“Pizza pizza, you so yummy, pizza pizza, OH GOD GET IT OUT OF ME, OH GOD WHAT DID I JUST INJEST?”
~Consumers of the following pizzas
We know that other countries out there like to ruin pizza for the rest of us. Scotland’s out there making Haggis pizza, Pizza Hut’s international office is apparently being run by a chef who recently suffered a horrific brain injury, and Japanese pizza is, well, you know. Japan. When faced with the horrors of snail pizza or whatever the living fuck cream corn potato pizza is, it’s comforting to come back to America and feast on the various ways we’ve perfected the pizza pie. Sure, some parts of the nation have kind of shat the bed as far as their take on the dish, but in general, America makes a simple, hearty, delicious pizza. At least we don’t have people actively trying to ruin it for everyone else, right?
Oh, goddamn it.
Here goes nothing.
America’s Grossest Pizzas
America does pizza better than any other country in the world. “Oh, what about Italy huh? They invented the stuff, this is typical boorish American elitism,” you might reply if you’re a horrible wet blanket that people actively avoid talking to at parties, but our attractive, interesting readers who are kind to dogs and are constantly fending off potential suitors will agree about America’s pizza superiority without a moment’s hesitation. Not only do we make the best pizza, America seems to be the only country that knows how special pizza is. We eat it at fancy restaurants, we order it at bars, and we managed to take the cold harshness of winter and turn it into a socially acceptable use of the sentence, “You know, I’m thinking of ordering a pizza, downing a six pack, and watching Top Gun and Road House on Netflix tonight.”
If we’ve learned anything from Star Wars it’s that our nation’s men have an unsettling fixation on metal lingerie and slug people every good side comes with a dark side. Luke Skywalker had Darth Vader. M&Ms have whatever the fuck M&Ms were thinking here. Oreos have the sound of our interns sobbing as we force fed them candy corn flavored Oreos. And unfortunately, America has the following.
Chicken and Waffles Pizza
When you first introduce chicken and waffles as a concept, your mind races with a myriad of thoughts. All of these knee-jerk reactions, however, are positive. At the very worst, you’ll think something along the lines of, “Oh hey, this is pretty tasty, I didn’t expect this go together as well as it does.” On the other end of the spectrum, you’re the one person who takes a single bite combining syrup, waffles, and fried chicken who will slowly set their plate down, stare out into the void, mumble, “It’s perfection. There are no more adventures left in this world,” before slowly walking out to sea. Basically, everyone loves chicken and waffles, and if someone ever claims that they don’t, stare closely at their neck for several minutes. Eventually they’ll have to break form to breath, and that’s when you’ll see their gills.
Now, chicken and waffles already breaks the mold as far as culinary expectations. It’s sweat, it’s savory, it’s starchy, and it’s complete. You don’t need to do anything to chicken and waffles, and trying to expand the dish seems foolish. As foolish as, say, putting it on top of a goddamn pizza.
Enter Boulder, Colorado’s Boss Lady Pizza, stage left. Their menu offers white pies (with a Crème Fraiche base), red pies (marinara), BBQ pies (take a guess), and pesto pies (seriously, it’s not that hard to figure out) but it’s their “breakfast-friendly” pizza that leaves us terrified. Apparently ignoring the outcry against chicken and waffle’s name being sullied in the name of potato chips, they offer a pizza topped with breaded chicken (with you so far), waffles (ehhh), maple syrup (but…it’s pizza. Why are you putting this on pizza?), mozzarella (please stop, we want to get off this ride) with Crème Fraiche as the sauce, because everything is terrible, and all beauty someday fades. We’re just hypothesizing here, but if you ever manage to eat Crème Fraiche, cheese, syrup, chicken, waffles, and pizza crust, all in the same bite, it’s too late, you’re already dead, your stomach just said, “I’ve put up with a lot, especially with your tendency to order hamburgers alongside egg rolls when you’re drunk, but that’s it, I’m out of here” before tearing itself out of your body.
At this point, there will be people who think they know more about eating gross pizza while whiskey drunk than we do. They do not, but they will be steadfast in this belief, and will say things like, “These guys probably haven’t even tried these pizzas! I’ve had spaghetti pizza before, and it was good! And putting chicken and waffles on pizza doesn’t sound too bad either, I’d like to try that.” You can see him, there in the comments, drafting his response. He is wrong, and he is sober, and he is the enemy. Do not trust him.
We’re not saying that Angelo’s Pizza Steak and Spaghetti, with two locations in Texas, is also the enemy, but we are saying that they serve as a cautionary example of a restaurant that thinks covering your pizza with spaghetti sounds like a good idea. It is not a good idea. It is a gross idea. Considering the tens of thousands of restaurants out there that serve spaghetti and pizza, it’s telling that only a depraved handful have decided to combine the two ingredients. Statistically, this does not make them trendsetters, this makes them the cast of Third Rock From the Sun after opening a pizzeria and combining foods in a wacky manner for their menu because they don’t understand how hu-man taste buds work. At its very best, a pizza covered in spaghetti will taste like…well, not much. At the very worst, the consistency of squirming noodles encased by cheese and tomato sauce will remind you of those boring Halloween parties you went to as a kid where your mom had you all close your eyes and stick your hand into a bowl of cold noodles after saying that you were touching brains.
Pastrami, pickles, and mustard
Dear pizza makers of America. Sandwiches are delicious. Pizza is delicious. Pizza and sandwiches are very different things, so please stop trying to turn sandwiches into pizza. We’re looking at you, Rose City Pizza in Rosemead, California.
The Bronx Pastrami Pie at Rose City takes a pizza crust and adds Mozzarella cheese before losing their goddamn minds and adding pastrami, pickles, and mustard. Why would they do this to us? The true shame here is that a pizza topped with pastrami would probably be pretty good. We’d order that, we’d eat that, we’d not write it up in an article about shitty pizza. But whoever came up with this startlingly awkward combination of pizza toppings didn’t know when to quit. Pretend this pizza slice was a game of blackjack. We imagine this is how the hand went down.
Dealer: Dealer stays with a slice of cheese pizza. Player is dealt a crust.
Rose City Pizza: Hit me!
Dealer: Player has cheese pizza with pastrami, player wins…
Rose City Pizza: Hit me again!
Dealer: Player has pastrami cheese pizza with pickles, player has busted.
Rose City Pizza: Hit me one more time!
Dealer: Player has pastrami cheese pizza with pickles and mustard. God weeps.
We’re not sure if they named it the “Bronx Pastrami Pie” because they felt that a pastrami sandwich was something they associated with that particular borough, or if they were just trying to brainwash everyone on the West Coast into assuming that New York makes terrible pizza that involves putting fucking condiments on top of their slices, but either way they’ve created something foul and evil and unleashed it us all. The only good thing to come out of this pizza’s existence is that it enabled us to invent pizza blackjack as a game, so we’re basically all going to become millionaires now.
Bone Marrow, Rapini, and Horseradish Pizza
We live in a gourmet culture, or we did live in a gourmet culture until the economy went to hell, and then a percentage of us kept living a gourmet culture, while the rest of us found ways to make Ramen noodles taste like something other than a disposed segment of a Hot Wheels track you found in your parents’ basement when you visited over the holidays. Inherently, these two segments of society have completely different opinions of pizza. There are the regular Joes for whom pizza is a lifeblood. It’s essential, it’s delicious, and it’s greasy and comforting. They buy deep dish pizzas so they can feast like kings for a week, they order New York style slices because it’s right there and oh so worth the two dollars, they see a Little Ceasers Hot N Ready and go, “Well, I’m not quite that desperate, but let’s revisit this when I’ve gotten myself good anddrunk.” Then there are those who scour the Michelin Guide to find out where they should go to spend a hundred dollars on an edible zen garden who can’t pronounce the word “pizza” (they try to put three syllables in there which, come on, really? How? Why?) and think it’s a good idea to put fancy things on this sacred dish. Caviar? Sure! Lobster? Fuck you, poor people! Bone marrow? Apparently so, thanks to the bone marrow, rapini, and horseradish pizza from San Francisco’s Flour + Water.
You can quibble with rapini and horseradish all you want, we could go either way on the issue. On one hand, rapini (or broccoli rabe if you prefer) is slightly bitter in taste, which is definitely a flavor profile we’d prefer to avoid on our pizzas. On the other, rapini is delicious on the Philly pork roast sandwich, so there’s a possibility that it could be good on pizza. But then you have to deal with fresh horseradish, which is definitely a flavor that is hated by 50% of the population, loved by 25% of the population, tolerated by 25% of the population, and is awful as a pizza topping for 100% of everyone who has ever existed.
But nothing can compare to the terror that is smothering a pizza in bone marrow in the name of haute cuisine. When you order this pizza, you basically just killed an animal, ignored all of the perfectly delicious and toppings-appropriate meat its carcass left behind, dug out the bones (again, while ignoring the mounds of meat just begging you to cook it and mound it atop a meat lover’s pizza), snapped them in half, and smeared what you found inside over a pizza that now has to be thrown away because, eww, some monster just took your pizza and covered it with broccoli rabe, horseradish, and animal bone gunk. What a waste.
Squid Ink Pizza with Octopus Salami Pizza
You are liars, Bibiana Restaurant. You make falsehoods with your words. Octopus salami does not exist. Salami is not made out of fish, no matter how eerily close to human intelligence that fish might be. Salami is made out of…um… well it’s made out of meat, we damn well know that. Pork probably, right? Or beef? But either way, we know damn well that it’s not octopus. Of course that’s not the only thing we find unsettling about this limited-time, one-week-only pizza from Bibiana Restaurant in Washington, D.C. While all the other entries on this list have managed to avoid doing anything unspeakable to the pizza crust, Bibiana said fuck that noise, and doused the dough with squid ink until it turned as black as the head chef’s pizza-destroying soul. Full disclosure- we weren’t even going to include anything like “squid ink pizza” or “pizza with sliced octopus” on this list originally. Not because we didn’t think it was gross (squid ink and octopus with pasta? Delicious. Squid ink and octopus with pizza? Life is ruined) but because we didn’t think there were any American chefs out there crazy enough to think it was a good idea. That’s because ruining pizza with an abundance of out-of-left-field seafood toppings is what Japan does to pizza, not us.
Dammit, America, we’re better than this. Stop ruining pizza. And for the love of God, stop putting random hunks of seafood that’ll ruin the pizzas consistency on there just for the fuck of it.
Goddamn it we said stop doing that!
Now, if it seems that these last few pizzas are the kinds of dishes (seafood that’s outside of mainstream America’s comfort zone added to pizza weather it’s a complimentary flavor or not) that seem more in line with Japan’s culinary what-the-fuckery than American misguided enthusiasm to create new and exotic dishes, you’d be correct in this case, since the American restaurant we found that decided that eel pizza is a good idea (it is not) is Café Sharaku, an Asian fusion establishment in Fort Lauderdale. So in this case, we choose to believe that the chef just misguidedly thought to himself, “Americans like pizza, the Japanese like eel, if we combine the two…fusion!” And this is very true. In the same sense that people tolerate Jeff Goldblum, and people tolerate flies, but when you put them together you got this. Though, to be fair, we are talking about Florida here, America’s favorite crazy uncle. Hell, this probably isn’t even the most ridiculous pizza in the state, right?
Python Pizza (With Alligator and Frog Legs)
Oh Florida, we knew we could count on you. Also, Jesus Christ Florida! Who hurt you as a child?
As some of you may remember, Florida had a period last year where they encouraged their residents to stomp around the Everglades to kill as many pythons as they could. Surprisingly, there was an actual conservationist reason behind the hunt, since the Burmese python is a non-native species that decimates plant and animal populations in the wetlands. Not surprisingly, because this was Florida, they decided to call it “PYTHON CHALLENGE 2013” and handed out prizes for the most pythons captured and all-in-all tried their very hardest to be even more ridiculous than the residents of Springfield during the “Whacking Day” episode of the Simpsons.
In the spirit of embracing batshit insanity as required by the Florida state motto of, “Attendite me, et non videbitis me quaeris quid retro possum facere vobis vado et venio ad respice ad me deferretur,” which of course translates to, “Look at me look at me I can do it backwards why aren’t you LOOKING I am going to do it and you will miss it come on LOOK AT ME,” Evan’s Neighborhood Pizza in Fort Meyers decided to release a python-topped pizza. They weren’t content to stick with “a snake that few people know the taste of” as a topping (no, seriously, we Googled “What does python meat taste like” and we basically ended up on a website that said, “We don’t know, but we can tell you how a dinosaur would taste!”). So they put frog legs and alligator meat on the fucker as well.
That’s right, they cut the meat out of massive, giant snakes, put it on top of a pizza, sat back and thought, “You know, sure there’s chunks of a massive predator on this, but it doesn’t quite have that ‘Abandon All Hope Ye Who Enter Here’ look yet. How about we add alligator meat, and if that doesn’t scare anyone off, we’ll just take half a dozen frog legs and leave them scattered about the pizza like a Frogger Civil War battlefield.” Ladies and gentlemen, The Sunshine State!
Buffalo Testicle Pizza
That picture is actually not from an American source—that is a bull testicle pizza as made by Ljubomir Erovic, the Serbian author of a cookbook that only includes recipes that have testicles as an ingredient. But fear not, there have been American restaurants that have served the balls of animals on top of a pizza. And by fear not, we mean be completely afraid, we can’t believe anyone would do such a terrible thing to a pizza.
Blowtoad in Richmond, Virginia unfortunately closed at the end of 2012 after less than a year in business. But this Carytown pizza joint made its mark by selling the grossest pizza in America, but in such a way that we’re actually sincerely upset that it’s closed. Because not only did place buffalo testicles on one of their pizzas, they called it “Bleu Ball.” And while the name alone would be enough to make us go, “Oh, you crazy sons of bitches, we’re not even mad at you for putting balls on a pizza, you got moxie,” they upped the ante by simply listing the ingredients as “Swinging steak, bleu cheese, and charred onions.”
We have a feeling you might know where this is headed.
That’s right. It took them all of a month before the local news decided to do a feature on a woman who ordered the pizza only to find out afterwards that she just ate buffalo balls. Which we think is the funniest thing we’ve ever heard. It’s funny enough for us to be completely content with the fact that ball pizza has existed on American soil, and might even continue to exist now (looking at you, Colorado). Because if you’re going to ruin pizza, it might as well feel like a prank.
And so there you have it, America. The grossest pizzas that we as a nation have managed to encounter. Some of you might think of more disgusting pizzas, and wonder why they were excluded. In that case, it’s simply that they were so awful we had to remove their existence from our minds. Still others of you might think why we’re insulting some of these pizzas when they appear to be perfectly delicious. To you we say that you’re wrong, and you should feel bad for saying that, and don’t you dare eve question us again. Now why don’t all of us just relax, grab a case of beer, and see how many slices of stuffed crust pizza we can fit into our gullets before the pain becomes unbearable.
Because that’s how Americans eat pizza.