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The Michigan Daily Pizza Challenge

Daily Weekend Editors
Published April 14, 2004

Lying in wait in the student ghetto, anticipating the arrival of
each unsuspecting delivery man was the most lethal pizza inspection
team known to Ann Arbor. Nearly 30 Daily staff members gathered on
a balmy Friday night, ready to pounce on every slice of pizza.
Careful notes, graphic illustrations and watchful eyes, amalgamated
to create The Michigan Daily Pizza Challenge.

The rules were simple: Every pizza place in Ann Arbor that
delivers would be rated on speed, price, courtesy of personnel,
greasiness and overall taste. Within the taste categories included
in-depth analysis of the sauce, cheese, crust, toppings and the
size of the slice. We exempted the main chains such as Pizza Hut,
Little Caesar’s and Domino’s Pizza. Lastly, to maintain
consistency, we ordered half cheese and did not include specialty
items such as deep dish pizzas.


The Order

The first round of orders began at 10:40 p.m. with calls to
Hello Faz Pizza, Anthony’s Gourmet Pizza, DJ’s Pizza,
Mancino’s, Marco’s Pizza and Pizza Bob’s.
Unfortunately for Pizza Bob’s, its driver was in a car
accident earlier in the evening and could not deliver pizza, thus
disqualifying the establishment. The Daily checked on the status of
the driver the next day and was reassured that he was doing well.
Mancino’s was also disqualified since the restaurant on
Jackson Road closes at 10 p.m.

Since pizza places must deal with the some drunk and confused
callers, the Daily pretended to be of that ilk. “Hello? I
would like to order some jalapeños.” With a heavy
Indian accent, a craving for jalapeños and a phone that
often lost reception, Daily staffers placed a call to Mr. Pizza at
11:15 p.m. Determined to maintain the phone call, the order-taker
asked us to use a separate phone or to call from a different
location and finally resorted to receiving the order by shouting
into the phone. This patience was notably absent from
Leonardo’s Pizza. When a Daily staffer pretended to be an
Italian man, the people at the pizza parlor formerly known as Da
Vinci’s were less than receptive. They noted with annoyance
that they were not Italian and actually did not even deliver the
order, which they promised us would only take an hour.

The last round of phone calls was to the four mainstays in Ann
Arbor: Bell’s Pizza, Cottage Inn Pizza, New York Pizza Depot
and Pizza House. Though no one could understand what the people at
Bell’s Pizza were saying, the exchange with Cottage Inn Pizza
was one of the worst. After placing us on hold for two minutes, the
people taking the order were curt and rude, cutting us off

The people at Pizza House deserve the award for most patient for
putting up with the Daily’s drunk call at 11:20 p.m. Instead
of simply placing an order, Daily staffers decided to extend the
conversation to a 10-minute dialogue about lacking pants, wanting
marinara sauce and needing complete silence.


The Delivery

It was a shock that after the above-mentioned abuse that any of
the pizza parlors delivered. In fact, all but Leonardo’s
Pizza came through with our orders. The fastest delivery person was
in fact DJ’s Pizza; however, they were also the worst because
he delivered to the wrong house. Luckily, the neighbors knew of the
situation next door and directed him our way. Since most neighbors
would not be so kind, one should be careful while ordering delivery
from DJ’s.

Marco’s Pizza was a close second in speed and was the only
pizza delivered in a truck with the name of the venue emblazoned on
it. The shadiest of drivers was definitely the one from Hello Faz
Pizza. He drove on the street in a car completely relying on spare
tires, and parked in front of the neighbor’s home for a few
minutes. While no one could look into the tinted windows to see
exactly what he was doing, he took a great deal of time to get out
of the car.

Tim, the delivery man from Cottage Inn was our favorite for his
politeness and grin. Regardless of the behavior of Daily staffers,
Tim noted, “I don’t judge anyone.” Michael from
New York Pizza Depot pulled up playing loud metal music and even
drove illegally down the wrong way on a one-way street. Lastly, the
delivery man from Pizza House — the most abused by those on
the porch — maintained his depressed expression throughout
ridiculous comments.


The Taste

Staffers eagerly filled their cups with their preferred
beverages as the first delivery man pulled alongside the curb. As
the first pie made its way to the counter, hungry party-goers
rushed the kitchen in the hopes of snatching a piece. Slices were
served to blind testers first before the vulture-like guests