It is true, I suppose, that man cannot live on pizza alone. But he can try.
That’s pretty much what I’ve been doing for the past week or so: gorging on pizza. Pizza is so popular here that it’s a full-time job keeping up with all the pizzerias that come and go. I won’t waste your time with the bad ones; there are plenty. But here are a few new (or at least new to me) pizza joints that you’ll want to keep on your radar screen. When it comes to pizza, these deliver.
Just across and down the street from the bustling City Weekly office complex is the newest downtown pizza parlor: Lazy Dog Pizzeria. It’s only been open a few months but already the wood-fired pizza oven at Lazy Dog is seriously stoking downtown appetites. Dogs rule the roost here; the orange walls are decorated with photos of canines, and there’s even a bulletin board where you can pin up pix of your favorite mutt.
All the pizzas are also named after—you guessed it—dogs. Well, actually, there’s also a Wolf on the menu (sausage pepperoni, red onions, garlic, basil, bell peppers and fresh mozzarella). The Chihuahua, of course, features jalapeños. The Golden Retriever pie is a dependable mix of sausage, mushrooms and fresh mozzarella. And the basic pizza at Lazy Dog is The Mutt: Marinara and fresh mozzarella on thin, crispy crust, to which you can add toppings at will. I liked everything about the Lazy Dog, from the friendly service to the mongrel vibe—except for the marinara sauce, which tasted a tad too tangy to me. At lunch, you can pick up a one-topping mini-pizza with a salad and drink for $7.99. Woof!
Rocky Mountain Pizza in the Olympus Hills Shopping Center recently changed owners and has become a premier late lunch/early dinner drop-in place for shredders on their way home from Alta, Snowbird, Brighton and Solitude. And why not? Rocky Mountain Pizza now carries Wasatch, Squatters and Uinta beers on tap and in bottles, so it’s an inexpensive and friendly place to catch a little après-ski buzz. The log cabin-style timbers that grace the front order area indicate that this is no pizza chain. It’s a one-off with lots of wood, brass and green going on inside.
Rocky Mountain’s crust is medium-thick and crispy, and specialty pizzas range from the carnivorous Mountain Man all-meat pizza (baked ham, pepperoni, ground seasoned beef and chorizo) to an alpine-light vegetarian, topped with mushrooms, tomatoes, black olives, onions, green peppers and pineapple bits. I’d prefer just a smidgeon less sauce on my Rocky Mountain Pizza, but all-around, it’s a very good pie. For only $5.99, you can pick up a take & bake pie for home cooking, and they also feature lunch and dinner buffets which include pizza, salad bar and dessert pizzas.
When most of us think about Chicago pizza, we probably think of the thick, deep-dish pies made famous at Pizzeria Uno, The Original Gino’s Pizza, Connie’s, Giordano’s and others in the Windy City. So it would be logical to assume that a place call Sweet Home Chicago Pizzeria would feature deep-dish pizza, right? Nope. Chicagoans Jim and his son Joe Pecora take pains to remind customers that there is a thin-crust pizza that’s unique to Chicago as well, often called “flat” pizza. That’s the specialty at Sweet Home Chicago Pizzeria, along with a Chicago beef sandwich that is quickly becoming legendary here in the Beehive. The former owner of a successful pizzeria in Chicago’s ’burbs called Pepe’s, Jim Pecora relocated here to the Salt Lake Valley nearly four decades later with the intent of bringing “real” Chicago pizza to Utah. The Sweet Home Chicago Pizzeria slogan is “Real Chicagoans. Real Chicago pizza.”
Sweet Home Chicago’s pizza reminds me a lot of the tasty stuff I used to eat as a teenager in Dayton, Ohio, from a place called Cassano’s Pizza King, but with White Sox memorabilia for decor. For starters, the pizza is cut into a grid, not slices. I like this because it allows for bite-sized pieces of pie and anyone who doesn’t care for pizza crust can avoid it by grabbing squares from the middle of the pie. Although Sweet Home Chicago offers a stuffed deep-dish pizza, the house specialty is its thin-crust pizza: nice and crispy but slightly doughy as well. The toppings are top-notch, from homemade Italian sausage to impossibly small hand-minced green peppers and tomatoes. It’s as if someone who had mastered classic French kitchen technique was hired to do the kitchen prep work!
The Jake & Elwood pizza really rocks: Grilled chicken with minced fresh tomato, onion, green pepper and sliced black olives. Bonus: There’s a small patio in back that affords one of the most incredible views of the south valley and mountains you’ll ever find. Go easy on the Uinta Cutthroat ales though, because the patio is literally a cliff-hanger.
Up in Park City’s Pinebrook neighborhood, a new place called NYPD Pizza is serving up high-quality New York-style pizza in a setting full of NYC memorabilia. This is good brick-oven pizza, the type that might even remind you of John’s or Arturo’s in the Big Apple. The Margarita is really good, but I think the best thing going at NYPD Pizza is the straightforward Famous Cheese pie, made with nothing more than freshly shredded mozzarella, herbs, spices and home-style tomato sauce.
That does it. I’m on the pizza wagon for a while.
LAZY DOG PIZZERIA 317 S. Main, 359-5364 LazyDogPizzeria.com
NYPD PIZZA 8208 Gorgoza Pines Rd., Park City, 435-649-7675 NYPDPizza.net
SWEET HOME CHICAGO PIZZERIA, 1442 E. Draper Parkway, 545-0455 SHCPizza.com