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French dressing on pizza in Biloxi?

  • t

I recently read somewhere that it is popular in Biloxi Mississippi to pour french dressing on pizza slices. Does anyone know if this is true and how this came about? Is it just a Biloxi thing?
Thanks.

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  1. Tom,

    I grew up in that part of the country, and cannot recall anyone doing French dressing on pizza. We frequented many pizza restaurants, chain, mini-chain and stand-alones, and I've never seen this, nor have I even heard of it. Still, I've been gone for a very long time, and items of cuisine can change. I'd never heard of "deep fried turkey," or turducken, and I lived in NOLA for years.

    Maybe a Biloxi local will chime in and educate us both,

    Hunt

    4 Replies
    1. re: Bill Hunt

      I'm originally from Biloxi, Ms. The tradition started at Hugo's restraunt on Division street in Biloxi. Everyone went there for Pizza. The tradition grew. When Domino's came to town they learned that they had to provide small packs of catalina dressing with their pizzas on request. Even in Pizzahut there are bottles of French or Catalina dressing on the tables.

      I know live in Slidell, La. Nobody in Slidell does it. People look at my family and say "Hey, you must be from Biloxi" when they see us put french dressing on our Pizzas.

      Thanks,
      Mullet

      1. re: mullet

        My wife is from Gulfport, and she has put French dressing on pizza ever since she was in college- in Hattiesburg! She graduated in '87...

        Odd that she didn't hear about it when she was on the coast, but when she returned to Gulfport all of the pizza places provided the dressing.

        It is really good by the way...

        1. re: Clarkafella

          Wow, it migrated from Biloxi up to Forrest County. Thanks for adding a date to this, as it tells me that I left the Coast, before the trend likely started. Guess it was them "young whipersnappers," who started this...

          Interesting how local trends can start, and then migrate to other locales. My guess is that enough Biloxi folk were at USM and brought this with them. Unless things had changed by then, 90% of my college meals were pizza - the rest being Ritz crackers with Peter Pan Crunchy Peanut Butter. This, until I'd go home and my parents would insist that I get a "decent meal," and take to over to New Orleans for a "feeding."

          Thanks,

          Hunt

        2. re: mullet

          Hugo's eh? My first pizza, and I can still remember the fiaschi (straw-covered Chianti bottles) with the colored candlewax drippings. First apartment that I had, was filled with these...

          OK, enough of me, and back to Hugo's. It was the '50s & '60s, but I do not recall this condiment being used. I'd guess that it was something that happened after my last visit. I have never heard of it, but want to say thanks for putting a geographic pin in the map for where it started, and verification that it is relatively common there. Would guess that someone brought in a bottle and it became a trend.

          About the same time frame, there was a little bar/restaurant on Courthouse Rd. (or was it Cowan Rd.?) in Gulfport, called Elsie's. A friend from the UK introduced me to malt vinegar on my fries. Elsie's had the best fries, that I have ever had. One day, I brought in a bottle of malt vinegar, and in no time, other patrons had emptied it. Brought in another, and another. Finally, Elsie's started keeping a bottle behind the bar.

          Mullet, if you come back to this thread, I've a Biloxi food question: are you old enough to remember Alamo Fried Chicken? By memory, it was only a block, or so East of Hugo's. I started a thread (Home Cooking) trying to pull together the recipe for that wonderful fried chicken. Like Elsie's fries - best I have ever had. I'd guess that they closed by the mid-60's. If you do recall them, and have any ideas (or any family members have any ideas) I'd love to hear them. Link to that thread: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/509111

          Thanks for the info, and hope you can help me with the Alamo Fried Chicken recipe,

          Hunt

      2. I first visted Hugo's when I was in high school in the 60's. There I found a squeezy bottle of french dressing on the center of the table, which I decided to try on my pizza at the urgings of my friends. I have used french dressing on my pizzas since that time. I always have a bottle on hand at home and have been known to order a side order of french dressing when I eat pizza out. I now live in Northern Virginia, and have urged several individuals to try it on their pizzas throughout the years. Most of them like it very much. I would also add that I never use it on my salad!

        1. I'm from NC but we used to do this when I was in elementary school -- for some reason the french dressing was delicious on those rectangular school issue pizzas.

          1 Reply
          1. re: toolprincess

            I must say that ANYTHING would have helped the school pizza, unless it was much better than what we were served. The bread was hard. The sacue was something I can't describe. I don't think they heard of cheese. Don't recall any toppings. It was filling though, so I give props for that. A good nap would have been a nice follow up on pizza lunch day. Usually it was math class instead. Wonder why my math is not so good?

          2. It's been generally known that the use of French dressing on pizza started at Hugo's. I started going there way back when. All the other pizza places now have it too. Hugo's had terrific pizza..I can't you why it tasted so good..it's unlike ANY I've ever had anywhere else. Thin crust and just unique. Unfortunately..as time went on ..not sure..maybe late
            70's or early 80's someone bought it..and it wasn't anything like the original. Which is why no one went there. Btw, the original person...Hugo..he died a few months ago (I think). Was in the local paper, The Sun Herald. ( sunherald.com ). Between Hugos (I think it's been demolished..not certain), Baricev's fried shrimp (where Beau Rivage Casino is now) and Angelo's Spaghetti and Meat Sauce dinner (where Vrazel's is now)..you have all of my favorite things to eat. Unfortunately none are still around.
            Handlebar Henry

            2 Replies
            1. re: HANDLEBAR

              I was in school at USM in Hattiesburg as early as 1980 and there was always french dressing on the tables at Pizza Hut. That was the first I'd heard of it - I'm from "up north" in Jackson and we would Never do that. However, it was delicious and I always think of french dressing now when I eat pizza.

              1. re: HANDLEBAR

                As mentioned above, I knew Hugo's back in the '50s and also knew the others. I fondly recall Baricev's, when they were at the Biloxi foot of the old Ocean Springs bridge. Not sure if even parts of it are there now.

                Still, I cannot recall the FR dressing. Maybe I was too early in the history of Hugo's to get that, or maybe I just never noticed. My last was probably in about '64. Do not know how that might figure into the timeline.

                Special question for Handlebar Henry. Just down the street (to the East) from Hugo's was Alamo Fried Chicken - south side of the street (Howard, just East of the old Division ST?). Do you happen to recall this one. I posted in the Homecooking board, as I've been trying to reconstruct the recipe for many years. It too was sold, but IIRC, the name, building and equipment went with the sale - the recipe did not, and it soon closed. Link to that post: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/509111

                Just curious. I cannot believe that I am the only person living, who remembers them.

                Thanks, and appreciate the reference to Hugo's. Sorry that I missed this condiment with my pizza. In later years, after Hugo's, the best that I could find was the chain, Pizza Inn, on the Coast. When I moved to NOLA, I expected their Pizza Inns to be as good - not even close. They were more like what I now expect from chain pizza. In Biloxi and Gulfport, even the Pizza Inn chain made good and interesting pizzas, though not up to the old Hugo's standard.

                Hunt

              2. My wife, Lynda (d'Iberville High School class of 1964) and I used to go to Hugo's after football games. One night in 1964, one of her classmates had ordered a salad to go with his pizza. He put a slice of pizza on his plate, next to his salad. Some of his French Dressing got onto a piece of pizza and he told us all that it tasted pretty good. We all tried it and thought it was great! From that night on, we always put French Dressing on our pizzas. And the people at Hugo's always ensured that we always had a few extra bottles of dressing when we stopped in. I guess it caught on, because 40 years later, we were in Biloxi at Lynda's mother's house and ordered pizza from Pizza Hut. When they delivered it we saw that they had included 4 squeeze containers of French Dressing with the order! This is the Honest-To-God' truth.

                4 Replies
                1. re: jbeaugez

                  Good thread Tom, Mullet is exactly right that Hugo's is were it all started. the Pizza Inn's and Pizza Hut's that were built later on the coast all had french dressing bottles on the table. I still remember having a Norman pizza at Hugo's in the late 70's, man I would kill to have one now!

                  1. re: stvtunlvzn

                    Going tangential here, the best pizza, that I have ever had was the pepperoni and green olive from the Pizza Inn on the Pass Road in Gulfport. They managed to get the thin crust to plump up, like a Saltines cracker. It had wonderful air pockets and was perfectly cooked. Their pepperoni was excellent and the green olives were a nice briney counterpoint to their ever so slightly sweet sauce.

                    When I moved to New Orleans, I expected the same. That was not to be. The crust was horrible, the sauce was overly-sweet, and no green olives. Bah!

                    Hugo's was very good, but that one Pizza Inn was great. Now, in Phoenix, we have Tony Bianco. He's won a couple of James Beard awards, and has been featured on dozens of cooking and travel programs. Pizza is his life's blood, and he's famous for it. Still, I rate those Gulfport Pizza Inn's pies over Tony's. Considering that they were a chain, i can only imagine that the chef, or owner, had a vision and deviated from the corporate norm. Luckily, I was a customer, and still recall those pies. They are the paradigm, by which all others will evermore be judged - including Tony Bianco's.

                    Sorry for the trip down memory lane, but this WAS a pizza thread, right?

                    Hunt

                  2. re: jbeaugez

                    Interesting history lesson. I was a contemporary (Gulfport High School '65), and dined at Hugo's from probably the early '50s, with my parents. I never was aware of this. Probably last dined there in the late '60s, and just never encountered it.

                    Now, thanks to Hugo's, my first apartment had Chianti fiaschi with colored candles in them. Every time I have a Chianti (much better Chianti now - and more expensive), I reflect.

                    Thanks for sharing that,

                    Hunt

                    1. re: jbeaugez

                      That's a fantastic story jbeaugez!!! Part of Biloxi history!!!