If you love pizza, you need to discover Il Focolare in Columbia’s hoppin’ Cottontown neighborhood.
The pizza joint Columbia didn’t know it was missing is owned by brilliant chef team Sarah Simmons and Aaron Hoskins, who also own The Vista’s smallSUGAR. The pair have brought the best pizza in Columbia to a tiny, 80s/90s-themed, hole-in-the-wall that always smells like heaven.
We first sunk our teeth into the goods at Il Focolare during their soft opening, when their open hours were still just rumors and there was brown paper taped to the windows, inspiring my four-year-old to refer to it as “Secret Pizza” to this day.
The menu is small, well-curated, and unlike anything you’ll find at any other pizza spot in town. They also serve good wine and a handful of interesting small plates. The space is tiny, so you’ll want to get there as close to the 5 p.m. opening as possible to guarantee yourself a table. (Trust me, they fill up fast.)
Some of our favorites include the mushroom pizza, which is laden with local mushrooms, cheeses, and fresh herbs, and the spicy double pepperoni, which includes two kinds of pepperoni and house-pickled hot peppers. The ingredients are always premium, so you can’t go wrong no matter what you choose.
If you want to order takeout, you’ll have to place the order in-person and chill at the bar; the restaurant doesn’t have a phone.
Il Focolare is located at 2150 Sumter Street in Columbia.
They are open:
Sunday – Tuesday, 5 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Wednesday – Saturday, 5 p.m. – 10 p.m.