Back in 2015, St. Charles Saloon took over from a defunct brewery, and began serving some of the tastiest pizza in Tuolumne County, in a Gold Rush building, located in historic Columbia State Park, in Columbia, CA. Word quickly spread about the quality, and the sheer "goodness" of their pizza, and today, St. Charles Saloon is known all over California, and maybe the entire country, for dishing out some of the best pizza on earth.
As with all of reviews that I publish, I have no affiliation with the restaurant reviewed, and there is no monetary gain on my part, as I am simply a person who likes to eat, and I love to write-up, and publish my dining experiences.
Photo: It's late in the afternoon on Wednesday, July 03, 2019, and I've arrived at St. Charles Saloon, located in historic Columbia, CA, to enjoy one of their legendary pizzas, along with a cold beer or two.
The building dates back to the California Gold Rush, and it's an 1850's vintage building. Over the many years, it's been a building of many uses, as it's served as a grocery store, saloon, brewery, and various restaurants. The current pizza restaurant has been located in this historic building since 2015, and they have definitely hit the greater Sonora area by storm, and have crafted a reputation as serving the best pizza in Tuolumne County, and maybe even the world.
Photo: As you walk in the door, the first thing you'll notice is the full-service bar. The decor could be described as "gold rush" or "old west," in keeping with historic Columbia. There are many mounted deer, elk and antelope on the walls, and the dining room is actually heated by a period wood-burning stove.
Photo: The full-service bar has lots of cold beer on tap, mirrors, and I'm surprised the photographer's photo isn't reflected in the mirror.
Photo: The dining room, and the bar, are nearly full on this late Wednesday evening, with locals and tourists alike. The reputation of the delicious pizza served by this fine restaurant has spread like the discovery of gold in California, back in 1849, and connoisseurs of fine pizza come from all over the area, and the state, to enjoy one of the amazing pizzas served at this fine restaurant.
Photo: A look from the back of the busy restaurant towards the front door. If you love some of the best pizza in Tuolumne County, and maybe the world, you've come to the right place.
Photo: The deer mounted above the bar wears many hats, along with a rifle, and his companion jackalope seems to approve.
Photo: The early evening temperature was in the mid 80's, which made for perfect dining on the shady patio.
Photo: The "Signature Pizzas" section of the menu offers many house specialties, and they all looked amazing to me. If you can't make up your mind, you can always order a "half and half" or custom create a pizza from the "Build Your Pizza" section of the menu. My choice tonight was the "Columbian," as it looked to be what I had in mind.
Photo: As I waited for my pizza to arrive, I sipped an icy cold quart of "San Diego" IPA beer, brewed by Alpine Brewing Company, which was a real treat for me, as I normally order a more "mainstream" lager from the tap.
I was able to enjoy the beer, as I was camped less than a 10-minute walk from this fine restaurant, so driving wasn't an option.
Photo: Meet Joel, my friendly server, who rings a frosty mug of "San Diego" IPA beer to my table, with a smile. He later brought my pizza, but I wasn't able to capture the "moment."
The "San Diego" IPA tasted so good that I ordered a second mug of this amazing beer. Alpine Brewing Co. has the catchy motto of "Home of Pure Hoppiness," which really describes their amazing beer.
Photo: Thanks, Joel, for snapping my photo, as I have a frosty cold mug of IPA and a "Columbian" pizza to enjoy. It's a 10-minute walk back to camp, so I'm worry free.
Photo: I pondered the "Signature Pizzas" section of the menu, and made the decision to go with a personal size "Columbian," pizza as it sounded like what I had in mind, and after all, I was dining in Columbia tonight. This amazing pizza turned out to be an excellent choice, but I suspect any pizza on the menu would be amazing, and would delight anybody who loves a superior pizza.
"Columbian" includes horseradish cream sauce, salami, mushrooms, diced red onion, and sausage. All the "pizza goodness" resides on a crispy, perfectly baked crust. Besides the horseradish cream sauce, I suspect there's lots of gooey cheese, as the pizza tasted cheesy, and wonderful, melted cheese oozed out with every bite.
One bite of this superior pizza will tell you that this isn't your daddy's pizza, chain restaurant pizza, or the takeout kind that you order over this phone. On your first bite, you'll be amazed at the fresh salami, sausage, sauce, cheese, mushrooms, and the diced red onions that have a little "crunch" to them. All ingredients are super fresh, they work well together, and combined, they make a unique pizza experience. Place all of that perfectly cooked "goodness" on a crust that's crispy where is should be, tender where it needs to be, and holds together so you can enjoy your pizza, the way a perfect pizza is made to be enjoyed.
Folks, if you love pizza, after the first bite, you'll think you've died and gone to pizza heaven. This pizza is THAT GOOD!
Everything that I've heard about the fine pizza served at St. Charles Saloon is true; no wonder Tuolumne County diners who appreciate fine cuisine rave about this pizza. This was one of the best, if not THE best pizzas that I've ever eaten! My only regret is that I ordered a "personal " size, as I could have eaten a "small" pizza all by myself.
Photo: Close-up of a slice of "Columbian," as baked at St. Charles Saloon, located in historic Columbia, CA. It's definitely the best pizza in Tuolumne County, and maybe even the world.
I can't say for sure in St. Charles Saloon makes the "best" pizza in the word, but I DO know their pizza is simply amazing, and is definitely one of the finest pizzas that I've ever the pleasure to enjoy. It's worth the drive from ANYWHERE to enjoy one of these delicious pies. Amazing pizza, friendly service and Gold Rush atmosphere combine to make a "foodie" visit to St. Charles Saloon a "must do," for anybody who appreciates a superior pizza.
St. Charles Saloon
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