Pizza Smackdown – State College, PA (College vs. Canyon)
Some people like pizza because it’s good, some because it’s cheap, some because it’s quick, etc. etc. College students like it for all of the reasons I just mentioned, but also because it’s the perfect food to sop up alcohol with at a party, use to stave off the munchies, and it tastes even better the next morning when one is contemplating whether or not they’ll ever drink again. I recently found myself in State College, PA where I once attended Penn State University. As well as offering a quality education and having competitive sports teams, Penn State is also known to be the home to some of the best collegiate partying in the nation. With as much partying that goes on in State College there must be some pizzerias that are in high demand; enter College Pizza and Canyon Pizza.
Some quick background info… When I was a student Canyon Pizza was Acme Pizza (which I think I went to once but can’t really remember), and College Pizza was different from what it is now (pizza used to be better). While I’m not in State College enough these days to get a strong sense of things, I don’t think that College Pizza is as popular with the students as is once was, but instead Canyon Pizza seems to be the pizza hotspot nowadays. I don’t usually compare two pizzerias with each other, but I had to see which part of this old school vs. new school pizza dichotomy has merit.
College – the handle had some crispiness to it along with an appropriate amount of chewiness. The underside had some nice browning to it, but that wasn’t indicative of the slice having any structural integrity as it had none.
Canyon – the handle was soft and a bit too chewy. Both the handle and underside lacked browning / charring, and it too had no structural integrity.
Winner – College Pizza
College – the sauce was seen but not had. I was unable to get enough of it to profile its flavor.
Canyon – the sauce on Canyon’s slice was mostly absent, but I was able to collect enough to say that it seemed to be a tomato paste that had dried out, but with some herbage to spice things up.
Winner – Nobody
College – the cheese is a mozzarella that had some nice coloration from browning and an enjoyable amount of oil. The cheese tasted okay, like it was lightly browned or fried, which for this pizza is a positive. The flipside to that positive is that it made for a harder pull / bite from the slice.
Canyon – the cheese tasted okay, it seemed to have a smoky tone to it that I liked, but it wasn’t as aesthetically pleasing to me; it was however, easier to pull / bite away from the rest of the slice.
Winner – Tie (cheeses were very different in taste, but equally enjoyable)
College – cost per slice: $1.25. Free sauces for bread sticks & pizza handles.
Canyon – cost per slice: $1.00. Offers window service. Has a cool to-go box.
So, which pizzeria would I go back to first? Either. Seriously, I’m not copping out; they were very different pizzas but equally enjoyable. That said, I guess I would recommend going to the one with the shorter line, or, if you’re in town during the slow season just go to both and draw your own conclusion.