day forty-one: sammy’s pizzeria
July 13, 2011 § 2 Comments
In the days before the Bar Formerly Known as Korova became the hideously-named Silky Jones, I would find myself, after a long, often victorious, Monday evening trivia night,* at Sammy’s Pizzeria, desperately trying to sop up the beer in my stomach with the hope of having a productive Tuesday. These were the days before full-time work, the days when mornings started around 10. I remember these days–and Sammy’s–fondly. As fondness does not necessarily imply precision or clarity, I re-visited Sammy’s last week to see how well my memory would fare under slightly less drunken conditions.
I particularly enjoyed the juxtaposition of two signs on the same door: “REALIZE YOU ARE UNSTOPPABLE” and “For your safety, please stand clear of this door.” Also, enticing was the “New Obama Menu” with its tagline “Obama is Trying to Fix the Economy — Sammy’s Pizzeria is Trying to Fix Your Budget.” Only $5.99? WOW!!!
Much as with my trip to CollegeTown Pizza, here at Sammy’s I wondered who was ordering the “suggested menu items” like linguine and shrimp with marinara sauce or the even less appealing tuna and broccoli with fettuccine. I was far too hungry to take such a chance, and went for two slices of pretty a-okay-looking pizza–a white pizza topped with ricotta, mozzarella, tomato, and basil and a BBQ chicken pizza–as well as, for the sake of obsessive comparison, an order of WINGS!!!
One friend ordered a mixed vegetable pizza and garlic knots; another, the most amazingly named chicaboli pizza which, as the name vaguely alludes to, has chicken, bacon, and pepperoni on it. I took a bite of each of my friends’ slices and ate both of mine and a garlic knot while I waited and waited and waited for my WINGS!!! to arrive.
I was as fond of Sammy’s pizza as I had remembered. The crusts are all on the thin side; the toppings, on the heavy side, flavorful. The vegetable pizza was loaded with peppers, onions and large broccoli florets. The BBQ chicken pizza had plenty of chicken chunks and the sauce was, while slightly sweet, not obnoxiously so. I was very happy with the ricotta/mozzarella pizza, but it was the chicaboli that took home first prize in the taste competition. Somehow, despite the meat avalanche that occurred when I lifted my friend’s slice to take a bite, the pizza managed not to be too greasy. It hit the spot. I hear, as with most places, that their whole pies are even better. Only the garlic knot was disappointing, somewhat dry and not quite oily or garlicky or addictive enough, in the way I always hope garlic knots will be.
The wings had still not arrived and my chicaboli-ordering friend was getting nervous looking at the decal on the window, a chicken holding a fork and knife with the slogan “All about chicken” around it.** The message being, I suppose, that the chicken at Sammy’s was so good that it could turn chicken into cannibals. Instead, when the wings arrived, they looked as if they had been made from chickens who had cannibalized themselves. I could start going into detail, but feel that the layers of detail I could go into about their layers of burn covered with layers of sauce could potentially smother, linguistically, the enjoyment of my pizza.
So, instead, I’ll stop here and say that while Sammy’s may not be, as their neon sign advertises, “The Best Pizza and Pasta in Ithaca,” for late night pizza on The Commons, it’s your best bet. (Pizza Aroma is slightly better, but also better appreciated sober. And while I do enjoy Napoli’s pizza, their indoor lights are a total buzz kill.) It’s not all about the chicken, thankfully, but rather, the pizza.
Also, though I do have to try Mama Teresa’s Pizza in Collegetown, which claims, more vaguely, to have the “Best Pizza in Town,” I think I’m going to save myself some stomachaches and disappointment and give Wingquest 2011 a break for now…
* Thanks, in no small part, but almost entirely, in fact, to a certain archivist extraordinaire.
** I, on the other hand, was more disturbed by the Mario Brothers-like caricature of Sammy. Sammy, though, I was told, was not Italian, but rather Egyptian. I duly noted this and moved on.
Price: Drunkard-friendly slices and prices
Hours: 10am – 2am daily
Location: 215 E. State Street, on the Commons right next to Madeline’s
Website: Sammy’s Pizzeria