I first learned to love pizza when I was a youth and got to taste the pies that Dan put out at Mark Twain’s Pizza Landing on Metairie Road. These were New York style pizzas, and it was the 80s, so it was the first place I saw a “Hawaiian” pizza and the first place where the crust was something more than just the thing that held up the toppings.
The outer edge of the crust was my favorite thing about those pizzas, and I’m not giving short shrift to the toppings, because I can still taste the Italian sausage and mushroom pies that I’d order as a 9” and eat in one sitting. But the crust had this crisp exterior from the heat of the oven that, once you bit into it, revealed a tender, chewy interior.
It did not hurt that Dan was and is a great guy, but I don’t think I’d know Dan if the pizza hadn’t have been good. Man, that crust was something else. I should point out at this stage that I’m the sort of guy who likes the crust on a pizza the same way I want to enjoy the pasta in a pasta dish. I want the stuff that’s not crust or pasta to play second fiddle.
My wife and I do not have the opportunity to eat lunch together very often, given that she has responsibilities at Ben Franklin Hight School and I am incredibly important and – without going into detail – pretty much a spy. But earlier this week we met at Mid City Pizza’s location on Banks Street, and man was that crust good.
It’s a NY-style crust, which of the pizzas we can get here is closest to the sort of thing you can get out of a real pizza oven. I have eaten my share of doughy chain pizzas and pizzas with a crust so thin it’s damn near a saltine. At one point or another I’ve enjoyed even those pizzas. I’ve also enjoyed the pasta dish people in Chicago call “deep dish” pizza, but I put that in another category altogether.
We split a large with Italian sausage, (Terranova’s) mushrooms, black olives and artichoke. I was not on board with the artichokes initially, but I came around once the pie hit the table. The message I am trying to convey is that I liked the food quite a lot. There is a second location; the address is 6307 S. Miro St., but it really fronts onto Claiborne Avenue. If you drive down Claiborne regularly, it’s the place that used to be the gluten-free “Naked” pizza. You may also have noticed work being done to repair the front door and windows. It seems to attract vehicles.
But the place on S. Miro/Claiborne is good too. I can attest to that fact because I have eaten takeout from that location and while it may not have been as good as what we ate straight from the oven the other day, it was worth ordering again.
If you live within delivery distance of one of their two locations and you’re ordering pizzas from one of the national chains, then you have made some poor choices. Do not blame it on “the kids,” because while they may enjoy salt and corn syrup you can turn them on to better stuff.
Let me know if you have another pizza joint that’s doing it right. Please do not write to me to defend your love of one or the other of the chains. And I was only (mostly) kidding about Chicago pizzas.