Friday, October 23, 2009

Pizza in Saratoga Springs

I grew up loving Oma Pizza. Most weekends, my friends and I would go there for a slice. Oma’s was located in the Grand Union Shopping Plaza on Broadway, which was torn down years ago to make way for such stores as The Gap, Banana Republic, Anne Taylor Loft, and Talbots. There’s also a Cold Stone Creamery on the spot. There’s no sign of the old Woolworth’s, Rite Aid, Grand Union, or Pope’s Pizza that once occupied that block.

Oma’s familial cousin, Pope’s Pizza, opened on the corner of Broadway and Division Street. It had the same wonderful New York-style Pizza as Oma’s and occupied the building formerly known as The Red Barn. The Red Barn was a hamburger place before Pope’s took over. If you were downtown around the time of these old pizza places, you’d turn to see Starbuck’s Department Store (no relation to the coffee), Western Auto, Glickman’s, Covkin's, Mr. Jack’s, The Economy Shop, Farmer’s Hardware, Erlanger’s, Patricia’s and many other small town businesses that have long since disappeared. Sometimes I am sadly aware that so much of what was original and unique to our downtown no longer exists, replaced by cookie-cutter chains of stores that are found in every city. Still, Broadway retains its charm despite its homogenized evolution into the 21st century. There’s something special about our downtown that, despite the influx of generic stores, is retained.

Oops, I was talking about pizza, wasn’t I?!...

For pizza today, there are good options. My favorite is Pope’s Pizza, which moved to its Grand Avenue location from the Red Barn a long time ago. (The Red Barn is now a Borders.) Pope’s is consistently good, with the same New York style, thin crusted, great sauced pizza that my friends and I loved as a kid. D’Andrea’s Pizza has been resurrected as well. The original restaurant on Broadway has been replaced by upscale stores, but you can still buy a slice or a pie at their little corner shop on Caroline Street. D’Andrea’s was one of the first to offer barbeque chicken pizza. Another favorite is Marino’s, now on West Circular Street, though formerly housed on Beekman Street where the old Scuderi’s used to be. (Remember the Scudders sandwich?) Marino’s pizza has a thicker crust, tangier sauce, and a great cheese. They use larger rounds of pepperoni and it sits under the cheese, not on top. They cut their round p izzas in squares, not in wedges. And be prepared: when it’s time to pay, they only take cash, something to remember in this day of debit card purchasing.

Another good pizza option is Mama Mia’s in the Price Chopper Plaza on Route 50, headed toward SPAC. They have a sign up that reads something like “voted best pizza in Saratoga Springs.” I like it, but it’s no Pope’s.

So, if you’re looking for a good pizza option for your Friday night dinner, Saratoga has a lot to offer. There are many I haven’t yet tried, but I’ll make a project out of investigating and let you know!

Happy weekend everyone!

1 comment:

  1. I am from NJ originally, and moving from 20 minutes outside of NYC to upstate NY was a hard Pizza transition for me. That being said, my favorite pizza place in Saratoga is by far West Ave Pizza!