Boise, Idaho is a growing, thriving metropolis. It is not yet ‘world class’.
Yes, we live near ‘world class’ river rapids. Yes, we have a ‘world class’ college football training complex. And yes, we may even experience ‘world class’ quality of life. (I assume the mayor is happily nodding at that one.)
But the hard truth is, most of the things we like in this city are only ‘quite good’. Our food scene contains many excellent meals, but few transcendent ones.
This will likely be an inflammatory statement, and I welcome discussion in the comments, but I think there are two ‘world class’ establishments in Boise:
- Janjou Patisserie (more on this later)
- Tony’s Pizza
Tony’s Pizzeria Teatro is ‘World Class’ with two capital letters. It is the best pizza I have ever eaten. If you pretend that another pizza in this town is comparable, I will fight you.
Pizza begins with the crust. Tony’s crust is perfect.
It’s exquisitely thin, but it never falls apart. It is almost chewy, but it almost crunches. It melts in your mouth. It is perfectly seasoned. And my goodness is it flawlessly cooked. Every single slice is identical: a smattering of darker spots on the bottom indicate a precise degree of doneness. This crust would delight me if it were smeared in Heinz ketchup.
The crust is topped with deeply considered combinations of the finest ingredients. Cheese is crumbled so deliberately that it seems to match the shape of your mouth. Are Tony’s hands guided by a higher power? Does a Star Wars-like force help him drop caramelized onions and olives in just the right place? We may never know.
The flavors and the mouthfeel make me weepy. Italian sausage embraces San Marzano tomatoes like a lover in the brisk air of Naples at night. Artichoke hearts fold into goat cheese with tongue twitching elegance. Even the Margherita, a venture in minimalism worthy of Steve Jobs, makes me fall from my chair onto the worn tile floor.
Tony is controlling and cantankerous. He surveys his handful of tables while he works, giving the room an ineffable charm. I expect nothing less from an Italian master. He is Jiro, working not in rice, but in dough.
Tony has blessed us with pizza for more than a decade. His restaurant is always recognized as one of Boise’s best, but it angers me that his work has never been properly venerated.
Look, I have nothing against Flying Pie. It is a perfectly acceptable place to take your family for dinner.
But to vote for Flying Pie as the best pizza in a city where Tony’s exists…
Imagine that you’re swimming alongside Michael Phelps at your local gym, and someone walks over to you and asks, “who is the best swimmer in this pool?” And you point to the 74-year-old man teaching water aerobics.
That’s the type of crime we are dealing with here.
I write this glowing review at a critical juncture in Boise pizza history. I believe Tony loves Boise, but the longer his talents go unrecognized the more his gaze will wander. My undercover sources whisper about the California coast.
There may come a day when Tony leaves Idaho. On that day, thousands of people will realize they missed their chance to eat World Class pizza at a reasonable price. They will look around and find themselves adrift in a yeasty hellscape—devoid of artisans, dripping with grease, and drenched in cheap root beer.
Do not let this day come. Do not let California steal this man. He is too talented.
Rarely does something as simple as crust strike chords in the depth of our soul.
Photo Credit: Jesse Maldonado