Saying you don't like Cassano's Pizza in Dayton is treated a lot like blasphemy. Growing up in Miamisburg, local pie-makers Cassano's and Ron's were the only pizza parlors we had to choose from. No pizza Huts, no Dominos, really - no chains at all. I never really liked Cassano's, but didn't figure out why until years later. A lot of folks say the first slice (or square, for that matter) of pizza you have and remember as a child is what you'll consider pizza forever. Doesn't exactly ring true with me. I was raised on Dayton-style pizza - thin crust, salty sauce, less than copious amounts of cheese, and greasy as the day is long - but developed much more of a taste for wood-fired Neopolitan pizzas with blistered crusts, fresh mozzarella and sweeter, lighter sauces. But, "Dayton style" pizza seems to be the same type of phenomenon as Cincinnati-style chili. People raised here that have moved away pay big bucks to have it specially shipped to where ever they're living now, while new-to-towners just don't see the appeal.
It had been years since I'd had the famed Dayton Cassano's pizza. For the kind of pie you're getting, it's on the pricey side. Starting around $10 for a small specialty and up to $18.99 for a large one-topping. Since we're always ballin' on a budget in this house, I I decided to try my hand at their weekly contest on twitter to WIN a pizza so Mr. FvF and another gal pal that's new to Dayton could say they've tried it without breaking the bank. Naturally, I won, so we decided to get pizza this Sunday when we were all reeling from the busy and cocktail-laden day we'd had before. I used my freebie for a large pepperoni, and also got a small Hog Wild pizza, with ham, bacon and sausage. Between the small specialty, delivery fee and a tip, I still spent close to $15.
Turns out I'm still not all that crazy about Cassano's. I wanted to give it another try and be impressed - I really did, but it just didn't happen. A lot of the toppings on the Hog Wild pizza tasted burnt, but it was still better than the very greasy and monstrously salty pepperoni. One of their trademarks is dusting the bottom of their thin crust with kosher salt, which is just TOO much - considering how salty the sauce already is. It wasn't far from the memory of the last time I ate it, bordering on 10+ years ago, which I recalled being a lot like soggy saltines with tomato paste and part-skim mozzarella.
If I really feel nostalgic and obligated enough to eat the Gem City's trademark style of pizza, I'll stick with Marion's. For the most part, though, I'll stick by the old adage, "When we cut our pizza into squares, the terrorists win."