Is There a Problem Heaa?’: Two New York pizzerias get tossed around

Este New York Style Pizza:

The Contender

Coming up in the Salty Valley isn’t easy. Este New York Style Pizza opened in October of last year, and although there are only six tables available for dining, until recently it was no problem for anyone to walk right in and sit right down.

Hidden on Windsor Street (behind the Northwest corner of 900 East and 2100 South), and lacking any bright lights to attract new customers, owner Dave Heiblim initially relied on word of mouth to bring in the all-important clientele to his fledgling pie joint.

However, pizza this good from a joint this cool can’t stay unknown for long.

Business was gaining momentum slowly, until midway through February when a profile piece in The Salt Lake Tribune, as Heiblim said, “doubled business overnight.”

“The next day we had a line out the door-it was really like New York.” Heiblim said.

New York is definitely what you get when you walk into Este’s. Heiblim has a purist attitude and three rules to go with it.

First: Think you can get away with wearing that Red Sox apparel? Either take it off or pay double-that kind of outrageous behavior won’t fly at Este, a fortified Yankee stronghold.

Second: Ordering a pie with pineapple on it? Either bring your gold card or take your business elsewhere. A 5.5 oz. can of pineapple costs $49.99, and a corkage fee of $99.99 is required for “opening can and placing pineapple on pizza.”

“OK,” you may say, “no pineapple, but can I have some ranch dressing to dip my pizza in?”

Third: “NO!” To dip Heiblim’s pizza in ranch is to slander his reputation in public, to spit in his face, to disrespect his family. If you are brash enough to request ranch, don’t expect a large serving, and do expect to be instructed to use it only on the crust. It even tastes like Heiblim might even be adding water to his creamy nemesis.

So ranch is not the recommended washer-downer at Este. However, there are four Uinta draft beers on tap; pints, pitchers and growlers are available, and like Uinta Brewery, Este is completely wind-powered. If green power makes you happy, so might the vegan pizza and Heiblim’s goal of steering his ingredient selection toward being chiefly organic.

With plans for a summer patio in the works and its run down parking lot set for renovation and development, business looks to keep blooming for Este-Sugarhouse’s window on New York style.

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Big Apple Pizzeria:

The Old Guard

Ask a local New Yorker living in Salt Lake City, and that person will tell you: Big Apple Pizzeria has some of the best pizza in valley.

No gut-busting The Pie, no low-grade Domino’s, just quality ingredients, service and pizzas.

Big Apple was born in 2001, and since then business has skyrocketed-a new location just opened at Ft. Union. This enthusiastic acceptance is probably due as much to Big Apple’s location as the pizza. Just past Big Apple is Molca Salsa, one of the most popular crap-Mex restaurants in Salt Lake City, and just up from it is Caf Rio, the New-Age Mexican assembly line whose queue can actually be seen from space during peak hours.

The opening of the Ft. Union location is a big step for this little pizzeria, which until now has not even had so much as an advertising budget. Through word of mouth only, Big Apple has built a strong base of loyal pizza eaters.

Customers keep coming back for more, and polls prove it. Three out of the last four years, Big Apple Pizza has been awarded the best calzone in Salt Lake in the all-important City Weekly “Best Of” issue. The plain cheese calzone and the triple cheese calzone (Ricotta, Mozzerella, and Romano) are both damn good.

The recipes and decorations are surely from New York, but the establishment’s history also says a lot about the well-advertised claim of New York authenticity.

Big Apple was formerly Deloretto’s. The owner was from the East Coast, and brought all of the recipes from New Jersey. Bought out by the current owner in 1998, Deloretto’s recipes for dough, sauce and oven use have remained unchanged even today.

Big Apple caters to the East-Coast crowd with its authentic East Coast recipes, but their background is not authentically New York-the owners are Utahns.

Unlike at Este, you will not be ridiculed for supporting Boston by wearing Red Sox apparel, and you will not be charged $150 for pineapple. Tolerance is practiced here. Bring Big Apple your weak, your hungry-none will be turned away.

There’s still the big question: Does the Big Apple’s pizza demonstrate “authentic” New York style? Big Apple claims that catering to the customer’s requests is crucial to business. Is any of the New York authenticity lost in the process of appeasing Utahns?

Short answer: no. Big Apple’s pizza is some of the best in the valley, and it is no wonder that many New Yorkers frequent the place for a taste of home. However, as far as no-frills-New-York-style pizzerias go, Este maintains a more hardcore stance on protecting the claim of “Authentic New York Style Pizza.”

The two pizzeria’s styles of pizza are too different to choose one as better than the other. To take a temporary vacation from Salt Lake City by less material means than recipes and decorations, head to Este for tough New York love. For tried and true calzones and pies, get over to Big Apple where they will stuff you with their finest.

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