Sunday, July 17, 2011

People's Pizza - Bako Surprises & Adventures

Bakersfield is the last place in the world I expected to get anything remotely like good pizza. But of course, it has, yet again, surprised me. Don't get me wrong, it's hard to compare to New York style when you're outside the Northeast, BUT, this was pretty good in its own right.

The only reason we went to People's Pizza is because our property manager's significant other owns the place.  We never would have heard of it because it isn't listed on Google and we're new in town. Still, we like to support locally owned and operated businesses, and if we're getting crappy pizza, its better to get it from the guy who lives down the street as opposed to Domino's or Pizza Hut. Well, for whatever reason, our Google Foo was off even with the address, and we ended up going to Lamont before heading to the restaurant.

For those of you who have never visited Bakersfield, it is a farming community and therefore has everything that goes with it, most importantly, workers.  Lamont is the predominantly Mexican community southeast of Bako that makes you feel like you're in Mexico (or in my case, India), with the exception of the occasional pimped out Lincoln Navigator (what?!). In any case, it has a road called the "Weedpatch Highway." This is how urban we're talking people. Urban. Needless to say, eventually we discovered we had gone probably 20 miles out of our way, but we did finally determine that no, there is in fact no People's Pizza listed on Google, nor does AT&T rock at Google Foo (T-Mobile forever!).

Well, we finally found People's Pizza. The owner, Nate, comes out, chats with us, and gets us set up with a California style pizza (East Coast peeps, wait for it!). California style has more dough, less grease, and more sauce.  The edge is flat as opposed to the large round bubbly crust of the New York style. Well, People's didn't disappoint.  Their sauce, made with fresh ingredients was delicious, with heavy notes of garlic, oregano, and Parmesan.  I was reminded of my mother's homemade sauce and meatballs. As my chef friend says, when food reminds you of home cooking, it is successful.

Now, Christian and our chef friend Andy scarfed the Cali style down.  So the owner, Nate, knowing I'm from New York and Andy is a chef, decides to make us a New York style.  He admits he doesn't have the space currently to hand toss but would love to do so (that's what makes New York edges bubble so beautifully).  Despite the lack of bubbling crust, People's is able to make a thin crust in the center of their pie that you have to eat with two hands.  They allowed a larger amount of grease (correct for New York style). I would have used a simpler sauce for the New York style than the Californian, but it was still delicious.

So did I find New York pizza in Bakersfield? No. Would I go back to People's even though it's 11 miles away in a town where I could find plenty of restaurants closer? Absolutely. With amazing ingredients, a neighborhood atmosphere, and great service, this place is worth the trek to get there.  I'll take my dad there, and my dad is a pizza snob, so you know it's good.

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