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October 24, 2010

The best anchovy pizza delivered in Charlottesville comes from...

Rise PizzaWorks.

On Thursday, October 21, 2010, my great and good friend of many, many years, Cary Sternick, arrived at my house for his regular quarter-century visit.

That's right: he was last here in 1985.

There are a lot of people reading this who weren't even born then.

But I digress.

Among the many things he'd promised to do to improve the quality of my life — beyond the stuff he does on a daily basis over the phone and via email — was finally break me of my Domino's pizza habit.

I've ordered from Domino's since forever, even after they dropped anchovies from their topping list, much to my consternation, some five or ten years ago, I can't remember, don't bust my chops about it, OK?


My standard Domino's order, placed on the website and followed using their nifty Pizza Tracker (which I've read may be fake, unrelated to the actual progress of my pizza through the system, like those elevator door "Close" buttons that may or may not actually affect door closure), has been:

Large extra-crispy thin crust with double bacon, double pepperoni, double sausage, double onion, double mushroom, double black olive.

Just so you know who you're working with.

Where was I?

Oh, yeah, Cary's intervention.

Cary hates Domino's with a passion, says he wouldn't eat it if it were free.


He said when he got here we'd order anchovy pizzas from every single restaurant in Charlottesville that made and delivered them, then have a tasting contest.

I love stuff like that.

Anyway, cut to the chase: we could only find, using the internets and the phone book, three restaurants whose anchovy and delivery Venn diagrams overlapped.

They are: Rise PizzaWorks, a relatively new restaurant about two miles down the road from my house; Vocelli, which I'd never heard of before this contest; and the good old College Inn down by the Corner (local term for the area at the heart of the University of Virginia).

We ordered by phone from each of the three the following: a small anchovy, pepperoni, sausage, and onion pizza.

We figured, keep it simple with as few variables as possible to make our contest result more clear-cut.

We also timed how long till our pizzas arrived from the time we ordered.

The video above is an actual unretouched documentary account of our competition.

Cary is the narrator and I'm doing the Vanna White thing.

No question but that the Rise Pizza stood astride the other two like a Podunk town Italian colossus.

Very fresh tasting, thinner rather than thick crust; sauce very fine; a bit too much cheese for Cary's taste but not enough to cause it to slip down the rankings; anchovies good enough.

Vocelli had a thicker crust, quite good in fact, with better proportions of cheese and sauce, and the best anchovies and onions of the bunch, but the overall experience was just not quite as good as Rise.

College Inn brought up the rear with a serviceable entry: a thick crust, greasier than the other two, and with anchovies that weren't as succulent as those on the other two entries.

Delivery times: Rise PizzaWorks won that too, with a call-to-door time of 25 minutes; College Inn arrived in 29 minutes; Vocelli took 54 minutes.

So there it is: Rise PizzaWorks is from this day forward the Official Delivered Anchovy Pizza (ODAP) of bookofjoe.


October 24, 2010 at 04:01 PM | Permalink


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I love anchovies but nobody else in my family cares to be around them. Consequently I rarely have them on pizza on Pizza Night (aka Friday night). What I have been doing instead for many years now is to use a tube of anchovy paste (I buy the Amore brand by the case from Amazon) to squeeze a strip of anchovy love on a slice as needed.

Posted by: HeavyG | Oct 24, 2010 9:16:17 PM

Most of the "good" pizza places in my area have something that resembles anchovies,

but really is sculptured salt with flavoring!

I buy Ortiz anchovies, place them in a very small pan, stack the grills 3 high on my gas range

and warm them for placing on my warm (hopefully) delivered favored pizza...mmmmmmmm!


Posted by: Joe Peach | Oct 24, 2010 5:29:45 PM

Now wait a minute -- you keep us on tenterhooks awaiting the outcome of the potato chip contest, then interrupt the flow of excitement with this pizza ordering/tasting orgy. Please, one eating match at a time! I can't stand it.

Posted by: Flautist | Oct 24, 2010 5:11:54 PM

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