May 10, 2011

Foodents: Sarpino's Pizzeria, a.k.a., you will never have to leave the house again

There’s really not a lot to say about Sarpino’s. They will bring you well-above-average pizza (miles beyond Domino’s and miles above Cholie’s) and they are open until 4 a.m. They are located in the South Loop, but they deliver to Hyde Park. Only takes 45 minutes. It isn’t as cheap as Domino’s, but it isn’t too bad price-wise. You can get a combination of specialty or gourmet pizzas for around $11 a person, tip included. Specialty and gourmet pizzas (which are really just salad dressings) are $21, and each second pizza is “up to” 50 percent off.

A good indication of this pizza’s value is that Ben had his first one about four days ago and he thought, “That’s pretty good,” and he’s ordered seven since then. That’s all you really need to know. And Sarpino’s has a website that is even more entertaining to use than Domino’s. It has a favorites option, which is great, and it means that Ben gets e-mails suggesting that he buy “that sweet dankness.” Ben is literally half an hour away from ordering another one. He has an account on their website. Evan spent Sunday afternoon cutting cabbage for lentil stew, and then dolloping Kirkland mayonnaise into a big Tupperware filled with “Chicken of the Sea Chunk Lite” tuna. This is what he did, instead of ordering pizza for every meal. You make the decision: What do you want your life to look like? You decide how exactly you want to throw up your hands and call it quits. What is failure to you? Anyway, their pizzas are fluffy-soft like a rabbit; they’re sort of halfway between Chicago and New York style, and can be covered by mounds of flavorful addendums.

Here’s a (really tiny) sampling of the toppings you can get: Cheese, pepperoni, Italian sausage, alfredo sauce, anchovies, artichoke hearts, bacon, banana peppers, BBQ sauce, black olives, blue cheese dressing, Canadian ham, cappicoli, cheddar, chicken strips, chipotle ranch sauce, cilantro, clams, Dijon mustard, eggplant, feta, fresh basil, garlic, garlic butter, giardiniera, green olives, green peppers, ground beef, Italian dressing, jalapeño, lettuce, marinara sauce, mayo, meatballs, mushrooms, olive oil, onions, parmesan, pesto sauce, pineapple, ranch, red peppers, ricotta, salami, salsa, seitan, shrimp, sour cream, spinach, steak, sun-dried tomatoes, tomatoes, and zucchini.

If you find yourself a little intimidated by choice—by freedom—and find that you, just for the life of ya, can't decide whether you and all your friends want steak and clams or bacon and clams, Sarpino’s is here to help. Remember, hiking up the hip-waders and pulling back the elbow-highs and deciding to eat Sarpino’s pizza is already giving up, and Sarpino’s understands that. They know choice is hard and something that’s better left to someone else, someone in charge. And believe us, they’re in charge. Sarpino’s offers a good thirteen varieties of pre-chosen “specialty pizzas,” two of which have sour cream on them. But just having that would be some bullshit, so they decided to give us all another 15 “gourmet pizza” options. One of their meatier offerings is called “Midnight Express.” Yep. “Midnight Express.” Of which we have two boxes in our apartment.

So let us just make it perfectly clear why we’re writing this review, and why it’s sort of hard. To quote ourselves, “There’s really not a lot to say about Sarpino’s.” We haven’t really changed our minds about that one. This pizza is okay to good-okay, to maybe something one would eat before midnight. The cheese is Chuck E., and the sauce is overly sweet in that Spaghetti-O’s sort of way. At the end of the day, descriptive language for Sarpino’s really, um, seems sort of unnecessary and perhaps pointless. The most important things we can tell you are a) that this place exists, and b) there are literally 2.64203265 × 1099 (or something like that) combinations of sauces and toppings you can put on your pizza (please see the above catalog for a qualitative representation). If you didn’t read it, well you’ll have that same BAD experience you had after not reading that whole Catalog of Ships thing in the Iliad, and, well, you know that sucked (reading quizzes, what the eff?)

Now, next time you find yourself sitting in a pool of your own filth on Saturday night, you’ll know who to call. Make your choice, live or die, make your choice. Your choice has already been made for you.

Farewell, stay well, eat well.