When someone says they love or hate a fine French restaurant, dissenters will shrug and disagree. Maybe they’ll say they don’t understand what the fuss is about. When conversation turns to beloved or be-hated drinking holes, the response is the same. But when it comes to pizza or hamburgers, prepare for thermonuclear war. No other cuisine is so dangerous to discuss, and if you observe such a belligerent cuisine conversation in progress, you’re likely to find Crozet pizza at ground zero.*
In the 90′s, things were relatively peaceful. Some people said Anna’s was the best around, but the rest of us thought that the quaint little place just west of town was far superior. As Crozet pizza’s popularity grew, and more pizza chefs jockeyed for the top slot, backlash against the old favorite started to surface. Now, and especially since Dr. Ho’s and Sal’s moved into the area, battle lines have been drawn deeper then ever.
As we confirmed during our most recent visit, the Crozet pizza fight can only be more about its semi-mythical status than about the quality of the food itself. While it’s not mind-blowing every time, it’s truly delicious about 75% of the time, good 20% of time, and merely average 5% of the time. When it’s great, it’s because of the lightly charred crust, the flavorful toppings – I especially like the cherry peppers – and the charming, barn-like, wood-stoved, photo-crusted, plastic-cupped, thoroughly unpretentious atmosphere.
We like it less than Dr. Ho’s these days, but also think it’s better than many are giving it credit for. For these people it seems to have swung as far out of fashion as it had swung into fashion, so maybe it will find its rational place somewhere in the middle in coming years. If you’re one of the die-hard Crozet Pizza fans, or if you’re just looking for solid pizza in a fun atmosphere, go now. There are rumors that it’s closing or moving soon.
* To be fair, it’s equally likely that such vitriolic conversations will be about Christian’s vs. Vita Nova (vs. Fabio’s), Riverside vs. Boylan Heights/Five Guys, or C&O vs. itself.
Erin says: “I love the pizza almost as much as I love the cozy little interior.”
Rating: Erin: Jed:
Pros: Fun atmosphere, (usually) great pizza with flavorful, seasonal toppings.
Cons: Small, salads only average.
Price: Large 16″ pizza $13.50 + $2-$3 per topping.
Parking: Usually a spot in the lot right in front of Crozet Pizza.