Tag Archives: pizza

Shield’s Pizza (Detroit, MI)

Well, from previous reviews of mine, I’ve covered the topic of “Detroit-Style? pizza more than a few times, most notably when talking about Brass Rail, or Via 313 (in Austin, of all places). It’s a real style, and one I rather enjoy as a variant of “deep dish”, but it has a quirk. Like I mentioned in my Brass Rail review, there actually aren’t all that many places in Detroit’s downtown or midtown to get a proper Detroit pizza. The canonical example, Buddy’s, started on 6 Mile, and is mostly a suburb chain, and Brass Rail is one of the very few places in downtown to experience it. But in Midtown, a recent change occurred: Shield’s Pizza returned to Detroit. Since I wanted to give several of my visiting friends a reasonably-authentic “Detroit Pizza”, we decided to give this new location a try.

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First Branch Coffee (South Royalton, VT)

This fall, a new coffee shop opened up on Chelsea Street (the west side of the South Royalton Square): First Branch Coffee. Focusing on small 30-pound batch roasted coffee, they’ve been focusing on quality coffee drinks and pastries, and have been a nice addition to the Royalton-area restaurant scene. Interestingly, I’m not going to be writing about their coffee or pastries, although I’ve actually had, and enjoyed, both. The real culinary attraction at First Branch is what’s going on in the back half of the house, since First Branch is also the home of the tasting room of Upper Pass Beer Company. From 4 to 9 pm on Tuesday and Friday, and noon to 4 on weekends, Upper Pass (owned by the same folks that run First Branch Coffee) runs a tasting room for their rather nice selection of beers brewed by Chris Perry and Andrew Puchalik, who I’ve known for several years through the local homebrewing community (and for years, Chris was one of the bartenders at nearby Worthy Burger, another of my Royalton favorites, and I particularly like their Cloud Drop and Modern Pants IPAs. But on most weeks, their weeknight openings are themed and have light food service; Tuesdays are Taco Tuesdays, and Fridays are Flatbread Fridays

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J. J. Hapgood General Store and Eatery (Peru, VT)

There are a lot of little corners of Vermont that I haven’t done much culinary exploration in, simply due to the fact that I seem to pass through those parts during the wrong time of day. Peru, VT is one of those little towns that I’ve driven through probably a hundred times (it’s on Route 11, one of my preferred east-west routes through Vermont), but it wasn’t until I had my parents visiting in September that I finally had a reason to stop and check out downtown Peru, which is just off of Route 11 (the highway diverts about a 1/10th of a mile around the downtown), and, arriving right before noon, we found ourselves at J.J. Hapgood General Store and Eatery in downtown Peru.

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Supino (Detroit, MI)

While my reviews of Brass Rail and Via 313 covered the basic concept of “Detroit-Style Pizza” in detail, that doesn’t mean that every place in Detroit serves up pizza that style. There are many places around the Detroit area serving up traditional, round, Italian-style thin-crust pizza done well. Indeed, at several of the breweries I visited, I asked people where their favorite pizza was, and there was a general consensus around one place having the best overall pizza in Detroit, and that was Supino.

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Brass Rail (Detroit, MI)

A few years ago, I did a review of Via 313 in Austin, that featured “Detroit-style pizza” (which is actually a thing, as we’ll review below), but realized that I’ve never really reviewed a proper Detroit-style pizza place here in…. Detroit. The canonical source for Detroit-style “square” pizza is Buddy’s, but their original location is way up at McNichols (aka “6 Mile”) and Conant, and for my visit to Detroit I was actually downtown without a vehicle, so I decided to check out a place with my friend Brian (an actual Detroit resident!) on Grand Circus Park, just across the street from the giant Hazen Pingree statue: the Brass Rail.

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Poor Thom’s Tavern (Meriden, NH)

One of the notable things about living in a rural area is that, with relatively few restaurants, when a new place opens, it generally gets noticed right away. Just over a year ago, I was driving through the relatively quiet town of Meriden, NH, and noticed that in addition to their Deli Mart (which does serve up some pretty good fried chicken, sandwiches, and snacks), that the house across from the library was getting a major remodel, including a sign announcing the soon-opening Poor Thom’s Tavern. Finally, a real restaurant in Meriden. While it took me until recently to get there for a visit, I was quite happy to see a new place showing up.

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Big Stan Pizza and Grill (Klaksvik, Faroe Islands)

Our next excursion in the Faroe Islands was taking a ferry to the Island of Kalsoy. A rugged, steep island in the middle of the Northern Faroes, Kalsoy is lightly populated and is one of the more picturesque locations, with a series of idyllic valleys (connected by even more tunnels), and the stunningly cute village of Trøllanes on the north end. It’s also the locale for a phenomenally scenic hike, the hike from Trøllanes up to Kallur Lighthouse, where you get a stunning panorama of five islands (Viðoy, Kunoy, Kalsoy itself, Eysturoy, and Streymoy). This was one of the finest views I’ve had anywhere (and one of the most-photographed views of the Faroes). Afterward, we took the ferry back to Klaksvik, the second-largest city in the Faroes. While it’s a sizeable settlement, and definitely more of a “city” than most of the little villages, the options are still a bit limited for restaurants, with the choices being listed on one hand. After enjoying a pair of beers at Roykstovan (a charming little pub just down from the Föroya Bjór brewery), their menu mostly focuses on burgers, and we were wanting something different. So instead we walked a block down the street, finding Big Stan Pizza and Grill.

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Pizza with No Name (Reykjavik, Iceland)

Our next stop for refreshment during our layover in Reykjavik was one of the nicer beer bars to show up since our last visit: Mikkeller and Friends. An offshoot of the Danish brewer, it’s quite a nice little beer bar located right next to one of our other Reykjavik favorites, Grái Kötturinn (where we had breakfast that morning: Grái Kötturinn is a godsend for the international traveler arriving before most of Reykjavik wakes up). They’ve got a rather impressive beer list (indeed, including one of the very last kegs of Jack D’Or in existence, from the closed Pretty Thinks brewery in Somerville, MA), but for food, they recommend that you go downstairs and order a pizza from the pizza place with no name.

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Modern Apizza (New Haven, CT)

Like most any trip of ours that involves driving through Southern Connecticut, if the timing allows, we usually stop in New Haven for Pizza. For those people that aren’t familiar with it, New Haven Pizza (often known in the area as “apizza”, pronounced somewhat like “a-beets”) is practically a religion, with several establishments having turned out this style of pizza for almost a century now: chewy crusty, heavy charring, crushed tomato sauce, and relatively light cheese. It’s actually my favorite overall style of pizza, and it’s almost impossible to have a discussion of the style without an argument about which of the two iconic New Haven pizza places: Frank Pepe’s or Sally’s Apizza, is the best. I was brought up in the Pepe’s faith (there really wasn’t much question about it, if you had asked about Sally’s, it was like asking your Protestant parents if you could go to the Methodist church…), but do appreciate a Sally’s pie every once in a while. But somewhat lost in the noise in this argument is the fact that there are actually several more excellent places in the pantheon of New Haven Apizza other than Pepe’s or Sally’s, indeed, I can easily think of another half dozen good places to go (and even more that used to be around, like Bimonte’s in North Haven). But if there’s one perennial also-ran in the race for best Apizza, it’s one of the most venerable as well: Modern Apizza.

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Pizzeria Verita (Burlington, VT)

A recent trip to Burlington had us searching out some pizza for a craving. This isn’t particularly challenging in Burlington, which has rather a lot of decent pizza places with good beer lists, including American Flatbread, Ken’s Pizza, Leonardo’s Pizza, and Manhattan Pizza and Pub. Yes, the fine people of Burlington do indeed like their pizza and beer. But our trip had us staying a night in the newly opened Hilton Garden Inn, and the back entrance dropped us out right in front of Pizzeria Verita. We’d known of it for a while, but it had never percolated to the top of our list. Why? Two reasons. First, it’s next to the truly wonderful Trattoria Delia, which has been known to suck us in off the street in hopes of scoring a table without a reservation (we’ve generally been successful at that). The second? The location, 156 St Paul Street, is one of Burlington’s “cursed restaurant” spots. Over the years I’ve been going to Burlington, it’s been a string of different restaurants (in my tenure, it’s ranged from Irish to Hipster heaven to Sports Bar), some good, most mediocre, none of them lingering long. So, to be honest, I was waiting to see if Pizzeria Verita lasted a while before going, and on this trip, seeing it across the street reminded me that they’ve been around since 2012, thus probably breaking the curse.

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