3917 W. Camp Wisdom Rd., #103
Promised delivery time: 40 minutes
Actual delivery time: 37 minutes
Ease of telecommunication: 20
No delivery charge: 10
Not being Pizza Hut: 10
Steaming-hot pizza and cold-enough soda: 10
No parmesan or red-pepper packets offered--despite overly generous $5 tip from my wife who, because of her own food-service job [part-time, at that!], feels obliged to give outlandish gratuities no matter how undeserved: -10
Driver old enough to prompt this dilemma: -3
Delivering to our neighborhood at all: 20
Total score: 57
(Fails to reach--or even approach withing spitting distance of--top ten)
Philly Connection 90
Tony's Pizza & Pasta 83
See complete 2009 standings here
Don't get me wrong. I love Oak Cliff. But when it comes to delivery, my part of town leaves a lot to be desired. Some nights, morally weakened by hunger and fatigue, I catch myself harboring lustful fantasies about what it would be like to live somewhere else.
When we first moved in, we called every pizza place within a reasonable distance, only to be told time and again that we're out of their delivery zone. One evening I went so far as to place an online order on Pizza Hut's web site, adding unwanted wings just to reach the mandatory minimum order total; then, about to finish the transaction, I saw that the system tried to sneak some kind of horseshit Ticketmaster-esque "convenience charge" that hiked up the cost of the food more than 20 percent. Even though I immediately aborted the order, I still get Pizza Hut spam email. Each one serves as an unintentional reminder of why the company will never get another dime from me.
Granted, we're in the southwest part of the O.C.T., and our neighbors in the northern part of the 'hood don't have nearly as much trouble getting delivery service. Nonetheless, we have resigned ourselves to living without it--and I've made a Friday night habit of picking up Pizza Patron (La Mexicana for the wife and me, cheese or hamburger for the kids) on my way home from work; $15 for two pizzas is just fine with me.
Then out of the blue a few weeks ago, a flyer showed up on our door promising "Best Pizza In Town" delivered free to our area. Friday night, we forewent our usual bell-pepper, beef, onion and chorizo heartburn pie to try out the new place. We ordered two large pizzas (one hamburger and bell pepper, one plain cheese) and a 2-liter bottle of Fanta. Total: $20.01.
Right on time, the doorbell rang. The driver proved to be a clean-cut middle-aged Asian man. After the briefest of pleasantries, he confirmed that he had the right house and told me the total. This guy was all business. I like that in a driver. I started to peel a twenty and three singles from my bankroll, but the wifey interrupted.
"I've got the cash already set out," she said.
I did a double take when I saw the five-spot but held my tongue. The driver had already seen that plum tip; it would be cruel to snatch it away now. But what did that gratuity get us? Not so much as a coupon, let alone a free packet of ranch or even some lousy parmesan dust.
That aside, the pizza was piping hot and the Fanta was cold enough that we didn't have to bother with ice cubes. Unfortunately, the pie itself is pretty much last-resort quality. The pizza tasted like it came from a kitchen that doesn't specialize in pizza--like a school cafeteria or Golden Corral. The crust was about as soft as a dinner roll, so it approached New York style, although with none of the chewy resistance one expects. The hamburger meat was good, but the tiny chunks of diced green pepper were so scantily scattered that they may as well have not been there at all.
We let the leftovers sit in the fridge for a few days before finally tossing them--a rare wasteful moment for a family that usually will graze on a pizza order at every meal until it's gone. Fortunately, not long after the NY Pizza disappointment I noticed that a Little Caesar's opened practically within spitting distance. I haven't had Little Caesar's since I was a kid, but I seem to remember liking it. But even if it's not as good as Pizza Patron, it can't be any worse than NY Pizza.
And I'd like to hear them try to tell me we're outside of their delivery area.
Kids Eat The Darnedest Things Bonus Section:
The kids were happy with their cheese pizza, but not blown away. After a few bites of his first slice, guest critic Jiri (age 7) accidentally dropped his on the ground. That he didn't even bother to start in on a second piece spoke volumes. Iris and Lyle said the pizza was about as good as Pizza Patron.
"It was good," said guest kid Eva (age 10), without much enthusiasm.
"It was kind of hard to tell if it was good, because we were pretending to be dogs so we cut it up into pieces and ate it out of a bowl like dog food," Iris (age 11) admitted.
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The most telling judgment came the next morning, though, when Lyle (age 7)--who loves few things in this world more than a breakfast of cold pizza--opted for a bowl of Life cereal instead.
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