Ever since I can remember, Swarthmore has had a local pizza place, appropriately called Swarthmore Pizza. We have generally regarded it as a nasty place. Happily, that no longer holds true.
Their main page says that the business started in 1982, but their About page says 1981, so I don’t know what to believe. They also misspelled “Restaurant” in their page titles. Despite these shortcomings, they have a nice web site with somewhat inaccessible .pdf menus. It mirrors their storefront – simple and homely, with a few easily over-looked glitches.
1981 or 1982 sounds about right. That would mean that it opened around the time my family moved here. I have a vague childhood memory of going to a friend’s house, and him ordering from Swarthmore Pizza. I hated it. The sauce tasted nasty, the dough felt rubbery, recalling the memory of it turns my stomach. Because of this, I felt reluctant when my Mom suggested going there. I said I didn’t know, but she insisted that she and a friend had some good seafood. She knows I’ve never liked seafood, but her point remained.
We arrived at the standard dinner time. Mom said they had really tried to fix the place up. She said they have some cute umbrellas outside. They go with the tables and chairs for outside dining. It felt too hot when we arrived for this, but by the time we departed it felt cool enough to make that seem attractive. The inside feels like a standard pizza shop, nothing unexpected there. A waitress showed us to our booth, and we began looking over the menu.
I wanted something with garlic and olives. I love garlic. I settled on a brick oven pizza with garlic, olives, mushrooms, and peppers. I forget the name, I just called it the Olivina and people knew what I meant. It sounds like that. I asked the waitress about the garlic. “Oh, it’s not bad, you’ll be able to handle it, it’s not that much.” “No no! I WANT garlic.” “Oh, well we can put on some garlic spread, and give you some garlic powder.” We also shared a salad with Italian dressing. I ordered root beer to drink, which came first. I heard a little ruckus about my garlic spread. “Those never have sauce.” “I know.” I felt glad to help spread a little constructive chaos. The salad came next, made with surprisingly fresh vegetables,
real homemade croutons, and good dressing.
Finally, my pizza arrived. I loved it – a thin crust, and not greasy. I used to get these great pizzas while in college, and this sort of reminded me of those. Unfortunately, it didn’t knock my throat out with garlic. It had a little, I put on peppers and more garlic powder, but I wanted enough garlic to kill off any illness, strengthen my immune system, purify my blood and heart, parry evil, and alter my breath. Oh well, I didn’t mind so much, this pizza had enough other wonderful things going for it. I ate half, and saved the rest for tomorrow. Very good!
In total, we spent around $25 for two entrees and drinks. It felt good to go to a local establishment and have a positive experience. It also felt good to wipe away a foul memory from childhood. If you’ve avoided Swarthmore Pizza because of bad experiences in the past, you should give them another try. Tell them you got the idea from Austin’s blog. They probably won’t know or care, but it can’t hurt.