In search of a tasty and affordable Hawaiian pizza, I hopped in the car with the person who demands that I split half of every pie with him. With so many mediocre pizza chains vying for business, we'll always choose a local or "ma and pa" shop. Pulling up to Atza Pizza in Columbia Village Shopping Center near Albertsons, we parked our ride in front of a customized four-door economy car that serves as the joint's Pizza Patrol Car. Tricked out in a black and white paint job with a logo that reads "to prepare and to serve" and a pizza sign instead of a siren, the urgency of the delivery mission is apparent.
Atza Pizza, formerly known as Shy Simon's, is split right down the middle--half of the space taken up by a fully loaded kitchen and the other half serves as a dining room. The staff was quick to greet us, and the man at the counter asked if we were active or retired military because the troops receive a 10 percent discount. Neither of us had ever signed up to fight for our country, but we are honest Americans who are more than willing to pay full price for a good pizza.
Without much thought about trying the Atza Pizza specialty pies like Carolyn's Creation (extra virgin olive oil base, chicken breast, black olives and marinated artichoke hearts) or the meaty Miner's Pie (marinara sauce, pepperoni, Italian sausage, mushrooms, black olives and onion), we went straight for the Maui Wowee (Canadian bacon and pineapple) from the lighter fare side of the menu (14-inch large, $13.99).
In the kitchen, we saw the pizza chef was expertly hand tossing the dough and prepping fresh ingredients as we sat in the dining area with an order of handmade breadsticks. The choices include mozzarella cheese or Parmesan garlic that come in orders of six for $3.49 or 10 for $4.69. They were happy to accommodate our order of six breadsticks with half cheese and half garlic, and also didn't balk when we requested both marinara and ranch sauces for dipping.
The golden curls of dough were folded over the respective ingredients, effectively forming warm, crisp ribbons of bread. My first taste of the garlic Parmesan breadstick resulted in a slap to the nose as a flap of elastic dough hit me square between the eyes, but I was more careful with my next bite. Plunging the breadstick deep into a side of warm marinara sauce to keep the flaps from unfolding, all childhood lessons of "don't drown your food" went by the wayside in the name of personal safety. The marinara sauce was accentuated by a couple of shakes of green basil and oregano along with other Italian seasonings, and its mellow tanginess kept me from dipping in the creamy, calorie-laden ranch.
We had just a moment to notice that two walls of the dining room were covered in a mural of a sports stadium with hordes of blurry-faced fans before our pizza arrived. The pie had the circumference of a five-gallon bucket and was a collage of bright colors with sizable rounds of pink Canadian bacon and sunny-colored chunks of pineapple on top of creamy white mozzarella cheese. The crust--the best part of the pizza--was crunchy but had enough give to offer a workout for our teeth. The time spent baking in the hot oven was evident by a criss-cross waffle print on the bottom of the crust and the divots burrowed in courtesy of the dough roller helped make sure the pizza baked evenly.
Even though pizza includes representatives from all the main food groups and makes good on the food guide pyramid recommendations, it's much too naughty to be considered healthy. Call me criminal, but I'm tossing the dietary guidelines aside, and we'll be calling on the Atza Pizza Patrol car to case our neighborhood on a regular basis. We promise to keep our hands where they can see them: held out in front of us waiting for a delicious slice.
--Elaine Lacaillade doesn't make a habit of getting in
fights with her food.
Boise Weekly sends two reviewers to every restaurant we review. Read what our other reviewer had to say about Atza Pizza.