Michael Bauer, food critic for the San Francisco Chronicle, continues his Pizza Friday series on his blog Between Meals with a trip to Zachary's in Oakland. Zachary's is wildly popular in the Bay Area for its Chicago-style stuffed pies.
Crust: The stuffed pizza had a thick crust, almost like dried toasted bread with raw floury underpinning, at least on my visit. The stuffed also has a second crust that's laid on top of the cheese, then covered with a thick layer of chunky tomato sauce. As it bakes, the crust melts into the cheese. The thin crust was crisp, about the size of a double cracker, dusted with semolina flour.
Pizza tried: I chose thin crust with cheese tomato, which was heavy on the oregano and had that generic taste of bottled "pizza sauce" and loads of stringy, gooey mozzarella cheese. In deep dish, the waiter suggested the Zachary's Special with chunky tomatoes glazing generous handfuls of green pepper, sausage and onions. One or two pieces (of the six pieces) definitely is a meal; it's like eating a casserole with your hands.
Address: 5801 College Avenue, Oakland CA (near Rockridge BART Station; map)
Hours: Vary depending on location; more info here
Other Locations: 1853 Solano Avenue, Berkeley CA 94707; 510-525-5950. 3110 Crow Canyon Place, Suite D, San Ramon CA 94583; 925-244-1222