Wednesday, May 20, 2009

If Garlic be the Food of Love, Play On

I found out about Ermanno's Three Guys Pizza from a co-worker. The first time I stopped in for a pie, it seems that they had just moved into their new North Canton location, taking over for Rocco's NY Style Pizza (which I never actually had a chance to try). Ermanno's is located in a strip retail outlet setting right across the street from a Fisher's grocery store. Their address is 3159 Whitewood Street, North Canton, OH 44720 and can be reached at 330-494-3131. Do NOT rely on the information you find on the web as it has been incorrect the last several times I went to view it. Currently, Ermanno's has no website. (UPDATE: Untrue, I just found their website here.)

Here is a shot of their exterior:

Now, they do offer many things on their menu. But the one thing I haven't been able to get over is their pizza. And for one very good reason: garlic. As a lover of all things garlic, this warms my soul. I think we'd all be happier people if we just ate a little more garlic. Unfortunately, with Ermanno's, this is a double-edged sword. On the plus side, they realize that garlic and pizza work so well together. The down side is that the owners have settled on a product that lends a chemically garlic flavor to their pizzas, Garlic Mist. A Par Way Tryson product, the ingredient list isn't exactly awe inspiring. It does contain garlic oil, however. And propellants. And lecithen. And a few others.

Now I could sit here and ask myself why on earth anyone would use such a product instead of good old fashioned extra virgin olive oil that has been used to gently roast garlic; I just don't know. But, the food business being the way it is, I surmise that they think that no one can tell the difference. And when you first pick up your pie and have that nice, hot slice, it's a lot more difficult to pick up on the underlying chemical taste of the spray. But, you just wait until later on that evening or the next morning for breakfast when you try eating a slice cold right from the refrigerator. Wham-O! The first time I tasted it, it nearly knocked me back on my chair. It is really that pronounced. I have found that if you reheat your slice before eating it, the taste is again minimized, but jeez louise, shouldn't I just be able to enjoy my slice cold?

I guess the problem that I have is that I'm torn. Their made-from-scratch pizza dough is actually pretty good. The doctored sauce they use is also quite good, even if it isn't made from scratch. It contains a lovely oregano undertone. The toppings are always plentiful. Add on top of that they run daily specials and it can also be a pretty good deal, too. So, as long as I eat the pizza hot, I enjoy it. Whenever they've passed out suggestion cards, I always dutifully fill them out. I've been trying to build up enough clout with the one manager to bring it up to him.

The manager in question knows me by name now (which may give you some idea of how often I visit), so perhaps next time, if he isn't slammed with orders when I get there, I'll take him aside and ask him what the deal is. I'm sure it's largely a matter of cost and convenience for them. Heck, I'd even just take a nice brushing of extra virgin olive oil instead of the garlic spray, if I am to be totally honest.

(UPDATE: This update is being written about two weeks after I wrote the copy for the original review, even though they will both post at the same time. I did finally get a chance to talk with one of the managers tonight when I stopped in for another pie. When I finally asked about the use of Garlic Mist, he came clean right away and verified that yes, it was used as a convenience product. He also agreed with my assessment that when eating the pizza cold, you really could tell that it was a spray on product and not the real deal. But what really surprised me, was that before I could make my "why not just roast your own garlic?" suggestion, he stated that he was actually toying with the idea of roasting his own garlic and then brushing the puree on top of the crusts instead of using the Garlic Mist. Needless to say, I encouraged his idea and even volunteered to be a Guinea Pig when he decided to pursue his testing. So, there very well could be another entry about Ermanno's in the future.)

All that being said, I still stopped and ordered a pizza. Of course. I'm a slave to the garlic.

A shot of the pizza box:

And a shot of the large pepperoni I ordered:

This 10 slice pizza was $12 dollars tonight, but on Monday nights it is only $9. An incredible bargain considering how addictive this is. Garlic, tomatoes, pepperoni, dough, and cheese? Heavenly. The only thing missing is a nice liberal sprinkling of spicy chili flakes. Ermanno's pizza is also susceptible to the Molten Cheese Conundrum first mentioned in my post on Tavanello and Sons. But, just letting the pizza box sit open for a minute or two seemed to minimize the problem.

The only other thing I've had from Ermanno's is a steak and cheese sub sandwich. It was not bad, but nowhere near as noteworthy as the pizza. If you're in the area, try them out.

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