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Fancy a slice?


Local pizzerias whip up more than just special sauce.

Christina Nihira June 15th, 2011

Most everyone loves pizza. In fact, it is the only food special enough to get its very own section in most phone books.

Rust Kendrick, Joey's manager
Credits: Shannon Cornman

Listings and advertisements adorn the pages, tempting to satisfy any hunger pangs. No time is the wrong time of day or night for a slice, right?

Finding gourmet pizza in Oklahoma City really isn’t difficult. Take Joey’s Pizzeria, 700 W. Sheridan, in downtown’s newly renovated Film Row. The restaurant recently moved from its former Classen Boulevard location to a renovated, historical brick building. When the doors opened in the shadow of the Devon Tower, increased seating capacity and a long, sleek granite bar greeted guests. Happily, the same great specialty pizzas were not lost among the moving boxes.

Regulars and newcomers agree that it all begins with the dough. Owner Irena Avdalovic is meticulously stretching out the dough against the counter, pressing it outward, carefully avoiding touching the pan’s rim. Watch her stand in front of the oven — hand out, feeling the heat, waiting for the right moment to pop in the next pizza — and you’ll realize that this is dedication.

“It doesn’t leave the (kitchen) window unless it’s perfect,” said Joey’s manager Rusty Kendrick.

The menu remains the same: a fun collection of diversity.

The most popular pizzas are the Colossal Meat (think protein overload), The Heap (your classic supreme specialty) and Bianca Neve, which is a divine delight of spinach, garlic, bacon, feta and mozzarella cheese with an Alfredo sauce. Also at hand are some south-of-the-border combinations, like Cinco de Cheeso and El Taco. For those wanting a N’awlins-style taste, try the Acadiana with shrimp, bacon and special Cajun seasoning. The Surfer Dude’s Canadian bacon and pineapple pie has a pinch of cinnamon and sugar.

Everything is made from scratch, including the restaurant’s popular garlic and red sauces.

“I don’t usually eat this kind of food (for lunch),” said Kenny Rose, a Devon Energy safety director who stopped in recently for the first time to try the pepperoni special. “It was a treat, and it was worth it.”

Moving out of downtown, The Wedge has two locations, one in Deep Deuce at 230 N.E. First, and its original pizzeria at 4709 N. Western.

Both are dominated by glowing woodburning pizza ovens made of brick.

Nearly every day of the year, rustic, pecan smoke-kissed pizza is baked in these specially designed ovens. It is not an instrument where you want to guess on the variables. Temperatures stay between a near-constant 665 to 685 degrees.

Far away from the fire’s heat, ingredients, along with The Wedge’s specialty dough, are assembled. Most components are organic and purchased locally whenever possible.

The restaurant’s general manager, Elena Farrar, played an instrumental role in the menu’s development. She said some of the resulting pizza combos are a mix of improvisation, nurturing and experimentation. The Napoli, with toasted walnuts, Asiago cheese, arugula, rosemary and pancetta, is a great example.

“I love walnuts. One day, I was cooking at home and putting things together that are sweet and savory,” Farrar said. “No one else in town has that on their menu.”

Other unique flavor combinations are the Prosciutto e Formaggi, which has prosciutto, fig and arugula with traditional cheeses, and Truffle Shuffle. This best seller contains truffle oil, sage, crimini mushrooms, spinach, roasted chicken, Parmesan and mozzarella.

Regular customer and mother of three Kim Schroeder likes the fact that the atmosphere is casual, kid-friendly and there is variety to appease her children.

“It is always fresh, and the pizza is not greasy,” she said. “They have ingredients you won’t find anywhere else.”

All Wedge crusts are hand-tossed.

The crusts are perhaps thinner than average pizzas, but have no problem supporting the vast variety of ingredients loaded on top.

If you are in search of deep-dish deliciousness, head to chef Matthew Heard’s Humble Pie, 1319 S. Broadway in Edmond. They serve serious Chicagostyle pizza. Taste buds rejoice with typical, tall, buttery crusts that prevent the sauce and ingredients from oozing away.

Humble Pie offers a menu full of indulgences; New York-style loyalists can have their pie, too.

A top choice for vegetarians is the Mushroom Madness that begins with an Alfredo sauce and has five cheeses, plus a trio of mushrooms. Toppings offered are straightforward and can be used to make your own personal favorite. Kick it up with the Bermuda Triangle, which has jalapeños, feta cheese and pineapple.

“I have looked all over Oklahoma(for pizza), and this compares to what we have had in New York and New Jersey pizza parlors,” said Susan Goldman, an Edmond resident who grew up near New York City. “I think it is fantastic.”

So before you book a ticket to the Windy City or Big Apple, check out a few of the local haunts to assuage that appetite.

 
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