A new pizza joint opens in my neighborhood

For the past couple of seasons, it’s been comforting to know that a good slice of pie was just steps away from my league play at Bowling Green in North Syracuse.

Too rushed to catch dinner with my dear wife Karen, I could visit The Pie Guys. Attached right to the alleys, their little restaurant is. Pizza and more.

Pizza at the lanes.

Pizza at the lanes.

In fact, that’s where we met before week two got started last Thursday night. And so I asked the guy who took my order of the two-slices-and-can-of-soda special just when their sister store I’ve seen a sign for on the main drag in my Syracuse city neighborhood of James Street might be opening.

For almost I year, I told him, I’d been waiting for The Pie Guys to join the fray just a couple of blocks from The Little Bitty.

It opened Monday, he said.

Eastwood's version.

Eastwood’s version.

Indeed it has.

It’s sandwiched onto a stretch hard by a convenience store and a nail place. Kitty-corner across main drag Midler from chain gang member Papa John’s, and at least a mile from OIP — that’s Original Italian Pizza if you must get formal — and another couple from Twin Trees Too in East Syracuse.

Meet the proprietors, Zack and Mark.

Meet the proprietors, Zack and Mark.

Cozy is a kind description for the inside of the joint. Nobody will be doing any of their eating while chatting with owners Zack and Mark, no matter how friendly they are. And they both chatted me up pretty good as I took their photo with my iPhone 6, told them about my affinity to the slices up at Bowling Green, and explained how this account would show up here on my blog.

Business has been good so far, I hear.

Several people shuffled in and out as I snapped and waited for Zack to come out of the kitchen to pose with Mark for the photo.

Deal or a steal?

Deal or a steal?

I ordered the special to go, grabbing a can of Diet Pepsi out of the cooler. Two slices and a drink for three bucks? How could they?

Nice pie, guys.

Nice pie, guys.

When I got it home, I decided that the Pie Guys location No. 5 had faithfully followed the recipe I’ve enjoyed at Bowling Green. Cheese plentiful and stretchy. Sauce tangy under the olive oil. Crust thin and crisp underneath it all.

Ellie B aka Dogamous Pyle rather enjoyed that they’d moved into the neighborhood as well.

Welcome, fellas. I can’t say you’ll totally replace OIP or Twin Trees in my life, but I know the Papa won’t be seeing my business.

How do you prefer your bought-out pizza? What’s the best pizza slice deal you’ve seen? Would you have the guts to fight the chains in anything if you were a small business owner?

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104 thoughts on “A new pizza joint opens in my neighborhood

  1. Yum, Yum! Great pictures -especially of the pizza. I think it is great when a new pizza place opens close by. Fighting the chains is big job. I’d have to check out their weak points before tackling them, but I would tackle them. In fact this is a pet concept of mine called “Schumpeter’s gale”. Schumpeter was an Austrian economist who first realized that large organizations were often usurped by the little guy eating their lunch by offering services or quality or options not available from the big guy. This process is called “creative destruction”. I am a big fan of creative destruction, firmly believing that the little guy has flexibility and creativity that cannot be scaled up to a chain. If a local pizza joint owner realizes that his customers prefer 38 pieces of salami on their large pizzas instead of 37 pieces – he can and will make that change immediately. The process to make that change in a chain is prohibitive and involves going to head office and convincing QA and executive that the change is necessary and then rolling it out to all the stores. All along the way there are people who see it as their job to say “No”.

    Ha! Anyway, I ramble. Great post Mark and I look forward to your critique of the Pies Guys’ products and services.

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    • I gave my review of the slices above. Thumbs up and big smile. Little by little, my dear wife Karen and I will work our way to other options such as chicken wings and antipasto salad. I’ll let the world know.

      Thanks for educating me about Schumpeter, Paul. I think it’s important for economies to have both the big guy and the little guy in this day and age, and let the battle be good for the consumer.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. When I eat pizza out I always get some kind of mushroom because no one in my house eats mushrooms. They don’t even want to pick them off. They say it tastes mushroomy. Heh.

    Around here it is pretty rare to buy by the slice. I loved that about New York. But there is a place in the food court at the Chicago train terminal with a slice about the size of my head for 3 bucks. Delish. They have several pies and put slices in the oven like in N.Y. Very fresh and good.

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  3. Mmmmm….pizza πŸ™‚
    Thanks for making me hungry at barely 8:00 in the morning!
    Random note: I loved your reference to location as “kitty corner”…In KS, we call that “catty corner” or “catty whompus”!
    Love seeing where my friends live and what they eat. Thank you, Mark!

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  4. When I want to avoid cooking, pizza is a life saver! I really do love cold pizza for breakfast.
    We have this local joint that I’ve liked for ages, since my in-laws’ house in the 90’s! I was so pleased when we bought our house within their delivery area πŸ˜€ They make it thin, the sauce is sweet, they cut it into squares.
    They’re not cheap, but that’s okay. We’re happy to support local businesses. We maybe order once or twice a month, and we get two huge pies that barely fit through the door, then we snack on it for days. You may recall that I have great affection for their jalapeno cheese sauce? OH YUM.
    Kitty corner, hehe. We say catty corner here. πŸ™‚
    Rarely, we’ll go buy per slice, but honestly, that’s way more expensive. It just happens that the slice place is conveniently located by the library. Not a one of us prefer it.
    I used to moonlight as a driver at a smaller pizza chain. I actually really enjoyed it. That was the best pizza deal — because free pizza every night I worked!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Some of the places we enjoy here also cut the large pie into square slices, Joey. I dive bomb for the inside slides and save the crust outsides for later!

      I like the style of two house-size pies to give you enough for days, and the jalapeno cheese sauce sounds like it would be a must-try for the heat!

      That must have been really fuffilling and filling, those days as a pizza driver, Joey! ❀

      Liked by 1 person

  5. So the price of two slices and a soda went down two bucks just in the time it took you to capture all of the pictures for this post? Wow, you really have some pull with the Pie Guys! Looks like Peyton Manning will have to find himself a day job now that this steal of a deal will put Papa John’s out of business soon…

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    • I think the Pies Guys are smart. Five bucks for the special in the bowling alley where people will pay it, three bucks in the new joint to lure you in!

      You know how it is, Bill. There are some folks that will always buy the chain food because they are accustomed to it.

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      • I know exactly how that is since I keep a few of those chains in business. And the pizza place attached to our alley also seems to be a bit more expensive than their regular stores… but I indulge in the overpriced snack bar instead.

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      • Oh, big lanes with a pizza place AND an overpriced snack bar! Our 12-laner has the pizza place and the drinker bar, but no snack bar. We have an old-fashioned vending machine, though, Bill, where my Cheese Puffs get stuck up on the ring sometimes!

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      • Ha! I’ll bet it’s like the one we have at Mecca that has been there are least the 17 and a half years I’ve worked there, has survived three remodels and countless assaults by angry workers wanting their chips that won’t come out (I’m guilty on numerous accounts of aggravated snack machine assault). We had one kid circa 2000, about 6’5″ and strong as an ox. He’d lift the whole machine up off the ground and slam it down when it didn’t deliver his snack to the slot below. That machine is a beast… built to last!

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  6. Hi Terp-the best deal here is well actually two from the same Island Pizza Joint-Bella’s. Every Friday night is homemade pizza night; I buy 2 dough balls from Bella’s ($3 buckos) bring it home, roll it out add the ingredients, bake, devour! There daily special is 2 slices and soda pop $3.75 + tax under $4 bucko’s out the door! Popular joint been here since I was a youngin”. The Gatorette.

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  7. Pizza by the slice. Looks good that, Mark. I wish we had those guys in our neighbourhood. I was out with my big sister today and we went into Pierre Bistro for a meal, She had chicken I had mushroom risotto. We watched the waiter walk past delivering the most amazing looking pizzas to the table behind me. We both wanted to change our orders. Next time, we agreed, we’ll try the pizza. We used to go to an American style restaurant in Liverpool called, appropriately, Uncle Sams. One of their “lighter” meals was two slices of pizza, a jacket potato, salad and coleslaw, which we often favoured. Could just do with a slice of pizza right now.

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  8. More depression missing my hometown pizzas…I think $3 for 2 slices and a soda is just about unbeatable but it’s been so long since I’ve been at a ‘by the slice’ pizza place. Honestly, I don’t know how any business owners do it. My husband owned his own business (as you know) for many years, and I was always nervous because there was just no guaranteed income. On the other hand, he who dares wins. I’ve seen tons of small business owners end up immensely profitable.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. This post made me extremely hungry. Luckily, I’m having pizza for dinner. it’s a frozen Pepperoni and sausage, but I add fresh onion and mushroom. Plus, I’ve got a stick of pepperoni in the fridge for my chili recipe, so I’m going to slice off a little to add to the pizza.

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  10. That’s a steal. Just a drink is $2.50-$3 here. The downside is that I always want the Supreme, the Everything, and I bet that costs more. That pic of the guys and the pie sure does make me want some!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. how lucky and it makes me really, really hungry for pizza. we have a late night place here, in the center of campus, back alley pizza. you can get a slice of pizza or a piece of spinach pie for a buck. it’s a window walkup business and is always busy. not the best but reliable when you just are craving a bit of food late at night –

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  12. Lucky you, Mark. That looks like the real deal ! And 2 for $3.00 plus a drink ? Pretty amazing. I feel sorry for anyone whose version of a “large” pie is the 12 inch pizza from those franchise places, no need to mention the names. It has always been the highlight of my trips to NYC…never leave without a slice or two…they say it’s about the water. I think it’s about the standards.

    Thanks for sharing. I have to leave. Salivating now. ☺

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  13. This sounds like fantastic deal, 3 slices and beverage of pop. I was checking, Bowling Green, Ohio? I am wondering and glad to see this old name here. I liked a place called “Pisanello’s” an Italian restaurant and pizza place. I liked their salads and subs, too. Delivered to our dorms for free, too. Take care, Mark.

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