June 2, 2023
Ithaca, NY | 72°F

Life & Culture

Ithaca pizza on a budget

Looking for a quick bite? Try a slice.

Pizza is an easy and enjoyable snack or meal for both your wallet and stomach, and Downtown Ithaca is full of convenient spots to stop. A hot and ready slice from Franco’s or Pat’s or a personal-sized pizza from Eta Pie — three budget-friendly pizzerias — will save money and time.  


Eta Pie $8.00 for an 8-inch pizza

A giant sign depicting a pizza pie on West Seneca Street marks the spot for Eta Pie. This on-trend vegan and gluten-free friendly pizzeria offers a large menu with easy ordering online. 

An 8-inch personal pizza with dairy or non-dairy cheese can be ready within thirty minutes. Dine-in is available, but there is less room for seating than Franco’s. Pies are also made to go if there is too much of a crowd. The pizza slices are less of the gooey fresh-out-of-the-oven feel that Franco’s offers, but what stands out is the sauce. 

If you’re picky with your sauce when it comes to pizza, Eta Pie offers a sweet, carefully crafted pizza base. It takes the team an hour and a half to slow cook their tomato base composed of plum tomatoes, sweet San Marzano juice, herbs and sugar. If that is not your thing, then Eta Pie offers plenty of other bases and you are in no way limited on your topping selections. If you have some cash to spare, Eta Pie offers exotic toppings like shrimp fra diavolo and fried oysters for an extra $2.50.

Order a drink and an 8-inch pie for a meal for just over or under $10, depending on toppings and your beverage choice. 


Franco Evola at Franco’s Pizzeria prepares dough behind the counter as customers wait to get their latest pizza fix. The atmosphere is perfect for dates or hanging out. Brendan Iannucci/The Ithacan

Franco’s Pizzeria $3.65 for a cheese slice

First up is Franco’s Pizzeria, located on West State Street.  

Upon entering, pies are being loaded on paddles and carefully placed in a brick oven. Music from the 50s and 60s is playing. And in the back of the dining area, there is a mural that says, in giant lettering, “Viva Italia.” The decor of checkered floors and the window seating with a street view gives it a cinematic feel — creating a perfect environment for dates or hangouts with friends. 

Behind the counter, fresh pizza pies await hungry customers. Franco’s authentic thin-crust pizza can come with 10 different toppings. The slices are larger than a face (most faces) and are served hot, ready and delivered straight to the table. 

A slice of cheese for just $3.65 along with a drink for $2.50 equals a meal for under $10. 

Owned and operated by two Italian brothers, Franco’s achieves that New York pizza taste with cheese that pulls into gooey string and a sauce that is carefully crafted with fresh herbs and tomatoes. Franco’s also offers gluten-free crust for those with food allergies and cannolis for dessert.



Tomato sauce is carefully laid out on top of dough at Pat’s Pizzeria: the perfect place for a quick stop. The familiar chain has multiple locations in Upstate New York. Leila Marcillo-Gómez/The Ithacan

Pat’s Pizzeria $4.50 for a cheese slice

Located on Elmira Road, Pat’s Pizzeria is a convenient stop after an afternoon spent running errands. Pat’s is a familiar pizza chain to many, as there are locations all over Upstate New York. Pat’s is comparable to many other pizza chains that offer uniformity in branding, product and service. But for this reason, the quality is lower than the two previous small and locally owned businesses.

Pat’s also offers that New York-style thin-crust pizza that many love. A cheese slice is $4.50. Slices are kept in a warmer — a little less tempting than Franco’s slices, which are reheated in a brick oven and come out still steaming. The cheese does not pull like string, but it is pizza nonetheless. The taste of the fresh herbs plus the bubbles and browning make for a yummy crust: little to complain about for a lunch that is under $5.