Sauce, cheese and dough. The perfect combination that comes together to make the perfect food: pizza. Italians used these ingredients to create Neapolitan, Sicilian and Margherita pizza. New Yorkers turned these ingredients into a $1 thin slice masterpiece. Chicagoans decided to combine a pie and pizza and created the coma inducing deep dish pizza. And Californians decided to ruin these ingredients with the California slice.
Eugene is known for a variety of things, but pizza is not one of them. Coming from Chicago, where pizza is eaten for breakfast, lunch and dinner, I decided to go on a week-long journey to analyze the pizza-by-the-slice scene in Eugene. I attempted to make my incredibly scientific study as fair as possible by only eating cheese pizza, putting no toppings on and telling no one that the entire world would be reading my findings. So after one week involving five pounds gained, $20 lost and a slice of pizza that made me question everything, here are my Eugene pizza slice reviews:
Best Pizza After You Fail an Exam
It’s finals week and you just failed your exam. Your car has two parking tickets on it and your roommate has three weeks of dirty dishes stacked on the counter. Where do you go for a much needed pick-me-up? Mezza Luna Pizzeria. If you are going to make me leave campus, and charge $3.25 for a slice of cheese, then your pizza better be good. The sweet, flavorful sauce combined with a nice cheese to sauce ratio makes this one of the best slices of pizza in Eugene. Mezza Luna’s crust was one of the better crusts I’d had in Eugene; however, it was nowhere near the famous New York flop that comes with a light, fluffy crust. While the pizza rises above the others in Eugene, the atmosphere falls short of what most might expect in a unique college town like Eugene. Mezza Luna is the place to go when you are there for the pizza and nothing else.
Overall Grade: B+
The Pizza That is Good One Hour a Day
I have an unhealthy love/hate relationship with Falling Sky Pizzeria in the EMU. First, if you expect me to pay $3.75 for a slice of pizza, and $30 for a large cheese pizza, that pizza better be the greatest meal I’ve ever had. Spoiler alert: it’s not. However, there is a cheat code that turns this from the worst deal in Eugene, to the best. Every night, for one hour before closing, 11 PM to 12 PM, pizza slices are buy one get one. Two slices for $3.75, combined with a great music playlist, will make any late night better. Final verdict: adequate pizza for a majority of the time, but terrific pizza for that one special hour everyday.
Overall Grade: B-
Pizza Place Most Like Eugene
Founded by two metalheads in Portland, Sizzle Pie looks exactly how an Oregon pizzeria should. While I’d had better slices of pizza in Eugene, Sizzle Pie was the all-around best restaurant I went to. With music blasting, friendly service, a variety of toppings and generous servings, Sizzle Pie exemplifies the Pacific Northwest personality that should be present at a Eugene pizza joint. But with a great atmosphere comes a slice of pizza that looks like it was made by someone who learned how to make pizza on Youtube. Honestly, this extraordinarily mediocre slice of pizza isn’t going to knock your socks off on its own; however, you should be kicked out if you eat an unseasoned slice of cheese pizza at Sizzle Pie. To do Sizzle Pie right, you have to order one of the many unconventional slices with names like “6 degrees of Kevin Bacon” and “Good luck in heaven” and load them up with the many hot sauces and seasonings.
Overall Grade: B
Pizza Most Like Lunchroom Food
When I mentioned above that I ate somewhere that made me question everything, this is what I was referring to. With a name like Sam Bond’s Garage, and some of the best live music in Eugene, I really wanted Sam Bond’s to succeed. Unfortunately, on the night I went for a slice, it seemed as if the head chef had called in sick and the dishwasher ended up making the pizzas. While this may seem harsh, I went to Sam Bond’s with an empty stomach and threw the pizza away after two bites. It was either an off night for the pizza at Sam Bond’s, or the good beer and music is what keeps the customers coming back.
Overall Grade: F
The Coolest Pizza Slice in Eugene
Sy’s New York Pizza is the closest thing you will get to the East Coast in all of Eugene. With barstool seating and old photos of New York lining the walls, this no-nonsense joint looks just like the iconic shops along the East Coast. While Sy’s attempts to recreate a New York pizzeria, it fails to come close to a New York slice. Sy’s slices are similar to one you would get at a sporting event — good enough for the situation, but nothing to write home about. A crust that seems to be more of an afterthought than an exclamation mark and an unremarkable sauce makes Sy’s pizza good enough, but not great. But while the slices may not be great on their own, with a closing time of 1 a.m on the weekends and a cheese slice costing you only $2.50, Sy’s is my favorite pizzeria in Eugene.
Overall Grade: B
The Slice That Changed It All
On Friday afternoon, I decided to go with my roommate to have one last slice of pizza before finishing my article. A ten minute drive from campus, Za Cart isn’t a place you hear about a lot as a college student, but trust me when I say that a slice from this food cart is worth the drive. Za Cart isn’t just a good pizza slice for Eugene — it compares to the many slices I have eaten in New York and Chicago. The best review I can give Za Cart is having already eaten five slices that week, I still went back for a second slice here. And while the food alone will have me returning, Jeff, the owner and chef, was by far the friendliest person I encountered during my study. If you’re planning on consuming 500 calories worth of cheese, dough and sauce, I recommend you make it happen at Za Cart.
Overall Grade: A