I don’t know when I exactly showed a love of pizza but I’ve always loved food. I try not to be the stereotype of a geek that lives off of pizza and Mountain Dew but I do love pizza (Mountain Dew is drinko f choice in these parts sadly. Would it kill someone around here to make a fucking Egg Cream?). I mean I like pizza, don’t get me wrong but seriously, I live in Toledo, Ohio. All the pizza in this town is utter shit. That’s right ALL OF IT! I grew up in New York City man, where you get pizza by the slice and that slice will do a good job of knocking out your hunger. In Toledo my options are limited but I live in a land of fucking heathern’s where Pizza Hut, FUCKING PIZZA HUT, is considered good pizza!
There is so much bad pizza in Toledo it makes physically ill. Pizza Hut, Pap John’s, Marco’s and Babmino’s seem to rule the roost and they are all crap. But the worst of the lot is Vito’s. How could a place with a good Italian name like ‘Vito’s Pizza’ be such utter shit? It boggles my fucking mind. Their crust thick and chewy and the cheese they use is just god awful. Yet people I know rave bout Vito’s like it was cooked by Jesus H. Christ himself. It is time for a serious wake-up call people. Vito’s pizza is the drizzling shits and if you mention it in the same breath as “Good pizza” you automatically make my list of people not to trust about food.
Even worse is that no pizza joint in this town believes in putting proper sausage on their pizza either. By proper sausage I refer to taking a whole sausage and slicing it into round slivers that are spread on the pizza in the same mannas pepperoni. Every place in Toledo suffers from what I call “crumble sausage fever”. It is all ground sauage that is drizzled on pizza like hamburger. God forbid if I could find someplace that will put sliced meatball on a pizza. Shit, the meatball pizza is a staple of any New York pizzeria. Wheter you’re in Manhattan proper, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx or Staten Island you can get a meatball pizza. Fuck I could go out to the farthest dregs of Long Island and get a meaball pizza. But not here in Toledo. Toledo makes us settle for ground hamburger and it even isn’t even seasoned ground hamburger. It wouldn’t be so bad if one or two places did this, but EVERY place does it and drives me crazy.
Fear not though, James Harris, New Yorker is here to save you all. To get good pizza in Toledo all you have to do is get out of Toledo and drive north my friends. Drive to the glorious college town of Ann Arbor. There you will find New York Pizza Depot, a sanctuary for good pizza in this heathen land where they have no metballs on their pizza. I first discovered this little slice of heaven (slice? Get it? Like a slice of pizza? Its a pun!) when a friend and I came up here for an anime screening way back in 1998. Anything with the name New York on it grabs my attention. You add the word ‘Pizza’ to it and I’m all over it. I walked in and immeadiately started having flashbacks to my childhood. It smelled like a right proper pizzeria and looked like one too. When I saw that they offered pizza by the slice I felt like I was back home. I went upto the counter and orderd 2 slices of pepperoni for myself and got a medium fountain drink.
When my slices came out they looked like how slices of pizza shoulkd look. Golden cheese melting with just a touch of light brown, indicating it was lightly overcooked. The crust was thin, crisp yet chewy but not doughy. The pepperoni was flavorful and spicy, something that is sorely lacking in all pizza in the city of Toledo. I swear all pizza places in Toledo all get their pepproni fro mthe same generic food supplier because it all tastes the same. I devoured my first slice, completely ignoring the fact that I burned the roof of my mouth from the scalding hot cheese. I went up to the counter and began asking questions of guy behind the counter. He filled me in on how the owners were Italian immigrants who first arrived in NYC originally and moved out to Ann Arbor in the 90s. They realized that the pizza out in these parts wasn’t quite as good as it was back in the Big Apple and thus created New York Pizza Depot so people could get ‘Real’ pizza.
I listened and realized I was in the presence of visionaries. NYPD, as it is abbreviated on their sign now, has been going strong for close to 10 years now, serving the city of Ann Arbor and students of University of Michigan. Though they aren’t open 24/7, they do remain open until 4am thus keeping that “Open all-Nite” feel of any good New York style Pizzaria. I always make it a point to go there whenever I go to Ann Arbor. On top of the pepperoni of the gods they also have this incredible 4 Mushroom pizza that is to die for. Hell they even have a New York staple in the Sicillian style thick crust pizza.
They have more than just pizza of course. Calzones? Got’em! Subs? Got’em! Pasta? Got it!
Lord I love New York Pizza Depot. I could eat there 3 days a week and never get sick of it. That is, if I lived in Ann Arbor. Instead, I’m stuck in Toledo, the city with the worst pizza I’ve ever had and only 2 decent delis. OY VEY! The lack of delis out here makes me wanna cry!
But that is a rant for another time my friends, another rant altogether…