Eating Pizza with Jan

By Jan-Erik Asplund '14

Photo by Lisa Upchurch '14

Photo by Lisa Upchurch '14

Bennington Pizza Plaza (210 Northside Drive) is nestled securely between the empty shell of Bennington Pool & Spa and a nail salon. You’ll want to go into Wal-Mart, take out some money from the ATM, and turn right when you leave, turning right again when you start to smell pizza. No, it’s not Ramunto’s. There’s only one TV for sports instead of like seven. And they don’t have a ton of beers on tap, which, because I am committed to Wellness at Bennington, I must legally inform you is a good thing. What they do have is pizza and submarine sandwiches. And spaghetti!

And this is not to rag on Ramunto’s or anything. But the place is kind of like McDonald’s in that you can go to one practically anywhere – Williston, St. Johnsbury, Keene, NH – there’s even one in Florida (Edgewater represent!).

But where are you going to find authentic Bennington pizza if not in the shadow of our very own pathetically sized/stocked Wal-Mart? You can get all the classic toppings like hamburger, and garlic. We got one with garlic, sundried tomatoes and banana peppers, which despite the taste I can’t exactly recommend because the pie came out looking like the pockmarked face of a medieval leper. Classic Bennington!

I’d highly recommend the BPP or B-Double-P (as the locals call it) if you ever find yourself sitting at Ramunto’s or the dining hall on pizza night just wishing – aching – for some cheap, non-descript (like Nighthawks, or that other one with the old lady), non-Domino’s pizza. And not Pizza Hut either, which by the way, Wikipedia defines hut as “a primitive dwelling, which may be constructed of various local materials” and I don’t understand how that applies to either the Pizza or Sunglass Huts.

No, give me the Bennington Pizza Plaza any day. Wikipedia again: “Plaza is a Spanish word related to ‘field’” – so far so good – “which describes an open urban space… at times of crisis or fiesta… the space where a large crowd might gather.” When Coleman is deposed and Bennington’s next succession crisis ensues, I expect to see you, the teeming proletariat, gather there for the warm lighting and laid-back, “everything here is pizza” attitude. Seriously that should be the motto of this place. The pizza is pizza. The garlic bread came in a circle with crust on the edges and cheese inside. The spaghetti is probably pizza too.* It’s so laid back they don’t even give out receipts, which meant me awkwardly asking for an invoice while almost letting slip my identity as a Food Critic (total suicide in this business).

I can hear my readership now: “Yes, Jan! I will join you on the barricades! You are so handsome! But... the pizza?” To be honest I currently have no sense of smell or taste for reasons I’m not going to get into. Everything there was pretty crunchy. In addition: I really have no idea how to talk about pizza. But to hear Tripadvisor user and resident pizza expert “pizzal0ver” tell it – “This place ,has great food.............. one of the best pizzas ever had!!!” – it sounds pretty good.

Oh, and they have baklava.

Another restaurant in the Bennington area is Subway (227 North Street). Subway offers a variety of interesting sandwiches that are quite tasty. If you are on a diet, they have many options. For instance, you could get a wheat roll, turkey, and a selection of delicious vegetables. You could put guacamole on it, if you’re feeling saucy (their guacamole is avocado sauce). You could get it with water. For the more calorically-adventurous, there are soft drinks, cookies and chips. There are sauces rich in flavor, such as ranch.

Pat M. wrote an angry review of Subway on the website Yelp. Pat gave Subway a one-star review and ended it by declaring “SHAME on SUBWAY!” This is not true. Subway was sad to hear such words about its restaurant. Subway is great for the whole family because there are so many options. Subway is a fun restaurant for people to visit with their friends. Please go to Subway with me.

McDonald’s is another restaurant that you can visit.

P.S. Watership Down was a beautiful and tragic tale of camaraderie and perseverance and rabbits and I will not be going back to Crossett Library until Jared Della Rocca offers a public apology for his book column this week.

*Though my patroness has forbidden me from ordering spaghetti with BFP funds ever since the catastrophic Spaghetti Incident of 2013.