Pizza Man Of Covington
Covington: 1248 Collins Blvd (US 190). 985-892-9874. Map.
WHY IT’S NOTEWORTHY
Pizza Man is the kind of place where, if you start showing up on a regular basis with your kids and their friends and parents, a bank of memories will grow that will make you feel warm and fuzzy just to think about the place for the rest of your life. And the pizza is good–not just good, but unique, and prepared with some drama.
The toppings on the pizzas here have no local equal–not even in the gourmet pizza shops. They buy unusual ingredients and assemble them in artful ways, arraying them on crusts that could be crisper. But even if crust is everything to you (as it is to me), you suspend this imperative because everything else about the pie is so good. The house salad is surprisingly excellent and enormous.
Paul Schrems opened this place in 1976 with his wife, and when his sons were old enough they worked here, too. Paul is Pizza Man, and he’s instantly lovable, a flower-power kind of a guy with a wistful attachment to the Sixties. His antics as he builds his pizzas delight the kids, who have a big window through which to watch it all.
The dining room is utilitarian, but decorated uniquely. An anonymous but very clever local artist and customer draws fanciful cartoons on pizza boxes. The collection is always changing and amusing. On other walls are framed jigsaw puzzles of fantastic scale–one of Pizza Man’s hobbies. An old jukebox is full of tunes you’re unlikely to hear anywhere else, with Puff The Magic Dragon being the signature hit. The place becomes very crowded when you least expect it to be.
»”The Board” (spinach, mushrooms, spicy cappacola, feta cheese, onions, garlic)
»”Wow” (crabmeat or crawfish, olive oil, asparagus)
»”Pizza Palace” (standard American style with the works)
Or whatever else you want on a pizza
FOR BEST RESULTS
Do not get a normal pizza here, especially not pepperoni. Go for something unusual, and don’t be afraid to ask for your own flights of fancy. They actually like making weirdo pies here.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR IMPROVEMENT
The best pizza in the house–the “Board,” made with fresh spinach–gets soggy as the spinach wilts. I wish they’d bake them right on the oven’s stone bottom. (Pizza Man says it makes too much smoke.)
FACTORS OTHER THAN FOOD
Up to three points, positive or negative, for these characteristics. Absence of points denotes average performance in the matter.
- Dining Environment +1
- Consistency +2
- Value +1
- Attitude +3
- Wine & Bar
- Hipness +1
- Local Color
- Open Sunday dinner
- Open Monday dinner
- Unusually large servings
- Quick, good meal
- Good for children
- Easy, nearby parking
- No reservations
ANECDOTES AND ANALYSIS
The Pizza Man himself is the main attraction. He’s a very likable guy with a wistful attachment to the Sixties, and his ancient (but not old enough to be antique) jukebox is full of tunes to match that mood. He makes his pizzas in a big window where he puts on an entertaining act for any kids that may be watching. What comes out, despite all this foolishness, is a very good pizza with some original toppings. Lots of seafood, fresh vegetables, and olive oil compete with the less-popular standard pepperoni-type jobs. Great salads. Very crowded when you least expect it to be.