HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >


Pizza To End All Pizza Discussions

So I'm watching an episode of Andrew Zimmern's Bizarre World where he visits Wisconsin (where I believe he lives). He drops in at a local Pizza joint called Ian's, in Madison, but they have other locations in Milwaukee and Chicago.

Now, I have to explain that I'm basically a pizza purist, being born and raised in New York, but I've been in California most of my life now, so I'm pretty much into anything that tastes good at this point. However................. the pizza menu at Ian's is enough to try pizza-lover's souls. Zimmern said it was good, and I guess that's the bottom line, but........... REALLY:

These are all PIZZA TOPPINGS at Ian's:

Chili Pot Pie
Chili Cheese Fritos
Black Beans, Feta, Avocado, Tomato
Spinach Mashed Potato
Guacamole Burrito
Buffalo Chicken w/Bleu Cheese
Chicken, Bacon, Ranch, BBQ Sauce & Cheddar
Chicken Penne Alfredo

I really need to hear from people who have been to Ian's and would comment on whether they consider this pizza or just interesting toppings on pizza dough. And................ how does it taste? I suppose it's really no different that the 'sandwich wrap' concept. You can put almost anything good into a wrap and be OK, so why not on top of pizza dough?....... I guess.

Just............. please............ it hurts when you call it Pizza.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. LOL! I'm from NY also but live in NC, where I've yet to come across a real Italian pie. I can't imagine putting chili or mashed potato on a pizza...that said, I love to experiment with toppings but to me, some things are just wrong...my favorite is just a plain authentic Italian thin crust with cheese that gets oily when melted and topped with maybe pepperoni, granulated garlic and a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes.

    1. I'm not interested in putting any of that muck on my pie, but if that's what some people like, so be it. I'll stick to my salami and garlic, or pepperoni and mushrooms.

      1. Vaguely non-sequitir: If I take pizza dough, roll it flat, put some sweet sauce on it, lay slices of apple on it and bake it, should I call it an apple pizza, a galette, or a pie ?

        4 Replies
        1. re: dump123456789

          I suppose you can call it whatever you want, but the French would prefer you not call it a galette, the pizza crowd not a pizza and the pie crowd not a pie.

          1. re: Midlife

            I asked because a local pizzeria makes such an item, which they call an apple pie pizza. In addition, I've had galettes and what were called "apple pie" (freeform, so basically a galette) in which the pastry was so blah as to resemble pizza dough. So, basically the same thing under 3 different names, distinguished only by what the restaurant/bakery chose to call it. To me, they all just seemed like apple pie.

            1. re: dump123456789

              You may also be able to get away with calling it a tart.

              1. re: dump123456789

                Brazilians make sweet pizzas with things like bananas. I think it is a matter of using pizza dough for the crust that puts it in the pizza category.

          2. Zimmern lives in Minnesota, just FYI. (I know this is barely relevant, but I just thought I'd throw that in. Home town boosterism, ya know.)


            6 Replies
            1. re: The Dairy Queen

              Yes, I said that in my OP ya know. He's originally a New Yorker, though, so I can forgive him. :o)

              1. re: Midlife

                Sorry, I thought you said Wisconsin. Even I get the two mixed up sometimes, but let me just say, if you're trying to tell the two apart: Wisconsin: more cheese, and less Farve. Minnesota: more jucy lucys and more Farve.


                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                  OH! You just HAD to bring the conversation down to the lowest common denominator by using the 'F' word! ;-}

                  1. re: Fydeaux

                    Yeah, sorry.

                    But Wisconsin really does have cheese, booya, and fish fry covered, not to mention beer and sausages, so, I'm still a lover, not a hater.


                2. re: Midlife

                  Actually, you wrote:

                  "So I'm watching an episode of Andrew Zimmern's Bizarre World where he visits Wisconsin (where I believe he lives)."

                  1. re: carolinadawg

                    Ooops! Caught again.................even trying to deny my own mistake. Alwyts read too fast.......and sometimes write that way too. Apologies toTDQ.

              2. It ain't pizza...it's a flatbread use in pizza dough.

                Jfood has the same input he has for most of the topping his colleagues in California place on their flatbreads...

                IT AINT PIZZA

                2 Replies
                1. re: jfood

                  So .. is a Hawaiian pizza not a pizza? I mean, I hate those suckers.The taste of ham and pineapple on tomato sauce is just repulsive. Still, they've been around forever and from sea to shining sea.

                  1. re: rworange


                    And if they bastardize manicotti and lasagne in the same manner they would need different names as well.

                2. I'll never understand the idea some people have that limits what is and isn't a pizza based on toppings. This is completely non-existent in Italy. Italians will put anything and everything on pizza al taglio, and they have no requirement that a pizza have tomato sauce and mozzarella on it. There are some ingredients you won't find on pizzas in Italy, because you won't really find them in Italy. Pizza "purists" have no problem with a lot of these, however, such as pepperoni or the particular kind of sausage that gets used in a NY style sausage pizza. Mushrooms and bell peppers aren't that common, though vegetables are generally more common than meat. Potatoes are not at all unusual, particularly in the north, though they are thin sliced, not mashed.
                  Most of the styles you listed are definitely bad pizza, but I can't conceive of a metric by which they don't count as pizza.

                  30 Replies
                  1. re: danieljdwyer

                    So an Oatmeal Pizza, with raisins and honey, would be OK? Or a PB&J? I really agree with you, but DO think there are limits. Is it just the crust that makes it OK to call it a pizza?

                    1. re: Midlife

                      Yes, sort of. Pizza is a bread dish. It is not a cheese dish or a tomato dish or an any other kind of toppings dish. It's about the bread. Italians translate coca (the savory cocas anyway), lahmacun, and pissaladiere all as pizza. Pizza bianco doesn't even have any toppings, so how can pizza be defined by toppings?

                      1. re: danieljdwyer

                        Where does the English muffin pizza fit in al of this/

                        1. re: danieljdwyer

                          jfood just ate a whole wheat peanut butter pizza. He took a slice of whole wheat bread, taosted iy, layed it flat and spread some skippy on it.

                          Maybe he should go to Colony in Stamford for a hot oil and pepperoni open faced sandwich with tomato sauce and mozzy.


                          1. re: jfood

                            One of my favorite "I'm hungry and want something to eat quickly" treats is toasted whole wheat bread with natural chunky peanut butter. But I'd never call it pizza. Never realized pizza definitions could be so complicated!

                            1. re: MMRuth

                              Damn, now I'm hankering for a Buitoni toaster pizza.

                              1. re: MMRuth

                                >>> Never realized pizza definitions could be so complicated

                                It is not.

                                If one wants to get all techinical about pizza, what the definition in this thread of what pizza is to some is NOT pizza ... it is properly called apizza ... and we all know if we are honest that the one true pizza is New Haven pizza or as American Pie calls it "the pizza epicenter of New Haven"

                                AND ... if one believes Merriam-Webster ... they give ithe word German origins ... so that saurkraut pizza makes it come full circle back to its origins. The official definition is

                                " a dish made typically of flattened bread dough spread with a savory mixture usually including tomatoes and cheese and often other toppings and baked —called also pizza pie"

                                The devil is in Daniel Webster's details ... typically ... usually

                                Although I'm leaning to the definition from the first link for the book Pizza: From Its Italian Origins to the Modern Table by Rosario Buonassisi

                                "Pizza: a thin layer of leavened dough, ideally disk-shaped, made by thoroughly kneading wheat flour, yeast, salt, olive oil, and water and then covering with various ingredients before being baked in an oven. The different ingredients employed determine the taste and smell—and the name—of the various kinds of pizza."

                                Though Pizza: A Slice of Heaven: The Ultimate Pizza Guide and Companion
                                has some interesting thoughts ...

                                "Is Chicago pizza really more of a casserole? What makes New York pizza so good? Is the pizza in New Haven better than anything found in Naples ... Is there an American pizza aesthetic"

                                So there.you go

                              2. re: jfood

                                Again, I didn't mean to imply that any bread dish is a pizza. If I were to say that risotto is a rice dish, that doesn't mean paella is risotto.
                                But, I'm curious, what are your rules for what qualifies as a pizza?

                                1. re: danieljdwyer

                                  :-) jfood knows, just joshing with ya.

                                  Toppings can include (he may forget one or two):

                                  - piece of pig or steer, i.e. sausage, bacon, meatballs, pepperoni
                                  - certain vegetables - peppers, onions (not for jfood), tomatos, mushrooms (fresh not canned),

                                  Things to avoid:

                                  Healthy stuff. PIZZA AINT HEALTHY. No salad, broccoli (your welcome Ronald Reagon), tofu, fruit, fish (other than an occasional anchovy), frou frou stuff.

                                  When you look at the menu and your nose frowns, that's an indication that the topping should not be ordered.

                                  1. re: jfood

                                    Who's Josh?
                                    What about sauce and cheese? Is it a pizza if it lacks one or the other? And does it have to be a particular kind of sauce or cheese?

                                    1. re: danieljdwyer

                                      Those are given Josh. :-))

                                      Maybe jfood can live without the sauce, but without the cheese, well that does not compute.

                                    2. re: jfood

                                      Gotta be careful when listing mushrooms under vegetables here. Many moons ago some friends were ordering pizza, and my only request that night was "no vegetables". Now, mushrooms are my least favorite vegetable on pizzas, and everything they ordered had mushrooms. Why? They're a fungus and not a vegetable, everyone know that jgg13.

                                      The worst part was, they were 100% serious, not just trying to screw w/ me.

                                      1. re: jgg13

                                        A better way to order it is "only the meats"... eliminates any other possible interpreatations.... ;)

                                        1. re: DigitalVelvet

                                          Yeah, I've been a lot more careful with how I specify what I want on a pizza now. "only the meats" is something I'll rarely go against! :)

                                    3. re: danieljdwyer

                                      I've been meaning to ask you: what is your definition of pizza dough (since that is your official distinction between pizza and not-pizza) ? Do you consider Pizzeria Uno's pies to be pizza ? I suspect their crumbly biscuit-like dough won't match your definition.

                                      1. re: dump123456789

                                        I'm kind of on the fence with both deep dish pizza and stuffed pizza. Pan pizza, on the other hand, is definitely pizza; it's conceptually not too far off from pizza al taglio.
                                        My definition of pizza dough is any dough from which any traditional Italian pizza style can be made, or any dough from which any style of pizza clearly descended from an Italian style of pizza can be made. It must be cooked using dry heat transferred through a combination of conduction and convection (essentially grilling or baking). If toppings are to be used, they must be adding prior to the completion of the cooking of the pizza, with the exception of a final addition of herbs, grated cheese, spices, and olive oil. It has to contain wheat flour, yeast, salt, and water, and can optionally contain added fats or oils.
                                        So, deep dish and stuffed pizza are a tough call. They are conceptually similar to pizzagaina, but don't really seem to be descended from it. On the other hand, if any of the stories on its origin are to be believed, it does trace its origins back to Italian pizza, however distantly. Some deep dish pizzas use a lot of cornmeal in the dough, which is not done in any Italian style. Also, I think that most Italians would be willing to agree that pizzagaina is a variation of pizza, but not that pizzagaina is pizza. So, I think I would say that including the word pizza in "deep dish pizza" is perfectly fine, and it is a variation of pizza, but it needs those qualifiers like "variation of" and "deep dish". A picture of a New York style pizza labelled "pizza" is correct in a way that a picture of a deep dish pizza labelled pizza just isn't.

                                      2. re: danieljdwyer

                                        When I took Italian in college (1979), the instructor, born and raised in Verona, invited the class to her home for an end-of-year party. She made "pizza". Split a loaf of Italian bread lengthwise, and spread pureed tomatoes and provolone and stuck it in the oven until it was hot. She said that pizza could have referred to any food that was eaten with the fingers, typically in bread. Pizza - related to pizzicare -- to pinch.

                                        1. re: MartinDC

                                          Jfood's Jewish mother from Brooklyn used to make corned beef like her name was O'Hanlon. Katz's had nothing to worry about. :-))

                                      3. re: jfood

                                        Heh heh.

                                        I just went out and bought a Buick. But since we live in such an ontologically liberated world, I'm calling it a pizza, and nuts to anybody who tells me it's not one.

                                  2. re: danieljdwyer

                                    So, how is a pizza different from a pie or a galette then ?

                                    1. re: dump123456789

                                      A pizza is a pie - though I suppose one could argue that a pizza bianco is not a pie.
                                      I'm not terribly familiar with galettes, but galette is a fairly broad term encompassing a number of not that similar items. They all seem to either be made from a batter, or from a dough containing eggs, sugar, fat, and no yeast. I don't really see how any galette is anything like pizza.

                                      1. re: danieljdwyer

                                        In some extremely loose interpretations, a galette is just a piece of dough with toppings on it, the edges are folded over, and the whole thing is baked. Which sounds like a pizza.

                                        If a pizza is just a bread dish, then what's the difference between a pizza and any old slab of flatbread with or without stuff sitting on it ? Is it that if there's stuff on the dough, then they must be baked simultaneously ? Then what about those supermarket bake-it-yourself pizzas that consisted of a prebaked round, a packet of sauce and a packet of cheese ? And if a pizza can have nothing on it, then isn't a pita a pizza ?

                                        1. re: dump123456789

                                          There are batter based galettes, very similar to crepes. And don't all dough based galettes contain eggs, sugar, and not yeast? Sounds nothing at all like a pizza.
                                          Pita dough is made differently than pizza dough. In Turkey, there is a clear differentiation between lahmacun (which is basically pizza) and pita. Pizza isn't just any old flatbread. It's a particular kind of yeast leavened flatbread, not traditionally defined by its toppings.

                                          1. re: dump123456789

                                            So does this mean that an apple turnover is really an apple calzone? Or a Cornish Pasty is a Cornish calzone?

                                            Sorry, sorry......

                                          2. re: danieljdwyer

                                            in a hyperbolic sense jfood agrees, in a realitic sense jfood does not. defining a pizza as bread with topping would allow for an open faced roast beef sandwich to qualify (up to and including an open faced quizno-crap) and then some chef will call a bowl of french onion soup deconstucted pizza.

                                            Just sayin' :-))

                                            1. re: jfood

                                              I don't mean to imply that pizza is any old bread. It's a specific set of breads, and they don't need toppings to be pizza. Whether I put cream cheese, lox, peanut butter, jelly, eggs, vegemite, butter, bacon, tofu, or any strange assortment of vegetables, meats, condiments, and other foods on a bagel, it's still a bagel. That doesn't mean pastrami on rye is a bagel. And a Montreal bagel, while very different than a NY bagel, is still easily recognizeable as a bagel. That doesn't mean a pretzel is a bagel.

                                              1. re: danieljdwyer

                                                jfood agrees that pizza dough is pizza dough with varying degrees of taste, as in your NY vs. Montral example.

                                                But when you start adding toppings like many people are doing, then the fork in the road has Pizza Avenue and Flatbread Street as the choices.

                                                Just a diff of opinion.

                                                1. re: jfood

                                                  I suppose I agree to a certain extent. I have no problem with any particular topping or set of toppings. But once it becomes about the toppings, not about the bread, then it stops being pizza to me. A scattering a black beans, avocado, tomato, and feta. I'm okay with that, though it would be better with a different cheese. But those meat lover's pizzas that advertising has led me to believe a substantial portion of the American population must love? That is, debatably, not a pizza; it's a big pile of meat and cheese that happens to have a little dough and sauce hidden underneath.

                                                  1. re: danieljdwyer

                                                    You know D, your last point is interesting (although jfood would not agree with the "OK with that" conclusion in the first part.)

                                                    Good question to ponder this week...Is the mega-meat a pizza? Sorta like those 4# burgers still being called a burger or as jfood had last week, and this is the menu description "Kobe Meatloaf Sliders - Olive mayonnaise, sweet hot mustard, jalapeño stuffed olives." Is that a "slider"?

                                                    1. re: jfood

                                                      The slider example, I'm not sure. I haven't really gotten a handle on this new meaning of slider. It no longer really seems related to the White Castle slyder in anything but an abstract sense.
                                                      Now, those giant hamburgers, I think it might be fair to say that's no longer a hamburger. I've got to be able to easily pick it up and maneuver it to my mouth without the whole damn thing falling apart, and fit my mouth around it, otherwise it can't be a hamburger. I don't really get the point of a burger bigger than half a pound. A hamburger has got to have some balance to the components, otherwise why not just have a steak, or even a chopsteak?
                                                      It's the same with those meat lover's pizzas. If what you really want is meat, why even bother with the bread?

                                      2. I like pizza. I like it a lot.
                                        I like the pizzas in Naples, I like the pizzas in Rome. I like pizza in New York City and I like the pizzas in Chicago. San Francisco is coming on strong, too.

                                        Ian's stuff doesn't sound like pizza, more like a stoner's option of last resort. Are these restaurants in college towns?

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: steve h.

                                          Well, Madison is a college town, but Chicago and Milwaukee aren't!


                                          1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                            My colleagues from Chicago would strongly disagree.
                                            Still, the thread that runs through these wonderful locations is cold. Freezing temperatures, physical exertion (snow shoveling) and winter sports despair could tempt the weak to seek some Ian-inspired comfort.

                                            edited to add: a down and dirty Google search identified a dozen or so colleges/universities in Milwaukee. Stoners!

                                            1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                              "Chicago" is actually on one of Jfood's diplomas

                                          2. I've actually had a slice with black beans, feta, and avocado. Not at Ian's. It was pretty good.

                                            1. As a NYer who lives eats and breathes NY style pizza (at this point in my life I think about pizza more than I think about sex), strange toppings don't offend me. If anything is going to rub me the wrong way, it's putting starch on top of starch (potato or penne on bread).

                                              As long as the ingredients are quality, the crust is thin and the pie is properly cooked in either a wood burning or deck oven at a high enough temp, then whatever else they want to put on the pie (and still call it pizza) is fine by me.

                                              Imo, there's a LOT more heinous offenses an aspiring pizzaiolo can commit than these types of toppings. Putting cheddar on tomato sauce is one. Using dried basil or being heavy handed with the oregano is another. Making a sicilian thickness crust and calling it 'NY style' is one of the gravest. Omitting the deck oven and using pans or screens- unforgivable.

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: scott123

                                                normally i'd agree with you on the starch on top of starch issue. But there is a pizza place near me that serves a pizza (called the fire breather) with thinly sliced potatoes, carmelized onions, roasted garlic, and gorgonzola cheese. Soooooo good!!!

                                                1. re: scott123

                                                  I saw both thinly sliced potatoes as well as french fries fairly frequently used as toppings when I've been in Italy (mostly Rome & Naples).

                                                2. Sucking around at definitions is a recipe--so to speak--for paralysis by analysis. Nobody will ever agree on what defines a pizza because you can always find exceptions--things that fit the definition but have never been considered pizza.

                                                  Basically pizza is like pornography--you know it when you see it. If its good enough for The Supremes (even Bader-Ginsberg, I guess), it's good enough for me.

                                                  4 Replies
                                                  1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                    Just a little perspective from a Chicago guy. Seems some folks need a little mind expansion when it comes to pizza.

                                                    Crust: I love a good thin crispy pizza. But the ONLY way to do pizza? C'mon! Live it up. Try different thicknesses, textures. Thick and doughy (Salerno's, Cicero, IL), crunchy and buttery (Home Run Inn). Pan (Uno's). Stuffed (Giordano's). Double decker pizza (Bill's Pub, Mundelein, IL, if curious). It's all good! Pizza Nazi's can apply elsewhere (Brooklyn, perhaps).

                                                    Toppings: I guess I only have two rules. One is that the toppings should be savory, not sweet. The other is that toppings should not be a starch. That still puts a lot of ingredients in play.

                                                    Sauce: Pesto, alfredo, or maybe none at all. It doesn't have to be the red stuff.

                                                    Cheese: Yes. And why not cheddar? I love mozzarella, but really, there are so many other choices. Some won't work because the flavor overwhelms or the texture is wrong. That still leaves a lot of options on the table.

                                                    Oh, and Ian's? Definitely a college thing -- something to sop up the alcohol after a long afternoon/evening of drinking. Nothing does the trick, I suppose, like a pizza topped with mac and cheese (blech!) I'll stick to my sliders at White Castle.

                                                    1. re: MikeB3542

                                                      The worst pizza I ever had was a turkey and cheddar pie from an otherwise superb restaurant in Columbia, Missouri called Trattoria Strada Nova. But it was still a pizza!

                                                      I fully grant that thick-crust pies are still pizzas, but much prefer thin, crispy crust.

                                                      And frankly, I have no interest in trying alfredo or pesto on a pizza. Some people doubtless love those options, but I know my tastes well enough to not waste my dough on 'em.

                                                      1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                        Any toppings other than Italian sausage and mushrooms is a travesty. And they should use thick tomato paste, not watery tomato sauce, and real Mozzarella cheese. Don't skimp on the tomato paste.

                                                        1. re: lazycook

                                                          Lotsa tangy sauce, and a light touch on the cheese and toppings. That's the way to go, in my book.

                                                  2. Well, you still haven't got your answer to how it tastes and this isn't going to be one either.

                                                    However, I was searching the board about where to put my query and this is it.

                                                    There must be something about that part of the country ... it has its own pizza thing going like California.

                                                    There are a few places that have a French Dip Pizza served with a cup of au jus.

                                                    This sounds magically delicious to me.

                                                    Here's one place (tho in Rhode Island)

                                                    "The potentially frightening French Dip pizza ($15), which features shaved prime rib, caramelized onion, mozzarella, horseradish and its own ramekin of au jus, manages to reassure skeptics"

                                                    Actualy I was updating a restaurant record and took a look at this menu from a North Muskegan joint called Bernie O's (pdf file)

                                                    So I googled to see if anyone else made it. It just sounds good.

                                                    But Bernie O's has that mid west odd pizza thing going. Yes there is a mashed potato pizza.

                                                    The thing they feature is "The Twist" - honey mustard sauce, covered with a cheese blend, breaded chicken chunks and bacon strips. After baking they add fresh pineapple, tomato, yellow and jalepeno pepper and ranch dressing.

                                                    The thing is ... if anything between two slices of bread is considered a sandwich ... and not even that ... think open-faced hot turkey sandwich ... why can't any topping on pizza dough be considered pizza?

                                                    I mean, a flatbread is not a pizza.

                                                    6 Replies
                                                    1. re: rworange

                                                      You know, I live in "that part of the country"--not in WI, but next door in MN, and I would say that yes, indeed, we do have our own pizza thing going, but weird toppings on pizza isn't really it. The kind of toppings that the OP listed would be considered oddities by us, too. The pizza thing we have going is super thin, almost cracker crust, heavily laden with meat and cheese, cut into squares instead of into "pie" slices.

                                                      I think someone upthread nailed it: Madison is a college town and these kinds of wacky toppings are meant to appeal to the kids, rather than be representative of "Wisconsin" style pizza.

                                                      That being said, I can think of at least 3 places in the Twin Cities that do "unusual toppings"

                                                      ~Pizza Luce, which does a "baked potato" pizza that has mashed potatoes, bacon, and broccoli and comes with a side of sour cream (It's actually pretty delicious)
                                                      ~Meze in "Dinkytown", which is the "college town" within Minneapolis where all of the UofM kids live. They are notorious for their mac and cheese pizza, but they do other weird toppings, too, like burrito pizza and tortelini pizza, etc. http://www.mesapizzamn.com/mainframes...
                                                      ~Psycho Suzi's Motor Lounge which is just supposed to be edgy and bikery, but even that's not that weird. Their "Hawaiian" has rum soaked raisins on it in addition to the normal stuff.

                                                      I've heard of cream cheese on pizza in Rochester, which, again, is a "college town" thing, in my opinion.

                                                      The only "weird" topping I think is done completely without irony here in the upper midwest is sauerkraut, which isn't even on the OP's list.

                                                      Red Savoy's Pizza is what I would call "typical" of the pizza thing going on here.


                                                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                        With pizza it seems to be location, location, location

                                                        In Brazil ... lots of bananas ... banana pizza

                                                        In that section of the Midwest with the big population of people with Eastern European ancestry ... why not saurkraut pizza with keilbasa ... or a potato topped pizza.

                                                        California there's your goat cheese, grapes, sun-dried tomatoes ...etc

                                                        One of the oddest pizzas that has limited vogue at a few restaurants is an Itailan creation called a piadine ... it has fresh salad on top of it. Can't say I've really warmed up to this ... or cooled down as the case might be. However, it is ok enough.

                                                        1. re: rworange

                                                          I agree with your point about pizza being highly location-specific (If I had a dime for every post on the Midwest board from transplants searching for "NY Style Pizza" I'd be able to open my own pizza parlor!), I just want to make the point that potato on pizza isn't very common in the Upper Midwest. It's considered unusual here, too.


                                                          1. re: rworange

                                                            Funny............. I was just about to post that I recalled that California Pizza Kitchen has had a California Club Pizza on it's menu for years [Applewood smoked bacon, grilled chicken and Mozzarella cheese, hearth baked then topped with Roma tomatoes, chilled chopped lettuce tossed in mayonnaise and fresh sliced avocado.] I think I could live with most of the toppings but they lose me with the "chilled chopped lettuce". MAYO !! CHILLED LETTUCE !! ...... ON A PIZZA ???????

                                                            Aside from the 'authenticity' issue, which is admittedly a very broad one, I think it's partly a textural thing as well as a taste problem for me. Beside those things, it's also an issue of context as well. If pressed, I would have to admit that the CPK Club Pizza is really a hot 'wrap' with sauce and cheese on the 'bread' part and rather typical wrap ingredients after that. Might be perfectly acceptable oin the menu at a 'wrap joint'. Somehow I just can't handle the context of this as pizza.

                                                            I'm with jfood here. They can call it whatever they want to call it but, for me, it's just not pizza.

                                                          2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                            TDQ (particularly 1st paragraph) is completely spot on. the local pizza is recognized as very thin cracker crust and square cut, plenty of meat, standard toppings. "art" pizzas are another, more recent thing, and the college-style loaded pizzas are *another* thing. pizza places that do the gross-sounding loaded combos are not very common *at all,* they tend to be brand-spanking new, and they are close to college campuses. mesa might actually be the only one that really does these types of pies in msp-- imo psycho suzi's and luce are legitimate pizzerias that while local, do not sell the style of pizza recognized as "the local style"--they sell sell mostly standard pizzas but also make some "art" pies. for that matter mesa's standard pepperoni or cheese pizza is very standard east coast style fold-it-down-the-middle-of-the-slice pizza. you gotta look at the menus of these places and realize that 9/10 or 19/20 pizzas they sell are your standards: pepperoni, sausage, etc, with one boutique pie every once in a while. then there is an uptick in boutique pie slices at bar close.

                                                            anyhow, i actually used to work at the downtown pizza luce in minneapolis. pizzas at a very good clip, in-house and delivery-- and of course in the wee hours of the morning, when the bars and nightclubs would close downtown, we'd get slammed with all the club folks at various stages of inebriation, particularly weekends-- they'd line up for slices out the door and around the corner of the block sometimes, then we'd get a second round of hospitality workers who'd just got off work, right before the place closed. really, most of the pizzas were quite standard toppings, or (on the slice line) just had an addition of a premium cheese like some smoked gouda or asiago to set off the other toppings, usually on the veggie pies. mostly, sales were basic sausage, cheese, and pepperoni. generally the artier combo pizzas were very tasty-- not the best slice in town, but tasty. anyhow, working at "the looch" i got really, really *sick* of eating pizza. the only kind that still tasted good after a while was the potato and feta pizza. i still think it's really good. absolutely in the don't knock it till you try it category. but it was a weird pizza by local standards, and still is. don't know anybody who orders sauerkraut on their pizza, either.

                                                          3. re: rworange

                                                            rw, I haven't posted in awhile but I had to because Bernie O's is local to me. They and the "Twist" are pretty popular here in Muskegon. They are good and would probably be welcome even if they weren't, given we are pretty much stuck with chains (Pizza Hut, Little Caesar's, Dominos, Jet's, etc).

                                                            I was very sceptical about the Twist. I love most of the toppings individually that are on it with the exception of banana peppers and raw tomatoes. Still, honey mustard and ranch at the same time? I have only tried it twice but I have to say that it really all does work together!! Strange but true. None of the ingredients are overwhelming and they somehow work harmoniously with each other.

                                                            I can't say I love it because of the two ingredients mentioned that I dislike and it has a very thin crust when I prefer a thicker type, so me saying it's "very good" really is a compliment. As far as their pizza with mashed potatoes, yeah, count me out when it comes to a starch on starch pie.

                                                          4. I started this whole thing but I'm beginning to think it was a mistake to do so. This is turning into one of those "Is Americanized Chinese food really Chinese?", or "Is White Zinfandel really wine?" discussions.

                                                            I'm with jfood on this but, like with all those other discussions, it starts to chase it's tail after a while.

                                                            4 Replies
                                                            1. re: Midlife

                                                              Most of life is about managing expectations. If you go to a pizza joint and order a "pizza" called "Guacamole Burrito" and are disappointed when they bring your pie out because it doesn't meet your definition of a "pizza", you're probably not paying very close attention.

                                                              On the other hand, if you order a Margherita pizza and it comes without basil and with feta cheese (and these particular ingredients weren't noted on the menu where it described the Margherita pizza), I say, you probably have a right to be a disappointed.

                                                              In either situation two scenarios above you might end up with something delicious, or you might end up with something awful. But, in the first scenario, your expectations were probably low because you were likely just taking a chance on something that sounded intriguing and you were willing to take a risk. In the latter situation, your expectations were set based on a specific understanding of what a Margherita pizza is.

                                                              So, the wacky pizza flavors don't bug me out as long as they aren't surprises. And who really cares what they call it if it's delicious, and I'm not caught off guard because I was expecting something different.

                                                              It's all about managing expectations.


                                                              1. re: Midlife


                                                                Ix-nay on the tail chasing please. :-))

                                                                Just remember the thread "Threads I stay away from." This will approach "Threads I said my peace and moved on."

                                                                1. re: jfood

                                                                  No comment................... really! I've moved on. :o))))

                                                              2. The last time I was in Naples I saw a lot of vendors selling hot dog & french fry pizzas, as in sliced bits of hot dog and french fries mounded on a pizza crust. According to many in this thread, that's not pizza but yet it came from arguably the birthplace of the pizza ....

                                                                3 Replies
                                                                1. re: jgg13

                                                                  I give up.......................... officially. I think this topic just caught it's tail. :o)))

                                                                    1. re: Midlife

                                                                      Don't things usually get more interesting once you catch some tail?