The dish on doing pizza right

Celia Skaggs

In my three years at Northwestern, I think it’s safe to say that I have consumed a lot of pizza. I’m not talking about ordering in every once in a while or going to Lou Malnati’s with friends a few times a quarter. No, I’m actually at the point at which most delivery people know me by name and can recognize my voice over the phone.

I came to NU with a love for pizza, but during my time in Evanston that love has blossomed into full-blown passion. I’m the first to admit that I’m not the most creative cook, so whenever I get a little tired of making the same recipes every day of the week I turn to the pizza places that know me best. I’ve spent an exceptional amount of time familiarizing myself with the various pizza delivery options around campus, so now I feel that it’s appropriate to share my top five tips for ordering pizza in Evanston:

1. Don’t forget to dip. Most pizza delivery restaurants in Evanston offer an extensive variety of dipping sauces that give even the most ordinary pizza a fun kick of flavor. Papa John’s is famous for its garlic dipping sauce, but the honey mustard and blue cheese options make fantastic additions to any pizza or breadsticks order. However, by far, the best dipping sauce options in Evanston come from Sarpino’s (Yes, I said it), where sauces ranging from chipotle ranch to balsamic vinaigrette give their pizzas a surprisingly unforgettable twist.

2. Try this spin on cheese sticks. I’m a huge fan of cheese sticks, and most Evanston pizzerias offer some version of this simple side dish. An even better way to enjoy this tasty treat is to order a pizza without the sauce. Doing this enables you to choose toppings for your cheese sticks that wouldn’t normally be included, and ordering a pizza without sauce will feed more people than just a single order.

3. Surf the Web. Most of the pizza restaurants in Evanston have websites that allow for delivery orders to be placed online, but there are often hidden deals on their websites that aren’t usually communicated over the phone. Papa John’s and Sarpino’s are our two most common delivery spots, and conveniently, they also have the best savings options. Each of their websites has a section on special offers that can sometimes offer large multi-topping pizzas for half the price of a smaller size, so it’s always worth a trip online to get the most pizza for the lowest price. Some of these websites also allow students to select coupons that serve as a WildCARD discount so you don’t have to remember to ask over the phone.

4. Join rewards programs. In Evanston, the best pizza rewards program that exists can be found on the Papa John’s website. The Papa Rewards program racks up points for every dollar spent placing online orders, and after 25 points are gained, the rewards member qualifies for a free large pizza. This comes in handy particularly around finals week when a lot of free pizza can turn a long day of studying into a much more delicious and tolerable experience.

5. Know the time. When ordering a pizza at night, it’s crucial to remember the closing hours of pizza restaurants around Evanston. This is particularly important when it comes to deciding whether to order online or call. My general rule is that if it’s nearing closing time you should always call in an order instead of placing it online. Sometimes restaurants don’t receive late online orders until the next day so it’s best to beat the clock and call to make sure the order goes through.