Best atmosphere in a Pizza place??

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Sonny Funzio
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2008/09/09 11:00:30 (permalink)

Best atmosphere in a Pizza place??

To nearly quote Will Rogers, "I never met a pizza I didn't like". Well, almost.
There are so many places that make a decent pizza, I'm wondering what are the pizza restaurants, whether sit-down or carry-out, that are noteworthy specifically for their atmosphere or setting?

My choice ...
For me, my choice is a place called The Elmhurst Tap Room in Dearborn, Michigan off Outer Drive.
Favorite of management from Ford Motor and one of those "best kept secrets" that people often try to keep to themselves.

The Elmhurst is a smallish tavern, unassuming from the outside but has as much atmosphere as any restaurant I've ever been to.
First let me say, their NY style "white" pizza is to die for.
But besides that, it is soft lighting, dark wood, shaded lamps, red upholstered booths, leather on the bar chairs; a very intimate and relaxing place. Beautiful waitresses and great service. Very, very comfortable.
Also known for the good beer and liquor selection, decent prices, and their excellent food quality including Italian, and mussels which are cooked right there at the bar in large steamers.

If looking for an intimate place with great food and great pizza in the Dearborn/Detroit area, The Elmhurst Taproom is worth travelling for.


#1

41 Replies Related Threads

    WarToad
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    RE: Best atmosphere in a Pizza place?? 2008/09/09 11:04:09 (permalink)
    Smoke-free.
    #2
    leethebard
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    RE: Best atmosphere in a Pizza place?? 2008/09/09 11:42:04 (permalink)
    My dining room...with our home made pizza,or our favorite pizzaria take out...rarely eat in a restaurant...they,for us, are for ordering other meals ever much thought of "atmopsphere" as needed in a good pizza place,many look the same,small pizzarias...and that's just great as long as the pizza is great...!!!
    #3
    Davydd
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    RE: Best atmosphere in a Pizza place?? 2008/09/09 12:51:37 (permalink)
    The best atmosphere in a pizzeria to date for me was Pizzeria Paradiso on Dupont Circle in Washington DC. I sat at a counter stool watching the pizzaolio's in front of me make and bake the pizza's in a wood fired oven. The pizzas were excellent. The pizzeria was small and cozy in addition to the half dozen counter stools it had close seating for about 20-30 people.

    http://www.eatyourpizza.com/

    The independent Pizza Platter in my town of Tonka Bay, MN also had a great atmosphere but closed up a few years ago.
    #4
    Greymo
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    RE: Best atmosphere in a Pizza place?? 2008/09/09 14:09:10 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by leethebard

    My dining room...with our home made pizza,or our favorite pizzaria take out...rarely eat in a restaurant...they,for us, are for ordering other meals ever much thought of "atmopsphere" as needed in a good pizza place,many look the same,small pizzarias...and that's just great as long as the pizza is great...!!!


    Actually, I believe that the poster was asking about pizza restaurants, and not homes.
    #5
    porkbeaks
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    RE: Best atmosphere in a Pizza place?? 2008/09/09 14:17:10 (permalink)
    This place looks like it might be pretty good. pb

    #6
    wheregreggeats.com
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    RE: Best atmosphere in a Pizza place?? 2008/09/09 14:38:15 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Greymo

    quote:
    Originally posted by leethebard

    My dining room...with our home made pizza,or our favorite pizzaria take out...rarely eat in a restaurant...they,for us, are for ordering other meals ever much thought of "atmopsphere" as needed in a good pizza place,many look the same,small pizzarias...and that's just great as long as the pizza is great...!!!


    Actually, I believe that the poster was asking about pizza restaurants, and not homes.


    #7
    wheregreggeats.com
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    RE: Best atmosphere in a Pizza place?? 2008/09/09 14:39:53 (permalink)
    Joe's in Northampton, MA.

    I can't quite describe the place.

    Anybody want to try?

    #8
    Ciaoman
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    RE: Best atmosphere in a Pizza place?? 2008/09/09 15:07:28 (permalink)
    Easy. Pepe's in New Haven or Modern in New Haven. Spacious booths, Formica table tops, cold beer, superlative pizza. People licking their fingers and rolling their eyes. What more do you need?
    #9
    wheregreggeats.com
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    RE: Best atmosphere in a Pizza place?? 2008/09/09 18:36:04 (permalink)
    I was also thinking Pepe's.

    #10
    Jimeats
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    RE: Best atmosphere in a Pizza place?? 2008/09/09 21:22:05 (permalink)
    I can only voice my opinion for Boston but that would be---
    The Euopean, but alass gone now. The only pizza parlor that had a matre'd that I know of.
    A couple of places in the North End now and still operating is The Regina
    and Galleria Umberto both very good pizza joints. The only thing they have done over the years is sweep the floors, still the same, thankfully.
    Santarpios in East Boston, not much has changed there either.
    La Haciender {sp} in East Sommerville a great old spot that I've kept in my back pocket but may need some business now.
    Highlanld Cafe Malden Ma. another great old pizza spot that hasn't changed.
    We have a few more, I'll think of them I'm sure but I love a great old pizza parlor. Chow Jim
    #11
    wmceaton
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    RE: Best atmosphere in a Pizza place?? 2008/09/12 17:39:18 (permalink)
    Joes in Northampton....

    Is this place still open? I remember (barely) getting the garlic pizza there and downing it with about 8 Genny Cream Ales. I do remember this place having great pizza and great customers.

    For me...I have to say the best atmosphere for a pizza joint would be Pizzaria Regina in Boston. I love how they still carry some of the "old" beers from the area.
    #12
    ann peeples
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    RE: Best atmosphere in a Pizza place?? 2008/09/12 17:51:22 (permalink)
    For best atmosphere and great pizza-Lisas pizza on the east side of Milwaukee.Great little Italian restaurant with many generations of the same family running it.You are always made to feel special there...
    #13
    Baah Ben
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    RE: Best atmosphere in a Pizza place?? 2008/09/12 19:19:27 (permalink)
    Porkbeaks...Phoenix right? Supposedly the best pizza in the entire country...Chris Bianco or whatever his last name is, is supposed to be fanatical about his pizza. The place is so popular that people have to start lining up at 4:00 PM to get in there - They open at 5 or 5:30! Anyone been there to confirm it's quality. How does sit stack up to Grimaldi's in Old Town? You can see more views of Pizzeria Bianco on their website..Just do a search for it. Very nice looking place.

    I see they have outside dining, but no overhead misting system? We were in Scottsdale in mid-May and "enjoyed" 113 degree weather every single day. It was an absolute nightmare. Don't listen to this local stuff ................"It's hot, but it's dry heat." Oh, sure.

    I have lived in Florida for 25 years and never experienced heat like that....But, I do recall heat like that once. Yup, in a helicopter on the Big Island of Hawaii when they took us down into the active volcano..Scottsdale felt exactly like that! Incidently, they no longer do that copter ride..too dangerous.

    I do not see the misting system. They run these water lines and spray water mist above your head to cool the air if you are dining outdoors. The spray never gets to your hair. It is dry so it evaporates.
    #14
    MetroplexJim
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    RE: Best atmosphere in a Pizza place?? 2008/09/12 19:40:07 (permalink)
    When we moved to Dallas three years ago, there was hardly a decent pie to be found. Since, a delightful plethora of wood and coal-fired ovens have been built and surrounded by delightful build-outs: Coal Vines in Uptown and Southlake, Grimaldi's in West-end and Watter's Creek, Fireside Pies in Park Cities and Legacy (Plano) - just to name a few. In fact, Grimaldi's Watter's Creek patio now ranks second on my list for al fresco dining in Dallas, right behind the shaded and misted picnic tables in the parking lot of the original Sonny Bryan's on romantic Inwood.

    That said, the best pie is another new place that is just a hole-in-the-wall in University Park: Olivella's and my favorite "ambiance" is still the back room at Campisi's Egyptian on Mockingbird.
    #15
    BuddyRoadhouse
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    RE: Best atmosphere in a Pizza place?? 2008/09/14 19:03:47 (permalink)
    I've been laying low, restraining myself from commenting, as I watched the various entries and opinions about atmospheric pizza joints collect on this thread. I didn't want to come off as too partisan on this topic, but when wanderingjew posted these photos on his Baseball Tour thread in the trip reports forum, I figured it was time to be heard.

    Below are pictures from Burt's Place in Morton Grove, Illinois, a near north suburb of Chicago. I've been touting this place since my very early postings here at Roadfood and many of you have actually made the pilgrimage.

    In the last two years Burt's has earned a Great Neighborhood Restaurant Award given out by the members of the LTHForum, has been written up twice in Time Out Chicago magazine, has been featured in Saveur magazine's all Chicago issue; including making the cover photo, and will be seen extensively on an upcoming Chicago edition of No Reservations with Anthony Bourdain on the Travel Channel.

    Below are the photos, used with permission, from WJ's thread. I think it would be hard to single out any one pizza place with the Best Atmosphere, but I'll put Burt's Place up as a finalist against any of the other places mentioned.



















    Buddy

    Burt's Place
    8541 N. Ferris
    Morton Grove, IL
    (847) 965-7997[|)]
    #16
    porkbeaks
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    RE: Best atmosphere in a Pizza place?? 2008/09/14 19:15:34 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by BuddyRoadhouse

    ........I think it would be hard to single out any one pizza place with the Best Atmosphere, but I'll put Burt's Place up as a finalist against any of the other places mentioned.
    Buddy

    Burt's Place
    8541 N. Ferris
    Morton Grove, IL
    (847) 965-7997[|)]


    As long as those goopy looking things in pans qualify as pizza , I think we have a winner! They sure do look tasty. I love the radios and the Ferris wheel. pb

    #17
    BuddyRoadhouse
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    RE: Best atmosphere in a Pizza place?? 2008/09/14 20:08:25 (permalink)
    The Ferris wheel is a hand made job that Burt picked up at a garage sale. It was designed and executed from scratch, without benefit of a kit, by some guy for the amusement of his grandchildren. It was made, we're guessing somewhere around the 1930's. The sellers were probably the grown great-grandchildren. Now that it resides at Burt's, it has brought delight to a whole new generation of kids, many of whom have brought in their own small doll figures to sit in the seats.

    Burt loves his garage sales; many of the items on display were acquired at similar venues.

    Buddy
    #18
    sk bob
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    RE: Best atmosphere in a Pizza place?? 2008/09/15 18:22:43 (permalink)
    the atmosphere looks like geek heaven with something that almost resembles a pizza.
    #19
    cecif
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    RE: Best atmosphere in a Pizza place?? 2008/09/15 19:40:48 (permalink)
    Growing up we went to a place in Martinez, California called BELLA ROMA.

    I don't remember how good the pizza might be (I know I liked it!), but the place was a HUGE draw for kids.

    They had a player organ, like a piano that plays itself. But it was super specially suped up: they had lights and horns and stuff that went along with it... even a Tweety Bird that would tweet and swing at certain moments. Our favorite tune was the "Peter Gunn Theme" (I think that's the name), because it was long, had lots of lights, the Tweety played and the big ole train whistle went off too! What fantastic memories!!!!

    I have researched the place and it apparently moved but I think it still has the organ. Some day I'll check it out, or hope that an RFer does for me...
    #20
    Twinwillow
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    RE: Best atmosphere in a Pizza place?? 2008/09/15 19:41:22 (permalink)
    The only atmosphere I notice in a pizza joint is the lovely fragrance of yeast, garlic and sauce coming from the ovens.
    #21
    Sonny Funzio
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    RE: Best atmosphere in a Pizza place?? 2008/09/15 22:38:10 (permalink)
    Like I say, my question is not about who has the best pizza ... it's about what places are interesting for their atmosphere.

    Though not an Italian pizza-joint atmosphere, Marvin's Marvelous Mechanical Museum in Farmington Hills Michigan does have a dining area that serves pizza; most definitely not the greatest pizza, but it's the setting, not the food, that interferes with digestion.

    This museum is an arcade of both antique and modern machines ... games as well as carnival oddities ... some not exactly PC/kid friendly.
    a few of their oddities
    http://marvin3m.com/odds.php
    and a few of their games
    http://marvin3m.com/games.php

    Here is a video clip showing some of the place ...
    http://www.pinrepair.com/movies/marvin2.wmv
    The first 30 seconds is the intro to the show (History Channel's Modern Marvels) ... the strange stuff starts at about 2 minute mark. If you wait to the end of the clip you'll get to see the carnival oddity "Doctor Bingenpurge - County Food Inspector".
    And then there's the pizza ...

    #22
    Baah Ben
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    RE: Best atmosphere in a Pizza place?? 2008/09/16 22:05:52 (permalink)
    Sonny - It's all about the pizza! Some of the dirtiest places have some of the best slices. I don't want to start naming names but in some of my comments, you can tell. Give me the great slice..I'll deal with the rest!

    Fellas - how many agree with me on this? Atmosphere only counts when you are dating! And I mean the early dating rituals. And, only sometimes when you bring the wife

    If it's a guy thing, come one with the atmosphere.....

    Buddy..that's a beautiful thing that pizza....
    #23
    leethebard
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    RE: Best atmosphere in a Pizza place?? 2008/09/17 01:06:32 (permalink)
    I agree,Baah Ben...and stated that above...maybe I don't get the point...but IT IS all about the pizza to me...Why would I go to a place that did not have great pizza...but DID have atmosphere...I can't eat atmosphere...I want a great,well made,tasty pizza.....period...so many of the best places are small standard pizzareias,turning out a quality pie....Now if you found a place that had great atmosphere and GREAT pizza..that's something else....but I haven't found many of those!
    #24
    californyguy
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    RE: Best atmosphere in a Pizza place?? 2008/09/17 01:09:49 (permalink)
    must have checkered table cloths( if any), a wailing old AC
    #25
    Foodbme
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    RE: Best atmosphere in a Pizza place?? 2008/09/17 03:05:59 (permalink)
    It's the smell-----It's gotta have "The Smell"!!!
    #26
    santacruz
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    RE: Best atmosphere in a Pizza place?? 2008/09/17 15:31:21 (permalink)
    Good Pizza in a good eating atmosphere, that the ticket.
    In the Troy N.Y. region there are four excellent old fashioned Pizza parlors.

    1. The Red Front - an Icon with good pizza. Old Tavern feel.
    2. Kays Burden Lake Inn - Great Pizza on an old fashioned campy lake. 1950's feel.
    3. Villa Valenti - Great Pizza again out in the rural area near lakes. Italian Tavern roadhouse feel. Maybe cards going on in the backroom?
    4. Verdiles - Excellent Pizza upscale homey feel, cozy relaxing. Not only Pizza great Italian/American food (not just red sauce).
    #27
    Sonny Funzio
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    RE: Best atmosphere in a Pizza place?? 2008/09/19 17:25:39 (permalink)
    Baah Ben ...

    Most every pizza thread that I've seen centers on the "best" pie. The question I am asking on this thread is different.

    Like I suggested in my original post, an absolutely HUGE number of places make a "decent" pizza. In fact, I'd say that the majority of places make a decent/good pizza.

    A smaller number of places are making awful pizza - a HUGE number of places are making a decent/good pizza - and a smaller number of places are making the most spectacular pizza.
    This is the classic bell-curve.

    The fact that these places in the middle of the curve get business, does NOT mean that alllllll those customers are tasteless schmucks because they are willing to buy a decent/good pizza.

    If my question allows only the places that make an unusually spectacular pizza, then it necessarily shuts-out of my question the majority of all pizza places everywhere. This limits the number of restaurants that would be mentioned to a MUCH smaller number using a criteria I am not asking about.

    My question is about ATMOSPHERE, which of course does relate to food because the question is about atmosphere in restaurants.

    Sure, as in my original contribution ("The Elmhurst Tap Room") I want to know the quality of the pie of the places mentioned too.
    But I am not asking who makes the best pie!
    I want to know what restaurants there are that are interesting for their atmosphere, and why they are interesting.

    #28
    Scarlett
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    RE: Best atmosphere in a Pizza place?? 2008/09/19 17:36:37 (permalink)
    I'm with Sonny Funio on this one.
    I want to go to the Elmhusrt Tap Room.
    When my sons were growing up I think I 'did my time' in loud, blaring lights, game room pizza places.
    Now I want soft seats, soft lights, and good wine or icy cold beer, and being able to converse without sreaming to your dinner date.
    #29
    Ahi Mpls.
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    RE: Best atmosphere in a Pizza place?? 2008/09/23 09:23:09 (permalink)
    WHAT!!!!! no mention of Chuck-E- Cheeses??? talk about ATMOSPHERE!!!!
    #30
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