Being the children of a single, working mom, we were no stranger to pizza in its many incarnations: pizza kits, frozen pizza and of course the big chains! On rare (awesome) occasions we would order out for pizza. Our standard order was one plain cheese and one with pepperoni, black olives and green peppers. Later we would add mushrooms to the mix.
When we were kids there was a Little Caesar's up the street from our house. We always ordered from Little Caesar's because my mom was totally anti-Pizza Hut and Domino's was too far away. Papa John's didn't come to Richmond until we were a little older. Some times we would order delivery but we usually went to pick it up. I loved going to pick it up.
If someone asked me to recreate this location tomorrow I could do it exactly. I remember everything about this place. It had slotted wooden benches and ugly, burgundy tiles on the floor. The counter was directly in front of the door. Some cranky high school kid was behind it tagging orders to go out for delivery. You could see a glimpse of the kitchen though this stainless steel counter and shelf that separated it from the register/lobby. Sometimes (awesome times) you could even see them toss the dough in the air. To the left was an office and a giant pizza photo mural on the wall. It was huge, floor to ceiling. The mural was totally predictable-- a slice of supreme pizza being pulled away from a pie with strings of cheese following it. The pie was on a wooden peel with veggies and pepperoni and cheese piled up around it. You know what iIm talking about. It went something like this:
The thing I remember most about this place is the smell. It was a pretty small place and it was always filled with this unbelievably good smell.The kind of smell that you just can't breath in deep enough to fully appreciate. It was sweet and a little salty and a little sour. I now know that what I was smelling was a combination of dough and baking pizzas. This smell was just amazing to me. I don't think I ever missed an opportunity to go pick up a pizza there just so I could breath it in.
Little Caesar's has changed the recipe and quality of their pizza since the late 80's/early 90's, and of course my taste in pizza has changed considerably, but I gotta tell you I have some serious "Pizza Pizza" nostalgia.