What is it today with Artisan Pizza?

Every corner you turn there seems to be a new pizza joint, not that I’m complaining that there are more places to eat; Heaven knows I likes me some good pizza, but that is just the point – Good Pizza.

What is is with the ultra thin crust pizza? Like you just slapped down a piece of paper and threw some sauce, meat, cheese and vegetables on it and called it ‘za! This floppy food slide is a terrible representation of pizza and the counter part where they throw it in a brick oven and manage to burn the bottom of the crust so much that it is like they put a layer of concrete down as the base crust and it looks like a Terantino movie in your mouth.

Just because you know how to roll your pizza crust to less than 1/16” and can throw some fresh veggies on it doesn’t make it an Artisan pizza or even good one for that matter. For generations the Italians have been throwing pizza dough and making their homemade pizza sauce adding the freshest ingredients form their garden and local salumi. The streets of “Little Italy” in New York are littered with pizza joints who know their stuff. Crust isn’t a matter of how thin you can roll it to save a buck, but rather a masterful art in proportion. Thin crust, thick crust, deep dish or pan style it’s all about the texture. You don’t want a soggy limp crust that leaves you at the front door with a hand shake and a “had real nice time tonight”, but you also don’t want a crust that leaves you like Bleeding Gums Murphy. The balance no matter the gauge of the pizza is a soft pillowy crust that has a girth of a teen boy looking at his first playboy. Stiff enough to hold the ‘za straight out and yet gentle when you put it in your mouth bursting with flavor and pure enjoyment.

Whew, take a moment and breath,… sorry that got a little carried away. Now that we bot the crust just right lets break down the ingredients of a pizza. There are may ways to deliver your unique style to an unsuspecting customer; but let’s it, face pizza is fun and easy to just that. From old Sicilian, to the over popular Hawaiian, all the way down to the garbage dump and kitchen sink supreme, there is no right way to make a flavorful pizza. All these executions can be delicious and yet one mistake in the sauce or crust or combination of complex ingredients can destroy your vision of edible porn.

Chain pizza places are crap shoot and you get what you pay for; but when entertaining a large group of drunken frat guys or a field trip of children, don’t worry about the $5 pizza bargain, because they won’t care either way. Cheese and/or pepperoni does NOT make a pizza in my book, just saying’. Curing a hangover or induce vomiting maybe, but not a noteworthy pie. So before I start in on pizza joints, just note that if the occasion arises that you need chain pizza for a quick fix or decent family function, then you can’t go wrong with a Papa Johns supreme pizza, or a new Domino's pizza. Pizza hut is still in the air, they mass produce the shit out of deep dish pepperoni poo, but their crust will shred your mouth like chewing on a razor. The only redeeming value pizza hut had was in 2007-ish they had an unbelievably good pizza “The Big New Yorker”. Simple pizza with a soft but sturdy crust, the most amazing pizza sauce they have ever made (why they threw the recipe out I have no idea), topped with cheese and black olives. If you have to convince your patrons that your pizza is better than gnawing on cardboard by saying pizza twice, then maybe you should cater to only the aforementioned party scenarios… Oh wait,… thank you Little Caesars your are way ahead of me. The only chain I can think of; and you can thank them later, that outranks Little Caesars, is Godfather’s. This screaming pile of sludge would have been better delivered with a horses head on it than the atrocity that was. This wafer thin crust managed to have a rock hard bubbly crust on the ends that went completely soggy limp in the middle. I could have only hoped that it was from being under cooked rather from the amount of grease and oil that had been collecting in the middle breaking down the crust almost to a liquid goo. The cheese, unless there is some unknown dark brown mozzarella that I am not aware of, was burned like the rest of the toppings – pretty sure it wasn’t Cajun style. The meat if you want to call it that was more of a Fancy Feast variety and didn’t bode well with the grease rushing down your forearm like molten lava as you tried to even hold this sloppy mess to eat.

Some local midsize chains that aren’t nationally known are still great places to go and can be hidden gems, so that is why they can be still be considered as viable options to eat, entertain and possibly have a nice dinner for two. Pizza as we know it is more of an Americanized Italian dish that would seem completely foreign to you if you had a pie in Italy, but no matter this how most Americanized foods are (i.e. Chinese or Mexican). Pizza is a food that is built on nostalgia, whether growing up as a child or hanging out with buddies in High School or on that College or Family Road trip, pizza is the corner stone of memories. Taking a bite of good pizza transports you to that City in middle America your car broke down at and you needed to eat while it got fixed or that special someone you split a slice with on the pier at the boardwalk. These are the things you look for when dining at a pizza place.

Word of mouth is usually a good way to try and find your new pizza establishment out side of your sweats on the couch watching the game. Yelp can even be a somewhat reliable place to search for dining decisions, but we have all seen South Park and know what happens when the SoDa SoPa opens to appease the common yelp reviewer. Remember how I said that pizza is a feeling not popular vote, well this is just my point of view of local joints in Salt Lake that have either been recommended to me by populous or my own hunting out odd new locations.

  1. Settebello
  2. Rusted Sun
  3. Pie Hole
  4. Stoneground
  5. Estes
  6. Litza's
  7. The Pie

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