Clintonville Pizza Challenge: The Battle of Graceland – Z Pizza vs. Belleria
Posted by cmh gourmand on March 20, 2012
The first pizza pair off occurred this past Nerd Night Monday at an undisclosed location in Clintonville. The Battle of Graceland pitted Z Pizza vs. Belleria Pizza.
An additional disclaimer for this series. There was a brief attempt at rational and objective judging criteria using the Kansas City BBQ Society judging guidelines as a basis for the taste off. This was a clear failure within ten seconds of suggesting this sane method of evaluation.
As my gal pal Andrea would say “what evs”.
More back story. Belleria has sixteen locations in Northeast Ohio and two franchises in Columbus – thus the prime directive of no chains is compromised. Belleria started in Youngstown in the 1950′s. Why did this place make the cut? They are still unique to Columbus and Clintonville. They deliver to the undisclosed location.
Z Pizza has locations in sixteen states, Washington DC, the Middle East, Mexico and Vietnam. Really. Z pizza is unique in central Ohio with one Clintonville location and one in the Short North. They deliver to the undisclosed location.
I can’t say the battle was hard-fought. We are so used to the value and massive bulk of Adriaticos that getting less pizza for more money was a moral and morale shock. One individual led the discussion with “I hate Z Pizza, it made me sick years ago, so it already lost.” This is the type of thing a food sociologist and enthusiast such as I must deal with. Grrrrrr.
What happened. After some trial and error and a lot of whining about having to wait to watch TV because I was still collecting data, I decided to settle the matter using a McLaughlin Report style aggressive questioning technique of the pros and cons of each pizza with each nerd. After everyone said their peace about the pieces, each person was allowed an opportunity to vote.
“Taste Like Home”
“like the greasy thing going on”
“The best of the cheapest ingredients”
“more fart inducing” (really….this is the caliber of test subjects I am working with here).
“good spicing on the sauce”
“don’t like the spicing on the sauce”
“French Fry Pizza Rocks (also universal)
“like the cakey crust”
“has godfather / Mob qualities”
“hearty, filling – winner by weight for the price”
“reminds me of a Northeast Ohio Mom and Pop Pizza Pie Restaurant”
“tough biscuit quality – chewy, pieogiesque crust”
“the Ohio University of pizza” – under the radar and plucky
Z Pizza Notes:
“hits the flavors that the kids (hipsters) like”
“good crispness, good sear/char and crunch on crust”
“best combination and blend of flavors”
“good Tomato Taste”
“good crust (this was near universal)
Having gathered the feedback above with tooth pulling precision I opted to do a vote.
The champion was Belleria with seven votes. Z Pizza received one.
Much like the Henry Fonda character in Twelve Angry Men, I had to respect the observations of the lone dissenter. It is difficult to compare the two pizzas because their styles are very different. Each had strong points and weak points. We thought both were over priced. Other than our resident contrarian who voted against Z Pizza years before, we all found merit in the Z Pizza crust. The French Fry pizza from Belleria is quite superior and deserves a special nod.
Next week: The Battle of Sinclair – Pizza House vs. Pizza Mart
Hoping for a bracket by next week (Hint: Roland).