Author Topic: Garcia's Pizza  (Read 107932 times)

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Pappy Gonzalez

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Garcia's Pizza
« on: April 03, 2003, 05:56:46 PM »
Going to college at the University of Illinois, I fell in love with the pizza at Garcia's Pizza.  I have yet to find anything like it here in California.  Its a thick crust pizza that is baked in rectangular pans and served by the slice in 6" x 8" slices. The sauce is unique in its sweetness and its also kinda chunky. Im getting hungry just typing this. That Papa Dels was down the street from Garcias in Champaign -Urbana and there is definetly a distinct difference between the two pizzas.
 Anyway, can anyone help me with the recipie so I can make this for football days with my friends here in California?
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1050044400 »


Offline Steve

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Re: Garcia's Pizza
« Reply #1 on: April 03, 2003, 08:08:49 PM »
Ah yes, Garcia's pizza.

The only help I can give you is that their crust recipe tastes like it might have cardamom in it. My wife has a recipe for Cardamom Bread which tastes very similar to Garcia's pizza dough. I never got around to making a pizza using the bread recipe, but I'd bet money that it'd make an pretty good clone. If you want, I can post the bread recipe and you can experiment with it.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by 1050044400 »

Tony Jimenez

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Re:Garcia's Pizza
« Reply #2 on: April 28, 2003, 01:10:36 PM »
I know of two particular places that sound like what you are looking for. First is LaMonicas pizza.  They have two locations (Pasadena, CA and Westwood, CA).  Lamonicas features a thin crust and a Sicilian (what you are looking for).  Also, Gina's Pizza in Montebello, CA offers a great thick-style pizza (not square) but a great pizza though.

Hope this helps...Tony Jimenez - Los Angeles, CA

Offline DKM

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Re: Garcia's Pizza
« Reply #3 on: April 28, 2003, 05:43:38 PM »
If you want, I can post the bread recipe and you can experiment with it.

I want! Please post it.

DKM
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Offline Steve

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Re:Garcia's Pizza
« Reply #4 on: May 03, 2003, 02:48:47 PM »
Basic Sweet Dough

2 pkg. dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1 1/2 cups lukewarm milk
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground cardamom
4 eggs, beaten
8 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup melted butter

Sprinkle yeast in the warm water. Let stand a few minutes; stir to blend. Stir in milk, sugar, salt, cardamom, eggs, and 2 cups flour; beat until smooth. Add 3 more cups flour; beat until smooth. Add enough of the remaining flour make a soft dough which can be handled. Cover, let rest 15 minutes. Turn out on floured board. Knead until smooth and elastic. Place in greased bowl; turn greased side up. Cover with damp towel. Let rise in warm place until double in bulk, about 1 hour. Punch down. Cover. Let rise again until almost doubled (about 1/2 hour). Turn out on lightly floured board. Divide into 3 equal parts. After shaping, let rise 20 minutes, until puffy, but not doubled. Bake at 375 degrees F. for 20 to 25 minutes or lightly brown.

-----------------------------------------------------

Note: My wife made this bread and it reminded me of Garcia's pizza (Champaign/Urbana, Illinois). One day I will experiment with this dough recipe and try to make pizza with it. This recipe is posted as-is and is not scaled nor tweaked for pizza. Good luck!!

YoMomma

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Re:Garcia's Pizza
« Reply #5 on: June 24, 2003, 08:58:52 PM »
Okay, I tried this (above)  recipe and it is getting there, but not quite there.  The texture was good but the flavor was off.    This may sound pathetic, but I've spent the past 25 years trying to recreate Garcia's pizza - it is the standard by which I judge ALL pizza.  Next time, I'm leaving out the cardamon and reducing the sugar by 1/2 & hopefully I will be one step closer to cloning this.  I could just kick myself for not goint to work for them back in the 70's when I lived in Illoinis.  :'(

JonesinForPizza

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Re:Garcia's Pizza
« Reply #6 on: July 23, 2003, 10:12:19 PM »
I regret to notify you of the almost demise of Garcia's Pizza.

In 1990 or so, I had a friend that managed there.  Every few months, he would say, "Yup.  We're using cheaper tomatoes."  Or "Now we're not using butter anymore."

The taste of the pizza today isn't what it was in the 80's (gawd... am I so old?!)

Of course, people didn't notice the individual shortcuts as they happened one by one.  But eventually, the pizza tasted more and more like plastic.  There were 4 or 5 locations in Champaign/Urbana alone.  Last time I visited, they were down to 1 or 2.  That was a year or so ago.

Papa Dell's, however, remains strong, and the pizza is still great.


Offline Steve

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Re:Garcia's Pizza
« Reply #7 on: July 24, 2003, 08:09:26 AM »
Sadly, the same has happened to several local pizzerias here in Richmond.

I have vivid memories of some of the best pizza that I've ever eaten as a child back in the 1970's. The Italian Kitchen and Julian's Restaurant here in Richmond made some of the most outstanding pizza that I can remember.

Over the years, the parents of the family-owned businesses died and the children have taken over... in the case of both of these pizzerias, the original recipes were altered and the quality of the pizza has gone down hill. When I moved back to Richmond (from Champaign/Urbana) back in 1995, I visited both of these restaurants. In both cases the pizza tasted nothing like I remember, but there was an ever-so-slight hint of flavor that I remembered from days gone by. Now, 8 years later, the pizza tastes absolutely nothing like I remember.  :'(

I've written to the owners of both restaurants and asked for the original recipe. Of course they politely said no. So they won't release the original recipe and they won't make the original recipe. The pizza is lost forever!! :'(

I'm experimenting now... trying to reproduce what I remember. So far not much luck.
« Last Edit: July 24, 2003, 08:10:33 AM by Steve »

Offline YoMomma

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Re:Garcia's Pizza
« Reply #8 on: July 24, 2003, 11:16:14 AM »
Say it ain't so!!   :o   I can't bear the thought that it's not the same...and that I'll never, ever taste that taste again!   :'(   I dream of returning  to the champaign/urbana area just to have garcia's again and also a place called monical's (for thin crust pizza).  My parents returned there several years back and noticed the garcia's had closed (in a town near champaign) and promptly sent me a sympathy card to help mourn the passing.  

JonesinForPizza, you've just gotta get in touch w/ your manager friend and pick his brain for ALL the ins-n-outs of how it used to be.

I must go now and find a shoulder to cry on.


Offline Randy

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Re:Garcia's Pizza
« Reply #9 on: July 24, 2003, 06:57:36 PM »
In my search for pizza nirvana I have not found a single recipe that covers in detail all the information required to make good dough.  When the old timers past away if the children never paid attention to the art of a recipe then truly all is lost.
I am reminded of the original McDonald french-fry.  Those of you who were born to late to have tasted a fresh cut french fry at McDonalds have missed out on the best French fry in the world.  But they are gone forever.

Offline DKM

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Re:Garcia's Pizza
« Reply #10 on: July 24, 2003, 10:38:45 PM »
There is a lot of that going on.  I was talking to guy who works at a Pizza Inn and was amazed at the difference in how dough is made now - Dump 25lbs mix bag, add water vs. when I worked at one where almost all the ingredients were added individually.

DKM
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NotEmul8d

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Re:Garcia's Pizza
« Reply #11 on: July 27, 2003, 09:39:34 AM »
Say it ain't so!!   :o   I can't bear the thought that it's not the same...and that I'll never, ever taste that taste again!   :'(   I dream of returning  to the champaign/urbana area just to have garcia's again and also a place called monical's (for thin crust pizza).  My parents returned there several years back and noticed the garcia's had closed (in a town near champaign) and promptly sent me a sympathy card to help mourn the passing.  

JonesinForPizza, you've just gotta get in touch w/ your manager friend and pick his brain for ALL the ins-n-outs of how it used to be.

I must go now and find a shoulder to cry on.

it's even worse than you think.  they've cheapened more than just tomatos... they no longer make their own dough, but buy pre-made dough nowadays. :(

Monical's and Papa Del's at least are still as good as they've always been, at least.

Offline YoMomma

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Re:Garcia's Pizza
« Reply #12 on: July 27, 2003, 08:20:14 PM »
 :'( :'( :'( :'( :'( :'( :'( :'( :'( :'( :'( :'( :'( :'( :'( :'( :'( :'( :'( :'( :'(

Joey T.

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Re: Garcia's Pizza
« Reply #13 on: March 02, 2005, 08:11:05 PM »
A former Garcia's employee told me what that secret ingredient in the sauce is; powered beets.

Does anyone have the rest of the recipe?

How I miss the Wright Street store and its great upstairs view of the Quad...

   - JAT

Offline YoMomma

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Re: Garcia's Pizza
« Reply #14 on: March 03, 2005, 12:07:20 PM »
I wonder if they sold the original recipe to someone else and it is being made under a different name.  It's a shame to let something like that die.  Fine if they want to compromise and do crappy cheaper pizza now, but let someone keep the original recipe alive. 

Offline Steve

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Re: Garcia's Pizza
« Reply #15 on: March 03, 2005, 10:30:48 PM »
Anybody seen their new website?

http://www.garciaspizzainapan.com/

Offline brianc

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Re: Garcia's Pizza
« Reply #16 on: March 04, 2005, 10:39:52 AM »
Garcia's was also big at Purdue (West Lafayette, IN) until the mid 90s, when I guess they changed the recipe and no one really liked the pizza, so they closed up shop.


jeremy

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Re: Garcia's Pizza
« Reply #17 on: March 30, 2005, 10:39:54 PM »
there is a  store in denton tx called the tomatoe which used to be the flying tomatoe brothers which was owned by ralph and joe i talked to the owner he still makes the same pizza as garcias fresh dough everymorning old recipe same ingrediants going next week i live in san antonio but grew up in rantoul il acroos the street from a garcias so i will let you know if its the same

Mike

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Re: Garcia's Pizza
« Reply #18 on: April 12, 2005, 09:41:58 PM »
It is amazing to me (Oklahoma City) and a brother of mine that lives in Miami, FL that like the best  5-6 pizzas we ever had were all in Champaign, IL! ...Garcia's, Papa Dell's, Monical's (remember the family special with the big salad bowl?--man, those juicy, greasy, bubbly  little squares were savory!), the Italian Village, and Pizza Village or something on Mattis ave.There was another one hidden in the heart of Urbana that sliced their pieces into skinny strips..anybody remember the name of that place? Also I loved a place called Shakey's..they served fun at Shakey's..also pizza!

They also had the best fish sandwich in the world at a place called Deluxe Tavern or Deluxe Inn.

Matt

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Re: Garcia's Pizza
« Reply #19 on: April 21, 2005, 06:46:39 PM »
If anyone can approximate the recipe for the Garcia's Crust or Sauce I would be so very, very pleased. I lived in Rantoul in the 80s and used to eat there every chance I got. I was recently in Iowa and almost made a trip out to Peroria to see if it was the same. I didn't have time, and now I am kinda glad I didn't.

Monical's (sp?) was pretty good to, It's still a treat whenever you see anyone cut a pizza like that.

There were still a couple of Shakey's up here in Western Washington state as of a few years ago. The pizza was still pretty darn good.

Offline zappcatt

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Re: Garcia's Pizza
« Reply #20 on: September 09, 2005, 11:48:07 PM »
Steve,
Do you know how "new" that website is? I seem to remember seeing it a couple years ago when I was jonesing for a stuffed guttbuster. The copyright notice on the bottom says 2003, and to check back for updates..but nothing seems to be updated.

I ate at Garcia's in Bloomington, IN when my family drove my brother back to IU in '85. I have never found another stuffed pizza anywhere near as good as it was...I would love to see a recipe or be able to buy one.

What was the concensus on the Garcias in Champ/Urb? Is it still there? Is it worth visiting, or is it a faint shadow of its former self?

Offline Steve

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Re: Garcia's Pizza
« Reply #21 on: September 13, 2005, 08:02:27 AM »
Can't answer your question... it has been 10 years since I lived in Champaign/Urbana.  :-\


Offline lilbuddypizza

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Re: Garcia's Pizza
« Reply #22 on: September 28, 2005, 08:01:25 AM »
Steve,
Do you know how "new" that website is? I seem to remember seeing it a couple years ago when I was jonesing for a stuffed guttbuster. The copyright notice on the bottom says 2003, and to check back for updates..but nothing seems to be updated.

I ate at Garcia's in Bloomington, IN when my family drove my brother back to IU in '85. I have never found another stuffed pizza anywhere near as good as it was...I would love to see a recipe or be able to buy one.

What was the concensus on the Garcias in Champ/Urb? Is it still there? Is it worth visiting, or is it a faint shadow of its former self?

I think the concensus is that it has changed and nowhere near what it was. Someone that is North of Chicago should try Cheese to Please Pizza in Wilmette. The former owner was a manager at Garcia's, knew Ralph&Joe, made the pizza just like theirs, and now the new owners have the same recipe.

Offline Danivel

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Re: Garcia's Pizza
« Reply #23 on: October 22, 2005, 08:17:08 PM »
Hi,

I grew up in Champaign-Urbana and I've thought they had the best pizza of anywhere I've ever been.  My favorite was always the Monical's Deluxe & Delight.  I really hate to hear about the demise of Garcia's, they were also great.  I've gotten pretty good at making crusts similar to Monicals but still have to figure out how to get the right taste from the toppings, I think it needs more grease from the sausage, or something.

As far as Garcia's, I found a recipe for a crust that tastes just like I remember it tasting.  It's actually from the Frugal Gourmet Cooks American cookbook.  I think the main thing that makes it taste "right" is the cornmeal.

2 Pkg Quick Rise Dry Yeast
2 cups Tepid Water (90)
1/2 Cup Salad Oil
4 Tbls. Olive Oil
1/2 Cup Cornmeal
5 1/2 Cup Flour

Intended for use with a KitchenAid mixer, rinse the bowl with warm water before starting to warm it up.

In the bowl of the mixer, dissolve the yeast in the water and wait a few minutes for it to become active.  Add the oils, corn meal, and 3 cups of the flour.  Beat for 10 minutes with the paddle, switch to the dough hook and add the other 2 1/2 cups of flour.  Knead for several minutes.  The dough should be very moist, not as dry as dough for bread would be.  I remove the dough, grease the bowl and, and then put the dough back in.  Allow it to rise till double, punch down, and allow it to rise a second time.  Punch down and make pizza!

This recipe will make two 9x13 pizzas, use metal pans, not glass.  Split the dough in half and spread it on the bottom of both greased pans, coming 1/2" up at the sides to create the lip.  I use a little bit of olive oil to coat the dough, helps keep the sauce from making it soggy.

The sauce should be made from canned plum tomatoes, drained and squished with your hands.  Add Basil, Oregano, Garlic, Salt, and a little bit of sugar, all to your taste.  The sauce should be pretty thick compared to other pizzas.

Spread the sauce on the pizza, add mozzarella and Parmesan cheese, but not too thick.  Add the topping of your choice.  For a GutBuster, add Italian Sausage, Pepperoni, Onions, Green Pepper, and Mushrooms.  Garcia's used fairly large slices of the vegetables, so don't dice them up if you want a real GutBuster.  Don't cook the sausage first, the grease helps in flavoring the pizza.

The Frug said to cook at 475 for around 35 minutes.  I think that's too hot, I bake mine at 375 for around 45 minutes.  I made a couple of pans of this last night and it is amazing how close it is to Garcia's.

Have Fun!!

Dan...



Offline zappcatt

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Re: Garcia's Pizza
« Reply #24 on: October 22, 2005, 08:43:31 PM »
AWESOME!!! Thanks for the "Garcias" recipe. A couple of questions.
1) When you say the recipe will make 2 9x13 pizzas, does that include the upper crust for the stuffed gutbuster?(did they have a non-stuffed gutbuster?)
2) Italian sausage- mild or hot?

Thanks again.
Zack