I hate goodbyes, and unfortunately for me, graduation meant saying goodbye to professors, friends and even favorite pizza places. Before starting my pizza blog, I considered Johnny’s Pizza the best pizza in Syracuse. Currently, despite my indulgence in new and exciting crusts and sauce recipes, Johnny’s remains my favorite local flavor.
On my way out of town this past Sunday, with my car packed and ready to go, I made one last stop. My destination: Johnny’s Pizza. Although minutes from Syracuse University’s main campus, many SU students remain oblivious that the pizzeria exists. For locals, however, the joint is a staple and is well-visited on lunch hour breaks. As I weaved down off campus roads and went past South Campus, I turned into Johnny’s parking lot which could easily be overlooked by people who only visit this plaza for a Price Chopper run or for the liquor store conveniently next door to the super market.
Although tempted to get a large pizza and carry it home to finish later, my car was packed to the brim– another downfall of graduating. To meet storage requirements, I settled for one cheese slice and one pepperoni slice. Thankfully, my assessment remained consistent with my prior determination. The pizza was both beautiful and delicious. Two large slices sat on my plate and very little of the pizza remained uncovered by cheese or tomato sauce. There was a thin, crispy spot to place your finger tips as you ate and enjoyed the fresh sauce, distinctly tasting of basil. The crust was thin, thinner than most pizza I had tried in Syracuse, and the crust remained crispy throughout the entire slice. The cheese strung out of my mouth (it’s all about class) as the perfectly proportionate cheese, semi-sweet sauce and crust combination left my hunger perfectly quenched, but my taste buds greedy. As I ate I also appreciated the local crowd, SU sports memorabilia and college newspaper clippings that acted as wallpaper.
Maybe it was me being sentimental, but this really felt like a local pizzeria that not only met my taste requirements, but had a comfort to it that left me quite alright with eating alone. I’ll miss Syracuse, I’ll miss the friends I made, and I’ll miss the pizza — but of all the pizzerias in Syracuse, I was not too sad to say goodbye to Johnny’s because I consider it the close friend you know you’ll see again. It’s not goodbye, but see you later.