On a Rampage in a New Town


The Buckeye State pizzeria that won the Best U.S. Pizza title in last year's World Pizza Championship has opened a second location. Avalanche Pizza is now operating in Lancaster, Ohio. From the Lancaster Eagle-Gazette:

Like their award-winning pizza named The Godzilla, Avalanche Pizza has hit Lancaster like a monster seeking to win the hearts of pizza lovers. Their signature gourmet pizzas have names like The King Kong and The Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever; along with 34 toppings so customers can create whatever they want; huge boulder sandwiches, and Ninja wings, that Gutekanst says clears up sinus problems....

The delivery and pick-up only eatery buys most of its ingredients from local farmers, including meat, and makes its own dough and sauce.

Avalanche seems to be full of colorful characters, from general manager Brynne Humphreys, pictured above, who baked the Godzilla pizza that won last year's prize and who sports a pepperoni-pizza tattoo on the back of her neck, to the store's owner, John Gutekanst (right), with his anecdote about what he first wanted to name the pizzeria. "I wanted to name it Plagued Pizza because it's a college town and we could answer the phone saying, 'Hello, you've got the plague.' We could've had a rat on the building and dressed people up as the Grim Reaper. We would've had a special pizza called the Grim Ripperoni, but my wife told me no."

Smart wife you got there, John.

Slice is a staunch supporter of thin-crust New York–style pies minimally topped, so Avalanche, which appears to serve multitopping pies based on a thick pan-style crust (see photos) doesn't really look like our bag. Still, we have to hand it to the crew for buying from nearby farms—preserving freshness and the local economy. And we like Mr. Gutekanst's outlook on pricing: "Instead of spending all of our money on advertising, we give it back to the people."

And who can't help but like Ms. Humphreys, whose nickname is "Pizza Girl"? Her dedication to our favorite food is like a calling to her: "I worked in ice-cream before this and I always say if you're not in ice cream, pizza or the medical profession, you're not doing humanity any good. If I wasn't in ice cream or pizza, I'd have to be a doctor and I don't want to be a doctor."

Well said, Pizza Girl. I guess the editors of Slice redeem themselves from the pointlessness of their day jobs by preaching pizza at night.