Anyone out there remember the Burger Bunch?
Okay, it wasn't like national news or anything, but a couple of years ago, Ori Hoffer from Park City TV, along with Salt Lake mag editor Jeremy Pugh, myself and then-A&E editor Dan Nailen, undertook to find the best burger in Utah.
Well, the best one that we could reasonably get to and still keep our day jobs.
Videographer and palate extraordinaire Andy Bauman filmed the proceedings, and the videos aired on this website and on PCTV.
You can still find 'em on YouTube.
And now, we've banded together to take on Utah pizza. There are a few personnel changes - our man Dan has moved on to an alternative publication that doesn't do fun stuff like this, and we added David Cole from Epic Brewing Company, as sponsor and beer-pizza pairer. We call it the P.I.E. squad - it stands for Pizza Investigation something or other.
At each stop, we'll order what the manager tells is the signature or representative pizza, hoping to sample the best each oven can produce.
The first vid should appear in a couple of weeks - till then, here's a quick summary of our first two stops.
We started with The Pie, epicenter of all pizza in Utah, and immediately ran into a demographic challenge: we're all too old for Pie pizza. This'as you might deduce from the graffiti'd interior -
is a college pizza, and without sufficient quantities of beer to help it move along, the inch-thick melted cheese on top could be a choking hazard. If you're over 24 or under 13, be sure you've practiced your heimich maneuver before you indulge.
We tried the Pie Combo - pepperoni, smoked ham, genoa salami, mushrooms, onions, green peppers, sausage and ground beef. Our beer guru Dave suggests a Cutthroat with this, but I think probably a Bud Light or four would do just fine.
Maxwell's is the darling of Park Cityites or whatever you call them. Probably since so many are erstwhile East-coasters. And this is good, New York-style thin-crust foldable slice pizza. The crust has that elusive combination of qualities - crisp thinness and the tensile strength to not droop under a load of toppings - that really is the whole point of Est Coast pizza. It's completely unachievable if you overload it with toppings; proportion is everything.
And, somehow related to this unlikely combination of qualities is the impression that this is excellent pizza, even though taken separately, the ingredients aren't that wonderful.
and its thin layer of tangy marinara, a lamination of parmesan, some pepperoni slices, blobs of ricotta and a handful of baby spinach leaves - all fine, none excellent on their own - made a terrific mouthful.
Maxwell's is going to open soon in Exchange Place in SLC. Much as I like their pizza though, I doubt its proximity will lure me from my fave Settebello very often. Because if the SLC store is like the one in NewPark, it will have nine million TV screens in it, each tuned to a different sporting event. I like almost everything with pizza - throw on goat cheese, pineapple, arugula, pears, Brie. But please leave out the TV.
Anyway, look for the PIE squad video coming soon. Here. There's a lot of pizza out there, and we aim to rate as many as possible. If you have a place that needs our attention, let me know.