You still suck.

Thrills are hard to come by in the suburbs, especially in winter. The weather’s been too warm to skitch off car bumpers, and Alan’s become focused on trapping a giant raccoon whom we suspect has colonized our deck. So Kate and I went way out on a limb last night and tried Domino’s new pizza.

I should say at this point that I was not a Domino’s hata. It was hardly ever my first choice, but I never thought it was all that awful, as long as you ordered pepperoni. Pepperoni is like chocolate — such a strong flavor that it makes up for deficiencies elsewhere in the product. We had a neighbor a while back in Fort Wayne who worked at the ice-cream plant there, and confided the corporate secret that chocolate is always made on Fridays, and what’s more, is made from the odd lots of the previous week. If you had a batch of butter pecan that didn’t quite measure up, you could salvage it by dumping chocolate into it and no one would be the wiser. (Obviously, this decision was made before the pecans were added.) Not long after that, I bought some chocolate ice cream with a distinct undertaste of cherry and knew he was right.

Since my default takeout pizza is pepperoni, I could always handle Domino’s in a pinch. They deliver fast, and — alone among the local offerings — actually seem to use their insulated heat pouches for something other than showing off on the doorstep.

Detroit is known as a pizza Mecca. Domino’s is headquartered in Ann Arbor; Little Caesar’s is here, along with Hungry Howie’s, a newer chain. Every other major chain store is here, too. We have a huge Italian population, so there are a gazillion mom-and-pop pizzerias, too. Almost all of it is inedible. Little Caesar’s in particular is insultingly bad, a fact they seem to acknowledge with their relentless price-cutting; you can get a large one-topping for $5, and the only time I ever buy it is if I have to feed Kate and her friends. I think the problem is me — I’m just done with cheap pizza. If it’s not a hand-crafted Wolfgang Puck-style offering with fresh tomato, mozzarella and basil, it’s only fuel for a night when I don’t feel like cooking.

But I was interested in how Domino’s had reinvented their basic product, after taking the step of essentially confessing, “We suck.” So I ordered. The pizza came quickly. It was nice and hot. And it was awful. Really.

It still wasn’t as bad as Little Caesar’s, but it opened a whole new vista of bad — the brushed-with-flavorful-garlic-seasoning crust tasted and felt like garlic salt swimming in a bath of oil. I had to wash my hands twice before I dared touch anything afterward. Sauce meh, cheese meh and everything else, SALT SALT SALT SALT SALT. I like salt, so this was a revelation. This was pizza for a generation raised on Taco Bell and pork rinds. This was pizza for those with no taste buds left to corrupt. If pizza was liquor, this was moonshine. And so on.

David Brandon, Domino’s CEO, recently made news by giving up pizza to become the new athletic director at the University of Michigan. To which I’d say: Good career move.

Just try not to do to the Wolverines what you did to a large pepperoni. Although you could argue that they’re already the Little Caesar’s of Big 10 football. Nowhere to go but up.

Looks like Massachusetts is going to be a loser for the Democrats today. Martha Coakley has no one to blame but herself, another blue-state Democrat who thought she was attending a coronation, not an election. What it means for health care reform? (Shrug.) Talking Points Memo lays out a few strategies. The GOP conventional wisdom is that this is a “referendum” on Obama, but I’m sticking with the more conventional cliché, about all politics being local. Coakley was a terrible candidate with a nose-in-the-air sense of herself, and the sooner people like that learn the necessary correction, the better. Scott Brown is of a piece with the current GOP — dumb and obstructionist — and I’m at the point of thinking, if this is the government you guys want, maybe it’s the government we deserve. Sure hope you don’t lose your health insurance.

What can you do? Order more bad pizza.

Looks like we’re heading into another rash of high-profile exits. Kate McGarrigle yesterday. Dennis Hopper, soon. (He’s said to be “in his last days,” but wants to divorce his wife first. Hmm.) Who’s No. 3?

And now it’s 10:30, and I’ve blown deadline yet again. Time to hop to the shower and prepare for the rest of the day.

Posted at 10:35 am in Popculch |
 

102 responses to “You still suck.”

  1. whitebeard said on January 19, 2010 at 10:57 am

    No, No, No. You are wrong about Domino’s, Little Ceasars, mom-and-pop pizzas; I stayed at a hotel in Saint john, New Brunswick, and they had a new special pizza on the room service menu. It turned out to be a hard flat bread with skimpy lumps of what could have been tomato sauce, but no cheese, no pepperoni, nothing as garnish to liven it up. When I complained, the restaurant said, “but that’s way that everyone likes it here in this city.”
    No surgery date yet, but soon I hope; surgeon has note on his desk to call me today.

  2. blue flea said on January 19, 2010 at 11:00 am

    Oh no, Kate McGarrigle… I am really sorry to hear that.

  3. coozledad said on January 19, 2010 at 11:07 am

    The electorate here is like some battered biker chick waiting to another pair of incisors popped out of her head.
    It’s been awhile since Mass. got a good rogering. Naked boy ‘ll give it to them.

    I notice Ol’ Jonah Goldberg Yesterday referring to Bill Clinton as “a prostitute with good teeth”, which begs the question, did Lucianne remove her dentures before humming LBJ?

  4. Dorothy said on January 19, 2010 at 11:12 am

    Thank you for saving me some $$ on Domino’s. We went to Pittsburgh two weeks ago and came back, after visiting my mom in the hospital, with two large half-baked Mineo’s pies. Mineo’s has frequently won Pittsburgh’s Favorite Pizza via Pittsburgh Magazine readers. The pizza around here (in Ohio) truly sucks. We’re going to have to do this take-home of half-baked pies more often. It was heavenly.

  5. Peter said on January 19, 2010 at 11:34 am

    Thanks for the heads-up on Domino’s – I was going to give it a try, and I LUVS salt, but maybe I’ll take a pass.

    I think of Pizza Hut and Domino’s the same way I think about Subway – it isn’t bad, but it isn’t a pizza (or sub sandwich).

    However, my son and I tried Burt’s Place in Morton Grove last Friday. Some reviewers call the owners eccentric, and that may be an understatement. Apparently the regulars call their order in ahead, and are told when to show up for a table. If you just show up, you may get a pizza. Or not. The waitress (Burt’s wife) said that we couldn’t get a pizza for 90 minutes – the place was booked – even though only four tables out of the ten were occupied. As it turns out, the staff is Burt and the missus. If Burt runs out of an ingredient or gets tired, that’s it folks.

    The place is tiny and a throwback to the ’60’s counterculture (though it does have the six foot classroom slide rule), and only serves deep dish pizza, which I would give a B or B- – the crust is great but I’ve moved on to other types. I love the place because it seems like you’re eating at some time warp hangout, and I recommend it for no other reason than I think Burt’s living on borrowed time and I can’t imagine the place staying the same if he sells it to someone else.

  6. brian stouder said on January 19, 2010 at 11:37 am

    I think we had a Hungry Howie pizza when we were in Dearborn; also, there was a surprisingly good steak place (another chain place) in Holland; can’t remember the name, but it had a hybrid Hollywood/sports motif. We were somewhat doubtful about the place, but it turned out to be marvelous and we ate there twice.

    If you’re ever in Logansport, Indiana, then a pizza from Bruno’s is what you need. They have no dining room – it’s all carry-out. It’s a glass-fronted place no bigger than an old-fashion gas station, and they toss the dough right in front of you. The crust is probably their big secret; it’s marvelous. Aside from them,another great Logansport place is Mr Happyburger. The guy who owns it loves Coca-Cola; his restaurants literally showcase all sorts of vintage Coke memorabilia. Despite that Logansport has a major Pepsi bottling operation, you cannot get that stuff at Mr Happyburger. Interestingly, though, you also canNOT get Diet Coke. You can get de-caf Diect Coke (bleh) and umpteen other Coke products there – but Mr Happyburger his-own-self drinks decaf Diet Coke, and therefore THAT is what he will sell. (I’ve discussed that with him – but that’s another story)

    In Fort Wayne, we do a locally owned place (Raimondo’s) most often, with Pappa Johns batting cleanup (when their coupons are especially good). Frozen pizzas are getting better, too – if you jazz them up a little bit.

  7. LAMary said on January 19, 2010 at 11:39 am

    If you’re ever in LA, go to Casa Bianca in Eagle Rock. Mom and Pop second generation, and close enough to Occidental College that our Prez probably ate there at least once. The eggplant pizza is excellent, but even the plain cheese is great. They also have the best collection of celebrity photos ever. Ancient pictures of Ed Asner and Hope Lange as well as a recent photo of the guy who portrays the caveman in the insurance commercial.

  8. Mindy said on January 19, 2010 at 11:50 am

    Marco’s Pizza meets most of our pizza needs. We get the garden pizza with feta and ask them to add sausage. It never disappoints. The late Spriggy comes to mind when we call to order pizza because our Eli also senses that the call results in pizza even though we’ve never taunted him about it. He scrambles around the house and noses the basket where his leash is kept and then darts to the door expecting to ride along. I wish I knew the signs that tip him off.

  9. mark said on January 19, 2010 at 12:21 pm

    Domino’s marketing department is hard at work on a press release to counter your post. Still in the draft stage, but the essential points are:

    1. All taste buds are local;

    2. People who don’t like the new Domino’s pizza are dumb; and

    3. nn.com is typical of the obstructionists who want to deprive people of better pizza.

  10. Julie Robinson said on January 19, 2010 at 12:28 pm

    I must beg to differ; my Indiana Hoosiers will forever be the Little Caesar’s of Big Ten football.

    Since Pizzeria Uno closed there are no pizzerias in the Fort that we like so we have to get some good deep-dish everytime we visit our daughter in Chicago. About half the time I make it myself, with whole wheat crust using the breadmaker. Does anyone out there use a pizza stone? I’ve been thinking about trying one.

  11. Jean S said on January 19, 2010 at 12:33 pm

    pizza stone stays in the oven all the time around here. My only caution about them is, if you take it out of the oven and lean it up against something, make sure it’s stable, because it can break if it falls over in a big whump…

    Portland is a pizza mecca. Pizzacato, A Pizza Scholls, Hotlips, the list goes on. Even so, I usually make my own.

  12. Bob (not Greene) said on January 19, 2010 at 12:41 pm

    I don’t think I’ve had Domino’s pizza for 15 years. Here in the western Chicago burbs, the mom and pop places are uniformly better than the chains (who have a pretty low profile in our neck of the woods — Pizza Hut has all but disappeared). I’m not a giant fan of the deep dish stuff, and when I was growing up I never really even knew it existed until I went downtown to Gino’s East with friends during high school. Out in the burbs it was always thin crust pizza cut into little squares. I still prefer that.

  13. jcburns said on January 19, 2010 at 12:46 pm

    So Nancy…did you get your money back? (That was a big part of the marketing campaign…money back if not delighted.) Hoping you did, and let them know about all dimensions of the suckage.

  14. del said on January 19, 2010 at 12:51 pm

    A variation on pepperoni taking charge of lame pizza – try microwaving cold pepperoni pizza and then slathering with crumbled blue cheese.

    Warning: do not microwave with the blue cheese . . .

  15. mlberry said on January 19, 2010 at 12:56 pm

    Take your pick of the third celeb to die today: “Love Story” author Erich Segal or mystery novelist Robert B. Parker.

  16. Rana said on January 19, 2010 at 1:03 pm

    Haven’t had Dominos in years – word in college was that it was owned by a guy who donated lots of money to anti-choice organizations – so I’m glad to hear I wasn’t missing anything. Mostly we ordered Pizza Hut, but when I ordered it more recently, it was sort of soggy and a bit too sweet.

    The big complication here is that most of the local pizza places like to cut their pizza into squares, rather than wedges, which (I’m sorry, Bob) is an utter abomination. To get “normal” pizza (as opposed to what I think of as “Hoosier pizza”) you need to order from a place like Papa Johns, which I have discovered has a website where you can order your pizza online.

    Ordering pizza online. I guess I’m old enough to still find this peculiar and noteworthy, but I do appreciate the convenience. (It will remember your favorite combos for you, and your billing information, so all you have to do is check a box and hit send.)

    My parents, meanwhile, are big fans of made-to-order, cook-your-own pizzas. I forget the name of their local place (it’s a chain; they’re in Oregon), but if you have the time to cook them at home, those pizzas are quite reliably tasty.

  17. beb said on January 19, 2010 at 1:07 pm

    Here in Detroit delivery is a mystery so pizza is whatever’s close. Little Caesar’s is closest and we used to like them but, oh maybe a decade back, they changed their recipe spicying up their sauce so much that it burned out mouth. Maybe we’re wimps when it comes to hot spices, but that was it for Little Ceasar’s. For a while we went to Papa John’s but try finding a coupon for specials or even a menu of regular combinations. So now I’m as likely to order from a nearby storefront chain because its there. Because we like a lot of cheese we’re fond of Pizza Hut’s cheese in the crust pizza. And, for that matter the pizzas as Costco/Sam’s Club are pretty good for as cheap as they are.

    My favorite pizza came from somewhere in southwest Detroit. When I worked at the Sewage Plant there was a monthly pizza club. They ordered from somewhere a cheese pizza that came on a nice bready crust, nice sauce with a bunch of onions, lots of cheese, and enough oil rolling off the pieces to keep one unplugged for a week. It was heavenly. YMMV.

    I have MSNBC on in the background. Even though it is Noon-ish Eastern Time with the polls open for hours yet to come MSNBC is all but running Coakley obituary. So much for “fair and balanced.”

  18. Sue said on January 19, 2010 at 1:08 pm

    Sorry, Rana, but thin crust pizza cut in squares is the only way to go. I don’t think I saw wedges in the Chicago area until my 20s, mostly with the influx of national chains. Plus, you get those four tiny triangles with a square-cut pizza that everyone fights over, for some reason.
    Deep dish – wedges, obviously, with a plate very close by to catch everything.

  19. Jenflex said on January 19, 2010 at 1:09 pm

    Don’t for a second believe it’s good pizza, but it was memorable, anyway: Bruno’s Pizza in Oxford, Ohio. Home of the 50-cent-slice. Vaguely doughy with a hint of synthetic cheese-like rubber, and Italian seasoning you applied yourself. Sounds nasty, and it probably was, but after a night Uptown….

  20. Jason T. said on January 19, 2010 at 1:22 pm

    Pizza Hut, Little Caesar’s, Domino’s, etc., are suitable only for Little League teams and invalids who have never had fresh pizza made with real ingredients.

    I’m sure New Yorkers and Chicagoans would disagree, but Pittsburgh has surprisingly good pizza — maybe because we have a large Italian population, and we started to get our first pizza places by the 1940s.

    Vincent’s on Ardmore Boulevard is probably the best thin-crust pie in the city. As Dorothy mentioned, Mineo’s in Squirrel Hill does a terrific pie, too.

    I’m partial to Luciano’s in McKeesport, which makes the best “doughy” crust around here, and has the best white pizza I’ve ever tasted anywhere.

    I’ve also gotten two pies recently from a little hole-in-the-wall on North Craig Street, near Pitt and CMU, which were outstanding.

  21. Julie Robinson said on January 19, 2010 at 1:24 pm

    Noble Roman’s was a small pizza chain in Bloomington that later had a FW location. They had great deep-dish, whole wheat crust pizza that was cut in squares. It was fantastic pizza, and I’m not sure what happened to the chain, but I sure do miss them. Squares vs. slices is just a distraction; I just care about the taste.

  22. alex said on January 19, 2010 at 1:27 pm

    After seeing the YouTube video last year of the Domino’s employee wiping his ass on bread sticks and smearing snot on pizzas, I wouldn’t order pizza or food of any kind from any place that is staffed by no more than a handful of resentful minimum-wage grunts.

    Last time I ordered Domino’s I lived in Chicago. They were some two hours late with the order and they gave us the wrong food. We took the food and refused to pay for it, which led to a huffy encounter on the phone with the manager of the restaurant, who told us that’s not how it works. We would get our “free” pizza with our next order. I assured them there wouldn’t be a next order.

  23. Sue said on January 19, 2010 at 1:27 pm

    Julie, how do you cut a deep dish pizza in squares? Are we talking the same, 3 – 4 inch deep, crust up the sides of a high-backed pan and packed with a lot of sauce and gooey stuff?

  24. Bob (not Greene) said on January 19, 2010 at 1:30 pm

    Rana,

    Domino’s owner Tom Monaghan created this little slice of bizarroland in Florida.

    Jeb Bush, in a shocking turn of events, will give the keynote address at the law school (canonical law I’m assuming) commencement this spring.

    Here’s a blog tracking developments there

  25. MichaelG said on January 19, 2010 at 1:32 pm

    There are any number of good to excellent locally owned pizza places here in Sacto and probably most everywhere else. I can’t think of a reason to patronize a chain other than maybe delivery. Chuck-E-Cheese anybody?

  26. MarkH said on January 19, 2010 at 1:32 pm

    Jason — Is Pinchera’s (sp?) still there? It was when I lived in the South Hills. Excellent.

    EDIT — The crust is the thing with me lately: thin crust only. A thicker crust is ok if it’s done right. I’ve never had a problem with Domino’s (as Brian said, it’s a great clean-up hitter), as long as the ingredients are right to make up for deficiencies. While at OSU 35+ years ago, a guilty pleasure was Connie’s on north campus; far from the best, but they delivered till 4:00AM. Here in Jackson, it’s Mountain High Pizza Pie. A little pricy, but a great crust, all fresh ingredients (which seals the deal) and a terrific large build-your-own menu.

  27. mark said on January 19, 2010 at 1:38 pm

    Ave Maria is bizzaroland?

    Yes, the history of church affiliated higher education is a dismal, awful story. Particularly the Catholic Church. You’ll never get a Harvard, Yale, Notre Dame or Georgetown that way.

    And how can you feel anything but revulsion for a man who donates millions to his church and higher education?

    We’re just lucky the churches never got into building hospitals or caring for the poor. That would really be terrible.

  28. Jason T. said on January 19, 2010 at 1:39 pm

    Alas, MarkH, a 2001 article from the Post-Gazette indicates Pinchera’s is closed. That’s one I never made it to.

    I just can’t imagine how chain “Italian” restaurants (like Olive Garden) stay in business in Pittsburgh. Almost every neighborhood here has at least one really good Italian restaurant or pizzeria.

    I have a hard time getting edible Mexican food, but Italian? No prob.

  29. Jean S said on January 19, 2010 at 1:39 pm

    No. 3 might be Erich Segal…

  30. Little Bird said on January 19, 2010 at 1:43 pm

    I have had a number of friends that have worked or currently work in a Domino’s Pizza shop. None of them eat the product. I hate the stuff too. St. Louis has their own take on pizza with super thin crusts and provel cheese. It tastes… odd, and sticks to your teeth. Thank god for Chicago pizzarias!!

  31. MarkH said on January 19, 2010 at 1:46 pm

    Thanks, Jason (sniff), Pinchera’s was a family favorite. And you’re right about both pizza and Italian in general in Pgh. Olive Garden? Meh.

  32. jcburns said on January 19, 2010 at 1:48 pm

    Since this is the nexus of all things Michigan, Michigan weapons company Trijicon takes flak over soldiers’ rifle scopes branded with Bible verses ..!?

  33. alex said on January 19, 2010 at 2:04 pm

    Ave Maria is bizzaroland?

    mark, if you’d taken any trouble to read about it, even you might reach the same conclusion. Monaghan seems to think he can set up a town that isn’t subject to the rule of any law but its own, sort of a religious Ruby Ridge.

  34. Deborah said on January 19, 2010 at 2:08 pm

    Memorable pizzas I’ve had: Growing up in Miami, FL there was a great little Mom and Pop called Mary’s near where I lived, I will always judge pizza against that memory. In college there was a joint in Lincoln called Valentino’s. It was probably marginal but compared to midwestern school cafeteria food it was heavenly. Taos, New Mexico of all places has a great one called Outback Pizza it’s in an oddly placed building behind another building. This is going to contradict what I said a week or so ago, but Whole Foods has some pretty good pizza that you can order when you start shopping and pick up when your cart is full (and wallet emptied). There are a number of good ones in Chicago that I don’t remember the names of, but not Gino’s, a lot of people think Gino’s is good here, but I think the crust is terrible. The Gino’s on Rush was closed by the health department, too many rats inside. Gross.

  35. Jason T. said on January 19, 2010 at 2:09 pm

    Mark @26:

    No one (certainly not this Duquesne University fan) has anything against Catholic universities, per se.

    But Mr. Monaghan is constructing a fortress-like university which is also its own municipality, where no conflicting ideas are allowed, in apparent ignorance of the U.S. Bill of Rights.

    I’m the product of 14 years of Catholic and Episcopalian education, but I was also exposed to other people’s ideas and beliefs.

    Educating and housing and isolating Catholics (or any religion or ethnic groups) in little hot-houses where no conflicting information is allowed is not healthy for a democracy. (See also, Islamic fundamentalism.)

    I am a cradle Catholic, but I would put Ave Maria in the same category as Liberty University and Oral Roberts University as places to be viewed with skepticism, at best.

    Ave Maria is not in a class with such Catholic universities as Notre Dame, Duquesne, Xavier, etc., where debate of secular ideas is tolerated and generally encouraged.

  36. deb said on January 19, 2010 at 2:11 pm

    so sorry we’ve lost kate mcgarrigle. recommended listening, especially today: “DJ Serenade.” poignant choice lyric:

    it ain’t the lack of money that makes a fellow poor/it’s the footsteps of the one you love walkin’ out the door.

    on a lighter note, julie, i still have noble roman’s mug from a million years ago, a nice reminder of one of the best pizzas ever. but for my money, nothing tops chicago’s deep-dish pie from pizzeria uno. yum.

  37. Julie Robinson said on January 19, 2010 at 2:20 pm

    Sue, Noble Roman’s made their pizza in big rectangular pans, not round. With Pizzeria Uno, Giordano’s, Gino’s, and other locals, Chicago is blessed! We could never figure out why Uno’s closed–it was always busy, busy, busy. Gross management incompetence was all we could figure.

  38. mark said on January 19, 2010 at 2:26 pm

    jason t and alex:

    I’m supposed to be outraged/concerned that Ave Maria is it’s own municipality? You mean like Notre Dame and dozens of other universities around the country? Or like Disney World? Do you think Notre Dame allows abortion clinics and strip clubs in it’s municipal boundaries?

    Ave Maria has been up and running for a couple of years, so no I can’t lump it in with the great Catholic universities. There is equally no basis for lumping it in with Liberty University or Islamic fundamentalism. There is substantial reason to think that the influence of the Catholic Church will be similar to the influence it has exercised at affiliated universities across the country.

  39. Deborah said on January 19, 2010 at 2:26 pm

    Speaking of rats: walking on my way home from work yesterday (after seeing Deepak Chopra on the street earlier) I was rounding the corner going past the Contemporary Art Museum where I saw about 5 or 6 rats munching on seed that someone had put out for the birds. I crossed the street as fast as I could.

  40. Jeff Borden said on January 19, 2010 at 2:36 pm

    Jason T. hits it out of the park.

    I am blessed to teach at a very Catholic university that takes very seriously the idea of being part of the community around it with no regard to religious, political, ethnic or racial background. I’ve no idea the religious makeup of the student body, but I assume they are overwhelmingly Catholic. Yet there are all manner of religions and cultures represented among my students. The university works diligently to be part of the urban neighborhood where I teach.

    Jason’s comparison to the fiefdoms built by Brothers Oral and Jerry and Pat is far more accurate than Mark’s equivalency with Notre Dame. Monaghan wants a Catholic city, populated by fellow Catholics with a taste for the kind of darker, older Catholicism favored by the likes of Pat Buchanan, with the Latin masses, the priest as imperious giver of God’s word, etc. and no room for that darned liberal ecumenism so loved by the greatest pope, John XXIII. In essence, he is building a religious-themed town like Disney’s Celebration, Florida.

    Monaghan can do what he wants with his money and I suppose Ave Maria is a lot more noble than throwing cash at multiple houses, exotic cars, etc. Yet there’s more than a whiff of megalomania about this project.

    Touring Celebration gave me the creeps. I believe I’d have a similar reaction to Ave Maria.

  41. Dexter said on January 19, 2010 at 2:39 pm

    Pizza dominating the thread–that’s good, enjoy the banter and the pizza, because the older you get the more it becomes unappealing.
    If only we could get Brooklyn-style pizza, thin bubbly crust pizza with hand made shredded Mozzarella and fresh basil leaves…well, I might still enjoy it. Brooklyn-style charred-crust pizza is best. The slice has to stand like a soldier, not droop .
    I met Tom Monaghan at Tiger Stadium…he had several security people with him as he awaited his elevator to his box. I am never shy around celebs, so I struck up an amiable conversation with him for probably all of 45 seconds.
    His is one of the most bizarre bios in all Michigan history. Started Domino’s in Ann Arbor, made it to the big-time, bought the Tigers, Drummond Island, the most expensive car in the world (a Bugatti in the 1980s), founded Ave Marie College (what a story that is in itself) and I suspect he isn’t done yet.

    Sorry to hear about Rufus’s mom dying. I don’t know much about Mom, but Rufus Wainwright is one mighty talent. I saw him on “Elvis Costello With…” and he was great. Jay Mohr (Gary Unmarried, CBS, Wednesdays, 8:30) Tweeted that he saw him live a few days ago and Jay just was totally moved by the show. Rufus, one former sex-and-drugs-crazed gay boy who now has gained the respect of millions of pop and classical-interpretation fans.

    I just heard about Dennis Hopper today…I heard he has advanced prostrate cancer. He will be missed.

  42. Jason T. said on January 19, 2010 at 2:42 pm

    Mark @ 38:

    The University of Notre Dame is certainly not a municipality. It is part of St. Joseph County, Ind.

    I work at a private university. We don’t allow strip clubs on our campus, either. But we are subject to the laws of the City of Pittsburgh, Allegheny County and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania — and they are subject to the U.S. and Pennsylvania constitutions.

    Mr. Monaghan wants it both ways. He wants to build a closed Catholic community, which is his right.

    But he also wants the authority of a civil government that can write and enforce its own laws.

    I say that’s theocracy, and I say to hell with it.

  43. Scout said on January 19, 2010 at 2:43 pm

    We never miss Gino’s when visiting Pat’s home stomping grounds. It is the only deep dish I ever cared for.

    Here in AZ the only chain I will bother with is NYPD – the classic cheese is like the slices I used to get at the Jersey shore on the boardwalk or in NYC. It’s really good.

    The rest of the chains are only there for slumber parties and post soccer games for kids. What we have here is probably some of the best woodfired pizzas in the country – Pizzaria Bianco, CIBO and The Parlor.

    At home I use mediterranean flat bread and make tasty little gourmet pies starting with fresh tomato and basil and then coming up with different combos like roasted red pepper, goat cheese and pine nuts.

    I am no so much a vegetarian as a pizzatarian.

  44. Dexter said on January 19, 2010 at 2:49 pm

    Every time a discussion about isolated education centers, like the ones brought up in the posts by Jeff Borden occurs, I think of parents who won’t let their children attend classes with peers, and educate them at the kitchen table.

    That always seems wrong to me, but my kids did well in public schools and 2 went on to degrees from state universities at Ohio State and U. of Toledo, and one from Lourdes College , Toledo. We never once even discussed home schooling. From where did this phenomenon rise?

  45. mark said on January 19, 2010 at 2:50 pm

    Sorry Jason, you are wrong. Notre Dame, Indiana is a separate, unincorporated municipality inside St. Joseph County. Even has it’s own police force. In Indiana, like most places, we allow municipalities, towns, townships and other forms of municipal government to exist within counties.

    Lots of universities have similar structures.

    And Jeff B, most Catholic Universities now offer mass celebrated in latin in addition to ordinary mass. It stems from something the Pope wrote in 2007 rather than something Pat Buchanan wanted.

  46. Jason T. said on January 19, 2010 at 2:54 pm

    No, Mark, you are wrong. For crying out loud, the very fact that it’s an “unincorporated community” means it’s not an municipal government! Good grief!

    We have a campus police force, too! That doesn’t make us a government.

    Honestly, I don’t want to have a flame war on our hostess’ website, so when you run out of straw men to flog, call me back.

    John 11:35!

  47. Dexter said on January 19, 2010 at 3:00 pm

    Mail addressed to the campus is mailed to “Notre Dame, Indiana”, not “South Bend, IN”. Notre Dame has its own post office. See how helpful I am?

  48. Colleen said on January 19, 2010 at 3:04 pm

    Stango’s pizza, Glen Cove NY. Been there at least 50 years.

    I miss Donato’s, from when I lived in Columbus. It was pretty good. In FW, Dick Freeland has Pizza Hut a cut above most PHs, and it’s pretty good.

    In FW, Oley’s is good, but I haven’t had it in years.

    Tonight is pizza night for us….probably Howie’s.

  49. Dorothy said on January 19, 2010 at 3:07 pm

    Pizza cut in squares is horrific to me. How does one divide it up equally? No one wants to eat the little narrow wedges that are mostly crust, no cheese and no pepperoni. Wedge shapes keep everything equal. I still remember being positively aghast the first time I saw squares when we moved to Cincinnati. I absolutely HATE having to ask around here for them to cut it into wedges.

    Jason please give up the name of the hole-in-the wall place in Shadyside!

    Donato’s is too expensive and doesn’t seem worth the price they charge. We had it a few weeks ago out of desperation, but $16.99 for a pepperoni pizza seems rather steep to me.

  50. Sue said on January 19, 2010 at 3:09 pm

    From Wikipedia, does this help?
    *As unincorporated communities do not have a municipal government, Notre Dame, Indiana’s government entities are the U.S. post office and the colleges’ police forces. All colleges and universities in Indiana are entitled to an independent police force by law.[1] The University of Notre Dame also has its own fire department and supplies its own water and power utilities, except University Village and Cripe Street Apartments, Notre Dame’s family and married housing get their electricity from AEP. The ZIP code for Notre Dame, Indiana is 46556.
    The United States Postal Service Notre Dame Post Office is located in the southwest corner of Hammes Mowbray Hall, west of East Gate along Juniper Road on the University of Notre Dame campus.[2][3][4]

    *In law, an unincorporated area is a region of land that is not a part of any municipality. To “incorporate” in this context means to form a municipal corporation, a city or town with its own government. Thus, an unincorporated community is usually not subject to or taxed by a municipal government. Such regions are generally administered by default as a part of larger administrative divisions, such as a township, borough, county, state, province, canton, parish, or country. Occasionally small towns disincorporate, such as when they become fiscally insolvent, and services become the responsibility of a higher administration. An example is Cabazon, California, which disincorporated in 1972.

  51. Jason T. said on January 19, 2010 at 3:15 pm

    Exactly, Sue. Lots of places have post offices but are not governments.

    “Bunola, Pa.” has its own post office, too, and even has a volunteer fire department, but there’s no such place as “the Town” or “Village” or “Borough” of Bunola. It’s a wide spot in the road in Forward Township, which is a municipality.

    The people of “Bunola” cannot write their own laws any more than my employer, a private university, can write any laws.

    To quote a great Catholic sociologist who served in the Nixon and Ford administrations: “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.”

  52. Little Bird said on January 19, 2010 at 3:19 pm

    Deborah, it’s Edwardo’s pizza we really like. Roughly 2 inches of cheese on that pizza, if not more! Their pizza is my idea of perfection.
    Uno’s and Due’s are both overrated, as is Girodannos (or however it’s spelled). But they are the most popular pizza places in Chicago.
    And the rats we saw were jumping a two foot “wall” with the greatest of ease, I STILL have the heebie-jeebies!

  53. Jason T. said on January 19, 2010 at 3:21 pm

    Dorothy @ 49:

    Finally, we’re back to the important matters — good places to get pizza!

    The hole-in-the-wall is actually in North Oakland, and it’s called Pizza Prima. It’s strictly carry-out, but it’s pretty darned good.

    Mention my name and get two bottles of pop for $2.50. (Regular price: $1.25 each.)

  54. Dorothy said on January 19, 2010 at 3:28 pm

    I’m not sure if we’ll ever be able to partake of Pizza Prima, Jason, since we are so fond of Mineo’s. But you never know. Thanks. I’ll store their phone number in my cell!

    Clarification in case it’s needed: I’m not against square pizzas being cut into square shapes to eat – it’s the round pizzas being cut into squares that chaps my ass. Just to be clear!

  55. mark said on January 19, 2010 at 3:45 pm

    Sue-

    It helps only a little. Unlike google, Indiana does not recognize “communities” as legal entities. We have towns and cities (both incorporated and unincorporated) and townships. We also have school towns and school cities. These designations afford greater autonomy and control (typically over land use issues) depending upon the designation. Title 36 of the Indiana Code would be the starting place if you cared to look.

    This is very common. Large enterprises like a new University or theme park want greater assurances that the surrounding area will not develop in a way antithetical to the purpose of the enterprise (strip clubs near a Catholic University or hog farms near a resort), subject only to the whims of a zoning board.

    This is not theocracy or Islamic fundamentalism. It is one of several ways in which restrictions are placed on the use of land and/or greater control and rights are given to large, facility-based enterprises that also qualify as a city or town.

  56. Sue said on January 19, 2010 at 3:54 pm

    The thing that gets me about unincorporated/township/municipal arrangements is the lack of understanding by the various residents of their own restrictions and benefits. City people complain about high taxes compared to an adjoining town, not understanding that they moved into an area with a higher service level – and also not necessarily willing to give up those services. Township residents can’t understand why they don’t have access to a City’s recycling center, swimming pool or library, not understanding that they are not in fact paying for those benefits. Unincorporated residents don’t understand that, guess what, the sheriff’s department has other areas to patrol and a longer wait for help is almost a given.
    Do your homework before you move into an area. You get the services you pay for, whether you think you should pay for them or not, and by the same token you don’t get the services you don’t pay for, either.

  57. Rana said on January 19, 2010 at 3:55 pm

    A point of further clarification is, I think, warranted.

    Ave Maria University is not the same thing as Ave Maria, the planned community affiliated with the university. If we’re going to compare apples to apples, perhaps we should keep that in mind.

    An article that clarifies the founder’s intentions, and the problems with that: http://www.newsweek.com/id/56899

    Notably, he wanted to keep out businesses that didn’t adhere to his religious beliefs, including pharmacies that provide contraception. Given that this is a town we’re talking about here, not a private corporation or institution, that’s more than a little problematic.

  58. nancy said on January 19, 2010 at 3:59 pm

    Leaving out incorporation or lack thereof, the best brief for what Monaghan did to screw up what had been a thriving little niche law school is laid out here. Short version: He thought he could run a university and law school the way he ran a pizza empire. He couldn’t.

  59. Joe Kobiela said on January 19, 2010 at 4:00 pm

    Surprised no one mentioned Pizza King. Use to live around the corner from the one on state and wells in Fort Wayne, it’s called Clara’s Pizza King. Mrs pilot Joe and I would order up a Royal Feast and walk over and pick it up. If you ate in you actually ordered by a phone at your table. They also had a porch swing at one table. Only bad thing is they seemed to get robbed about once a month. We have one hear in Auburn, But a local place called The Italian Grille makes the same pizza as a Royal and it is better. Same people used to run The Pizza King but went out on there own.
    Pilot Joe

  60. brian stouder said on January 19, 2010 at 4:14 pm

    Hey- the other day the Proprietress was wondering which three celebrities would keel over, and today we add the name Erich Segal; and I suppose if you love the guy, then his passing is nothing to be sorry about

  61. MarkH said on January 19, 2010 at 4:27 pm

    Pizza esoterica: I just remembered one of my favorite pizza places at OSU was on south campus. The short-lived Fertile Turtle. Not expensive; had great sandwiches, too. Just up 10th Avenue from Freddie’s, which was at 10th and Neil.

  62. Jen said on January 19, 2010 at 4:29 pm

    Ya beat me to it, dad! I love Pizza King, but my husband, unfortunately, doesn’t like it as well so we don’t go there very often. It’s really too bad, because I do love a good Royal Feast.

    It’s funny, because everybody has their go-to pizza place. My parents go to Italian Grille. My in-laws like Hungry Howie’s. My husband and I do Pizza Hut when we order out. Our group of friends get cheapo greasy pizzas from a place called Mama Mia’s in Fort Wayne when we get together. As one of my buddies says, “Even if it’s bad, it’s still pizza.” I still like a really good pizza (I’m a huuuuuge fan of Chicago deep-dish, for example), but it’s not something I get real snobby about.

    Now, “sit-down” restaurants, yes I do turn into a bit of a snob. My husband gets annoyed because I actively hate going to chain restaurants like Applebees and I’d rather go to local restaurants. Hey, if I’m paying that much money, I want something better than flown-in heated up stuff that you can get anywhere in the U.S.!

  63. A. Riley said on January 19, 2010 at 4:31 pm

    Someone way upthread mentioned Bruno’s Pizzeria in Logansport, Indiana — and I chime in Yes! Bruno’s has been there since God was in high school, at least, and they do make good pizza. Mr. Happy Burger (2 words) had the only decent drive-thru burgers in town for years. The original was in Eastgate Shopping Center on Route 24 on the east end of town; when I was in high school myself they built a second one on Route 24 on the west end of town. So high school kids with cars cruised from Hap’s East to Hap’s West and back again.

    Now that I live in Cook County, it’s either Edwardo’s stuffed spinach for thick crust, or Jim & Pete’s on North Avenue in Elmwood Park for thin crust. Why would anyone in Chicago order from Domino’s when there are hundreds of terrific local pizzerias?

  64. Sue said on January 19, 2010 at 4:36 pm

    Hey Chicago area people, is Jake’s still in the area? I remember it as good, greasy and fairly cheap. There was one in Palatine and I think one in Des Plaines, and lots of other places. If it’s still there, how has it held up?

  65. Rana said on January 19, 2010 at 4:44 pm

    Jen, an Applebees in Crawfordsville, Indiana, is about the worst chain restaurant I ever had the misfortune to eat in. Miserable, stale, oversalted… ugh. The runner up is a Red Lobster in Georgia that made my mother, who has a cast iron stomach and a stoic disposition, ill enough to miss breakfast the following day.

    I’m not entirely opposed to chains – Bob Evans is pretty good, and I have a soft spot for Denny’s after one Thanksgiving when they were the only restaurant in town that was open. Not only was the turkey dinner special good, but the wait staff was extraordinarily kind to their customers, most of whom were eating there alone. Sometimes though… let’s just say that my mother’s rule about being wary of eating in places with fake or (worse) dead plants is very good advice.

  66. Crabby said on January 19, 2010 at 5:28 pm

    Oh No, Paging Laura – Poe Toaster a no show

  67. Bob (not Greene) said on January 19, 2010 at 5:31 pm

    Sue,

    I remember Jake’s, but only remember going there once (it was way out west in Lombard or something). I seem to recall we got a barbecue chicken pizza, which was the most exotic thing I had ever encountered at the time. Barbecue sauce on a pizza? Who would’ve thought?

    And by the way, those corner pieces on square-cut pizzas? They are my favorite. I grab them as soon as I can.

    Mark, Sorry you’re getting so defensive about me bringing up Ave Maria. I don’t care if the guy wants to open his own private ultra-conservative Catholic university or law school. It’s the town of Ave Maria, which was nothing short of a proposed medieval city-state (too bad about the laws of the U.S. getting in the way) for the propagation of zealots, that I thought was bizarro.

  68. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 19, 2010 at 5:44 pm

    Noble Roman’s in Indiana is great deep dish in a hurry, and the big blobs of sauce were oddly (to me) what made it; my wife still pines for it. Not quite fast food, but almost.

    The Poe Toaster not showing up is a sign that the Mayans may be correct; I’m at least going to increase my holdings in gold and canned goods. Seriously, what is the world coming to when masked, caped strangers no longer show up with cognac and roses by dark of night in cemeteries? There are standards to be upheld here, darn it. But nevermore.

    Coakley, IMHO, lost when and because she said, on tape, “What do you think I should be doing? Standing outside Fenway Park in the freezing cold, shaking hands?” Game over, right there. Obama mocking the truck was just nails in the coffin — and who forgot to tell the boss “Sir, don’t mention the d4m2 truck. Just don’t go there. Let it go.”

    But Coakley lost it all on her own — the DNC #epicfail was not noticing until it was too late. Kaine’s head and others will roll, you’d think, but I’d have canned Steele months ago, so ask me not for advice political. Anyhow, I’ve got to drive to Baltimore tonight . . . if you want something done right . . .

  69. mark said on January 19, 2010 at 5:48 pm

    Bob-

    Sorry that I misunderstood your point, and took the thread in a direction you had not intended.

  70. Little Bird said on January 19, 2010 at 5:49 pm

    There is a Jakes on Superior at Rush or Wabash, but I’m not sure that it’s primarily a pizza joint. More like a sports bar, with a rather sizable menu, but still a sports bar.

  71. Jeff Borden said on January 19, 2010 at 6:09 pm

    If you have become sated by all this talk of pizza, and you want a great laugh at the expense of someone else, you might mosey over to the conservative film site, Big Hollywood, where some whelp who looks too young to shave is showcasing his listing of the 10 most overrated directors. If you have guessed he includes Ridley Scott because he directed that conservative bugaboo,”Thelma and Louise,” you are correct. But I doubt even those of you who still call yourselves conservatives will be unable to guess who is Numero Uno on the overrated list?

    Alfred Hitchcock.

    This poor schmuck says he cannot watch “Rear Window” without fast-forwarding. And here I put my DVD on slow whenever the ravishing Grace Kelly is onscreen.

  72. alex said on January 19, 2010 at 6:30 pm

    I remember the brouhaha over Gino’s on Rush—the one with the carvings in the booths—when Pam Zekman did a week-long restaurant expose in which she planted employees in restaurants and wired them with hidden cameras. Gino’s was so infested with rats it’s a wonder there was any food left to serve the public. An even bigger gross-out than the rats and roaches were some of the people working in various restaurants and some of the unsavory things they were doing while preparing food. Pam then invited the restaurant owners to sit down with her for interviews in which she ambushed them with the videos. Great sweeps week stuff.

    I was wracking my brain to think of a good pizza place and I just can’t. I’m pizzaed out. I never suggest it when I’m in a group trying to figure out where to go eat. About the only time I do pizza is when I’m outvoted. Likewise with Applebee’s and those kinds of places. Even here in little Fort Wayne there are so many better choices it’s unfathomable to me why anyone would choose Applebee’s. You couldn’t give me a free meal there.

  73. MichaelG said on January 19, 2010 at 6:31 pm

    Nancy asked who was going to be number three and Brian weighed in first with Erich Segal. A genuinely fine author did die in the person of Robert Parker. I, for one, will miss him.

  74. moe99 said on January 19, 2010 at 6:41 pm

    In Seattle, we have several decent local pizza chains: Garlic Jim’s and Pagliacci both are worthwhile. But I still pine for good Chicago deep dish pizza. Once got it delivered to me from an internet order. My boys still remember it fondly.

    ps. I know this is way OT, but the debate further upthread got me to wondering which Catholic order is responsible for administering Ave Maria Univ? I think the Jesuits are first rate in academics (Gonzaga is a great institution in my state), but don’t know much about the other orders.

  75. Cathy said on January 19, 2010 at 7:00 pm

    Jenflex- Ah, Bruno’s in Oxford. Don’t know your age but it was always good after a night of 3.2 beer. Or, order the beer and pizza in from SDS (Student Delivery Service), delivered directly to your dorm room!

  76. brian stouder said on January 19, 2010 at 7:46 pm

    Even here in lit­tle Fort Wayne there are so many bet­ter choices it’s unfath­omable to me why any­one would choose Applebee’s. You couldn’t give me a free meal there.

    Hah! And – no kidding – a few months ago Pam and I really did go to Applebee’s specifically because we had a free meal deal (I think she got a gift card or some such) and it was just no good.

    One of my all-time worst food experiences at a restaurant was at an Applebees in Morgantown, West Virginia. I had ordered ribs (admittedly a risk; most places cannot screw up a steak – but ribs are more omplex) – and they brought me a plate full of bone chips. They sliced (or sawed) the ribs into 1/4″ chips and slathered the whole mess in sauce.

    It was simply inedible; approaching it as if I were a meticulous coroner, I could manipulate my knife and fork such that – after much tedious exertion – a few morsels of meat made it to my mouth. If I had tried to pick the bone chips out of the coagulated sauce with my hands, I’d have ended up looking like one of the Proprietress’s marauding zombies.

    The place was packed (college town) and service was surly, and the choice was between wasting lots and lots of time, or simply pitching it out. (I chose “B”)

    As for Ave Maria/Monoghan – this sounds to me very much like Milton Hershey or George Pullman (et al) and their own efforts to recreate society in their own way, and in their own town. (Henry Ford seems to have been thinking along those lines, too; I suppose one way to view this as self-conciously powerful people trying to do something worthwhile)

    Mr Happy Burger – Bobby Shanks – is a very nice fellow; to this day, it’s not unusual to see him in one of his restaurants, greeting people and/or pitching in to serve customers (despite being “retired”)

  77. Kim said on January 19, 2010 at 8:15 pm

    Bob (not Greene) @67 – Jake’s is all over the western suburbs. You guys are killing me with the pizza talk. There is no pizza in VA – none at all worth eating, snobbish as it sounds. But I am just a consumer of Chicago pizza, not the maker, so I tell people who scoff it’s the makers who earned the right to make all us Chicagoans sounds like culinary snobs.

    The best thing about Chicago pizza is every neighborhood has its own spots and every spot has its own style. Crispy thin, sweet tomato sauce with oregano, thick bread bowl stuffed with Italian sausage, fresh tomato sauce and mozzarella. I have found nothing comparable since leaving, except maybe some pizzerias in NYC.

    For those of you in the western suburbs, try the Pizza Palace in Elmhurst. For thin crust or white pizza (or anything with ‘pizza’ in the name, really) in the city, Pat’s Pizza on Lincoln Ave. Now I am going to try to finish my work and hope my tears don’t jack this new laptop.

  78. Deborah said on January 19, 2010 at 8:33 pm

    My one and only Applebee’s experience was in suburban Tulsa, OK, after driving a long day from Abiquiu, New Mexico on our way home from our annual Christmas holiday when we lived in St. Louis. It was New Year’s eve we had checked into a motel and the only place we could find to eat in the area was an applebee’s. We had not eaten there before so didn’t completely know what we were in for, and we were mighty hungry. It was some of the worst food I’ve ever had, indifferent service, really bad lighting and sad ambiance. I spent the rest of the night guzzling water to overcome the salty, salty food.

    Our strategy now when we do road trips is to eat breakfasts at places that serve them all day. You can’t go wrong with pancakes and eggs. It’s pretty simple, greasy but simple.

  79. Little Bird said on January 19, 2010 at 8:36 pm

    Deborah, two words…. Waffle House.
    I think that was worse than the Applebee’s.

  80. Deborah said on January 19, 2010 at 9:04 pm

    Oh my God, you are right, the Waffle House somewhere in Georgia on our way driving to Miami to visit family for the Holidays (in my former life with Little Bird’s father). The waitress served my chili with her thumb in it. Why didn’t I just stick with waffles and eggs maybe? We called those places Awful Houses from then on.

  81. brian stouder said on January 19, 2010 at 9:12 pm

    Well, not to be unfair, but when a brand new Bob Evans opened hereabouts, we stopped in – and the table where we were seated had vomit splattered beneath it (unless Bob started serving pasta fagioli).

    We beat a hasty retreat

    (I won’t say that I will never ever set foot in one of those places again – but I will say that I have no such plan)

  82. alex said on January 19, 2010 at 9:14 pm

    Deborah, I lost my taste for Wendy’s when I was in college at IU Bloomington. I was waited on by a girl working both the kitchen and the register who had a hacking cough, positively pregnant whiteheads all over her face, which she kept itching, and a moist and greasy hand which she used for wiping her runny nostrils in between dipping into the vats of lettuce, onion, etc. After paying for the meal, out of politeness, I dropped it in the trash on my way out.

  83. Dorothy said on January 19, 2010 at 9:23 pm

    Kim – Chesapeake Virginia at 424 Battlefield Boulevard, Chesapeake VA. Outstanding pizza I promise you! Cogan’s in Ghent (Norfolk) is great,too.

  84. MichaelG said on January 19, 2010 at 10:20 pm

    After a day of pizza stuff here on nn.c I had to go out this eve and get me some. It’s been several months since I had any. I went to Masullo’s on Riverside and 2d Ave. The pizza (thin crust, the way I like it) was very good: tasty, crisp and yummy. A glass of a really nice wine and I’m back home. OK, two glasses. Without going into the numbers, it was expensive.

    Your travel education is amusing and right on, Deborah. I learned in college to go for breakfast as road food when traveling. No matter where you are, you can usually scare up some good breakfast.

  85. basset said on January 19, 2010 at 10:27 pm

    We used to go to the Noble Roman’s behind Willkie Quad in Bloomington just about every week; the dorms didn’t serve dinner on Sundays back then, might not still for all I know.

    I vaguely remember seeing a Noble Roman’s carryout display in a truck stop in Kentucky a few years ago, maybe they’re still going on that level.

  86. MarkH said on January 19, 2010 at 10:45 pm

    I must say I have not had the experience most of you have had at Applebee’s. I have been to several along the close-by I-15 corridor, Missoula, Idaho Falls, Salt Lake, St. George, and found the food quite good. The only inconsistencies were in the service, as you might expect. But, if I were Mr. Applebee, after reading some of these other comments, I would be dispatching hit squads to those locations for some mystery shopping and ass-kicking.

    EDIT — Brian, my understanding of Bob Evans restaurants is that they are policed very closely by regional higher-ups. I would hope your experience was the exception. But my experience was back in the day.

  87. Bob (not Greene) said on January 19, 2010 at 11:32 pm

    Kim,

    Does your last name begin with an “L”? Because if it does, I think we know each other.

  88. Denice B. said on January 20, 2010 at 12:25 am

    Pizza. It’s a misery to find a great one. Little Caesars? Yuck! Domino’s? Unthinkable! I liked Papa John’s but Brian didn’t like their lack of menu specials, as he wrote above. I like Jet’s Pizza in a pinch. I loved the Cloverleaf pizza, crunchy edges and loads of cheese at Gratiot at 10 Mile, Roseville, MI. I enjoy deep dish. Pizza Papolis is good too! Damn. It’s 12:30am and no pizza place worth eating at are closed.

  89. Linda said on January 20, 2010 at 8:03 am

    I’ve heard good things about Pizzapapolis (they just opened a new one in downtown Toledo). I keep eating at Appleby’s because my mom and nephew love it, and the food is always oversalted or dried out. The funny thing is, nobody eats at my favorite restaurant (sushi) because it’s “gross.” At least the food is fixed well, and tasty.

  90. Mike said on January 20, 2010 at 8:44 am

    While living in FW (07-08) we liked Oley’s. Haven’t had a good pizza since.

  91. derwood said on January 20, 2010 at 8:50 am

    A little late to the party. We tried the new Dominos last weekend and thought it was okay. Nothing to get excited about but it was better than other Dominos we have had in the past.

    In Indy we have a local chain: Bazbeaus…great great pizza!

    When we lived in the Fort Oleys was the pizza of choice. But the Freeland Pizza Huts are hard to beat.

    And for you Noble Romans lovers they are still around. There are two free standing restruants left in Indy and the one on the north side is 6 blocks from my house. We usually only grab the breadsticks at the drive-thru.

    daron

  92. brian stouder said on January 20, 2010 at 8:53 am

    Oley’s is good; and indeed, our best every-day Italian place – the local Casa chain – makes a great pizza. It’s my fall-back there when the various other offerings don’t appeal. Really, though, anything there is good, as long as you get the house salad (best in town)

  93. Peter said on January 20, 2010 at 9:00 am

    Little Bird at #52 – You mean Edwardo’s USED to be great. They’ve really slid. The saddest part is that they used to have an outlet on Howard Avenue in Rogers Park – the place had hydroponic tanks in the display windows where they grew their own herbs, and the stuffed pizza that must have had a pound of spinach in it – I miss it so!

    Kim at #77 – You are so right about Pat’s! It’s a really nice place to eat at. My only minor complaint is that the crust is so thin you really need to eat it there – I don’t think the pizza would hold up for more than a two mile drive.

    Dorothy – Thin crust: square pieces. Pan or stuffed: wedges. It’s in the Baltimore Catechism. Don’t make me send the Italian Inquisition after you.

    Re: Higher Education. Well, good time as any for The Official Joke of Rogers Park:

    If you have a baby boy and you want to know what he will be when he grows up, put the baby boy at one end of a room. At the other end place a bible, a bottle of wine, and a wallet.

    If the baby crawls towards the bible, he will be a priest.

    If the baby crawls towards the bottle of wine, he will be an alcoholic.

    If the baby crawls towards the wallet, he will be a banker.

    If the baby grabs all three, he’ll be a Jesuit.

    Don’t forget to take care of your waitress – she’s been taking care of you!

  94. basset said on January 20, 2010 at 9:27 am

    But only in Nashville can you get a pizza with raw bacon on the side…

    Change of topic: I have never seen Conan O’Brien’s show, or Jay Leno’s Tonight show, or his 10 pm disaster. This, though, is still funny:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lJ9m1an-pQ8

  95. Jim said on January 20, 2010 at 9:46 am

    Two years of living in New York ruined me for pizza. I had always been a devotee of Chicago-style, deep-dish pizza — until I had New York pizza. The kind you fold to eat. Not a lot of toppings (the more you put on, the worse it gets). Simple pepperoni at best. My favorites: Baybridge Pizza in Bayside, Queens, and Gigi’s Pizza in New Hyde Park.

    I’m also still a fan of Godfather’s, which you don’t see much anymore. I usually go there when I make a trip to Fort Dix.

    In Indiana, I liked Noble Roman’s and the now-defunct Flying Tomato at Ball State. Pizza King (with the squares) was also good. Ate there quite a bit in Auburn.

    Here in northern Virginia, you just can’t get decent pizza. Your options are the chain takeout places, which isn’t saying much.

  96. brian stouder said on January 20, 2010 at 11:14 am

    Bay­bridge Pizza in Bay­side

    The last time I was in in New York City was 1974 – so I truly know nothing; but my mom was born in Brooklyn, and always refers to Bayridge (she went to Bayridge highschool – up on a hill?)…unless Bayside is yet another neighborhood within Brooklyn…

  97. LAMary said on January 20, 2010 at 11:21 am

    I would like to add Elephant Bar and Mimi’s to the list of chains to avoid. I had some chicken salad at Mimi’s that had no taste whatsoever. None. I had fish and chips there once. The breading on the fish was burned and the center of the fish was raw. At Elephant Bar everything that is supposed to be Asian tastes exactly the same and no one ever finishes their plate. I have only been there with big groups and everyone walks out with a styrofoam box of soggy soy ginger vegetables/tofu/chicken/shrimp/soylent green.

  98. Jim said on January 20, 2010 at 12:47 pm

    Brian, Bayridge is indeed a neighborhood in Brooklyn. Bayside is a neighborhood in Queens. Baybridge is a shopping center in Bayside, so named because of its proximity to the Throgs Neck Bridge.

    Aren’t you glad we cleared this up?

  99. LAMary said on January 20, 2010 at 2:00 pm

    I always liked Bayside. There was a terrific bakery there with beautiful fancy cookies which also tasted good. I’ll think of the name eventually.

  100. Rana said on January 20, 2010 at 2:22 pm

    Oh, my, the Elephant Bar. That brings back memories – I had a French exchange student share my apartment one year when I was in grad school; she spoke little English, I spoke even less French, though over time she picked up enough in her courses for conversation. As the youngest child of a large family, she was reveling in the opportunity to do and experience things without familial supervision. She was, as a result, rather mystified by my insistence on staying home and studying. “R,” she would say, “Go wit’ me to the Elephahnt Bahr!” (The big attraction, as I understood it, was the giant cheap margaritas.)

  101. Jane said on January 30, 2010 at 11:51 am

    Even those mentioned places with bad pizza still use mozzarella, at least. “St. Louis-style” pizza is like a lavash with sauce and this horrid “cheese” called provel, that, despite sounding somewhat like provolone, is nothing like it, AND it sticks to your teeth. Another lovely feature is it’s round and cut into squares.