I remember the first time I saw someone eating a pizza with pineapple on it. My friend Nick was sitting in his living room in Buffalo with a sixer of Molson Export and Beverly Hills 90210 on the TV, eating a Hawaiian pizza from La Nova covered with thin-sliced ham and chunks of wet, yellow pineapple. I was horrified and, to console myself, drank most of his beer and ate all the leftover chicken wings in his fridge because I sure as hell wasn’t going anywhere near that abomination masquerading as a pizza.
I remember another place in upstate New York, right across the street from the second-floor apartment of another friend. It was a popular late-night joint for buck-and-a-quarter slices, populated almost exclusively by street-level dealers and shitfaced college types who would stagger in through the front doors, wheeze out an order to the tattooed and multiply-pierced assesinos working behind the counter, go back outside to puke in the gutter, then sit there on the curb waiting for their names to be called. Inside, just over the counter, there was a sign that said something along the lines of: NO PINEAPPLE, NO BBQ CHICKEN, NO SPROUTS, JUST PIZZA. That was my kind of joint.
And while Sazza -- the pizza place I review this week -- remains the polar opposite of that classic hole-in-the-wall dive I recall so fondly, it, too, has battled the odds (and my innate prejudices) to become my kind of joint as well. French onion pizza? Why not? Pizzas made with Peruvian mountain potato and apple? Bring it on. I even managed to get through a chicken-and-pineapple pizza without exploding -- which speaks either to my own expanding acceptance of pizza-world modernity (not fucking likely) or the surprising skill with which the guys in Sazza’s kitchen were able to assemble this pie.
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In the next Café section, there’s also news from Brad Birky over at SAME Café and a heads-up on Bruno’s, an Italian restaurant that has new ownership and a surprising new name in the kitchen. Finally, if you’re still not down with the hippie ‘za, in Second Helping I revisit one of Denver’s best purveyors of the classic, red-and-white New York thin: Anthony’s Pizza and Pasta. -- Jason "Hold the Chevre" Sheehan