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Dec 5, 2022

Gas Station Pizza Review - Casey's in Little Rock, AR

I've heard great things about Casey's Pizza, and have always wanted to try it out. While in Arkansas recently, I finally got my chance! I'm happy to say that the pizza exceeded my expectations in almost every way.


Right out of the pizza warmers, the slices smelled and looked wonderful. I opted for a BBQ Brisket and a sausage slice on this particular day.


The BBQ Brisket Pizza
BBQ sauce, smoked chopped brisket, jalapenos, red onions, real mozzarella and cheddar cheeses, finished with a ranch drizzle. 

This pizza was great! Super tasty, with a nice little spicy bite. The brisket was incredible and added a beautiful smoky depth to the slice. 

The ranch drizzle really was the icing on the pie, tamping down the spiciness of the jalapenos and helping the cheese and barbecue sauce jive together nicely .


Sausage Pizza
This slice had a classic marinara sauce and was topped with Casey's signature mild sausage and real mozzarella cheese. All ingredients were great, and the sauce had a great snappy flavor, seasoned nicely with herbs.

I can't say enough nice things about Casey's pizza. They pride themselves on offering freshly made pizzas, with crust that is made from scratch.

That being said, I could tell the crust on both pies were pre made, which is understandable. I don't rightly expect any convenience store to have a dedicated dough making person that makes the dough in-house everyday. Maybe they do this somewhere, although I can't imagine where. 


Mind you, the crust was decent. It was way better than your run of the mill convenience store pizza crust. It did have some real pull to it, but wasn't tough. 

At first glance, the crust really has a bit of an artisan look to it, more so than your traditional convenience store pizza crusts. It was cooked well, had a nice crispy consistency, but lacked some depth in the flavor department. 

The end crust was a wee bit dense, with little alveolation to it. It worked well for the bottom crust, especially with the saucier BBQ slice, but I really would have liked to see a bit more airy spring to the end crust.


Pizza Geezer rating..
as far as gas station pizza goes

5 out of 5 Slices



This is without a doubt, the best convenience store pizza I've eaten since embarking upon these 'Gas Station Pizza Reviews'. While Casey's currently has over 2,147 stores in 17 states, Florida is sadly not one of them.

I did not get to try Casey's Limited time offering The Ultimate Beer Cheese Breakfast Pizza, and I am going to be haunted by this for some time.


Casey's stores are spread mostly across the Midwest and plains states, both of which I travel across yearly. Therefore, I look forward to doing more of these reviews during future road trips.

If you have any Casey's pizza varieties you are crazy about, I'd love to hear about them. Feel free to drop your recommendations and thoughts in the comment section below.

Nov 28, 2022

1980s Fort Collins pizza restaurants that are gone but not forgotten



Just as there weren't many options for Mexican Food Restaurants in Fort Collins, Colorado back in the 1980s, there also weren't nearly as many pizzeria's back in the day. During my drive home today, I started trying to compile a mental list of the pizza joints I remember as a kid. I thought it would be fun to list them here for posterity. 

Listed below are the pizza places I remember from 1980s Fort Collins. Please chime in if you remember a Fort Collins pizza place that's not listed here, and I will add it to my list!


Defunct 1980s Fort Collins Pizza Restaurants.. 


Showbiz Pizza Place

I loved this place when I was a kid. It was the restaurant equivalent to Disneyland for me. I believe it opened in 1980 and eventually turned into a Chuck E. Cheese. You can read an article I wrote on my Retro Blog entitled: Memories of SHOWBIZ Pizza Place


Panhandler's Pizza

Delicious pan style pizza that never disappointed. I believe there were two locations in Fort Collins, but my family's favorite store was the location in the Campus West area by Colorado State University. You can read an article I wrote about them on my Retro Blog here..
Memories of Panhandler's Pizza


Shakey's Pizza

While Shakey's definitely lost its charm as a themed restaurant over the years, they still had great pie, and always had a great assortment of video games to play in the 80s. You can read more about just how incredible this restaurant was during its heyday, in a recent article I wrote called:
70s and 80s Memories of Shakey's Pizza Parlor


BIG CHEESE Pizza

Located at 2635 S. College Ave. This was my family's go-to pizzeria during much of the 80s. The pizza tasted amazing and the restaurant had a simple, yet fun atmosphere. I expressly remember a huge yellow airplane that resembled an early 1900s bi-plane, that was suspended from the ceiling. I don't believe there was any other theming like that in the restaurant, but for some strange reason it worked and didn't look out of place. I must have spent hours peering up at that plane during my childhood.

My brother always started out the evening by pumping quarters into the jukebox, while I would procure a spot at the Pac-Man video game table to play a few rounds before dinner. I had no clue Big Cheese was a chain restaurant until many years later. In fact, I believe there are still locations in different states like New Mexico, Florida and Washington just to name a few.


The Upper Crust

I can't remember too much about the Upper Crust, other than getting it delivered on occasion. I know it was a chain (possibly a local one) with stores in neighboring towns like Greeley. If I remember correctly, they had a store located on 1012 S. College Ave. near the old Historic Fort Collins High School. I do remember their pizza tasting pretty dang good. 

I always got a kick out of my Dad working at barber shop called 'The Upper Cut' before opening his own barber shop in Old Town Fort Collins that he operated for twenty some-odd years. As a young boy, I often fantasized about him working at the Upper Crust and bringing home free pizza.


Old Chicago
(Old Town Location)
Old Chicago opened up in the late 80s and closed in 2018. They had some great tasting pizza and were responsible for opening my eyes to the world of craft beer. The love of craft beer I developed there, set me on a path of homebrewing that has spanned close to thirty years.


Vinny's Pizza

This one wasn't around for a super long time. It opened in the mid 80s and was located in the old University Plaza Mall at 2229 S. College Ave. Serving up thin slices of New York style pie, this pizzeria is where I bought pizza by the slice for the very first time in Colorado.


Vinnie's Pizza
This place was almost directly across from SHOWBIZ Pizza. I remember the pizza having an incredible crust and the sauce having a nice pop, but what I really miss was a menu item called 'Gator Bread'.

Cozzola's Pizza
Dave Cozzola opened his incredible pizza restaurant in 1987. While the original store in Old Town is now closed, there is another at 1112 Oakridge Drive. Cozzola's Pizza was a real treat. Fresh made, braided crust, and superior ingredients won this pizzeria recognition year after year as the 'Best Pizza in Fort Collins'. Dave Cozzola was a customer at my Dad's barbershop for years, so my family got super acquainted with his restaurant just down the road from my Dad's shop. 

Sox and Cubs Pizza & Subs
I remember stopping in at this place near the indoor flea markets on North College Ave., when I felt like a thick and chewy slice of pizza. They had a spicy pizza on their menu that I really loved. The restaurant felt like it was owned by baseball fanatics (Chicago fans of course) and sports decor reflecting this was everywhere throughout the establishment. 

I remember them often hosting Strat-O-Matic tournaments in the restaurant. Strat-O-Matic was/is a table top baseball simulation board game that you can play by yourself or with others. The restaurant would be full of hobbyists participating in tournaments. My brother was a huge fan of this game growing up, so I always enjoyed peeking in on the fun, as the enthusiasts had their showdowns. 

Godfather's Pizza
If you loved massive amounts of cheese on your pizza, Godfather's was the place for you. The commercials I remember seeing in the 80s boasted about their five pound pizzas with one full pound of cheese. The original location we used to frequent was in the Foothills plaza, across the parking lot from the old Foothills Fashion Mall, not too far from the old 'Foothills Twin' movie theater. Years later in the 90s, another store was opened on Lemay Avenue by Albertson's. That store featured a lunch buffet and while the pizza was decent, corporate rebranding had greatly changed the style of pizzas they were known for back in the 80s.

That's all I can remember for now, but will definitely update this list if more pizza places come to mind. There are definitely a few more I'm foggy on, so maybe I just need a reminder. Fort Collins has always felt like a revolving door for restaurants, so I'm sure I've missed a few places up and above the ones I mentioned.

If you can think of any pizzerias that were open between the years of 1980 and 1990 that are not listed here, feel free to comment below and help jog my memory. Thanks!


Review - 'Funghi Pizza' at Pizza Ponte in Disney Springs, FL

Pizza Ponte at Disney Springs
1560 East Buena Vista Drive, Lake Buena Vista, Florida, 32830



Pizza Ponte's 'Funghi Pizza' sports tomato, mozzarella, fontina, and forest mushrooms. 

It's a wonderful slice any mushroom lover would enjoy and I highly recommend it. Lets breakdown what this slice has to offer..



The Crust
Light and soft with a crispy underside, and a nice char around the edge. A decent amount of pull at the end crust, but not tough by any means.

The sauce
(stated as tomato on the menu) was nice and mild, which let the other toppings shine.

The Cheese
This blend was delicious and of good quality. It wasn't too salty or overpowering and complimented the crust and mushrooms very nicely.

Topping
The star of this slice for me was the forest mushrooms. They weren't rubbery or salty, and were a pretty good size as well.

Pizza Geezer rating..

5 out of 5 Slices!


The price of $8.20 a slice may deter some, but believe it or not, this is actually a very good deal in comparison to pizza slice prices at the local theme parks these days! 

For most people, this slice and a drink turns out to be a decent sized meal. I myself could eat two slices, but I have a pretty large appetite. My wife or daughter however are feeling stuffed after eating a single slice.

This is such a nicely balanced pizza. Not too rich, with every ingredient playing off of the next perfectly. If you are a mushroom lover, I highly recommend grabbing a slice next time you are a Disney Springs.

Nov 21, 2022

Review - G's NY Pizza in Clermont Florida




Pizza Geezer rating..

5 out of 5 Slices!




I realized today, that I have never officially written a review for the pizzeria I frequent most often in Clermont Florida. I guess it's due time to remedy that. 

I won't get too in depth with the full blown details on aesthetics, ingredients, etc. Instead, I'll share a few thoughts, facts, and a few photos from the hundreds I've taken over the years.

G's is an authentic NY Style Pizzeria through and through.  Great hand tossed pies made with great ingredients.   

The owner Peter Fiorino grew up in Valley Street New York, and was on the 2007 United States Pizza Team, so the guy definitely has skills.  

I can count on one hand, the times he hasn't been in the pizzeria during my visits in the last year.  He makes a mean pie, and definitely takes pride in his craft.



They have a great menu as well. Whether its a salad, sandwich, Calzone, Stromboli, or Parmigiana dinner, I've never had a bad meal at G's.  

Do you have a sweet tooth?  I IMPLORE YOU to try their Cannoli! Always freshly filled after you order them, the shells are crisp, and not dense like other places that pre make and refrigerate them. Check them out below..



G's is my go-to Pizzeria for New York Style Pizza, and it's not because it's so close to home (that's just a blessing).  

It's a nice little shop (and I do stress the word little) because I believe there are a total of three tables inside.  Two of them seat up to four people, and the other seats two, so max capacity is about ten or eleven people. 

 


I always try to go early to miss the lunch crowd, but am always ready to not have a place to sit.  In that instance I will order it to-go, and hope for a table to open up, otherwise I eat my pizza outside, or in my car.  

Still.. totally worth the minor challenge, because their food is so incredibly good. Check them out. You won't be sorry.

or in person..

G's NY Pizza - 12346 Roper Blvd. 
Clermont, Florida

Nov 14, 2022

Pizza memorabilia - Shakey's plastic mug

This is MY Shakey's Mug



Here's another piece from my collection that I truly adore. It's an old Shakey's mug that I'm thinking is from the 1970s.

 

The Shakey's from yesteryear, is one of my all time favorite pizza franchises, and I have sung their praises and reminisced about them before. 

If you aren't familiar with the Shakey's of old, you can get caught up to speed by reading the blog post below:


This mug sports the old school Shakey's Pizza Parlor logo that features the tag line 'World's Greatest Pizza". I believe the earliest logos read "Shakey's Pizza Parlor & Ye Olde Public House". I remember some signs in the 80s simply reading "Shakey's Pizza Restaurant".

 
Mug from Vernon Conneticut

While there were once over 300 Shakey's restaurants spread out across the U.S., there are now less than 50 stores, and all are located in California.



I love the old Shakey's Chef mascot 

I truly do appreciate creative advertising icons like the Shakey's Chef. He used to grace the roofs of many a Shakey's restaurant, and his likeness was emblazoned upon countless promotional items during the years. It just seems like companies used to try harder in regards to their company mascots.

This mug was made in the USA by Whirley Industries, which is still in business to this day in Warren Pennsylvania!


I really love this mug. Looking upon and holding items like this, is like a form of time travel. They're items frozen in time, with the power to bring back all kinds of vivid and wonderful memories. 

When it comes to pizza, I've got tons of memories that will last a lifetime. I'll make sure to share more of them as I showcase more of my collection.

Nov 10, 2022

Disney / Star Wars Pizza Pin

In case you hadn't already guessed, I'm a certified pizza fanatic. I eat it, make it, write about it, and collect it. Well.. pizza memorabilia that is. Collecting pizza wouldn't be very hygienic. 

Lately I've been thinking about showcasing some of my finds, sightings, and pizza themed pieces from my collection. Here's a piece I bought recently..

Millennium Falcon Disney Pin

I used to be a big Disney pin collector, but these days, it really has to be one heck of a pin to get me to open my wallet. When I saw this one however, I had to snatch it up for myself. 

I found it at 'Star Wars Outpost' located in Disney Springs near Walt Disney World. Basically, its a pin of a pizza box featuring the Millennium Falcon in pizza form.

As you can see, there are subtle nods to Captain Han Solo. For one, the faux pizza parlor emblazoned upon the box is named 'Pizza Smuggler'. There is also a reference to his feat of making the 'Kessel Run' in under 12 parsecs, a clever way to boast about fast delivery.

Being a huge Star Wars fan, I had to have this pizza themed piece of merchandise. Plus, I can't say that I've never smuggled pizza in my lifetime. In the end, it felt as if this pin was made for me. 

Hope you enjoyed this little showcase of my new collection piece. I will be sharing more items from my collection soon, as well as other pizza merchandise sightings, so keep an eye out!

Oct 31, 2022

Review - 'Parmacotto Pizza' at Pizza Ponte in Disney Springs, FL



This pizza was truly a delight to review. It appears at first to be a very simple straightforward slice, but the taste and texture profiles were pleasantly surprising. I expected a cheesy slice with a salty pop, but this slice was so much more than that. 


The Crust
Classic Pizza Ponte crust light with a nice pull, but also a bit of char to it. The texture and taste of this crust adds a whole other dimension to the pizza.

The Cheese
There was some nice things going on with this slice. You have sections of the slice with spots of crispy mozzarella, and other sections with stretchy and buttery mozzarella, dollops of ricotta are also present across the pie. 

I personally would have loved to see a bit more ricotta, but that's my personal taste, and the proportions worked well with this slice.

Toppings
Beautiful pieces of Parmacotto Ham are what this slice sports. I half expected a mouthful of saltiness upon biting into it, but what I found was an incredibly rich and flavorful ham. 

I've only eaten Parma Ham a couple of times in my life and I forgot just how fragrant, and mild this high quality ham tastes. There's a subtle almost sweet flavor to it, and is definitely not your typical ham.


Pizza Geezer rating..

5 out of 5 Slices!


There were so many different flavors and textures on this slice, it really was refreshing. It was a more subdued and mild slice, and I initially grabbed a few pepper and parmesan packets to sprinkle on it. However, I enjoyed the flavor profile so much, I didn't even bother opening the packets.

I can see myself making this slice a regular option in my lunch rotation when dining at Pizza Ponte, where I visit most every week. 

If you are looking for a light refreshing slice featuring some incredibly succulent ham, then I highly recommend Pizza Ponte's Parmacotto slice at Disney Springs.


or in person..

Pizza Ponte at Disney Springs
1560 East Buena Vista Drive,
Lake Buena Vista, Florida, 32830