More on that later.
As much as we like authentic VPN (Verace Pizza Napoletana) style pizza brick oven pizza with its ultra-thin crust and minimal toppings, there are times that we crave the style of pizza that we ate as kids. And we knew just where to find it in Tucson. Actually, we knew of two places but today we visit Oregano’s Pizza Bistro, one of about twelve Oregano’s in Flagstaff, Phoenix, Scottsdale, and Tucson.
“Lawrence Gibbilini was born on the north side of Chicago in 1918. When the crash of '29 sent the country spiraling into the Great Depression, he, along with his six younger brothers and sisters, helped make ends meet by selling their mother's pizza door-to-door; some say the first pizza delivery ever.
“When he was eighteen, his mother sold her pizza business and decided that Lawrence should go into the bricklaying business with his father. Lawrence had a passion for cooking and refused to give it up completely. On weekends he would throw a large checkered tablecloth over the dining room table, drag up every chair in the apartment and invite all his friends, family and acquaintances over for dinner.
Oregano’s serves all three Chicago-style pizzas—deep dish, stuffed, and thin crust. And it is the thin that we sought—“a style of…pizza
(The red and white checkerboard item hanging from the ceiling looked like an inverted speedboat.)
[NOTE: This seems like a good place to insert an anecdote attributed to Yogi Berra.
“Mr. Berra,” asked the pizza maker, “do you want you pizza cut into six or eight pieces?”
Yogi answered, “Better make it six—I couldn’t eat eight.”
NOTE 2: Could it be that Yogi's response was shorthand for a more elaborate thought process? What if he meant "If there are six slices, psychologically, that sounds that I could eat that much, but if I know there are eight pieces, I will think this is actually more and convince myself that I cannot that much."]
So with anticipation we awaited the arrival of our large cheese (light cheese) and sausage pizza with a thin crust and cut in squares.
The menu stated that the pizzas are made with REAL Wisconsin cheese, but nowhere did I see a reference to this being a blend of cheese. In addition to the mozzarella, I am sure that the mix included cheddar, possibly along with other cheeses. When I order pizza I want mozzarella. Period. And if this is light cheese, I’d hate to see what regular cheese is.
Second, the sausage was tasty. What there was of it. Many squares had at most two skimpy pieces which was not enough to overcome the taste of the cheese.
But the biggest disappointment was the crust. Where was the “noticeable crunch?” Nowhere to be found. In fact, the crust was chewy bordering on leathery.
Well, our craving for old time pizza was not satisfied at this 2.0 Addie stop (and that rating may be generous), but we still have one other restaurant and one other chance.
To review the role of Adler, Kitty Humbug, and the Addie rating system, read the November 14, 2011 blog.