Yes, dammit, I eat pickles on my pizza.
OK, OK. I’m a little defensive. That’s because ordering pizza with friends is like frolicking gaily through the enchanted marshmallow forest and then stepping onto a Bouncing Betty that blows your legs off. Here’s the problem: Some people are annoyingly picky eaters. You know the type; their diets consist largely of chicken fingers and unflavored oxygen, and they refuse to go to any restaurant whose condiments aren’t primarily ranch-based. Sadly, you will occasionally have to share a meal with these people, because we all have at least one friend who reacts to sushi or tomato seeds or green vegetables or ethnic foods with the shocked horror we usually tend to reserve for spiders or 9/11.
When I’m sharing pizza with friends like these, I tend not to order from Garage Pizza. And I certainly wouldn’t order Garage’s title pie, the Garage Pizza. Because it’s delicious, but it’s not a dish for the childish eater.
Basically, it’s a cheeseburger pizza. I know, I know: Cheeseburger pizzas are, for the most part, totally gross. Like taco pizzas, they often focus on ground beef as their main ingredient, and too often they come covered with iceberg lettuce that immediately and damply wilts from the heat of the underlying pizza, turning what could have been a pleasant meal into a slithery kelpish mess.
(I also understand the seeming contradiction in assuming that picky eaters would avoid a food item that’s essentially a combination of the two most unassailably normal American foods available. But such combinations often turn out to be the picky eater’s kryptonite.)
The Garage Pizza avoids the standard cheeseburger pizza problems, first by infusing the well-seasoned beef effortlessly into the sauce and cheese, including it as an important component of the meal yet not taking its presence too seriously. The diced tomatoes and red onions manage to stay crisp and fresh despite the heat of the pizza, probably because they’re applied after it comes out of the oven. And you’ll notice a market lack of iceberg lettuce, a vile and useless weed first cultivated by the serpent in the Garden of Eden.
And then: The pickles. Oh, lordy, the pickles. Huge and ripe and engorged with salt and dill. Hell, they probably come directly from a giant food-service-sized jar shipped directly from the massive industrial warehouses of Archer Daniels Midland, but you’ve never had pickles like this. They’re the best possible alternative to iceberg lettuce, since pickles are already soft and yielding and not meant to provide any measure of crispness. Whenever my girlfriend and I buy this pizza to eat with a movie, I always do the serving. That way I can save the slices with the most pickles for myself. I’m not a proud man.
If the Garage Pizza has any failing, it’s the crust; it doesn’t hold up well over time, and doesn’t reheat well. The segment underneath the toppings will be fine, but if the pie is more than 45 minutes cold you’ll probably have to stop eating at the “handle” portion of the crust. A small price to pay.
Of course, Garage has a whole host of other unique pies: The Hot-and-Sweet Pepperoni, with its pineapple and jalapeno; the Elmerino, with pignolias and pesto-dipped mozzarella; and the Game Pie, full of pork and peppers and onions. But I haven’t quite made it past the Garage Pizza.