza at Gina’s. Honestly, I’ve never had a bad slice.

Yes, they offer all the basic and popular combos. Yes, they allow you to create your own pizza. Yes, they have great antipastos, salads and quite phenomenal pastas and sandwiches. They even have wings. And, though I’ve taste tested at least 15 dishes at this place, and though they really do have great food all around, I’ll say for the second time – there’s nothing like Gina’s Pizza in the world.

There are other perfectly fine Italian restaurants in town, and BJ’s and Z Pizza turn out quite respectable pizza fare, there’s no denying it. But Gina’s just seems to have more of that old-fashioned-heaping-toppings-just-enough-grease that keeps everyone coming back for more.

Maybe it’s the crust . . . or crusts, as you can order their famous “traditional,” or assuage your guilt with a whole grain or thin crust.

Maybe it’s the beachy atmosphere. Gina’s has 6 locations in Orange County, but 3 of them are here in Laguna Beach right where Mama Gina began turning out pizzas in the 1950s. My favorite stop is on PCH and the corner of Oak right in the middle of Laguna Beach because you have the option to sit outside on the long, bar-stooled patio and watch all the people go by. It also seems to be a primary hangout for surfers, skimboarders and all-around groms, so pre-teen and teen girls always enjoy my recommendation for this location.

Maybe it’s the fact that everyone working at any location I’ve been in seems to be having a good time there. In fact, even their delivery drivers are cool.

Whatever your excuse for Gina’s, just make sure you get in there. You can thank me later after you waddle your way home.

Where to find Gina’s Pizza in Laguna Beach

Gina’s has an “auxiliary” station at the Pageant of the Master’s grounds in the Canyon. (Thank God the art fans there have Gina’s “edible art” to sink their teeth into) but the other two Gina’s restaurants in town are more easily accessible. Gina’s Pizza in Laguna Beach North is on PCH and Boat Canyon (610 N. Coast Hiway) by the Pavilions grocery store. This is their largest restaurant and accommodates groups beautifully. The other, as I noted, is just south of Laguna’s downtown at Oak and PCH (1100 S. Coast Hiway).

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