Cheap Eats 2007: Mia’s Pizzas

With its mustard-yellow walls and bottles of Shiraz lining the blond wood shelves, Melissa Ballinger’s months-old upstart feels more Santa Cruz than Bethesda. But there’s a seriousness of purpose that belies the laid-back vibe.

Ballinger, who learned her craft in restaurants like Pizzeria Paradiso and 2 Amys, knows her stuff. Crusts are chewy and full of yeasty flavor, and toppings are good quality, whether mozzarella and pepperoni or Gruyère and ham. Salads such as a toss of arugula with sliced pears, or romaine with bleu cheese and beets, are brightly flavored and well balanced.

Although you’ll see kids clamoring for one of the cute cupcakes sitting on the pizza counter, save your calories—they taste like they come from a mix.

Open Tuesday through Sunday for lunch and dinner.

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