by Public Service Associate Juliana
I’m not really a math person, but I’m definitely a pizza person. This Pi Day I suggest a BYOP party! Yep, you read that right. It’s like BYOB except with pizza. A dear friend of mine once threw a party where she invited everyone to bring their favorite pizza from their favorite pizza place to share with everyone. BYOP. Essentially a pizza potluck, plentiful in both variety and quantity. I can’t get over what a great idea this is. Pizza is often a matter of convenience as well as taste preference. BYOP is a way to get to try some of the best that may be outside your normal range.
If you were looking for a way to celebrate Pi Day, look no further. I quizzed my co-workers with the following pizza related questions:
- What’s your favorite pizza place? (Or top three or top five. Lists welcome!)
- A detail or two about what makes it so great
- What’s your go-to order?
- Do you have a favorite pizza scene from a book or movie?
- Additionally, if there’s a book or movie with “pizza” in the title that we should know about, please share.
The email thread that followed turned into what felt like a real party! We uncovered crowd pleasers, hidden gems, local spots, and some that are positively road trip worthy! Maybe you celebrate with a whole pie or just a slice. Maybe you are lactose intolerant and celebrate with a pizza-themed movie or book. Maybe you let nostalgia be your guide. Maybe you feel inspired to host a pizza party. Make it a potluck! Unlike a math test, with pizza there are no wrong answers.
- For Bexley pizza it’s Anthony’s, but my all-time favorite pizza is at the First and Last Tavern in Hartford, CT.
- Anthony’s is just solid thin-crust pizza close to my apartment and you really can’t beat that. First and Last means a lot to my family, especially for my dad who grew up eating it. We always try to go there whenever we’re in Hartford.
- I like the Margherita at Anthony’s and the clam pizza at First and Last.
- In Breaking Bad, when Walter White throws the pizza on the roof of his home. Just an iconic scene.
- Pizza: A Global History by Carol Helstosky. Pizza has such cultural significance that I found tracing its history in this book to be fascinating and informative.
- DiCarlo’s Pizza
- My family originates from Steubenville where my then-teenage parents enjoyed many a date night at the original DiCarlo’s location. This “Ohio Valley-style” pizza with its crisp crust and cold cheese sends me back to summers at grandma’s house. And with locations now going strong here in Columbus, it’s sweet to hear my parents reminiscing as they carry on the tradition of enjoying it while it’s still hot right there in the parking lot.
- Pepperoni and cheese, preferably on corner pieces.
- The Princess Diaries, Garry Marshall’s 2001 adaptation of the must-read YA series by Meg Cabot. Mia (Anne Hathaway) sends her crush/friend an apology pizza with “sorry” spelled out in M&M’s. I can very much get behind this custom!
- Remember the pizza rat meme? Michael Garland’s Pizza Mouse took up the story and gave it a happy ending. Also, Pizza Quest: My Never-Ending Search for the Perfect Pizza by Peter Reinhart because food history books mix all my favorite things into one.
- Ange’s Whitehall
- The thin crust compliments that flavorful sauce and the nice, good quality toppings they use. Their long-running, close-by, family-owned location and good hours have made them a staple for both Kenny and I’s families for our entire lives, so eating it is a little square slice of nostalgia!
- For pizza, it’s always an Ange’s combination (pepperoni, mushrooms, onion, green peppers, and sausage), but I’m also a fan of their meatball subs (which I add mushrooms to) and their chef salads!
- Definitely the scene of PJ and Max eating pizza in A Goofy Movie. The way that cheese stretches always makes me want a super cheesy pizza.
- Pizza! A Slice of History by Greg Pizzoli is a cute little non-fiction picture book with all sorts of cheesy (ha!) details about everyone’s favorite food. The art is really great in it, too!
- Massey’s Terita’s Lima, Ohio’s own Fat Jack’s Pizza (which has a theme song I am available to rap for you personally at any given moment)
- Pizza is the great commonality amongst human people who attend our morning huddles (and other humans also, I suppose).
- There is really no pizza I will not try. But I do love m’peps.
- Turtle Power!
- Mystic Pizza
- Eagle’s Pizza in New Albany, Minelli’s over by Hilliard, The Purple Monkey in my hometown South Charleston
- At Eagle’s we really enjoy their chicken BBQ pizza whereas at Minelli’s we love their Hawaiian. We also like to stop by Handel’s for ice-cream (if we still have room, which of course for ice-cream we will). Both have great crusts, sauce and toppings. Purple Monkey adds salt to the bottom of their crusts that make it extra delicious, and they have ice-cream –I’m sensing a theme here.
- Mushrooms all day every day.
- Pizza the Hut from Spaceballs! Cracks me up every time. Follow up-So I thought it was a pizza but in “We Bare Bears” they do a spoof of the viral pizza rat video only instead of pizza it’s a bagel. It still reminds me of pizza though.
- Pizza!: An Interactive Recipe Book by Lotta Nieminen. It’s an interactive board book that’s sure to engage toddlers.
- Flyer’s and Panzera’s are my favorites, but I’m not too picky.
- Flyer’s for the cup and char pepperoni and Panzera’s because it’s close to me and their website is pure art
- No frills pepperoni is my go-to order.
- The pizza scene in Home Alone is so chaotic. That was the first thing that came to mind.
- Pizza Hut
- I just want the stuffed crust. I didn’t realize not all pizza places offer stuffed crust until I moved and didn’t have a local Pizza Hut.
- Stuffed crust and black olive.
- I’d probably go with the pizza scene in the first Home Alone movie, but outside of movies, I always think of this 1980s commercial. It played on every single pirated VHS Disney movie I watched as a child.
- Adriatico’s, Jett’s and Yellow Brick are my favorite local places. (Ohio pizza is terrible in general – I’m willing to have a long debate about this if anyone cares to engage).
- Adriatico’s is about quantity, Jett’s is the turbo crust, and Yellow Brick is a cool place to visit.
- Pep or veggies, but never sausage. I’m also a fan of anchovies, but that usually gets vetoed.
- Home Alone was the first scene that came to mind, but also this Mary Kate & Ashely special from my childhood. I may or may not still sing this song whenever I have p-i-z-z-a.
- Borgata’s Pizza Cafe
- New York style – good chewy edge crust and thin underneath the topping- just perfect
- Mediterranean Roasted Vegetable or Pesto Chicken – But a good pepperoni will not be turned down!
- Fast times at Ridgemont High – pizza delivered to the classroom
- Titles: Mystic Pizza, Licorice Pizza – top of mind
- There is only one pizza. Grandma’s Pizza, at the corner of Parkview Road and St. Route 29 in Mechanicsburg, Ohio. This was the pizza of every after-sports dinner event, slumber party, Friday night, etc. It was perfect. Perfect hot. Perfect warm. Perfect stone cold with a can of diet mountain dew at 8:00 am in the morning.
- Thicker crust than Donatos, bigger square cuts than Donatos. People always found the money for Grandma’s after a long hard day ending in “we aren’t fixing dinner.” Words do not describe the mouthfeel of this pizza. If I am a very good girl, or manage to sneak into Heaven, Grandma’s Pizza will be there, and I will be able to eat it. The longtime manager was a teacher for Mechanicsburg Schools for 40 + years. She worked nights and weekends at the shop. Everyone loved her. If you got her as her 6th grade teacher at the end of the school year, she walked us down to Grandma’s in the late morning and we were all allowed to make our own pizza for lunch for free. The warm pizza pressed up against the roof of my mouth, I’ll take that memory to my grave.
- Mary’s Pizza in Lisbon, Ohio. For folks from the area, I’d venture to say it’s got a bit of a cult following. (IYKYK) It was founded by a woman named Mary (obviously) who was the daughter of Italian immigrants. She started selling pizzas out of her garage in the early ’60s and with the help of her grandsons, expanded the venture into a formal business. Her family still runs the restaurant today.
- It’s a bit hard to describe, and I haven’t had pizza quite like it anywhere else. I usually prefer a thinner crust, but this crust is thick and crunchy. Their original sauce is a meat sauce, but I always get their marinara. It’s quite sweet, but not too sweet. The best part though? The cheese. They use freshly shredded provolone, and always A LOT of it.
- For any other pizza, I usually do an assortment of veggies (spinach, bell pepper, and tomato are some of my faves). If it’s Mary’s pizza though, marinara sauce and plain cheese is the best way to go. If you do decide to get toppings here, keep in mind that they put them under the cheese, not on top. (Are they still toppings?)
- The Home Alone scenes, of course. The scene with the family is great, as is the one where he scares the pizza delivery guy…”A lovely cheese pizza, just for me.”
- Yellow Brick Pizza, followed by OH Pizza and Brew (although Pizza and Brew has the best wings in Columbus), followed by the boring and traditional but great Columbus-style pizza from JT’s. Caveat: I am gluten free which means for a pizza place to rank on my list it needs to have gluten-free crusts available.
- Yellow Brick started as my favorite with their location in Olde Town East, which had the perfect pizza atmosphere: brick (yellow), no huge seating area, giant ovens warming the place, street corner location, people coming in drunk from the bars around, workers yelling out the orders in that very specific pizza parlor jargon, and they have beautiful thick crust that comes with garlic dipping sauce (also a must if you want to make it on my list). They have since moved from that location into the East Market. Their 2nd location in Franklinton is also great. Low lighting, plenty of drinks, quiet area so you get the exact opposite (in a good way) from the other location. The bartenders there are super friendly so you can hang with them and chat while you wait for your pizza. It’s also close to the river and parks so you can grab your slice and sit by the water.
- I’m a simple man so give me plenty of cheese and pep and I’m all set.
- Literally any scene from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Specifically, Raphael holding a pizza slice with his sai. Or, when Master Splinter is enticing the boys with his detailed description of the tasty, gooey, every-cheese-available pizza, while they must maintain focus and balance in meditation. Do The Right Thing doesn’t really have one pizza scene so much as the whole movie, given that the main character delivers pizza, which is what drives the plot. If you need one scene though, it’s when Giancarlo Esposito’s character yells at the pizza parlor owners for not having any famous Black Americans on his celebrity wall.
- Licorice Pizza is a great movie. Never seen Mystic Pizza but I’m sure you’ll get that suggested plenty.
- Rubino’s, Pizza Plus, Fibonacci’s at Studio 35
- Rubino’s Pizza is my very favorite with its slightly spicy tomato sauce, thin crust and crisp pepperonis. I grew up in Berwick but even so Rubino’s has always felt like my neighborhood pizza place. I also love the old school feel inside Rubino’s pizzeria (cash only and they even have a pay phone). It’s nice that right next door is the amazing pizza of Pizza Plus. Their margherita pizza is the perfect combination of basil, cheese, tomato and just a pop of garlic. When Studio 35 changed their pizza supplier I was aghast but then I tried their new pizza. The new pizzas are delicious (if a little on the small size) with interesting toppings and flavor combos. I tried the Fig-a-ma-jig (fig, goat cheese and veggie) and it became my favorite there. But the fallback is always my personal favorite of Pepperoni and Pineapple.
- Pepperoni, Margherita, Fig-a-ma-jig or Pepperoni and Pineapple
- As far as favorite cinematic pizza scenes I think the heroic if slightly spacey pizza guy, Argyle, from Stranger Things Season 4 tops the list for memorable scenes involving pizza. In his Surfer Boy Pizza van Argyle sweeps in and saves the day a couple of times and conveys calm, cool and confusion in equal measure. The sweet Mexican indie film Duck Season has two friends bonding over pizza on their last day together before one of them moves away. It has great, believable dialogue and fun hijinks and a slightly exasperated pizza delivery guy. The documentary The Rock-afire Explosion is an affectionate look at the animatronic band at Showbiz Pizza. Chuck E. Cheese was the more successful pizza place but many folks in the documentary say that the Rock-afire Explosion was the superior animatronic band. I love quirky documentaries about strange, niche passions – there is something so touching about it.
- Pizza Girl: a novel by Jean Kyoung Frazier