My definition of "pizza" is very tolerant, and I'm receptive to liberal interpretations of the traditional standard. (For example, an all time favorite is the Cream and Crimson from Aver's Pizza in Bloomington, Indiana: a hearty, fluffy crust with an alfredo sauce, layered with oven roasted red potatoes seasoned with garlic and dill, topped off with bacon, cheddar and creamy gorgonzola. Yeow!)
When a friend told me of the Teriyaki Chicken Pizza at Fast Eddy's Pizza, though... I couldn't quite imagine two of my favorites married in such a way.
I set out at lunch intent on trying the Teriyaki Chicken Pizza, which is a round of dough topped with rice, covered with savory marinated chicken, teriyaki sauce, and topped with green peppers.
Make sure you really read that: crust, then RICE, then chicken. Hmmm.
By the time I arrived, my taste buds were screaming for something more traditional. The parking lot is tight around lunch time thanks to the number of eateries in the strip mall off Mission Street where it resides, but spots were turning over fast. Walking in the door, you notice the place is basic, tidy, and SPOTLESS. Under the heading of Rice Crew are the pizza/teri fusion items along with other Asian yummies, and then a number of traditional pies under the Fast Eddie's name. All have large, clear photos on the walls to temp you along with prices. There are other goodies hidden on the paper menu that you might miss such as salads, calzones, and garlic breadsticks.
Yes, words to thrill this midwestern girl: BREADSTICKS! Alas, I didn't try them; will have to do that the 2nd time around.
At 12:15, the display case for their pizza by the slice was wanting; there were three pieces of very cold looking pizza. The upshot was you could "make your own" and fresh toppings would be applied, slid into the oven, and the result--from what I saw--was a fine slice of pizza. Three tables were taken by eat-in diners, two others by those waiting for carry out.
The staff was very low key. No smile. Low energy. I was welcomed, and he was ready to take my order but... we need a ray of sunshine in here, folks. As I perused the images of yummy pies, I had to laugh at the name Meat Parade. I had hoped there would be a Veggie Riot but alas it's also a Veggie Parade. The All Italian couldn't be denied: double pepperoni, Italian sausage and black olives. Ordering an 8" personal to go, I asked for extra sauce.
I sat down to wait. Some amazing looking dishes from the Rice Crew side of the house went past me to a nearby table. I've got to check out the Rice Salad, Bulgogi Bowl and Chicken Potato Bowl! Before long I was presented with a pert little box touting, "Hot Fresh Pizza!" The still low key young man from behind the counter said, "I put a little extra sauce on the pizza, and also included some extra on the side."
Back to the office I rushed, and what followed was simply pure pizza bliss. The crust is neither thick nor thin but perfectly in the middle, dense but not overly so, and had a great bite to it. Firm on the top, soft in the middle, with a little crisp on the bottom. Flavor is good. And the sauce... a perfect balance between sweet and seasoned, with a thick paste/puree texture. Thankful for the cup of sauce on the side, I coated every small leftover "bone" and devoured those too. (Sauce opinions can cause arguments akin to religious wars... I'll be honest that I prefer a rich, thick, smooth sauce with a balance between sweet and spicy. No thin, chunky marinara for me!)
My exploration of Fast Eddie's is far from over; this promising start demands a repeat to try a full sized pie, and, of course, I must get around to the Teriyaki Chicken Pizza at some point. That'll be difficult, though, as it means saying, "No," to the sauce that has quickly become my favorite in the area.
(Check out two other Eat Salem posts on Fast Eddie's, too.)