Ron Knight Muses Over Pizza
July 11, 2019 in Notes
From Ron Knight (DC):
“Ever since we graduated Yale I have searched the menus of all the pizza places wherever I traveled, trying to find pizza crusts like the ones the Za House made. No success. I’ve had some good pizzas, but I haven’t been a big fan of the big fat doughy-crust pan pizza, nor of the thin-crust pizza you get in most places, which is basically matzo-crust, nor of the kind-of-in-between crusts like the Domino’s hand-tossed (probably my favorite, but still not the same).
“Seated one day at the computer, I got my head stuck in Wikipedia, and after a half-hour of noodling around I started reading about types of pizzas. Suddenly an item on the list jumped out at me: “New Haven Style”. I have seen pizzerias menus that said “Chicago style”, “Brooklyn style”, “Detroit style”, “New York style”, and many more, but never before had I been aware that there was a “New Haven Style” pizza.
“Continuing my Wikipedia research, I discovered that Sally’s and Pepe’s were considered the historical exemplars of New Haven Style, so maybe that is not the pizza I was looking for either. But in looking up New Haven pizzerias I find the picture above. You can’t read it well in this picture, but the oval neon sign in the left window says “since 1963”. I was not aware that this place was that new when we were there, but I’m even more surprised to find out that the place is still there and still serving pizzas.
“They still don’t have a website, but Yelp and some other sites carry reviews and pictures. They do have a Facebook page. The reviews are all over the place, with some reviewers swooning that it still hasn’t changed in 40 years and others walking away disgusted at the food.
“Well, I want to find out for myself. So if I am alive and able to travel to our 50th reunion I am going to be there the first day. As I recall, that day (Thursday) is the day we eat dinner on our own, with Yale Dining not helping with food service. I suspect that some might suggest a different restaurant, but I would really like to go back to the Za House and see what is still the same. (Same address, 89 Howe Street, a block away from the Davenport back gate.)
“It seems from my research that the pizza I have been looking for for nearly 50 years is a thin-crust pan pizza baked at high temperature in a brick oven. I want to check that out. (Evidence is, however, that the Pizza House now cuts the pizza into squares instead of wedges. I guess I can put up with that.)
“I ate dinner by myself at the 40th Reunion Thursday night, because evidently not many old friends chose to come in on Thursday. I’ll do it again if I have to, but submitted for your consideration …”