When I started writing this blog some six years ago or so, my plan aligned with that of Jerry Seinfeld and his comedy show about nothing. I wanted to write a blog about nothing. I didn’t want to write a food blog. I didn’t want to concentrate strictly on fashion or home decoration or crafting. I wanted to write about anything I wanted to write about each day.
The only limitation I put on myself was that every Friday I would do a book review. I love to read, and I read a lot. I have faithfully stuck to my guns, blogging every Friday about books.
On Fridays, I get a lot of “likes” from strangers who peruse the internet for book reviews. One hit that I don’t get on Fridays is that of my brother. Dave is one of my biggest fans. He proclaims that he starts each day reading and enjoying my blog. While he doesn’t comment on Nana’s Whimsies, he often will send me a text with a comment about what I wrote.
But he doesn’t read my blog on Fridays. He’s not particularly a reader, and has little interest in book reviews. And for the six or so years that I have blogged, he has complained weekly about my Friday book reviews. But he isn’t complaining without offering his alternative, which is a weekly pizza review.
Yep. He thinks I should write a pizza review each week. I can’t seem to convince him that my readers in, say, Omaha, have little or no interest in whether or not I like a pizza restaurant in Mesa, AZ. I have stridently ignored his suggestion.
Until today. Why today? Because today is my brother Dave’s birthday. So, in lieu of a present, my gift to him is PIZZA REVIEWS…..
Fatman’s Pizza is a Chicago style eatery located at 2430 Apache Trail in Apache Junction. As there are a huge number of retired Illinois people living in the East Valley, it was a smart move to locate this restaurant where those former Chicagoans are looking for some of their old familiar fare.
From the time you walk in the door, you are inundated with familiar Chicago memorabilia…..
– from the W of the Chicago Cubs to a blast from the past — Bozo the Clown (who this non-Chicagoan finds absolutely terrifying)…..
In addition to pizza, Fatman’s offers the typical food one would see at one of the million or so family-owned pizza places located in Chicago. Fatman’s offers both deep dish pizza and the pizza that is more familiar to South Siders — the cracker crust that originated in St. Louis. My husband was born and grew up on the South Side, and he is thin crust all the way. A purist, he prefers sausage, and the sausage should have fennel seeds.
As fun as it was to see all of the Chicago memorabilia on the wall, my pizza expert Bill was unimpressed with the pizza itself. The sauce was bland and the sausage didn’t impress either of us. Plus, they gave us the option of having our pizza cut into triangular slices, and ANYONE from the South Side knows that thin crust pizza is cut into squares…..
The restaurant doesn’t serve alcohol, perhaps because it seems to make its money from a carry-out business. They only take cash, and there is an ATM on premises. The place was pretty quiet on a Friday night. Sorry Bozo. I don’t think we would return.
Our next pizza adventure was more successful. The fairly-recently-opened Osteria, located at 5609 E. McKellips Road in Mesa, is a higher-end restaurant offering a complete breakfast, lunch, and dinner menu that includes delicious pizzas cooked in a wood-fired oven, as well as salads and pastas. Bill and I ordered an Italian chopped salad, and then shared a pizza featuring their homemade fennel sausage and red onion…..
The salad was beautiful, offering such familiar Italian ingredients as salami and provolone cheese. The pizza was delicious, with the charred crust with which we became so familiar while traveling in Italy. Osteria offers a full bar, and they had an extensive wine list with many affordable choices. They also have a daily happy hour.
We were impressed, and will return to this restaurant, perhaps to dine on their outdoor patio.
Oregano’s Pizza and Bistro
Oregano’s Pizza has locations scattered throughout the Phoenix metro area, and they have recently opened one in Fort Collins, CO. While it’s a chain, it has the feel of a family-owned restaurant, though they are all decorated in the same way. Diners listen to Frank Sinatra and other crooners as they munch on their pizza and other Italian goodies…..
Oregano’s is flat-out Bill’s favorite pizza in Arizona. He grew up eating at Fox’s Pizza in South Chicago, and purports that, while not as good as Fox’s, this is the next best. The fennel sausage is sweet and delicious, and the cheese and seasonings are full of flavor. While deep dish is available, you can bet we have never ordered it. The crust is thin, crispy, and chewy. They offer a pizza cookie for dessert that is served warm and offers chocolaty goodness.
Oregano’s has a full bar, and though there is often (usually) a wait, that wait time has significantly decreased due to the opening of several new restaurants.
Oregano’s is one of our favorite pizza joints in AZ.
No matter where you live, go out and enjoy a pizza tonight in honor of my brother Dave, who has been known to order a pizza with sauerkraut, jalapenos, and anchovies. The cooks literally came out of the kitchen to see who ordered such an atrocity!
Happy birthday, Dave!