Read a few posts and newspaper hype about Tony & Ann's famous pizza. The story itself is lovely about a couple and an almost 50 year run with their business. I don't know if its The children, grandchildren or whoever that has now reopened the place in Dracut.
Being a pizza freak I went on a journey to see what I was missing. As I got into the geographical area, I called by cell to try and place my order. Literally 25 calls to a busy signal. Oh well, glad to see it that busy and it must be good.
Got to the place and it was busy, but I would not say overwhelmingly. I ordered a large cheese
(a benchmark for checking the taste, quality and cooking skills) and also order a meatball sub
(to check on the famous lore of homemade italian meatballs) and some "handcut" fries for the ride home. My plan was to get right back in my car and eat the first slice to ensure I was tasting and feeling the textures at its proper moment. I was told my order would be ready in 30 minutes.
(huh, 30 minutes...it was not overwhelmingly busy in there, and aren't pizza ovens usually blazing hot, like at least 500 degrees?. Okay, I sat and watch the TV on the wall.
I looked around and most folks were doing takeout, so I could not see what the product looked like. Then one couple started out the door with their box, and decided to just plop at the inside table and eat. What I saw bummed me out. It was not true thin crust pizza. Their pizza was so soggy, they had to get plastic knives and forks. No foldability, crust body, crispness...yikes.
I calmed myself and said okay, maybe they ordered extra cheese and sauce or whatever.
After almost an hour...my number was up (that sounds bad). I wasted no time getting my goods to the car. Within 2 minutes I flipped open the box and it was blazing hot pizza. It struck me odd as I've never seen steam coming off a pizza like that. It was like a steam iron.
I went in for the first kill....pick up a piece and watched the sauce, cheese and tip of the slice all slide back into a pile in the box. Okay....too hot maybe. I left the box open and waited a few minutes. In the meantime I started with the fries. I was psyched because they were the nicest deep brown color...I'm opening my mouth with a fry dangled above like a baby bird after a worm. I go in......ewwww, it was the texture of a worm. Soft, squishy, no exterior crusting, rubbery. There's no way to be kind. They were not good....at all.
Back to the pizza. I tried again to pick up a slice....I notice a lining of foil in the bottom of the pizza box. I thought this may be a contributing fact that the heat is building moisure on the foil and making this soggy. But its only been five minutes. I had an old platic fork/spoon in my glovebox from KFC (I love those spoons) and had to go in with the tool. I took a bite and I thought, no, this can't be under cooked? The texture of the crust was almost pancake-esque. It was than limp. My first bite of the sauce I thought...is there beer in the sauce....no , is there ketchup in the sauce....
If you can believe it, the sauce is much sweeter than Tripoli's. I like that sweet thng once in a while, but I always find I cannot each more than one slice at Tripoli's because of the sweetness.
I am disappointed to say the sauce was completely artifical tasting. It reminded me of when you make a BBQ sauce and dump everything in the pot. I found it completely unpalatable; and this from a person who still makes english muffin pizza's. The cheese was not a high grade, but it was not that plasticy grade which turns to colorforms when cool. They did add a fresh sprinkly of oregano on top.
When I go home, I opened the meatball sub for my 90 year old mother. I asked for no cheese and lite sauce. THis was hysterical. There was a jar amount of sauce on it. I could not find the meatballs. THere was so much cheese on it and then......I found a half of a meatball. Okay, they cut them in half to fit the roll better ?? At this point, the roll totally disintegrated from the sauce swamp. It was like a baby chewed on a Zwieback buiscuit for three days. So I just put the meatballs on a plate for the mother. I took a bit and sorry to say, they tasted the equivalent of the frozen bags at Costco. Not Good.
All in all, there was no redeeming food item out of the order. The pizza went to the non-recycling bin!
I'd really be curious to learn how they cook their pizzas. THere was a strange browning on the bottom of this 12 inch pizza. Looking underneath, there was a perfect 8" brown circle in the center, but absolutely no browing from that point to the underneath edge of the crust. Do they
prebake the shells...ala' Boboli ? Do they put the pizza in a pan and not directly into the oven ?
The time element blew my mind...I did not mind waiting, but I got to wondering if they were only cooking at 350 or something.
But the real problem is the sauce and limp dough. There was way too much sauce on this pizza. When I got home and tried to rescore it with a chef's knife, it was like cutting into a pudding pie.
The sauce was literally a half-inch deep....and it did not taste good at all.
Sorry tony and ann's I wanted to like you and your pizza. My tastebuds said they would leave town if I ate it again.