Gimme a Slice!

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Did you know that October is National Pizza Month? Who doesn’t love a piping-hot slice, fresh from a brick oven with a crispy, golden crust covered in rich tomato sauce and melted mozzarella? According to pizza.com/national pizza month, the soldiers returning from Italy during World War II brought with them a hunger for pizza pie and pushed its popularity over the top. America has been in love with it ever since.

National Pizza Month has been observed since 1984 and was designated by Gerry Durnall, the founder of Pizza Today magazine. It was reported by pizza.com that there are an estimated 63,000 pizzerias in the United States and 94 percent of Americans eat pizza at least once per month – about 45 slices of pizza per person in the U.S., per year.

In my household, pizza has always been on the menu. When my kids were growing up and playing a variety of sports – hockey, baseball, you name it – Little Caesar’s saved the day after many, many baseball games and long practices at the hockey rink. One of my favorite things to do with my grandkids is make-your-own pizza night. On occasion, I will purchase pizza dough (uncooked) from a local pizzeria, or, if I have time, I will make my own dough. I gather a variety of toppings – sausage, pepperoni, ham, onions, tomatoes, green pepper, mushrooms, olives and cheese – and watch them build their very own personal pizzas. It’s an all-meat pizza for my oldest grandson, Brennan, while Noah piles on the veggies. My favorite is pepperoni, mushroom and green olives. Yum!

You can observe National Pizza Month by visiting your favorite pizzeria or Italian restaurant. And there are many places in the area to choose from. Some family-owned Italian restaurants have been around for many years, each offering their own unique recipes. A Flint favorite since 1955 is Luigi’s Restaurant, well known for their super delicious, super-thin-crust pizza made from the original owner’s recipe. The favorite pizza of My City Magazine readers and winner of MCM’s 2018 City’s Choice Award is Guido’s Premium Pizza in Grand Blanc.

One of my very favorite restaurants is John’s Pizzeria in Fenton, where my family would enjoy a pizza every Friday night when my kids were growing up. The owner, Delio Barletta, opened the restaurant in 1964 after moving to the area from Italy. He could be seen walking around the restaurant, greeting diners by name until his passing in 2013. Mario’s Restaurant & Pizzeria was a favorite Friday night hangout for me and my co-workers when I worked in Flint at the Social Security office in the 70s. We celebrated the end of the work week with some old-school, original, delicious pizza.

Where will you observe National Pizza Month? Will you visit your favorite pizzeria? With so many places to choose from, one thing is guaranteed: whether it’s New York-style, deep-dish, super-thin-crust, all-meat or vegetarian, it will be delicious and well worth celebrating.

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