Happy Sunday, Blogtopia! Hope you didn’t cry too many tears during my absence. I’m back in gray (a gray pair of pants and a gray “My Hero Academia” tee shirt to be precise) and have a very important message for you.
Pizza is the best.
Well, one of the bests, anyway. How can you compare pizza to sushi? Ya can’t. Ya can’t do it.
That aside, pizza has been and always will be one of my favorite foods. I have fond memories of going to my childhood town’s best local pizza shop every Friday with my dad and my brother. It was a brick-walled, dimly lit, quintessential pizza shop with tall, black vinyl booths lining the walls and an old jukebox filled with classic rock. We’d sit in the same booth every time, and that booth had a window into the kitchen where you could look and see the chefs hard at work. The window was a bit high, so I had to stand on the booth to see, and I’d try to be all ninja/super-spy, sneakily stealing peeks when they weren’t looking (or try to, anyway — I wasn’t a very good ninja).
Every time we’d go my dad would play this game with us where he’d take his motorcycle license and his driver’s license; one would represent my brother and one me. Then, he’d shuffle them, careful to not let us see which was which, and exclaim something like, “This person has to eat dog lip sandwiches for the rest of their lives!” My brother and I would take turns picking a hand and see whose fate had been sealed.
Whenever we went, we always ordered the same thing: an order of cheese sticks with marinara and an extra large Italian Combo. My mouth’s salivating just thinking about that Bavarian sausage. All that fennel… plus pepperoni, Italian sausage, onions, and garlic. To die for. I’d always finish off the leftovers on the way to the car.
As a result of these tender recollections, part of me always wanted to work in a pizza shop at some point in my life. That got checked off the bucket list when I started working at Fratelli Pizza, voted Best Pizza in Flagstaff by AZ Daily Sun readers for 15 years straight. And with good reason.
I worked here for three years, and in all the hours I spent mopping those floors, putting out customer fires, washing dishes, counting drawers, and making salads, I never got sick of the pizza. Never. It really is that good. We went here the other day to say hi to my Frat cats (congrats again, Tina & Kara!) and to get their phenomenal Buffalo Chicken pie. Check it:
Second to none, their Buffalo Chicken pizza is drizzled with their signature buffalo sauce and piled with fresh Hatch green chilies (yay Hatch season!), roasted red peppers, red onions, blue cheese crumbles, and of course chicken and mozzarella. Served with a side of their addictive homemade ranch dressing, this is a pie of gold.
They have all kinds of other delicious specialty pizzas as well. Their Flagstaff pizza is another winner. Prefaced with, “Hippies kept ordering this combo, so we put it on the menu!”, this pizza has a basil pesto sauce topped with mozzarella and ricotta cheese, artichoke hearts, sundried tomatoes, and garlic. I didn’t enjoy this pizza initially, but boy did it grow on me after a time. Refreshingly outside the pizza box, it’s filled with fabulous flavors and texture play that breathes new life into pizza.
One of my favorite things about Fratelli that few people take advantage of is they have the best little-known pizza condiment in existence:
That’s right, my friends. Nacho cheese with pizza will change. Your. Life. F*** the ranch dressing! F*** the crusty-ass parmesan! F*** the crushed red peppers! Well, maybe not the peppers, but f*** the ranch dressing! Nacho cheese is where it’s at! Dip your crust in it at the end and you’ve got yourself the best-tasting pretzel you’ve ever had. Hell, I dip regular bites into it! Especially with a pizza like the Chicago deep dish.
Some people have an aversion to nacho cheese. I get it. Some brands taste like (and are scary similar molecularly to) plastic. Fratelli gets the good stuff. Promise. If you aren’t near a Fratelli, see about finding some legit nacho cheese of your own and give it a try on your next slice. Let me know what you think after!
I had some great times working at Fratelli. That’s where I earned the nickname “Clerga,” learned how to make pizza dough, and that some people have a serious ranch addiction. One guy would come in every two weeks and fill eight large mason jars full of that shit. One time I served him, he set two aside and said, “These are the two I hide from my wife.” I can envision their family dinners now…
Given the countless times I’ve been to Fratelli, knowing how they make and care for their food, and the endless times I’ve devoured the shit out of their amazing pizzas, calzones, chicken wings, fried raviolis, salads, mozzarella sticks, cheese bread… My vote is clear:
Only because it’s impossible to get a 5/5. I’ve had mediocre chicken wings, like, twice. This is as good as it gets, ladies and gentlemen.
Is there a bomb-ass local pizza chain near you? What’s your favorite thing to order? Let me know by Leaving a Reply below! I’d love to hear from you.
Till next time, my B-Lounging friends! Stay hydrated!