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Bourjaily: Pizza Chain Helps Young Hunters

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August 24, 2009

Bourjaily: Pizza Chain Helps Young Hunters

By Phil Bourjaily

My wife is a half-Italian native of the Jersey Shore, and while there are many things she’s learned to like about the Midwest in 25 years living here, our pizza is not one of them. It is, she tells me, too cheesy, too greasy, inadequately spiced and utterly without nuance. 

Grudgingly, I have to admit she’s right.  The pizza Pam grew up with in the east is way better than what we have out here. So, mostly we go without.

That may have to change because, as evidenced by this press release, Pizza Ranch deserves my hearty support:

Pheasants Forever's "First Bird" program sponsored by Pizza Ranch was developed in 2008 to recognize the accomplishments of youth hunters who successfully bagged their first upland bird. Pizza Ranch is looking to add to the initial success of the "First Bird" program by stepping forward to support youth mentor hunts in local communities. PF chapters based in the same town or area as a Pizza Ranch have the opportunity to partner with their neighboring franchise to create a local youth mentor hunt. All participating chapters will receive 24 blaze orange hunting caps and a banner to publicize the event. Chapters can become involved by simply contacting their nearby Pizza Ranch.

How many businesses do you know of that go out of their way to support youth hunting like that? Off the top of my head, I can think of exactly none. Granted, Pizza Ranch is an upper Midwestern franchise that doesn’t  have to worry about offending delicate sensibilities on either coast. Nevertheless, the company is doing a good thing, and it deserves to be recognized and applauded. Who cares if Pizza and Ranching are not concepts that go together? I’m eating there.

Comments (32)

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from ggmack wrote 4 years 34 weeks ago

good for them. on my next trip to the region I will definantly visit one.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from s-kfry wrote 4 years 34 weeks ago

I don't know of any other retailers supporting hunting in this way but I can confirm that as a former NJ resident, the pizza in the rest of the country absolutely stinks. I grew up on pizza made by craftsman that just immigrated from Italy. It was great. In the last couple years we did find a local set of stores that sell great pizza, the founder is an Italian from Long Island! Sorry to derail the conversation but as a pizza snob (as my mid-western wife calls me) any time I can co-miserate about the poor quality of pizza outside of the NE I do.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from Del in KS wrote 4 years 34 weeks ago

When I was in Chicago I tried the local pizza that is famous there and IMO it was awful. Thick crust undercoooed for my taste, swimming in sauce, not enough spice yuk.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from Evan Delp wrote 4 years 34 weeks ago

that is a great thing that there are people willing to help the youth.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 4 years 34 weeks ago

Kudos to the Pizza Ranch. If I'm ever in the area of one I'll have to spend my money there.

+5 Good Comment? | | Report
from Rynsndr wrote 4 years 34 weeks ago

I used to work at a Pizza Ranch, and as long as I can remember they had a contest where you could bring in your longest tail feather during hunting season, and at the end, the guy or gal with the longest one wins a prize. Also, their Bacon Cheeseburger pizza is my favorite. No, it isn't straight outta Naples, but then, neither an I.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from WA Mtnhunter wrote 4 years 34 weeks ago

Del in KS

Chicago pizza sounds like a lot like their politicians and preachers:

Thick crust (skull), half baked ideology, and pretty tasteless......

+7 Good Comment? | | Report
from ishawooa wrote 4 years 34 weeks ago

As you might expect it is common for local businesses in Wyoming to support youth and disabled adult hunting/shooting/fishing programs as well as to financially assist with environmental issues. I wonder if Pizza Ranch can over night to Cody?

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mark-1 wrote 4 years 34 weeks ago

Best Pizza I had was in Naples, Italy at the "Pizzacata" down by the Maritime Pier. Pizza was baked in a wood fired oven. Everything was fresh. Wash it down with Peronie beer.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from country road wrote 4 years 34 weeks ago

If I'm ever able to buy from Pizza Ranch, I will. I'm not supposed to eat pizza anyhow, according to my cardiologist, so this will give me an excellent excuse to break training.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from shane wrote 4 years 34 weeks ago

I'm dying for pizza now, whether it's crappy Midwestern pizza or not. I'm from the East coast (NY) originally as well, so I'm spoiled on good pizza, but I still love it no matter where or how bad.

"Pizza Ranch is an upper Midwestern franchise that doesn’t have to worry about offending delicate sensibilities on either coast."

Good. I don't care where you're from or what your market is. Screw delicate sensibilities. Do good things. Like this.

+5 Good Comment? | | Report
from crm3006 wrote 4 years 34 weeks ago

I am off bought pizza forever since The Book-
keeper started making her deer sausage-peperoni-mushroom-black olive on thin crust, but I would try a Pizza Ranch to support the establishment. Just wouldn't go to Chicago to get it, or for any other reason.

+5 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ralph the Rifleman wrote 4 years 34 weeks ago

The Mrs,PB, is absolutely correct about most of the American made pizza, at most places....New York city has some original pizza fair,baked in actual brick ovens; thin crust light cheese,tomato, and little basil! Nice.
Anyway..Three cheers for the PIZZA RANCH!!

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mark-1 wrote 4 years 33 weeks ago

Ralph,

Your right on the thin crust, light chez tomato, basil and onion..choice of mushroom, pepperoni, and/or mussles. I recall in Naples the chef used olive oil to top things off.

Slurp.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from focusfront wrote 4 years 33 weeks ago

Good on Pizza Ranch for helping the kids.

But I can't believe how wrong about pizza our normally astute bloggers are! I've had New York pizza; tasted like someone spilled tomato soup on a cracker! Give me a deep dish Chicago style pizza any day of the week!

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from focusfront wrote 4 years 33 weeks ago

No offense to your wife's taste, Phil. But my wife likes Chicago pizza best.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from AlaskanExile wrote 4 years 33 weeks ago

Good on the Ranch for supporting new hunters! The more new people we can involve in the sport and the politics that keep it legal, the longer we (and our offspring) will be able to hunt and fish in America. If no one does it anymore it will get legislated out of existence.

Alaska Brewhouse in Anchorage: It's kind of "touristy" now, but they make outstanding wood-fired pizza with the best ingredients.
The Peanut Farm is a sports bar on Old Seward Highway that features wood-fired baked to order pizza. You can't beat the value or the atmosphere.
Another good one is Moose's Tooth, they make varieties of pizza you never heard of but taste outstanding. Chicken Avacado something or other my wife really likes, they make barbecue beef pizza that is outstanding too. I think you can choose from nearly 19 varieties of cheese, not to mention the wild game and seafood choices too.
Mooses's tooth and the Brewhouse locations have their own microbrews.
If you find yourself in Anchorage don't call for delivery get out and visit one of these places, it's worth the price of admission.
AKX

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Carney wrote 4 years 33 weeks ago

Now why would anyone give Mark-1 a "no" voter for that comment? Whoever you are I canceled your vote!

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from duckcreekdick wrote 4 years 33 weeks ago

Pizza is greatly overrated, like most of our politicians today.

Speaking of food, could Dave or Phil possibly help me find the author of an old Field and Stream article entitled, "Hunger Makes Ze Best Sauce". It was all about north country fishing shore lunches and other outdoor gastronomic adventures. Hilarious!

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jere Smith wrote 4 years 33 weeks ago

Best Pizza I ever ate was in a Restaurant on Chippawa Drive in St. Louis called "Il Vesuvio" went back to try and find it last year and the owner had died, now its a BBQ place.

Oh well the BBQ was good!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Bernie wrote 4 years 33 weeks ago

Best pizza I ever ate was 40 years ago in San Diego from a place called "Caruso's." Several of us Marines at MCRD bought the pizza. I got my two slices and could have eaten the whole thing! It well could have been my "best" pizza due to the contrast with Marine Corps chow.

I ate at Pizza Ranch once in my hometown of Jamestown, ND a couple years ago. Chicken was good but I didn't think the pizza was so hot. That chain does perform a great service, though, in promoting hunting. For that reason alone I would eat there again.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from crm3006 wrote 4 years 33 weeks ago

duckcreekdick-
If my feeble memory serves, that was an Exit,
Laughing by Ed Zern.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ralph the Rifleman wrote 4 years 33 weeks ago

Mark-1
Us Italians put Olive Oil on EVERYTHING!
Flat bread with some oil, garlic, and rosemary spice is another appitizer we like to serve.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Zermoid wrote 4 years 33 weeks ago

One Important note on NJ Pizza, avoid Boardwalk Pizza! I have yet to find GOOD Pizza on either Atlantic City or Ocean City Boardwalks, most tastes like wet, greasy cardboard, with cheese. If the Pizza is as bad as you say elsewhere then perhaps they are catering to the tastes of tourists? Dunno, but try to avoid it....

Haven't been in NJ for several years and hope Jo-Jo's pizza in Pleasantville NJ (the smaller one near the Expressway, not the bigger place on the Black Horse Pike) is still in business, GREAT Pizza and Subs! Love their Mushroom Cheese Steak, with Tomatoes, Fried Onions and Hot Peppers!
Used to work a few blocks away and often got lunch there, either a sub or a Lg Pizza, God I'm getting hungry just thinking about it!
Vinnie (the owner) is the son of an Italian immigrant, and it shows in the food! Vinnie's Dad used to work there too from time to time, nice guy but his English was not too good! Hope he's still well but he's getting up there in years so don't know.
Check them out if you are in the neighborhood.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from duckcreekdick wrote 4 years 33 weeks ago

Thanks crm3006 for the Ed Zern info. I thought it might have been Gordon Macquarrie or maybe Corey Ford.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Hunt_Hard wrote 4 years 33 weeks ago

Very cool! If im ever in the area I will be sure to stop by.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from elmer f. wrote 4 years 33 weeks ago

as our late president would say, BULLY! it is a good thing when people, not in the industry, support shooting sports and hunting. it suports and reinforces our american traditions of hunting, shooting, and family time. good job guys!

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from logan.vandermay wrote 4 years 33 weeks ago

Pizza Ranch is a great place. Their pizza is alright, but their chicken is awsome. Their supporting of hunters is also the best thing I have ever heard a restaurant chain ever do. I will continue to eat there merely for this, even if the pizza is not as good as elsewhere. Like I said, their chicken is the best I have ever had.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from sgaredneck wrote 4 years 33 weeks ago

Very cool of a company these days supporting a worthy cause like that. So many limp-wristed companies these days are worried about being PC and such. If there were one (a Pizza Ranch) nearby I would patronize it for sure.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from libertyfirst wrote 4 years 33 weeks ago

Congratulations to Pizza Ranch for their commitment to hunting. They are not located in my area or I would definitely spend my money there. I live in Maine and I've never tasted a good pizza!

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ken Ellquist wrote 4 years 33 weeks ago

I also wish to Congratulate Pizza Ranch for their commitment to hunting. I also live in Maine but have had great pizza's in other states. To bad Pizza Ranch isn't up here in the western mountain area. Nothing is up here HAHA. Anyway if I ever get over to the Pizza Ranch states I will try them out and thank them for all hunters.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from FloridaHunter1226 wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

And just like that... the company gains some business. Its funny to see how something so small and how if you go out of your way to do something, you usually get paid back, whether you expect it or not.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

from WA Mtnhunter wrote 4 years 34 weeks ago

Del in KS

Chicago pizza sounds like a lot like their politicians and preachers:

Thick crust (skull), half baked ideology, and pretty tasteless......

+7 Good Comment? | | Report
from crm3006 wrote 4 years 34 weeks ago

I am off bought pizza forever since The Book-
keeper started making her deer sausage-peperoni-mushroom-black olive on thin crust, but I would try a Pizza Ranch to support the establishment. Just wouldn't go to Chicago to get it, or for any other reason.

+5 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 4 years 34 weeks ago

Kudos to the Pizza Ranch. If I'm ever in the area of one I'll have to spend my money there.

+5 Good Comment? | | Report
from shane wrote 4 years 34 weeks ago

I'm dying for pizza now, whether it's crappy Midwestern pizza or not. I'm from the East coast (NY) originally as well, so I'm spoiled on good pizza, but I still love it no matter where or how bad.

"Pizza Ranch is an upper Midwestern franchise that doesn’t have to worry about offending delicate sensibilities on either coast."

Good. I don't care where you're from or what your market is. Screw delicate sensibilities. Do good things. Like this.

+5 Good Comment? | | Report
from Del in KS wrote 4 years 34 weeks ago

When I was in Chicago I tried the local pizza that is famous there and IMO it was awful. Thick crust undercoooed for my taste, swimming in sauce, not enough spice yuk.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mark-1 wrote 4 years 33 weeks ago

Ralph,

Your right on the thin crust, light chez tomato, basil and onion..choice of mushroom, pepperoni, and/or mussles. I recall in Naples the chef used olive oil to top things off.

Slurp.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from s-kfry wrote 4 years 34 weeks ago

I don't know of any other retailers supporting hunting in this way but I can confirm that as a former NJ resident, the pizza in the rest of the country absolutely stinks. I grew up on pizza made by craftsman that just immigrated from Italy. It was great. In the last couple years we did find a local set of stores that sell great pizza, the founder is an Italian from Long Island! Sorry to derail the conversation but as a pizza snob (as my mid-western wife calls me) any time I can co-miserate about the poor quality of pizza outside of the NE I do.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from Evan Delp wrote 4 years 34 weeks ago

that is a great thing that there are people willing to help the youth.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from ggmack wrote 4 years 34 weeks ago

good for them. on my next trip to the region I will definantly visit one.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from Rynsndr wrote 4 years 34 weeks ago

I used to work at a Pizza Ranch, and as long as I can remember they had a contest where you could bring in your longest tail feather during hunting season, and at the end, the guy or gal with the longest one wins a prize. Also, their Bacon Cheeseburger pizza is my favorite. No, it isn't straight outta Naples, but then, neither an I.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from Carney wrote 4 years 33 weeks ago

Now why would anyone give Mark-1 a "no" voter for that comment? Whoever you are I canceled your vote!

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from ishawooa wrote 4 years 34 weeks ago

As you might expect it is common for local businesses in Wyoming to support youth and disabled adult hunting/shooting/fishing programs as well as to financially assist with environmental issues. I wonder if Pizza Ranch can over night to Cody?

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from focusfront wrote 4 years 33 weeks ago

Good on Pizza Ranch for helping the kids.

But I can't believe how wrong about pizza our normally astute bloggers are! I've had New York pizza; tasted like someone spilled tomato soup on a cracker! Give me a deep dish Chicago style pizza any day of the week!

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from AlaskanExile wrote 4 years 33 weeks ago

Good on the Ranch for supporting new hunters! The more new people we can involve in the sport and the politics that keep it legal, the longer we (and our offspring) will be able to hunt and fish in America. If no one does it anymore it will get legislated out of existence.

Alaska Brewhouse in Anchorage: It's kind of "touristy" now, but they make outstanding wood-fired pizza with the best ingredients.
The Peanut Farm is a sports bar on Old Seward Highway that features wood-fired baked to order pizza. You can't beat the value or the atmosphere.
Another good one is Moose's Tooth, they make varieties of pizza you never heard of but taste outstanding. Chicken Avacado something or other my wife really likes, they make barbecue beef pizza that is outstanding too. I think you can choose from nearly 19 varieties of cheese, not to mention the wild game and seafood choices too.
Mooses's tooth and the Brewhouse locations have their own microbrews.
If you find yourself in Anchorage don't call for delivery get out and visit one of these places, it's worth the price of admission.
AKX

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from duckcreekdick wrote 4 years 33 weeks ago

Pizza is greatly overrated, like most of our politicians today.

Speaking of food, could Dave or Phil possibly help me find the author of an old Field and Stream article entitled, "Hunger Makes Ze Best Sauce". It was all about north country fishing shore lunches and other outdoor gastronomic adventures. Hilarious!

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from duckcreekdick wrote 4 years 33 weeks ago

Thanks crm3006 for the Ed Zern info. I thought it might have been Gordon Macquarrie or maybe Corey Ford.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Zermoid wrote 4 years 33 weeks ago

One Important note on NJ Pizza, avoid Boardwalk Pizza! I have yet to find GOOD Pizza on either Atlantic City or Ocean City Boardwalks, most tastes like wet, greasy cardboard, with cheese. If the Pizza is as bad as you say elsewhere then perhaps they are catering to the tastes of tourists? Dunno, but try to avoid it....

Haven't been in NJ for several years and hope Jo-Jo's pizza in Pleasantville NJ (the smaller one near the Expressway, not the bigger place on the Black Horse Pike) is still in business, GREAT Pizza and Subs! Love their Mushroom Cheese Steak, with Tomatoes, Fried Onions and Hot Peppers!
Used to work a few blocks away and often got lunch there, either a sub or a Lg Pizza, God I'm getting hungry just thinking about it!
Vinnie (the owner) is the son of an Italian immigrant, and it shows in the food! Vinnie's Dad used to work there too from time to time, nice guy but his English was not too good! Hope he's still well but he's getting up there in years so don't know.
Check them out if you are in the neighborhood.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ralph the Rifleman wrote 4 years 34 weeks ago

The Mrs,PB, is absolutely correct about most of the American made pizza, at most places....New York city has some original pizza fair,baked in actual brick ovens; thin crust light cheese,tomato, and little basil! Nice.
Anyway..Three cheers for the PIZZA RANCH!!

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ralph the Rifleman wrote 4 years 33 weeks ago

Mark-1
Us Italians put Olive Oil on EVERYTHING!
Flat bread with some oil, garlic, and rosemary spice is another appitizer we like to serve.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from elmer f. wrote 4 years 33 weeks ago

as our late president would say, BULLY! it is a good thing when people, not in the industry, support shooting sports and hunting. it suports and reinforces our american traditions of hunting, shooting, and family time. good job guys!

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from country road wrote 4 years 34 weeks ago

If I'm ever able to buy from Pizza Ranch, I will. I'm not supposed to eat pizza anyhow, according to my cardiologist, so this will give me an excellent excuse to break training.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from sgaredneck wrote 4 years 33 weeks ago

Very cool of a company these days supporting a worthy cause like that. So many limp-wristed companies these days are worried about being PC and such. If there were one (a Pizza Ranch) nearby I would patronize it for sure.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from crm3006 wrote 4 years 33 weeks ago

duckcreekdick-
If my feeble memory serves, that was an Exit,
Laughing by Ed Zern.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Bernie wrote 4 years 33 weeks ago

Best pizza I ever ate was 40 years ago in San Diego from a place called "Caruso's." Several of us Marines at MCRD bought the pizza. I got my two slices and could have eaten the whole thing! It well could have been my "best" pizza due to the contrast with Marine Corps chow.

I ate at Pizza Ranch once in my hometown of Jamestown, ND a couple years ago. Chicken was good but I didn't think the pizza was so hot. That chain does perform a great service, though, in promoting hunting. For that reason alone I would eat there again.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mark-1 wrote 4 years 34 weeks ago

Best Pizza I had was in Naples, Italy at the "Pizzacata" down by the Maritime Pier. Pizza was baked in a wood fired oven. Everything was fresh. Wash it down with Peronie beer.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ken Ellquist wrote 4 years 33 weeks ago

I also wish to Congratulate Pizza Ranch for their commitment to hunting. I also live in Maine but have had great pizza's in other states. To bad Pizza Ranch isn't up here in the western mountain area. Nothing is up here HAHA. Anyway if I ever get over to the Pizza Ranch states I will try them out and thank them for all hunters.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from focusfront wrote 4 years 33 weeks ago

No offense to your wife's taste, Phil. But my wife likes Chicago pizza best.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from logan.vandermay wrote 4 years 33 weeks ago

Pizza Ranch is a great place. Their pizza is alright, but their chicken is awsome. Their supporting of hunters is also the best thing I have ever heard a restaurant chain ever do. I will continue to eat there merely for this, even if the pizza is not as good as elsewhere. Like I said, their chicken is the best I have ever had.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from libertyfirst wrote 4 years 33 weeks ago

Congratulations to Pizza Ranch for their commitment to hunting. They are not located in my area or I would definitely spend my money there. I live in Maine and I've never tasted a good pizza!

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Hunt_Hard wrote 4 years 33 weeks ago

Very cool! If im ever in the area I will be sure to stop by.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jere Smith wrote 4 years 33 weeks ago

Best Pizza I ever ate was in a Restaurant on Chippawa Drive in St. Louis called "Il Vesuvio" went back to try and find it last year and the owner had died, now its a BBQ place.

Oh well the BBQ was good!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from FloridaHunter1226 wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

And just like that... the company gains some business. Its funny to see how something so small and how if you go out of your way to do something, you usually get paid back, whether you expect it or not.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

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