Pizza, contrary to to the belief of the editors at the New York Times Magazine, is a food of the gods. Deliverable pizza is the food of the gods. Unfortunately, not all pizza places deliver and even those that do deliver don’t always deliver, if you know what we mean. The single pie delivery pizza options in Gambier are slim pickings, but we’ve reviewed the options (a plain pie from Domino’s, Papa John’s, Dirko’s and the Cove) and compiled both a ranking and a taste/cost profile of each pie.
Papa John’s ($11.00)
The perennial pizza order, Papa’s is understated and smooth. The crust was substantial but chewy–the dough retained a firm body while carrying a soft bite. A good cheese to sauce ratio, but the tomato sauce, like the dough, was oddly sweet. One editor-cum-pizza taster poured Garlic Butter (also sweet) on his slice and ruined the Papa’s eating experience for those of us who watched him. The tasters agreed that Papa’s would taste excellent after an evening chilling on a dresser. Overall, Papa’s presented a strong pie loaded with the familiar feel of Kenyon late-nights.
Unlike Papa’s, Dirko’s is local to the Gambier area. The pie arrives in a charming Italian themed cardboard box and scores well upon first sight. However, many of the tasters were immediately put-off by the pizza’s square cut and cracker-like dough. While the sauce popped, the overall flavor was that of spaghetti, not pizza, and not a single editor thought it would withstand the “all night dresser cooling” test. After an editor-cum-pizza taster suggested a frozen pizza might taste better than Dirko’s, another responded that the pizza might actually reheat quite well. Dirko’s was not praised as heavily as Papa’s.
The crust on the Domino’s pie was softer than that of either Papa’s or Dirko’s. The cheese and sauce were additionally, er, tender. But tender in a postive way! One taster noted that the Domino’s squishiness is what one looks for in fast food pizza. The cheese-to-sauce ratio was perfect on some slices but leaning toward not saucy enough on others. The pie’s outstanding quality was the salty, buttery and garlicky outer crust. Some editors planned to switch their standard pizza order from Papa’s to Domino’s after the tasting.
The Cove ($13.50)
Lots of tasteless cheese is to Cove pizza as garlicky crust is to Domino’s. The “Gambier Grill” loaded cheese onto a too-soft and frankly, overwhelmed crust. An editor-cum-pizza taster yelped at one point that the cheese had lodged itself in their esophagus, a bad sign for future drunk eating. Thankfully, all the editors were confident Cove pizza would taste incredible (and lose its ability to kill) once cold. And, against much protest, one taster insisted that they enjoyed the “supple” crust. Another taster praised the quality of the pizza despite its Cove kitchen origins.
The final rankings:
- Papa John’s – Cheap, delicious and comforting.
- Domino’s – Incredible crust. Also extremely affordable.
- The Cove – Convenient and acceptable. Probably better when cold. A little expensive for the quality, but can be charged to your K-card.
- Dirko’s – We were all rooting for the local player, but were sorely disappointed by the texture and taste.