Author Topic: Sir Pizza/Pizza King  (Read 27764 times)

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Offline Eddie

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Re: Sir Pizza/Pizza King
« Reply #20 on: April 25, 2005, 02:43:31 PM »
Ciao, I'm new to this forum, but I do know that there are several Sir Pizza outlets here in Nashville, TN where I have lived for the past 18 years. I really can't understand what all the fuss is, as I would grade this pie as C- at best. Unfortunately, there really is a major lack of great pizza joints here in the South. Scott, I too was born and raised in the Pittsburgh area, but I don't remember a Sir Pizza at all, where was it located? I do certainly  agree with the vast majority of  posts about my two former favorites, Vincent's on Ardmore Blvd. and Mineo's down in Squirel Hill. In fact, you have made me homesick just thinking about them.
During my adolescence, in the late 60's and earlier 70's, I played in various rock bands throughout the Burg. Every time we played in the Braddock area of PGH. we stopped at Vincent's for a pie before the gig. We all remember that cigarette that hung from Vince's mouth that was mostly ash, and if you ever used the mens room there was always flour around the urinal from where he would shake his apron off before relieving himself. The grease that sometimes gathered on the pan would be wiped up with those large pieces of crust that remained. It was truly heaven. Mineo's, on the other hand, made one of the finest thin crusts that ever graced a plate.
I had a friend  that worked for Byrnes & Keifer, that always told us that it was the molasses that Vince used to feed his yeast that gave it that wonderful taste. The stories of him paying for everything in cash, ( with that large bowling ball sized wad in his pocket ) was legendary. To see him in Dominic & Eugene years later brought quite a thrill.
I was in town last month, due to a funeral in the family, and I stopped by the Rt 286 Plum Bourgh  franchise location for a white pie ( it was during Lent no meat ). I heard that Vince has retired from fulltime work but still stops by both shops on occasion.
The crust remains awesome, and the quality of the mozz/ provolone blend is still the best that ever was!
Two years prior, my wife and I found ourselves in Bloomfield late one evening, and tried a wonderful pie from Pizza Italia on Liberty Ave, it was sublime.
I sometimes sit here in Nashville, with my little 10 qt Hobart, and my Rosito Basani outside wood fired oven, and high gluten and 00 flours from Italia, try to recreate that perfect crust. But then I come to my senses, and just figure I would be better off spending the 100 G's and getting a Vincent's franchise and showing these folks what real pizza is all about. Tanti Auguri, Eddie


Offline scott r

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Re: Sir Pizza/Pizza King
« Reply #21 on: April 26, 2005, 02:59:03 AM »
Eddie, I think you were an angel from heaven sent here just for me.  He feeds his yeast molasses???????  Wow, I have some experimenting to do.  You hit the nail on the head about Vincent's.  The crust is not only one of the most, if not the most flavorfull I have ever had, but that cheese..............  I would trade my left nut to know what brand it is.  All I can get out of them is that it is from Wisconsin, it is a mootz/provalone blend, and that it is sometimes soupy in consistency.  From what I have found, Grande is never soupy, and even with their provolone blended in myself it does not have that much flavor.  Has anyone ever witnessed a soupy Wisconsin mootz?  Is Byrnes and Keifer a food-service distributer in Pittsburgh.  If so, maybe I can try all the cheese that they sell to find the magic mozzarella. On thing I notice every time I ask about the cheese at Vincent's though, is that they say they "get their cheese from Wisconsin", and not "we get cheese made in Wisconsin", or "we use Wisconsin cheese".  Is it possible that they actually buy in a large enough quantity to go around a food-service provider, and just buy from the cheese factory?

I am also with you about sir pizza.  It is by no means in the same league as Vincent's, or Mineo's,  but still better than just about everything up here in Boston.  The Pittsburgh location is in The North Hills, and there is nothing chainlike about it.  It has been there forever, and is very much a family run business. I went to high school with one of the owners nephews.  I can pretty much guarantee that the Pittsburgh one uses way better ingredients than what is going on in Nashville.  I have spent a few months there in Nashville making a record at Woodland Studios (You and I have a lot in common), and I thought Nashville area had some of the worst pizza in the country.  I spent about six years of my life living out of a tour bus going form city to city, and that was a rough town for pie to say the least!  Thank god for hush puppies and BBQ, though!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I have never been to Pizza Italia, is it as good as Vincent's?  I have a lot of new places there to check out next time I visit home.  It is going to be a busy trip, as I also think the burgh has the best sandwiches, Chinese food, and Vietnamese food I have ever found..... well, except for maybe a tie with NYC on the Chinese.  What is that bakery that provides the bread for all the good sub shops etc?  It is totally insane.  My brother found out it has lard in it...... no wonder.  That is also the secret to Mc Donalds fries.

I just remembered, Mancini's bread.  I am going to try to figure out how to make that stuff once I have a pie as good as Vincent's.

You are scaring me with your talk of having a hobart, Italian flours, wood-fired oven,  and (maybe not) getting a crust as good as Vincent's.  I know I am not there yet, but if it is that hard, maybe I should just open a franchise up here as well. I have been seriously thinking about opening up a pizzeria.  I always knew the Vincent's crust was something special, but I figured it wouldn't be that hard if I just had a little time. I am so busy with the 65+ hours I have to dedicate to recording bands that I rarely have time to experiment. Right now I feel like I am living vicariously through Pete-zza,  PFT, and Jeff V, and others.  Changing this little thing in technique, trying a slightly different combination of flours.  Then in the end we all get to try out the recipe they have been slaving over.  This forum is so much fun.  Eddie, I'll quit my day job, we can start a Vincent's Reverse engineering thread here on the forum, then we can open up our own version of Vincent's when the whole thing is figured out,  what do you think?????????????????????

Oh, and I almost forgot   WELCOME TO THE FORUM.   You are going to love it here!

Offline Nathan

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Re: Sir Pizza/Pizza King
« Reply #22 on: April 26, 2005, 04:39:09 PM »
The only mozzarella I have seen that gets soupy is Gordon Food Service's "Primo Gusto" brand.  It's the Mozz/Provolone blend.  I have used 15-20 pounds of it and the last bag was soup city.

It's supposedly made by http://www.cheeseguys.com/

Oh it is their feather shredded stuff that I'm talking about.
"Pizza with pineapples?  That's a cake."

Offline T-Man

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Re: Sir Pizza/Pizza King
« Reply #23 on: April 26, 2005, 05:20:59 PM »
That does it!  I'm going to have to go to Vincent's soon.  When I do, I'll get takeout so I can take a pic or two and post it for all the Vinnie lovers on here.

Offline scott r

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Re: Sir Pizza/Pizza King
« Reply #24 on: April 27, 2005, 01:36:45 AM »
nathan, I do believe the guys at Vincent's when they say that the cheese comes in blocks, and is blended there at the store.  Do you love the primo gusto?  have you ever compared it to grande? The stuff I am looking for is actually a step above grande as far as flavor goes.

T-man.  Please do post a Vinnies pic.  I need something beautiful to look at when I am alone late at night.  Do you like pepperoni?.  It usually looks like it was chopped by edward scissor hands if he was a total lunitic.  Long matchsticks, a super thick chunk here and there, squares, ovals, shreads I really think these guys are inasane.  Also, see if you can coax a brand name out of them for the cheese.  I know it has provolone in the blend, I know it is from Wisconsin, I know you can't find it in a grocery store, (these are the things they have told me both times I have asked) I JUST NEED THE BRAND!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

shara

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Re: Sir Pizza/Pizza King
« Reply #25 on: May 01, 2005, 03:04:56 PM »
Suz,

I just stumbled on this site. Sir Pizza is the offspring of Pizza King founded in Muncie, Indiana in the 1960's. I agree it is a great pie. I am originally from Muncie and was just there last week(ate Pizza King every day I was there) and brought home a frozen pizza to my hubby too :D
On one of those occasions our waitress informed me that the Megalliard location(there in Muncie) ships pizzas!! I don't know the specifics, but I suggest you google Pizza King and find the location and go from there.

Good luck and good taste ;)

Shara in Florida

lisa

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Re: Sir Pizza/Pizza King
« Reply #26 on: May 15, 2005, 10:24:24 PM »
  A lot of 'yins here! ;)  I too, am from 'Burgh, living in Cincinnati.  I am very happy to have stumbled onto this thread while searching for sicillian pizza.  Here in the 'Nati, it is impossible to find, in my opinion, true sicillian pizza.  There are numerous establishments here, offering a wide range of Chicago to thin NY-style pies.  I have found an independent joint, that cuts their round pie into squares...still not the same.  I have inquired at many shops, as to where I may find a "Pittsburgh-style", thick, bready, square, sicillian pizza.  The responses have ranged from, "Nope, not gonna find one here in Cincinnati" to looks of horror that one may enjoy a pizza that is thick, at least a full inch (and a half, or more -if you're lucky!). 
  My remedy: relentlessly searching for the perfect, flavorful "crust of home" recipe, occasionally stopping back in Pittsburgh, and forcing my hometown visitors to bring the square object of my obsession, when they come to visit.  My origins are actually out towards PIT airport, so my favorite joints, west of the city, are Pizza Plaza, on Fifth Ave in Coraopolis and Anthony's @ Beaver Valley Mall, Monaca.  Both independent and wonderful!  I look foward to browsing this site more.  I feel that I will be able to learn a lot from here.

Offline scott r

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Re: Sir Pizza/Pizza King
« Reply #27 on: May 16, 2005, 12:51:39 AM »
Lisa, I have had really good luck making a Pittsburgh style Sicilian in my own oven.  The good news is that to make a pie like this you do not need modified oven for high heat.  The first step is to try to find a nice thick well seasoned pan.  Cast iron, or something porous that can soak up lots of grease and flavor is the best, but anything old black and ugly will do.  I went as far as searching yard sales for a used pan.  If you have to use a new pan coat it in oil and throw it in the oven a few times.  I also have a friend that swears by glass, but I can't see it retaining any flavor.
Order a case of 6 in 1 tomatoes from Escalon, or call around to foodservice providers in your area.  Trust me it is worth the shipping, and you will want to cook all kinds of stuff with these tomatoes. You will not get an authentic Pittsburgh flavor without these high end tomatoes, I have tried everything.  Stanislaus is really good too, but I do taste the citric acid.  I have a case of each right now, and I like Escalon a little better. Stanislaus does have more of a "fresh" taste, though.  Season the sauce however you like, but do not cook it.  The tomatoes will be thick enough right out of the can to just add some oregano, garlic, salt, pepper flakes, fennel, a little sugar(or not), and go right on the pizza.  It is best to mix in the spices the day before use, and the sauce will keep for a long time in the fridge. 
I have found that many different dough recipes will work great for a Pittsburgh style pie.  It is really more about the preparation of the dough and the pie than the exact recipe. Look at the Patsy's thread for mixing techniques.  Try the Lehmann, or Old Faithful, or any standard NY style recipe with oil and sugar, they should get you close.  Oil the pan with a THIN layer of whatever oil you like, crisco works great.  You can even get away with no oil on the pan if your pan is really well seasoned like the ones in the pizzerias.  Try a small sprinkle of salt on the oil (you can leave this out if you want).  Stretch the dough all the way up the edges of the pan and fold it over the sides a little so that it will stay.  Especially if there is oil in the pan,  the dough has a natural tendency to want to slip back away from the edges.  Wait a few minutes and the dough will stop trying to shrink back, at this point you can cut off the excess dough, or just fold it into the pan.  Coat the top of the dough with a THIN layer of light olive oil, and let the dough rise in the pan for a while.  How long you let it rise depends on how much yeast is in your dough,  dough temp, room temp etc.  If you skip this step your dough will be too dense.  You will have to experiment to find out how long to wait.  I like to see it puff up nicely, but not double.   
Put the sauce on top of the dough/oil coating after the dough has had a chance to rise, and cook without cheese for about 10 min in a 450 degree oven.  The cooking time will vary depending on how thick your dough is. At this point you can top the pizza with cheese and whatever else you like, and put it back in the oven.  I usually give it another 10 min.   Again, it really depends on how thick you like your dough.  I prefer under an inch.
The typical Pittsburgh style cheese blend is whole milk mozzarella and provolone.  I would suggest about 25-30% provolone.  Most places in Pittsburgh use Grande, but you will have to buy this from a local Pizzeria (or mail order from Rose at Pennsylvania Macaroni).  If you have Sorrento, Maggio, Great Lakes, Bel Gioioso, or Calabro in your grocery store just use one of those.  Grande will melt the best, and probably taste the most authentic for what you want.
Good Luck Lisa, I hope some of this will help you on your quest!

lisa

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Re: Sir Pizza/Pizza King
« Reply #28 on: May 16, 2005, 07:31:50 PM »
  Scott, thanks for the great tips!  Fortunately, we seem to have great access to many of the  products you mentioned, here in Cincinnati.  I'll be sure to give it a whirl. 

-Lisa

J

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Re: Sir Pizza/Pizza King
« Reply #29 on: May 25, 2005, 11:24:51 AM »
FYI ... the Sir Pizza in Pittsburgh is not really a nationwide chain.  It is (or at least was) locally owned and operated.  I know, I lived next to the owner and went to school with his kid.


Offline scott r

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Re: Sir Pizza/Pizza King
« Reply #30 on: May 25, 2005, 12:02:49 PM »
I had suspected this!  I grew up near Ingomar with David Horn, who was a relative of the owners, but I have not talked to him since childhood.  This place is too good to be a chain, but it is interesting that a lot of things about the place are similar to the sir pizza chain's described on this forum, and the web.  Thin and crispy, mini square slices, finely chopped or diced toppings etc.

Offline pmanager

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Re: Sir Pizza/Pizza King
« Reply #31 on: September 13, 2005, 05:03:58 PM »
Sir Pizza must be a southern franchise. I live in Nashville, Tennessee and there must be at least 3 or maybe 4 Sir Pizza's within 15 miles of me. I love it and eat the nearest one regulary. I love them and the have a taste all their own. I wonder what you'd need to know to recreate them

Offline mspizza

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Re: Sir Pizza/Pizza King
« Reply #32 on: October 18, 2005, 11:26:09 AM »
The sir pizza in pittsburgh is a sibling of the head of sir pizza of Michigan.  All originated from Pizza King in Muncie.  It is truly a waste of time to try to duplicate the pizza because it is not just one thing that makes the difference.  There are several starting with the dough and how it is prepared to special ingredients in the sauce to the special temperatures in the oven which cooks hot at first and cools then hot again.  The fingers on the conveyer oven really make the crust crisp.  All the franchises have come from the Pizza King recipe.  The company has really never exploited their franchises but I think the Tennesee Franchise is trying to do this now.  The fee is a bit much when you compare it to Marcos or Papa Johns but the pizza is not like theres either.  The recipe is so that you can go to any pizza king or sir pizza and not taste any different.  If it does, I would ask questions.

Offline scott r

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Re: Sir Pizza/Pizza King
« Reply #33 on: October 18, 2005, 11:21:30 PM »
thank you for all your information.  I am pretty sure the Pittsburgh sir pizza still has a deck oven.   I know for sure it was a deck oven in the 80's.  Could this mean it is not a franchise, or could it be that they have the freedom to deviate from the formula?

Offline mspizza

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Re: Sir Pizza/Pizza King
« Reply #34 on: October 19, 2005, 10:53:10 AM »
Using a deck oven such as a blodget does not defer from the Sir Pizza way.  I am sure they don't pay any royalties to anyone because actually they started the store back when franchises were not popular.  But it is the same as Michigan and Indiana.  There are some Sir Pizzas Battle Creek Michigan which uses the deck oven.  It does cook a little different but the taste is the same.  They all use the same dough recipe and the same ingredients such as the diced pepperoni, sausage and hamburger.  Their ham is quartered the same also.  The sauce is the same old recipe.  The people that own the Pittsburgh store are brothers and one of their wives is a sister to the one who owns the Michigan franchises.  They are in constant contact with each other sharing what works and what doesn't.  For instance the Pittsburgh store does not deliver or serve at lunch time.  The Michigan stores thrive on delivery and lunch crowd.  But all in all they are putting out the same product as each other and making money doing it.  It is truly a unique pizza which sticks with you when you try other pizzas.  I have never come across anything that comes close to the thin crust or the taste of the cheese.

Offline scott r

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Re: Sir Pizza/Pizza King
« Reply #35 on: October 20, 2005, 12:09:25 AM »
MSpizza, I totally agree with everything you have said about the pizza and how unique it is.  I really miss it.  Also I totally believe you know what you are talking about, as I also know one of the faimily members close to the brothers that own the place. 

Is the pizza at the pittsburgh location the same quality as all the other sir pizza's and Pizza Kings, such as the the nashville location etc?

Offline mspizza

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Re: Sir Pizza/Pizza King
« Reply #36 on: October 20, 2005, 01:22:04 PM »
Yes they are all the same.  The Fortner family came from Indiana and moved to Tennessee to start Sir Pizza.  That branched into Kentucky.  The Jubeck family came from Indiana also and moved to Michigan to start Sir Pizza in Michigan.  The Jubeck's sister Marcy married and moved to Pittsburgh and started Sir Pizza there while she kept her day job teaching.  Since then Sir Pizza has expanded to North Carolina and Florida.  Wendell Swartz (his family started Pizza King) moved to Florida hence starting the couple Sir Pizzas in Florida.  As far as I know the Sir Pizzas have not changed the recipe because there is no reason to so that means they should all taste the same.  There would be so many more Sir Pizzas across the U.S. if they promoted the franchises but that really has never happened.  The Fortners seem determined to do so, in that case maybe we will see more in the future.

Offline scott r

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Re: Sir Pizza/Pizza King
« Reply #37 on: October 20, 2005, 11:21:01 PM »
cool, thanks for all the info.  It is nice to know that I should be able to taste a square if I am travelling.

Offline Bic Pentameter

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Re: Sir Pizza/Pizza King
« Reply #38 on: August 28, 2010, 02:44:36 AM »
Actually, there are two Pizza King franchise operations from Indiana.

Sir Pizza & Pizza King founded in Muncie in 1958 use a conveyor oven and crumbled pepperoni, as compared to thinly sliced disks. They call their multi-topping pie the Royal Feast and cut it in 2-inch squares. They use the slogans "Good to the very edge" & "Ring the King" .

The other chain started out in Lafayette in 1956. They use a traditional style oven, call their pie the Deluxe and cut it in triangular slices. They use the slogan "The proof is in the taste".

Both began to expand in the early 60s, and discovered each other. A lawsuit ensued and neither could force the other to relinquish the name. The Lafayette company quickly incorporated under the name Pizza King, inc. The Muncie company then chose the name Sir Pizza and later Sir Pizza International. Their corporate office was for years located directly across the street from the original restaurant.

A settlement was arrived at wherein the older and somewhat larger Lafayette company got about 3/4 of the state and Sir Pizza got east central and northeast Indiana from Richmond north. Their northernmost store in Indiana is currently in Fort Wayne, but they could go farther north.

The other, Pizza King, inc., got all of the rest, including Indianapolis. There is one Muncie-style Pizza King just east of Indy in Cumberland.

Sir Pizza sold territories in whole states in TN, KY, FL, SC, NC, MI & WS. They sold a half state in western PA, and to my knowledge, not eastern PA (anybody know?). Six of the Indiana restaurants are not listed on the PizzaKingIndiana website (35 are), and have their own site. Their menu and coupons are identical, however, and it may be that they have a territory of their own. Even though the coupons are identical, the one lists the 35 locations where they are accepted and the other lists the 6 where they are.

The original restaurant at 701 S. Madison St. was expanded to become Clara's Pizza King. Clara was Bob Swartz's mom, the original chef and the recipe creator who crumbled the meat, put it to the very edge and cut it in little squares. Bob introduced the conveyor ovens and the "cup system", an assortment of measuring cups that assured that each pie had the right amount of each item.

Clara's had a regular Pizza King facing the street with a small parking lot in front. There was a much larger lot in back and a separate entrance - the restroom corridor connected front to back. In the back was a lounge on the left with an actual bar, and a very swanky full-menu restaurant on the right. It was a split-level affair with a sunken area in the middle and an elevated tier running along the east and south sides with booths only. There were no red order-phones and it was a waiter/waitress full-service restaurant with excellent steaks, crab stuffed flounder and the like.

Like all Muncie-style Pizza Kings, there were faux-Tiffany lamps over each table and booth, and no two within eyesight (or maybe the whole restaurant) were alike. The middle area also had hanging plants and afforded a very nice view from the upper tiers, where I always sat.

There are now several other Clara's, but not in Muncie, as that restaurant suffered a fire and subsequent water damage in the mid 80s. I was told that Bob was in France at the time and business partner Larry Prather was in FL operating Sir Pizza FL. That's hearsay, but Larry's name is associated with the FL operation. The restaurant stood damaged for many years, but was never rebuilt. The site currently has two registered addressees, Pizza King and Larry Prather.

Offline steel_baker

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Re: Sir Pizza/Pizza King
« Reply #39 on: August 28, 2010, 04:10:34 PM »
There are no Sir Pizza stores in eastern PA. I can confirm that.

steel_baker
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