I’ve written numerous times about excellent pizza purveyors in our area, and you can find those in the online archives at the Utah Stories website. This week, I’m just doing a quick take on three pizza places that I really love but haven’t written about, and which might not yet be on your radar.
Fellow food writer Alex Springer brought Victor’s Pizza Co. to my attention when he posted a photo of a delicious looking pizza from VIctor’s on Facebook. “I’ve GOTTA try this place,” I thought. I’m glad I did.
It takes balls to open a business in the middle of a pandemic, but that when Victor’s opened, in 2020. The pizzeria itself is pretty much a hole in the wall; a good option for takeout, not so much to dine in although you might enjoy the movie poster decor with scenes from The Shining, Pulp Fiction, Mutant Ninja Turtles and such. The owners must be cinema fans, since each pizza name is associated with the film Pulp Fiction. For example, Victor’s pizzas are called Royale with Cheese, Honey Bunny, The Gimp, Vincent, Mia, The Wolf, and so on. It’s clever and fun.
Pizza’s run from fairly standard fare like a meaty pie called The Chopper: marinara on regular crust with pepperoni, Canadian bacon, fresh Italian sausage, salami, bacon and beef, to much more exotic options such as the Taj Mahal with tikka masala sauce, pulled chicken, red onion, pineapple, gouda, mozzarella, and cilantro.
I love the NY style thin and crispy dusted-with-cornmeal crust at Victor’s pizzas, but there is also a regular, thicker crust available. The custom pizza I ordered was very basic: a simple thin crust pizza with house marinara sauce and ground beef and red onion for toppings. It was outstanding. The ability to customize your Victor’s pizza is almost endless, with pizza sauces that include marinara, bbq, buffalo, house ranch, spicy ranch, no sauce, extra sauce, tikka masala, garlic sauce, and creamy alfredo. In addition there are some 18 topping choices ranging from artichoke hearts and baby spinach to fresh ginger.
In contrast to new kid on the block Victor’s Pizza Co, Tony’s Pizza opened in Ogden in the fall of 1963. The Beatles had not yet played the Ed Sullivan Show or invaded America. The Pink Panther, Bye Bye Birdie, The Birds, and Cleopatra were hits at the box office, The Beach Boys’ Surfin’ U.S.A. was on the radio, and JFK was still alive. That same family-run pizzeria is still serving up great pizza in the same location on 39th Street and I’m told that the menu hasn’t changed since day one, although the prices have. Today, Tony’s Pizza is run by founder Tony Toscan’s daughter and a couple of her children also work at the eatery.
Like Victor’s, the ambiance isn’t much of a draw at Tony’s, which mostly does a brisk takeout business. The diminutive menu offers pizza with a choice of toppings, four sandwiches (pastrami, sausage, meatball, hamburger), four pastas (ravioli, rigatoni, tortellini, spaghetti), garlic bread and iceberg lettuce salad with house vinaigrette.
The pizza is New York-style thin crust, crispy and delicious. One key to the fab flavor of Tony’s pizzas is the combination of four types of mozzarella cheese, plus provolone that’s used, as well as the classic marinara-type tomato sauce. While some prefer pineapple and toppings such as green or black olives and mushrooms, I like a basic pie of ground beef or Italian sausage with onions. It’s simple; it’s sensational.
For Neapolitan-style pizza that the citizens of Naples would be proud to call their own, look no further than Pizza Nono in the 9th & 9th neighborhood of SLC (“nono” is ninth in Italian). Pizza Nono serves up wood oven pizzas that are second to none in a small eatery with an uber friendly vibe. Unlike the other pizza joints mentioned here, Nono serves wine and beer. A 15% mandatory service charge is added to each order. The folks at Pizza Nono say, “Our belief is that every hourly Nono employee contributes to your meal and 100% of the MSC will be distributed amongst the staff.” Frankly, I think this should be the policy at many more restaurants.
A Margherita pizza is a simple, beautiful thing that is totally dependent on a few ingredients, so they must be of the highest quality. A great Margherita pizza begins with a great crust – although, I suppose that can be said of any exceptional pizza. And PIzza Nono nails it. I’m not certain, but I’d bet the ranch that Nono uses Italian-style 00 flour for their killer crust. It’s thin, and cooked to perfection with lovely char marks that add flavor. To complete the Margherita, there is tangy and sweet, ripe tasting San Marzano tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella cheese, Grana Parmesan, fresh basil, and extra virgin olive oil – nothing more, nothing less. To be honest, I haven’t tasted a better Margherita pizza than the one at Pizza Nono.
In addition to six or seven pizzas that are regularly featured on the Pizza Nono menu, there are salads and sides such as arugula salad, broccolini, eggplant parmesan, meatballs, and more.
My wife is gluten free and has a hard time finding good gluten free pizzas. Pizza Nono makes theirs from scratch and, frankly, I don’t think I’d have known that her pizza was gluten free had I not ordered it for her. The gluten free crust tastes great. Her pizza of choice is called the Yes Yes, which is a sauceless pizza topped with mozzarella, mushrooms, roasted onions, goat cheese, truffle oil, basil and pancetta. She prefers her Yes Yes sans pancetta, and it’s an absolutely amazing pizza. I’m eager to return to Pizza Nono to try out their spicy Beehive pizza with tomato sauce, calabrese, mozzarella, pickled jalapeño, honey, and Grana Parmesan. Be sure to stop by for the occasional live jazz that is featured at Pizza Nono. This is a jewel in the 9th & 9th ‘hood.
If you have a favorite pizza spot, we’d love to hear about it.
Main photo by Nik Owens on Unsplash. All others by Ted Scheffler
Culinary quote of the week: “The perfect lover is one who turns into a pizza at 4:00 A.M.” – Charles Pierce
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Originally trained as an anthropologist, Ted Scheffler is a seasoned food, wine & travel writer based in Utah. He loves cooking, skiing, and spends an inordinate amount of time tending to his ever-growing herd of guitars and amplifiers.