By Kellen Brent Pierce
I’ve been in Anchorage for two and a half years now, and while I’ve tried to keep my palate adventurous, I seem to hear about new restaurants every week. Others I’ve known and frequented for years now, but the one I’ve patronized the most, hands down, has to be Sicily’s Pizza.
Before I tell you why, I’m going to make it very clear that they did not pay me to say any of this. They never even suggested it. Earlier today I tried to figure out how best to word a spontaneous email that basically boiled down to, “Your pizza used to suck but now it’s awesome — what happened?”
Because it did — or at least, everybody believed it did. When I first moved here, I asked the locals where the best food was. Popular consensus was Tommy’s for burgers, Moose’s Tooth for pizza. And while many suggestions rang true, I’ve never in my Alaska life been more misled than by critics of Sicily’s.
While we’re all living under the restrictions of COVID-19, some local genius put together Anchorage To Go, a Facebook group to figure out who is still serving take-out, delivery, or pickup. Earlier today I posed a question to the group: “Thinking pizza tonight. Sicily’s any good?” I was initially flooded with laugh emojis and dissuading responses. Five hours later, as I write this, comments are still coming in, over 100 and counting.
They’re not generous: “No, don’t do it; I got a stomach ache just reading this post,” “Sicily’s is good if you’re almost blackout drunk,” “Sicily’s quality is directly related to time of night ordered and how drunk you are,” and so on.
And here’s the thing: the general consensus has always been this way. Since the day I moved to Anchorage, locals were quick to paint Sicily’s as the everpresent last-resort, the single solitary option after bars have closed, after every other available food source has been exhausted and the only hope for a delivered hot meal is the discount pizza franchise with an annoying earworm radio commercial.
But they’re wrong. They may at one point have been right, but something has changed. I don’t know what, but it’s time for you to reconsider Sicily’s Pizza. Or at the least the one that delivers to my place downtown.
Now, I’m not saying that Moose’s Tooth, the once-ranked-best-In-America popular brewpub pizza isn’t good for what it is, but I don’t need a reinvented wheel. Reindeer sausage, shaved moose steak, poached magpie egglets, sun-dried glacial runoff — these are offerings for tourists. I just need my boxes checked, and Sicily’s, at least, MY Sicily’s — checks them all: price, topping quality and quantity, convenience, consistency.
At any moment, day or night, you can go to the Sicily’s website and order pizza for 20% off. Get on Facebook and visit their business page and invariably a 30% promo code will pop up in your ads. Right now the code is PIZZAFB and with it I can order an Extra Large Supreme with Stuffed Crust — delivered — for $20.19.
Check that box, too.
You tell me where else I can find a massive, fully-loaded pizza that can easily feed four-to-six adults, delivered to your door for twenty bucks. Of course, I back out of that order, because I’m not here to bust my guts just to prove a point. A Medium on Thin is more than enough to feed me two or three times, and with the promo code it’s less than $14.
Because this is research I take the Supreme instead of my personal favorite, The Super Hawaiian with Extra Cheese, Extra Canadian Bacon, Extra Pineapple. Those aren’t mods or requests; that’s just how the Super Hawaiian comes.
Check that box.
Meanwhile, back on Anchorage To Go, the reviews continue to trickle in. “Greasy” and “salty” seem to be two common identifiers, as though this were a bad thing. I’m not ordering an open-face panini, after all. My Medium on Thin arrives- and, like any good Supreme, it is toppings on toppings, hot and steaming veggies and meats spilling off every molten slice of thick gooey mozzarella. Three slices and I’m stuffed. A fourth for good luck.
Half a pizza down and I’m not even drunk, though even the detractors admit it’s even better that way.