Pizza-vestigations - - tasting the competition

My wife and I have taken to using Saturday and Sunday afternoons to wander the area and trying out the other pizza joints within about 40 miles. There are all sorts of types and styles of places we have seen. Some have full bar, some beer/wine, some nothing. We’ve seen the gamut of delco/dine combinations. We have actually taken to writing up our own personal reviews on places based on several sorts of things we find important in our dining. We may one day put up a website to share our experiences . . . or just have a notebook in our shop. We want to do all sorts of things to highlight the local businesses in our area and the food they serve. Some of it is fabulous, and some is not really what we like to eat. The focus will be on what we like and what we find important to look at in a restaurant. Then, we will also review the food and service from as objective a stance as we can, then what we personally liked and disliked.

All that said, we have found very scant few places that didn’t actually execute their food and concept at least at average level. Many are above average, and a couple are truly outstanding in the pack. We went to one yesterday. It is an independent 2-store operation called OZ Pizza in Fairburn, GA . If you travel down I-85 south of Atlanta, find a way to get over to GA 29 in Fairburn and love some of his great pie. We tried his slices the first two times we went there, and found them not so much to our preference (they are slices pretty well done; I just am not so much a par-cooked/topped/reheated slice guy) . . . his whole fresh pie was truly stellar. It had a finesse . . . a balance of cheese and sauce to crust (not just a leaden slog of heavy sauce and mounds of cheese). His your pizza guy was dexterous and consistent as I watched his technique stretching skins. The owner, Chris, was very charming, intelligent, friendly, and very obviously trained his staff well. The place really pulls off the food and the concept very well and very clean. His staff knows the diameter measurements of “medium” and “large” (puts him in a minority) and are hopping to help and serve the customers.

His sauce was also a balanced execution that was a simply and gently seasoned tomato sauce instead of a heavy-handed and over-spiced red schmere that lacked any basic tomato-ness. Too many places we tried lose almost all tomato flavor for all the salt, oregano, garlic, sugar, salt, oil, basil, salt, thyme etc they pack into the original tomato product. The cheese was enough to feel value, but not so much it stole the show and covered up the flavors of our chicken and spinach pizza. Crispy and tender crust baked directly on the deck of his Bodgett 1060 (I may miss on the model number) double decks. Open kitchen and really good cleanliness habits of the staff. The only real criticism I would have is the lack of a smaller size for smaller group. I understand it is a business choice and why it goes that way. I just prefer a little smaller than 14" and 16" when just me and wife. Not much of a gig on his place at all!

It is the first place out of a dozen or so nearby that we would be proud and not cringe if someone told us they like Oz Pizza a little more than ours. That’s a place I’d be confident losing out to . . . not that it is likely to happen :smiley:

my wife and family stop regulary at other joints but im afraid its not for pizza but for BBQ ,pizza is just not my passion.even before i opened the pizza shop i was never a big pizza guy my favorite pizza joint is down in atlanta the mellow mushroom i know there elsewhere but i like that one.we love to hit other bbq places for ideas and to do some taste testing not to toot my own horn but have not found any that compare i think when you get to a point where you have a couple or more stores you lose that personal touch and care for quality i may be wrong just my 2 cents. i mean its not rocket scince but i think your first store is like a child.and you put forth the extra effort like i truly care and am passinate about my bbq my pizza is very good for our area in fact the best but i know theres better out there. just not in my area and we have a good business set up to run kinda monkey proof with the hopes of selling in the future .and then open full blown bbq shop.elsewhere using the experince weve gained. and seein other shops ideas work or fail. and learn from those .

what drives me nuts is when other owners wont try other places just because there afraid the other guys will make a buck we eat every where in our community and people just couldnt grasp that we did but we like to sit there and critqe there food to ourselves it drives our competitors nuts. :shock: we even had one tell us not to come back.

i wanna gets shirts made up with our logo and put pissin off the competition since 2006

my wife wants one that says all food is good we dont serve shi#

Hi Nick:

During the many years I have been in the food service equipment business have eaten in hundreds of places.

As regards pizza shops, I have eaten in many places that in my opinion the pizza was inedible. Never the less, a great many were very busy and some of their customers claimed that shop baked the nations best pizzas.

There is no accounting for the tastes of the eating public.

George Mills


I think it is great that you and your wife do that. My wife and i also have been doing it for years as well. I also in addition to the obvious, like to see things like how pizza is displayed, the decor, the flow of the kitchen / operation. There are so many fascinating things to see in other shops. It is also fun to talk to the owners and share stories and ideas. We even started going to any place that was within driving distance that we have read about in PMQ or Pizza Today. It is cool to go for yourself to check out these places after reading about them. I even will try to pop into some places of people we have met here. I drove down to check out tdvp192’s place and had a great time chatting with him. We still keep in touch daily, and it really makes this business fun. Who knows, Nick, i may stop down to see you one day soon.

I would suggest to any operator out there. Go see and taste what is out there. You may learn, and you may find some more friends who love this business just like you.

Thee is definitely power in Networking with fellow operators. It is astonishing the connections I have made and referrals I’ve gathered from other operators . . . and shared with them.