What more can be said about pizza that hasn’t already been written? I mean, c’mon, it’s pizza, right?
That was the challenge confronting me in the days leading up to National Pizza Month, which kicks off Oct. 1. Then I thought about all of the craftsmen in the community whose pies represent completely different sides of the pizza pole, and, at that moment, 31 days didn’t seem quite long enough for the celebration.
So what does it mean for pizza to have an entire month dedicated to its deliciousness?
Ask Rocco DiGrazia of Rocco’s Little Chicago Pizzeria, 2707 E. Broadway Boulevard, and he’ll tell you that the pizza party is way too big to confine to a single month.
“It’s always pizza month at Rocco’s,” he said. “I see no discernable difference between October and the other 11 months of the year.”
That said, DiGrazia is challenging his guests to share their thoughts on the perfect pizza during National Pizza Month. All it takes is visiting Rocco’s, thinking creatively and filling out a form. And while you’re there, try the pie that he says “puts hair on your chest.”
Thin is definitely in at Rocco’s, as exemplified by its Midwestern thin crust pizza that’s cut into squares in true South-side-of-Chicago style, but it’s the stuffed pizza that lands on the table like a bomb.
This pizza weighs in at six pounds, which DiGrazia tells me is about a pound per slice, and it rises well above the top of a two-inch cake pan. It’s historically taken about 45 minutes to cook in a conventional oven, but Rocco’s has technology now that cuts that time down to 25 minutes.
Meanwhile, back at the contest, the winning pizza will be selected from among the entries and featured on Rocco’s menu the following month. The winner will receive a free pizza, his or her name on the Rocco’s Little Chicago board and well-earned bragging rights.
While Rocco’s stuffed pizza is presented with a thud, it’s the thin crust pizza at Sauce Pizza and Wine that greets its guests with a whisper.
“Our original thin crust pizzas are the top-sellers here; the crust is light and airy, almost lavash-like, with a nice crunch,” said John May, kitchen manager at Sauce, 7117 N. Oracle Road. “It’s not the kind of pizza that will load you down, and it’s prepared quickly, so quick in fact that it’s probably already in the oven by the time you get your drink and sit down at your table.”