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Danbury, Connecticut: Pizza Parlor Pizza at Nick's Restaurant

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[Photographs: Amy Kundrat]

Nick's Restaurant

4 Starr Street, Danbury CT Map; nicksdanbury.com
Price: pizzas, $9.50 to $20.25
Notes: Family restaurant; gigantic portions

Unapologetically cheesy, with a hefty crust and a side of homespun hospitality, the pizza at Nick's Restaurant & Pizza feels both instantly familiar and timeless.

The anchor to this family-run operation is a full menu of Italian American specialties, a couple of gas powered ovens and a tangy signature sauce. They aren't trying to compete with trends or geographical labels. This is a family restaurant serving pizza their way. It's pizza parlor pizza in all its glory.

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Dining in on a Wednesday night revealed a steady stream of friends and locals who return here weekly for both the pizza and house specialties such as Eggplant a la Nick with dinner-sized portions teetering on family-sized excess.

Their pizzas are just as hefty. The pepperoni pie is a pleasantly spiced affair, the culmination of a very light dusting of dried oregano atop a dense layer of low moisture mozzarella covering thick and complex layers of pepperoni, tangy sauce and a thick crust. With each bite, you're treated to pleasant bursts of pepperoni and garlic hiding under a blanket of cheese.

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A more heavily accessorized sausage and vegetable pizza held bundles of crumbled sweet Italian sausage and thin slices of fresh onions and peppers that wilted and caramelized slightly under the heat of the gas oven, as most likely well from an initial quick blanching. This pie was slightly more well done, calling attention to its thick undercrust. Unlike the pepperoni, the vegetables were front and center, layered on top of the cheese.

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With both pies, the crust plays second fiddle to the sauce, an unsuspectingly tangy and garlicky affair. Overall, I enjoyed the cheesy subterfuge of the pepperoni pie much more than the sausage and vegetable pie. Nick's pizzas aren't trying to be anything other than what they are: solid pizza parlor pizza in a warm neighborhood spot.

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