Papa of pizza 

By: Shannon Cornman

Isn’t it funny how some restaurants become “our” restaurants?

There are destination spots, places we go because we’re willing to travel for the food. And there are places that are convenient and close. And if you’re lucky, sometimes you will find both at once.

For the people of Bethany, there is Papa Angelo’s Pizzeria — a little mom-and-pop pizza joint tucked away off N.W. 39th Street.

At lunch, you can buy pizza by the slice, which is popular with the kids at Southern Nazarene University and all the little shops along the street.

At night, the dinner crowd comes in and you can enjoy the back-and-forth banter while the kitchen staff prepares an empire-size pizza for you to devour. I think they were talking about hockey the last time I was in there. Or maybe pollution in the wetlands or problems with the education system.

It’s hard to tell when I’m concentrating on pizza.

It’s kind of reassuring to see that even with all the cheap competitors nearby, so many people have made Papa Angelo’s their pizza place.

Even if it costs a little more, they know they’re getting quality food in a fun, classic atmosphere.

I go — which is not nearly often enough — I always want to start with
the garlic knots ($2.15 for six). The great thing about having an oven
that’s always going is that you can bake fresh bread anytime you please.

doughy rolls come out fresh and crisp and chewy before they’re brushed
with butter and sprinkled with garlic and cheese. They sit in a little
pool of butter, too, soaking up all the flavor. They cannot possibly be
healthy, but I could not possibly care less.

There are a few pasta
dishes, as well, although I think they lean a bit too heavily on the
ricotta cheese. The baked ziti ($7.50) is tasty, as the red sauce and
the cheese melt together. The stuffed shells ($7.50) are similar, except
they’re filled with ricotta and the marinara is poured over them. If
you get them, add a little pepper and maybe some salt.

the real draw is the pizza. Lots of places do a whole host of specialty
pies, but Papa Angelo’s keeps it simple. You can make your own
combination of toppings, have one with all the meats, order a supreme
blend or you can go with my personal favorite: the white pie.

garlic, ricotta, mozzarella and fresh tomatoes, the white pie is mild
but absolutely one of my favorites. If anything, I might ask for extra
garlic next time, but your mileage may vary.

selection of toppings isn’t anything special — nothing you can’t find
elsewhere — but the crust has a great texture. A little tender, a little

If you love
the pizza at Papa Angelo’s, you can put that affection to the test and
try its Empire Challenge. It’s Papa Angelo’s biggest pizza with three
toppings of your choosing. And you have to eat all 6 pounds of it.
Alone. In 45 minutes. So far, it’s had one winner and an entire Wall of
Shame full of those who couldn’t take it all down.

note about sizes. Papa Angelo’s has six of them. The Little Joe ($5.25)
is a personal pizza. The small ($7.50) feeds a couple. The medium
($9.50) is probably big enough for a small group. The large ($11.50) is
... large. The New Yorker ($13.50) is larger still. The Empire (15.50)
is a 20-inch pie.

Be aware of what you’re ordering; you, like me, could end up with too much pizza.

Ha! As if there’s such a thing as too much pizza.

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