Saturday, September 6, 2008

My favorite pizza in Columbia MO

Well folks, summer is almost over and the kids are back in school. My daughter's new dog has taken over the house and using it as a very large bathroom (We are working on its' house training skill.) while my teenage son still hogs the computer and is proud to report he is the number one sniper in his online game. (That should get him far in the future.) Such is family life in this household.

Over the summer I have been on a quest looking for my favorite pizza in Columbia. It has been hard work but I came up with some surprises. Here is my list starting with my least favorite:

#10 Papa John's
Their product was never consistently good or bad, just okay. One thing about their pizza, it has a spice or combination of spices that put me to sleep. I'm not kidding! One time we bought it for the staff at work and it was hard to finish the day because everyone was so sleepy. I bought it once for a group of kids at my house and sure enough they all quieted down after eating, some of them nodding off. Maybe the original "Papa" John should check out his Columbia store to see if it meets the company standards. They had a special going for a one topping pizza at a great price so I go in, pay for it and the guy hands me a pizza. I commented on how fast that was and he said they had cooked a bunch of them up ahead of time because of the special. My pizza tasted like the box it was in which made me check to see if I was eating cardboard. Yuk!

#9 Pizza Hut
Bad service at their Clark Lane location and a mediocre product made an impression on me. The company once offered a speciality pizza, I can't remember what it was, so I tried to order it from the Clark Lane location and they were out of the special crust. So on another day I went to the store and ask for the same pizza and once again they had sold out. Okay, so it was popular, that's a good thing right? Again I go to the store and they won't even acknowledge me because everyone is playing around. I waited awhile and even tried to get someones attention but to no avail so I walked out and haven't bought anything from them since.

They have a great delivery service but an above average mediocre pizza. My kids like the pizza so they order it on occasion and I of course steal a piece. There never seems to be a consistent product because we order the same pizza and sometimes it is good and other times it is terrible.

#7 Imo's
For a chain store they make a good pizza. I guess it is called a St. Louis style with the thin crust and square cut but all in all I like their pizza. The problem has been consistency. The last few times our pizza seemed to have less toppings and did not taste as good. They do deserve another chance.

#6 Kostaki's
They serve a good pizza but are soooooo far from where I live. They are located in the Cherry Hill Village in west Columbia and I did not even ask if they deliver to the far east edge of the city. If you live nearby they are worth checking out.

#5 Shakespeare's
Twenty years ago they were my favorite hand tossed pizza. Then Henry J's pizza came along and introduced me to thin crust which became my all time favorite. When Henry J's closed I started loving Shakespeare's again. Yes, I have fickle taste buds but as one is introduced to new things we sometimes change. And as some company's grow their product may not keep up in quality as I believe this may have happened to Shakespeare's. They have their west location and their frozen pizza business in grocery stores but I tried one of their frozen pizzas and it is not worth what I paid for it. I also think the ingredients have changed but I may be mistaken. The last time I was there one of scuzziest workers took my order and I watched the whole process to make sure he did not make my pizza. When I got home I found the pizza was not quite done but I ate it anyway. I will continue to go to Shakespeare's because of fond memories of great times and have a hope that the next pizza I eat there will be great.

#4 Arri's
This legendary Jeff City pizza place opened a location in south Columbia in the Kohl's shopping center. Some of my friends talked about going to Jeff City to eat this great pizza and they were happy that Arri's opened a store here. I tried it and it is good. It falls into the category of Greek pizzas and has an excellent sausage. I also talked to the manager who said the Jeff City location sometimes has an hour waiting time for customers so people from Jefferson City will drive up to Columbia to eat at the new location. The pizza here is worth the drive.

#3 Tony's
I have lived in Columbia for over twenty-five years and never ate at Tony's until recently. So many people recommended it that for research purposes I had to go. I was not disappointed but not that overly impressed. They serve a good pizza but it is similar to most of the Greek pizzas in this town.

#2 G&D Pizza
"Lot's of beer in America!" I remember the staff at G&Ds yelling it out on a busy evening years ago when I first started going there. Some of the same staff (owners) are still there which make a difference in the restaurant trade. It is a great restaurant with a great Greek style pizza. My only problem is my laziness to drive to the opposite side of town to eat there.

#1 A Tie! George's and Italian Village
Do you want a great pizza with all the toppings? If you order a pizza from any one of these two places you cannot not go wrong. I have not had a bad pizza yet from them and try to go at least once a month. Italian Village is on Vandiver which requires me to drive but the pizza is worth it. George's is located two blocks away and is handy. George, the owner, is a colorful gentleman to talk to but I have been unable to talk to anyone at Italian Village because they are always busy.
Another good thing about their pizzas is the fact they are tasty the next morning cold for breakfast. What a way to start a day.

There you go, my list for my favorite pizza in Columbia. I foresee it to change as I have discovered several other restaurants that need to be tested. I will try to keep the blog updated as I get access to a computer at home. My next list may be hamburgers at non tradition restaurants which means I will order a burger from the menu at maybe a barbecue place. No McDonald's or Burger King here. I am looking for what I call the "Wow" factor, when you eat something and bells and whistles go off in your brain saying this is great. It is a hard job but I thing I will try it.

Until next time, good day.


Anonymous said...

Sad that Shakespeare's isn't what it used to be. I lived off that stuff when I was at Mizzou.

phlogdo said...

I was back in Columbia earlier this year, and ate at Shakespeare's for the first time in probably twenty-five years. I thought it actually held up to memories pretty well. A pie from Shakespeare's back then had more potential to blister the roof of your mouth than any other pie in town.... and that, curiously enough, was a GOOD thing.

Shakes was ALWAYS my favorite pizza in town, though many of the others you mention were darn good too. (see my comment on your "Henry J's" blog).

Another pizza place I remember fondly was the Green Pepper, just off campus over near the Electrical Engineering building, across from what I *think* was called "Peace Park".

They had the most AMAZING big round crusts on their pizza. They were also the very first place I ever remember offering a dessert "pizza" with either cherry or apple toppings. They were there when I got to Columbia in 1975, but I think they were gone within a few years of that. They probably didn't make it to see 1980.

X-Columbian said...

Interesting blog. It is fun to read about all these places I used to go to when I was growing up in Columbia.

Sadly, Columbia (and Missouri in general) has horrible pizza. Shakespeare's was probably the best, but it really can't stand up to even the most mediocre slice found on the streets of New York City. One trip to NYC and you will see what I am talking about.

It's too bad you didn't have the opportunity to try out the pizza at the now logn gone Green Pepper pizza joint. Instead of putting out bland pizza that is so common in Columbia, these guys made interesting, unique pies (they even made dessert pies) that really stood apart from the crowd.

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