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What's unexpected about that? Garage Bar pizza included in 'Food & Wine Magazine's best list

by Melissa Chipman

Chef Paley and his wood-burning pizza oven at Garage Bar

Not really sure about Food & Wine’s use of the term “unexpected,” but Garage Bar has made the magazine’s list of “Best Pizza in Unexpected Places.”

The Minneapolis/St. Paul region fields two of these “unexpected bests.” But how “unexpected” can it be when the Twin Cities have recently been lauded by a number of chefs and critics for being the new pizza mecca of America?

And Providence? I’d argue that Louisville is the most underrated city in America, but Providence is a close second. One of the things that makes Providence so insanely delightful is its Italian-American community, specifically the exceptional restaurants in the Federal Hill district. (Granted, Al Forno, mentioned in the article, is not on Federal Hill… so I guess that’s unexpected.)

And as far as Louisville is concerned, how can we make Zagat’s “top foodie cities” list and still surprise people when we kick out an awesome pizza?

With pizzas like the Country Ham Pie (featuring ham, cantaloupe, cranberries, fontina, arugula and cream) and the Potato Pie (creme fraiche, Yukon potatoes, truffle oil and fior di latte), Michael Paley’s Garage Bar on East Market Street has pushed the pizza envelope so far it’s hard to recognize it as the same dish offered by Papa John.

In fact, the only thing “unexpected” about Louisville fielding an entry in the “Best Pizza in Unexpected Places” list is that our fair city earned only ONE spot.

When Mama Chipman was visiting Louisville from Connecticut (home of New Haven, the birthplace of pizza), we had what we both decided was the best pizza of our LIVES at Coal’s Artisan Pizza on 3730 Frankfort Road. That’s about 100 years of pizza-eating experience talking.

(Author’s Note: Mama Mia! Insider Louisville’s Steve Coomes has brought it to my attention that Connecticutites did NOT, in fact, give birth to pizza. It was, rather, born in NYC. I blame my uncle Ralph Lanzetti of East Haven, CT, who has always said that his people “invented pizza.” Next thing you’ll be telling me is that my Uncle Dave really didn’t have the ability to “steal my nose” when I was a child. Innocence = lost.)

We both agreed that the Waverly (prosciutto, fig jam, asiago, fresh mozzarella, gorgonzola, and balsamic vinegar) was pretty much the perfect pizza. Just thinking about it makes me want to leap out of my sick bed, jump into the car and head over there.

(Author’s Note: After this article was written, I came across today’s blog post on Consuming Louisville about Liz Huot’s obsession with the Waverly.  The Louisville Grind burger truck owner has exquisite taste, so Mama Chipman and I are in good company when it comes to tapping into Louisville’s pizza zeitgeist.)

And based on social media and various internet polls, Garage Bar and Coal’s aren’t the only favorites in the Louisville pizza scene. Lots of people are devotees of Wick’s or Papalino’s or Bearno’s, too.

Congrats to Chef Paley for putting Louisville on this list.

What’s your favorite pizza in town? Let the debate begin in the comments section below!

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  • http://www.facebook.com/cameron.abides Cameron Abides

    Coals is excellent – I enjoy the Iroquois Other places in town that don’t get as much press as they should is Danny Mac’s pizza in Germantown, Clifton’s in well, Clifton.

  • http://www.facebook.com/cameron.abides Cameron Abides

    Coals is excellent – I enjoy the Iroquois Other places in town that don’t get as much press as they should is Danny Mac’s pizza in Germantown, Clifton’s in well, Clifton.