Helpful ReplyHot!So Much Pizza in Connecticut

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Ketteract
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Re: So Much Pizza in Connecticut 2015/10/05 17:50:24 (permalink)
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leethebard
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They offered both roasted red and fresh green bell peppers, but roasted typically carries a premium and I was feeling cheap that day.  
 
My biggest topping issue was with the sausage.  I don't really care for shaved sausage, and I think it's an unwise thing to do unless it's very strongly flavored (like pepperoni).  The stuff on this pizza was almost undetectable.


I agree with Mr.Hoffman. I'd like to see Italian Frying peppers on a pie,not cut up or roasted bell peppers. Italian food needs Italian ingredients.




Do all the New Haven places use these?
 

 
Welllllllll?  
Michael Hoffman
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Re: So Much Pizza in Connecticut 2015/10/05 19:21:32 (permalink)
ChrisOC
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Why would a pizzeria in Connecticut put bell peppers on an apizza with sausage instead of Italian frying peppers?


Are those Cubanelle peppers?


Yes. But there's an Italian frying pepper called Melrose that I'm dying to try. It's a big thing in the Chicago area, as I understand it (Melrose, Illinois), that was originally brought to the area from Italy.
billyboy
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Re: So Much Pizza in Connecticut 2015/10/05 19:24:26 (permalink)
Allow me to be the voice advocating for Roasted red peppers on pizza.  Lombardi's and Grimaldi's here in NYC roast them in their coal ovens and the smoky char they get from that process pairs oh so well with their natural sweetness. I almost always get them on my pies!  
Michael Hoffman
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Re: So Much Pizza in Connecticut 2015/10/05 19:36:16 (permalink)
Ketteract
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leethebard
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They offered both roasted red and fresh green bell peppers, but roasted typically carries a premium and I was feeling cheap that day.  
 
My biggest topping issue was with the sausage.  I don't really care for shaved sausage, and I think it's an unwise thing to do unless it's very strongly flavored (like pepperoni).  The stuff on this pizza was almost undetectable.


I agree with Mr.Hoffman. I'd like to see Italian Frying peppers on a pie,not cut up or roasted bell peppers. Italian food needs Italian ingredients.




Do all the New Haven places use these?
 

 
Welllllllll?  


I don't know. I've never had an apizza with peppers in New Haven. I'm a plain pie guy there.
FriedClamFanatic
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Re: So Much Pizza in Connecticut 2015/10/05 23:15:38 (permalink)
I have pizza with onion and peppers all the time. Hard to find red peppers
TnTinCT
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Re: So Much Pizza in Connecticut 2015/10/06 10:06:34 (permalink)
I would have to say based on my experience that most pizzerias here use sliced green peppers, not roasted, with the exception of some of the New Haven places; I'll have to add that to my "testing" approach and keep you all apprised. We ordered "mixed" peppers at Sally's recently and they were both red and green.
Ketteract
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Re: So Much Pizza in Connecticut 2015/10/06 16:28:58 (permalink)
TnTinCT
I would have to say based on my experience that most pizzerias here use sliced green peppers, not roasted, with the exception of some of the New Haven places; I'll have to add that to my "testing" approach and keep you all apprised. We ordered "mixed" peppers at Sally's recently and they were both red and green.




Yeah - I mean, if we're going to go with an ironclad standard for pizza, then I'm definitely curious to see how many of the top-tier places that we love so much actually meet that standard.  I've had both Lombardi's in Grimaldi's in NYC; they're both exceptional, and I wouldn't think a smidgen less of them for not using Italian frying peppers.
billyboy
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Re: So Much Pizza in Connecticut 2015/10/06 16:59:24 (permalink)
When a pizza place uses Italian frying peppers aka cubanelles, do they roast them first, fry them first or just slice and bake on the pizza in the oven?
TnTinCT
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Re: So Much Pizza in Connecticut 2015/11/25 13:41:35 (permalink)
Been a while since we've had a pizza adventure - travel for work has been crazy since October. Hopefully slowing down now with the holidays approaching. West Hartford, CT is home to many fine pizzas - Joey's Pizza Pie is a favorite when we're in the area. They have a good sized menu with lots of salads, pastas, and some really good eggplant "fries". The pizza is a thin crust New York style pie - we went with a couple of standards for us. A small sausage/mushroom for Tim -
 

 
Not a lot of char, but a nice chewier crust, not too much sauce, and decent toppings. The sausage isn't competition for Zuppardi's, but the mushrooms were fresh.
The close up -
 

 
I ordered my usual sausage, pepperoni, and onion pizza.
 

 

 
Decent pepperoni - gets the nice curl on edges. The onions were not really noticeable on the pizza - every once in a while I'd get a bit and remember there was onion on the pizza.
This is a really good, serviceable neighborhood pizzeria - the takeout business was booming. Definitely would recommend if you are in the area.
 

leethebard
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Re: So Much Pizza in Connecticut 2015/11/25 14:34:45 (permalink)
I hate it when a place puts up a sign that says"pizza pie" Pizza in Italian means pie....so that reads "pie,pie" It's very UN ITALIAN to say pizza pie and that's a strike against any establishment trying to pawn itself off as a real pizzeria. Please explain  this to Joey!!!
ann peeples
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Re: So Much Pizza in Connecticut 2015/11/29 14:25:34 (permalink)
Just like shrimp scampi...
 
Michael Hoffman
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Re: So Much Pizza in Connecticut 2015/11/29 15:53:25 (permalink)
leethebard
I hate it when a place puts up a sign that says"pizza pie" Pizza in Italian means pie....so that reads "pie,pie" It's very UN ITALIAN to say pizza pie and that's a strike against any establishment trying to pawn itself off as a real pizzeria. Please explain  this to Joey!!!


When the moon hits your eye ... .
TnTinCT
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Re: So Much Pizza in Connecticut 2016/01/31 11:09:28 (permalink)
It's been a while since we've ventured out from our standard local places, or the New Haven spots. Yesterday we went to Manchester, CT, to Mulberry Street which bills itself as "New York Style Brick Oven".  The place is interesting, you walk in through an older bar area, and are seated in a lovely airy room with a black metal ceiling and a somewhat open pizza-making area. While charming, the light wasn't great for pictures, so these are all a bit dark. The menu here offers pastas and other appetizers and salads in addition to pizza. We ordered a lovely salad and shared it as an appetizer, and completely forgot to take a picture; mixed greens, onions, candied walnuts, dried cranberries, fresh apple and blue cheese with a homemade balsamic dressing, very tasty. Most of the salads are entree-sized so easy to share for 2 for a starter.
We ordered 2 small pies - a sausage/pepperoni, and a bacon/onion/garlic.
 
The sausage / pepperoni; very Italian-tasting sausage with lots of spice, so much so I couldn't discern any flavor from the pepperoni. It's hard to tell here, but the sausage is very, very thinly sliced, vs. crumbles or chunks. The crust is nicely thin, but without the interesting chew - more bread/cracker like, the sauce is on the sweeter side. This pie was falls in the high-7's, low 8's based on a 10 scale. Good, but not great. It looks prettier than it tastes.
 

 
 

 
Very thin crust -
 

 
The second pizza we ordered was bacon, onion and garlic. Before we received it, the manager came over and advised as they were pulling it from the oven, it stuck in one area and there was a small hole near the crust; she asked whether we would accept it as is and she'd take 50% off the price, or she'd be happy to make another for us. We took the pizza at half price, you can see the small silver-dollar sized hole on the right side. I thought it was a nice pro-active way to handle the situation. There are probably a number of places that would just serve it as it was maybe with an apology, or just hope you don't say anything.
 

 

Once we tried the pizza, we were glad we went for the half price option. At first glance, we thought we'd received the wrong pizza, as it looked more like crumbled sausage vs. bacon. It was bacon, but our assumption is that they use pre-cooked crumbled bacon like you'd put on a salad; it was missing the luscious texture that a little bacon fat brings; all that had already been cooked out of the bacon. The garlic was nice, the onions negligible; there weren't enough on there to bring anything to the table. It was oddly crunchy from the bacon and missed the mark for us.
 
Overall - certainly acceptable pizza anywhere outside of NY/NJ/CT (thank you leethebard!!) - up against the high water mark that we have here we'd likely not go back, there's just too many that are better.
post edited by TnTinCT - 2016/01/31 13:26:22
leethebard
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Re: So Much Pizza in Connecticut 2016/01/31 11:18:35 (permalink)
That wouldn't be acceptable in New York!!!!
TnTinCT
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Re: So Much Pizza in Connecticut 2016/01/31 13:26:57 (permalink)
leethebard
That wouldn't be acceptable in New York!!!!


You are correct, and I have edited the review accordingly.....and added in NJ too for good measure!
leethebard
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Re: So Much Pizza in Connecticut 2016/01/31 14:01:22 (permalink)
Thanks TnTinCT, I guess we're so lucky living in the tri-state area where great pizza is the norm. The average pies, where found, tend to stick out like a sore thumb!!!!
Michael Hoffman
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Re: So Much Pizza in Connecticut 2016/01/31 14:14:34 (permalink)
And we live in Sore Thumb Land.
MilwFoodlovers
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Re: So Much Pizza in Connecticut 2016/01/31 14:56:43 (permalink)
Michael Hoffman
And we live in Sore Thumb Land.


Is that a County in New Brunswick?
Ketteract
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Re: So Much Pizza in Connecticut 2016/01/31 17:27:13 (permalink)
Well, that's disappointing.  Mulberry Street had been on my list of pizzerias to check out due to some compelling photos I'd seen elsewhere.  Maybe I still would if I happened to be in the area with friends, and no one had a better idea... but as it is, I won't make a special effort to go there.  
TnTinCT
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Re: So Much Pizza in Connecticut 2016/02/05 14:27:46 (permalink)
One of the places we'd been meaning to get to is the new(er) Pepe's Apizza that opened in West Hartford, CT. They opened at the end of 2013 - so not really new, and we are obviously overdue for a visit! The space is very nice - open and airy, a few booths around the outside walls, and a lot of table seating in the middle. On a Thursday night, it was "seat yourself" with plenty of open spots.
Pepe's now offers two salad options, so we split a small Caesar salad, and got some Foxon Park Ginger Ale and Root Beer. The ginger ale was a new choice for me, and I enjoyed the fact that you can really taste the ginger and it wasn't overly sweet. The salad was fresh, and tasted of run-of-the-mill commercial caesar dressing, with boxed croutons, and one single olive. If you are interested in getting some greens into your diet with your pizza then it will satisfy that need. A small was plenty large enough for two.
 

 
We owe Ketteract for our new favorite that we order everywhere - bacon, onion, and garlic. This is a medium pizza.
 

 
I love that they cut it so oddly, then when they carry it to your table the slices shift around so it looks like it there are pieces from different pizzas added.
 

 
Such a change from the last pizzas we posted - the bacon was cooked on the pizza, so it had that nice porky lusciousness that you want from bacon, and it's a good quality bacon. The char is great. The garlic was perfect, not overwhelming but you know it's there. I'd love to see sliced onions vs. chunks but this a really great pizza. There was some inconsistency in the crust thickness, which is so much more evident in our second pizza. Salami, with mushrooms on half.
 

 

 
We enjoy Pepe's salami - the edges crisp up a bit and have a nice smoky flavor. This pizza suffered from a too-thick crust, and it varied over the pizza, some pieces just slightly thicker than you would want, others didn't even resemble a standard Pepe's pizza. I tried to get a few pictures for scale but I don't think they really show it, but it was very noticeable eating it.
 

 

 
This is really good pizza, regardless of the crust thickness. But for those of us that know and love the Pepe's of New Haven, my experience at both this location and the Manchester one is that the pizza just doesn't have the same consistency as New Haven. We still boxed up our leftovers and I'll enjoy some slices while watching the Superbowl on Sunday, but it can't hold up to the original restaurant. I'm not sure I'd go back here - 30 minutes drive for this, or add another 20 for the original (and likely line wait time) - I'll add the time to get the product.
post edited by TnTinCT - 2016/02/05 17:11:25
Ketteract
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Re: So Much Pizza in Connecticut 2016/02/25 10:36:15 (permalink)
It's been a pizza-filled few days! I will surely be doing some dietary penance this week, but for now, here's a rundown of my recent indulgences.
 
It began on Thursday, when I decided to try the Pepe's in West Hartford. Yeah, the same place TnTinCT just visited. Part of the reason I went was the awareness that I actually live in Hartford, and that I should see if this particular Pepe's could become a regular resource for me.
 
I ordered the same thing I did at the New Haven Pepe's: half bacon and onion, half sausage and peppers. Here was West Hartford's preparation:
 

 
I immediately saw that it was a bit different from what I had in New Haven a while back.

 
As you can see, the WH version has darker-colored bacon, red and green bell peppers, and a more lightly done crust.
 

 
Taste-wise, I absolutely can't complain. It's recognizably Pepe's. Luscious bacon, good (but not Zuppardi's-level) sausage, wonderfully gooey mozzarella all working together with a fantastic sauce to create what is still one of the best pizzas you'll have in this country.
 

 

 
But we are talking about the Pepe's standard. My experience with the crust resembled TnTinCT's: it was partly uneven, and overall didn't seem to meet the exquisite thinness that the New Haven style requires. Plus there wasn't as much char, and I don't know if this was accidental (not good) or a concession to West Hartford tastes (understandable, but still!).
 

 
Make no mistake, this was still a fantastic pizza, and would, on its ownm easily rank among the top options for the Hartford area. I can't help, though, but feel like I'd be cheating myself with it - I imagine myself going to this location so much that it begins to define Pepe's in my mind, and forgetting what the real New Haven product is like. Maybe I'm just paranoid, but that can't be allowed to happen, so I think I may go here only in "emergencies" (whatever those might be), and drive the extra half-hour for the genuine article.
 
Saturday, I was tooling around Middletown, desperately hungry but plagued with indecision. I phoned a friend, who immediately suggested Illiano's out on South Main. Pizza again, I thought? Why not? I didn't feel like taking on a whole pie again, but I was informed they had a wide variety of individual slices. That sounded excellent. When I entered, I saw a dozen or so different kinds of pies behind the counter, with slices ready to go - "Grandma", Sicilian, macaroni and cheese, tomato pesto, loaded baked potato... all sorts of options. Unfortunately, I didn't get a picture; I was too busy gaping in astonishment. And these looked good, too, not like the kind of careless variety with low quality one would get at, say, Cici's or Godfather's.
 
While I waited for my slices to be heated up, I was given a sliver of macaroni and cheese pizza to munch on.
 

 
If the mac and cheese isn't distinctive, it's easy to lose in this kind of pizza, but it had the defined richness and cheesiness that you'd want - assuming that mac and cheese pizza is even your bag, which I know it isn't for a lot of folks. I liked this rendition fine.
 
A friend of mine had recommended the baked potato slice, so I got one of those, and because I can never stand to get just one slice at a slice joint, I got a tomato pesto one as well.
 

 
Baked potato pizza is an interesting creation, and can definitely be too rich or otherwise unsatisfying depending on how it's made. Some places go heavy on white sauce, for example, while others skimp on bacon. This, though, was well-balanced. All the flavors you'd expect from something labeled "loaded baked potato" were there, including a nice bacon presence, and I actually felt like I could eat another slice. My only complaint was that the cheese was a bit dry, but I did like that they put in some cheddar, as would fit a baked potato theme.
 

 
The tomato pesto slice was also solid. I've found that pesto is also easy to lose in a pizza due to its mild, delicate flavor, but it sang here. I don't care much for warm tomato slices on pizza, but they were a logical pairing with the pesto. The cheese on this slice was a thick layer of pure, delightful mozzarella, and not dry at all.
 
The crust was of note: a nice combination of crispy and chewy, thin but not New Haven-thin, sturdy enough for the dense toppings of the baked potato slice and for the hefty cheese of the tomato pesto slice. This was well-crafted pizza and I would recommend it to anyone that happened to be in the area, especially if all their other slices are of the same level of quality.
 
... And because two pizzas weren't enough, on Sunday I drove to Middlebury for breakfast at Leo's. (I'd originally intended to go to DB's in East Hartford, but after striking an upright beer bottle that someone had deliberately left in the middle of the road, I got pissed and decided to just get away from the Hartford area for a while.) Leo's claim to fame is a "bocco" bread, which is basically a pillowy flatbread that's a little bit like Taco Bell's gordita shells. It's been described as "pizza-like", but there's only one item on their menu that actually uses it in that fashion: their breakfast pizza. I've posted about breakfast pizza before - I had it several times back in Iowa and Kansas City, where it took the form of a standard pizza crust, a creamy sauce (cheese / white gravy / etc.), scrambled eggs, cheese, sausage and/or bacon, maybe onions, at a minimum. I got this at Hy-Vee, Casey's General Store, and the University of Iowa cafeteria, among other places.
 
Leo's version is, well... hmm.
 

 
Bocco bread, eggs, sausage (ham and bacon also available), cheese.
 

 
It was tasty enough - hard not to be, with these ingredients - but not assembled with any care, and not really a pizza in any meaningful sense. I was disappointed with how the sausage was just tossed on in random chunks, and I expect I would have received better results with one of the flat meats. The bocco bread, which I'd had before in an exceptional eggplant sandwich, was too soft to serve as a pizza base. I don't mean to be overly down on Leo's. I would, without question, recommend them for breakfast sandwiches (great home fries, too!), but for breakfast pizza, try elsewhere.
leethebard
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Re: So Much Pizza in Connecticut 2016/02/25 14:33:03 (permalink)
Differences in pizzas can be attributed to those making it on any given day. Hard to judge from so small
a sample. Pizzas have different char even on the same day in the same place. You're at the mercy of the pie-maker. Being an individual creation, shape, char,even amount of ingredients and type might vary day to day and week to week.
Ketteract
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Re: So Much Pizza in Connecticut 2016/02/26 10:13:11 (permalink)
True - but I've heard enough reports both here and from coworkers about the differences between the West Hartford and New Haven locations that I'm prepared to say they're consistent differences.  The general consensus seems to be that you really need to make the trip to New Haven for the archetype of Pepe's pizza.
TJ Jackson
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Re: So Much Pizza in Connecticut 2016/02/26 18:10:58 (permalink)
sorry if this drags this thread a tiny bit off track, but - I could swear that I read a review of one of these Connecticut pizza joints that indicates it serves not only great pizza but also skewers of meat which (I think) are cooked over an open charcoal pit in (or visible from) the entry or dining area
 
and I can't figure out what pizza place it is
 
driving me crazy :-)
 
does anyone know what pizza place this is?
rudebarb
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Re: So Much Pizza in Connecticut 2016/02/26 20:03:33 (permalink)
That would be Santarpio's in E. Boston, and it is a terrific place-- not aware of anything similar in Ct.
lleechef
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Re: So Much Pizza in Connecticut 2016/02/26 20:06:26 (permalink)
rudebarb
That would be Santarpio's in E. Boston, and it is a terrific place-- not aware of anything similar in Ct.


You beat me to it!  Definitely Santarpio's.  I love their lamb skewers!
TJ Jackson
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Re: So Much Pizza in Connecticut 2016/02/26 20:06:28 (permalink)
rudebarb - yes, thats it, much appreciated :-)
 
and now back to your originally scheduled topic, already in progress......
ScreamingChicken
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Re: So Much Pizza in Connecticut 2016/02/27 17:29:47 (permalink)
That breakfast pizza from Leo's certainly looks like an odd albeit tasty duck.  Smaller, more evenly distributed pieces of sausage (or even a sausage patty) would probably be an improvement.
 
The courtesy slice of mac & cheese pizza at Illiano's was a nice PR move.  Is that SOP for them or did you just happen to be in the right place at the right time?
TnTinCT
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Re: So Much Pizza in Connecticut 2016/02/27 17:58:02 (permalink)
Ketteract
True - but I've heard enough reports both here and from coworkers about the differences between the West Hartford and New Haven locations that I'm prepared to say they're consistent differences.  The general consensus seems to be that you really need to make the trip to New Haven for the archetype of Pepe's pizza.


I'm on the "head to New Haven" train to experience the real thing also. We've been to the Manchester location many, many times and unfortunately inconsistency is the issue - generally with the crust thickness and the bake/char. Those two things are key to the Pepe's experience, and I've never been to the original in New Haven and had anything other than exactly what you'd expect from a Pepe's pizza, yet Manchester is a crapshoot with a very inconsistent product - I received pizza so thick it was still raw, and a pizza so burnt on one side half pepperoni rings were completely black (honestly with that one I'm not sure why they even brought it to us - half of it was inedible).  Of course we've just had the one experience in West Hartford, but honestly the one pie was so thick in crust it wasn't even close. Ketteract and I also agree that in comparison to most local pizzerias, the non-original locations generally still serve up a mighty fine pizza - it's just not what I would consider a classic Pepe's experience.
 
Ketteract - I've heard of Iliano's, we'll have to put that one on the list given your good experience. I don't know what to say about the breakfast pizza - it looks a bit like an uncooked english muffin.
WarToad
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Re: So Much Pizza in Connecticut 2016/03/05 10:38:12 (permalink)
Ah ha.  I see why Connecticut pizza is so popular.
 
http://www.eater.com/2016/3/4/11162424/cocaine-arrests-pizzeria-Connecticut
 
Four Men Busted in Connecticut Pizzeria Cocaine Ring
 
Karaoke and pizza sounds like a pretty swell Friday night, especially when you sprinkle a little cocaine on top — or so four men in Wallingford, Connecticut thought. The quartet was arrested this week for selling cocaine out of a pizzeria following a four-month police investigation, reports NBC Connecticut.
Police say one of the men "hosted karaoke and trivia nights" at Colony Pizza House; apparently that wasn't quite enough fun and the group decided to parlay it into selling narcotics inside the restaurant. All four are out on bond and are awaiting court dates later this month, but the question remains: Did they cut their product with grated parm?
  

Amazingly, these geniuses weren't the first to decide dealing drugs out of a pizzeria was a good idea: Last year a Pizza Hut employee in Indiana was busted for selling heroin at work, and a few months prior the owners of a Minnesota pizza parlor were arrested after using the business as a front to traffic large quantities of marijuana.
 
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