6.03.2009

We Heart Pizza

Growing up on the East Coast, I was fortunate enough to experience authentic New York-style pizza at a young age. For the uninitiated, a slice of this pizza boasts an impossibly thin crust that is crunchy on the edges. chewy in the middle, and flops under the perfect ratio of zesty sauce and molten cheese. My family moved to Utah when I was 11, and we soon realized that in doing so, we were exiling ourselves to a life of mediocre big chain pizza... or so it semed. For a long time we were resigned to dreaming about the good stuff and only getting occasional tastes on vacations. My brother Rob has even tried making it at home. Thankfully, it has become much easier to find good local pizzerias these days as other East Coast natives have relocated here and brought their pizza-making prowess with them.

Big Apple Pizzeria
Locations: Millcreek, Midvale

My sister Christie tipped us off on Big Apple Pizzeria when we moved to Sugar House. When I took my first bite, it was the first time I realized it was possible to have good New York-style pizza west of, well, the East. This is now my point of reference for all pizza I eat—is it as good as Big Apple? At one point Kristen and I stocked up on half price gift certificates from CityDeals.com, and ate here probably once a week for several months straight. We tried the garlic knots our first time dining in, and I don't think we have ever placed an order since that hasn't included them—they are a must. If you deem it worthy of repeat visits, definitely give the calzones a try. We don't get to eat here nearly as much as we would like since moving to the edge of civilization.

Este Pizzeria
Locations: Sugar House, Downtown Salt Lake

Not long after becoming addicted to Big Apple, we found Este Pizzeria hidden off 21st South and 9th East. It was as if we were suddenly in the midst of a booming thunderstorm after a long drought. We still slightly preferred Big Apple, but since Este was a lot closer to our old house, it won out when convenience was an issue. Either way, it was nice to have options.

NYPD Pizza
Location: Draper

NYPD is a growing franchise with locations in a handful of states (though New York isn't one of them). The first Utah location recently opened in Draper, so we just had to try it out. When you first walk in, you are greeted by the standard New York-themed decor on the walls. Anyone can hang tin subway signs and black and white photos of the Empire State Building, so how was the pizza? Well, it wouldn't have made the list if it wasn't good. We will definitely be going back.

The Pie Pizzeria
Locations: Salt Lake, Midvale, South Jordan, Ogden

I had long heard good things about The Pie, but was repeatedly underwhelmed by it. The crust was always too heavy, and it was overloaded with cheese and toppings. The problem, I soon realized, was that we were getting the "preferred by most" standard crust. So we gave The Pie yet another chance, this time ordering a cheese pizza on thin crust, and I was converted at last. A tip of the cap must go to the delicious cheese pull-a-parts (mozzarella-stuffed breadsticks) which kept us coming back in the first place.

Zeponie Pizza
Location: Centerville

While technically not New York-style, I have many fond memories of eating here, and the pizza is still pretty darn good in its own right. Zeponie first opened its doors when I was in high school. Located only a few blocks from my friend Spencer's house, and directly adjacent to 3-D Video, we quickly grew an attachment to the little place—not unlike Jerry with Babu's restaurant on Seinfeld (though we didn't recommend changing the menu to Pakistani). They were so strapped for business in the early days that the lone delivery guy would usually be sitting in the back corner of the restaurant watching TV when we would walk in. The dining area was simple—a handful of tables surrounded by forest green plastic lawn chairs, the aforementioned 19" TV, and Bram Stoker's Dracula pinball. Over the years Zeponie has gradually become a staple in the community, and I like to think we played a small part in that (the pizza might have also been a factor). They have since spiced up their decor with wall-to-wall laserdisc and record sleeves, and replaced the lawn chairs with honest-to-goodness booths. Unfortunately, Dracula pinball didn't survive the transition.

Finally, a single tear for Atlantic Pizza & Deli which I would frequent for lunch when I worked in Park City. I was all set to include it in this list until I discovered that it just closed recently. So what pizzerias do you recommend? I promise not to hold it against you if it isn't New York-style.

5 comments:

Eric and Shelene said...

If you ever make it down to Orem, there is a great place called Pizzeria 712 that has awesome thin crust pizza. It's on State Street and a little south of Center. You should check it out.

Christie said...

Of course big apple is our fave. I will also include a shout out to Luigi's back in Jersey :-). I share your feelings on the Pie. If we ever go again, I'll have to try the thin crust cheese. And I've also heard good things about 712, but since I never go to Utah county, haven't tried it.

Jessica said...

Ok I posted something but forgot to add something so I had to delete it! My cousin recommended Este on my blog after I posted about zeponie. I am gonna have to try Big apple. Apparently there is another really good one down in provo called Nicolitalia. Thanks for the great recommendations!! Perhaps I should give the pie a second chance...

I gotta give a shout out like Christie.. Mine is to bleeker street pizza in the village in NYC. :D

ScottBoomer said...

Davids Pizza on 200 North in Kaysville is really good. It's delivery or carry out only.
When we have pizza parties at the fire station thats where we usually get it from.
I espcially enjoy the chicken paremsian pizza.

Jess said...

Glad to see Zeponie made the list. In their days when, as you stated, they were strapped for business, you could get lunch combos for dirt cheap. The pizza wasn't too bad either.