Williamsburg, Virginia is not Williamsburg, New York. Sal’s by Victor is not Sal’s Pizzeria in Mamaroneck, New York, my beloved hometown pizza joint known and beloved by ex-Yankees manager Joe Girardi, Modern Family actress Sofia Vergara, and above all the denizens of my hometown. Sodexo is not a family sauce-laying, Italian deli-bought mozzarella grating company. It is, in fact, French.
The point I’m making here is that, due to a wide variety of factors, the College of William and Mary has no reason to have anything even close to resembling authentic, quality pizza. I was warned many times before committing to the College about the pizza withdrawals I would face in Virginia, and came here expecting cheap imitations of what I had back in New York. I have to applaud Sodexo on one thing: they did not make any serious attempts at mimicking my hometown concoctions.
That is, sadly, as far as my pizza praise extended last semester. Instead of electing to make an attempt at something high quality, it seemed as if Sodexo set the bar low and still failed to get over it.
When I first went to Center Court at Sadler for dinner, I felt obligated to at least give the pizza a chance. On that fateful day, I discovered that Sodexo had committed what is in my eyes a cardinal sin. They had not only attempted to mimic Domino’s pizza, but failed in the process. It was shocking enough to find out that, at the College, a pizza brand such as Domino’s, nearly entirely ignored in my hometown for higher quality family owned pizzerias, was overwhelmingly the most popular way to dine on pizza.
I discovered that mastering the Domino’s style of pizza was actually a skill within itself and recognized that not everyone could match Domino’s standard of pizza quality. The notion that people were right in choosing Domino’s first was borderline earth-shaking.
I am not sure if it was my spirit that was heard. Maybe someone wrote on the Sadler suggestion board. Maybe the pizza was simply being left uneaten.
Regardless of reasoning, a change was made, a change that makes me actually enjoy the pizza in Sadler.
I don’t know if credit is due to our local staff, Sodexo as a larger company or divine intervention, but it seemed as if the pizza stopped trying to imitate the dreaded Domino’s and instead went on to resemble something deeply nostalgic for me: the homemade pizza of my youth.
I am not saying that it reaches the level of what my father once made me. That isn’t the point. The pizza has stopped tasting mass-produced and greasy, and has grown into a slightly crunchy, firm, square beauty with a finish of slightly burnt cheese. Occasionally, when slices get more experimental, it doesn’t feel like a haphazard attempt to “spice up” the menu, but a genuine effort to try something new with hard work and thought put into it.
Sadler pizza still fails to be as good as the pizza with which I grew up, from both New York pizzerias and family, but with the new effort being put into making the best pizza they can provided their resources, I would take it over Domino’s any day.
Coming from a student at the College, that’s high praise.
Email Anthony Madalone at firstname.lastname@example.org.