Thursday, October 24, 2013

Support Your Local Hole-in-the-Wall

Totally unique and unexpected treats await you!

Just across a two-lane blacktop from our subdivision is a most unremarkable strip center. It runs maybe half a block past a convenience store with a couple of generic gas pumps.

At one end is the immediately successful family donut shop, famous for jalapeño kolaches. Next in line – and dominating the strip – is Koala Kare, our grandson’s after-school venue. Then comes a mani-pedi salon, Vinny’s Pizza, and a dental office. It all ends against the neighborhood’s jogging path.

Not until two days ago, when my daughter-in-law was stuck at work and I had to run pick up the boys, did I discover Vinny’s. At first I was simply grateful they were there - just walk a few steps from the daycare and order pizza. Quality doesn’t matter in a feeding emergency.

But…surprise! The pizza was outstanding. The sauce tasted homemade, the cheese was real, and the crust? OMG. Not that artery-clogging deep-dish pan variety. Not the cracker-textured thin crust. And not just the traditional stuff, either. It was the lightest, fluffiest bread ever.

My point is this: don’t shy away from unlikely places in favor of the chains. Yes, I know it’s nice to order online and know exactly what you’re getting. No surprises. But every now and then, why not be surprised? Where else but at some highly individualized Mom&Pop will you find specialty subs called “Just Don’t Give A Ham” or “Bacon the Law” or, for heaven’s sake, “Vinny’s Knuckle Sandwich?”

You want an all-meat pizza? Check out the “4-Getta-Bout-It:” pepperoni, Italian sausage, Bacon, and ham. Got a weird kid that only wants a plain cheese? Let him chomp on a small “Cheese Outa My League” with mozzarella, provolone, parmesan, ricotta, and feta. You won’t find that at your average Pizza Hut.

So, all you stick-in-the-muds, get out there and explore. Try that little place on the corner. You might find something wonderful that exists nowhere else.

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