Ready Slice Culture

Pizza is one of my favorite food groups. I lived in Boston for a long stretch before Atlanta, and slice transactions were much more efficient there. I became accustomed to having slices ready to go at to any neighborhood pizza shop. You walk up, you say "slice of cheese", and drop between one and two dollars, and before the money hit the counter you'd have a delicious and greeky slice of pizza on a paper plate where your money once was.

They did custom slices too, but it was just *assumed* that many walk-ups would want a slice of cheese or pepperoni pizza, so they had the good sense to keep slices of those varieties hot and ready for sale.

In Atlanta, many pizza joints offer very good customized slice solutions, maybe even better than those in Boston. But they all involve ordering and waiting and drinking lots of sweet tea in the meantime, no matter what the slice. That's all well and good, but should you have to wait for the likeliest item on the menu, a slice of cheese pizza? Grant Central in East Atlanta, I'm looking at you. But in fairness, the problem appears to be universal.

Now you may protest that a slice made-to-order is always fresher and tastier than one that's been sitting there all tarted up under a heat lamp, waiting for some sad sack to take it home for the night. But this is simply not the case. There are ways. Sit a pizza pie or two on top of the pizza oven instead of under a lamp. Rotate the stock for freshness. If you were Johnny-on-the-spot with the cheese and pep slices and gained a reputation for that, you'd be able to afford throwing out a stale pie or two because the slice lines would be out the door. I'm not suggesting they ditch the custom slice model; I'm asking for a permutation — do both.

If Boston can do it, Atlanta can do it. Who's with me?

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  1. DC does it too, and has two extra-huge slice places near the drunkest part of town that are always rammed. If only more cities would figure out the hot dog wagon by the drunks, too, we'd be golden.

  2. I hear what you're saying. I do. BUT, I also think it's kind of nice. Yeah, you have to sit around and wait for your slice, but you can do so many things with that little window. You can read Andisheh's article in the Loaf and not choke on anything while you laugh, because, your slice still isn't ready. You can check out the artwork on the walls and on everyone's arms and legs, you can wonder how long it's going to take for the 900 toddlers in the east atlanta pizza joint before they start asking for their first tattoos. You can talk to your neighbors and at least one person you know. Don't be in such a rush yankee boy. Take a load off, set a spell. You're eating pizza in the South now. :)

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