Colisseum Onion Pizza

No, this is not about a side trip in Rome.  This is about my mother’s love, nay obsession, for an onion pizza made by the Teaneck, New Jersey kosher-Italians at Colisseum Pizza on beautiful Cedar Lane, Teaneck’s main drag. My mother talks about this pizza like it was the holy grail of pizzas. Pancake, Muggins and I were going over to their house for lunch last Saturday, and Jeanne told me the night before that she was going to order from Colisseum pizza. “What makes it so special?” I asked her. “It’s just GOOD,” Mah said, as if that were explanation enough. “Wait till you taste it! It’s a GREAT onion pizza!” Of course! As we all know, the orthodox Jews really know their pizza.

When Saturday came, the three of us hopped in the car and drove over, ready for pizza and an afternoon of repeating ourselves endlessly while guzzling Crystal Light Lemonade. What a scene awaited us when we got there. There was pizza, all right. But it was not from Colisseum. It was from Presto’s, another pizza place in Bob and Jeanne’s neighborhood. Mah confessed that she had called Colisseum, “but there was NO answer! Can you believe it? And that onion pizza is so DELICIOUS! Have you ever had it?”

Dear God in heaven, I thought to myself. We’re going to have to hear about Colisseum onion pizza, while eating sub-par pizza from Presto’s – all afternoon. And Jeanne was fit to be tied. “What kind of pizza place isn’t open on a SATURDAY?” she fumed, while gobbling a chicken parm sandwich. I said, “Maybe because they’re orthodox they’re closed on Saturday?” 

She scoffed. “No, no, no. I ALWAYS call on a SATURDAY and they’re ALWAYS open. For some reason, today they’re CLOSED!”  She paused. “Would you like another slice of pizza? It’s not from Colisseum, you know.”   

Even Bob was disappointed. In a fit of unforeseen socializing, he had wheeled himself out to the table, ready to be fed and gift us with some of his signature bon mots. He gestured to me to open the pizza box. I did so.

“Hgmjsjiksissn”?  he queried.

“No, Bob, this is not Colisseum pizza. They were CLOSED.”

“Mhhshsiwfjkdfjdbfm?” he continued.

“Yes,” said Jeanne, “of course! I called THREE times and there was NO answer! Can you believe it? But try this pizza. It’s not as good as Colisseum onion pizza, but it’s pretty good.”


3 responses to “Colisseum Onion Pizza

  1. Reminds me of a time a while back when Bob and Jeanne visited us at the manse. As we supped over lovely chicken and wine sauce, Jeanne could hardly contain herself: “You must try this new restaurant, the Luxor Cafe at the mall,” she gushed. “The burger is not to be believed. It is cooked to perfection, with just the right combination of juice and spice, and they garnish it with an onion that is sliced like – oh it’s just right! We both had one, right Bob?” She smiled, the memory still clear, and persisted. “Really, I am not kidding – this burger is sensational – like nothing you’ve ever tasted. The tomato was firm, the lettuce thin and cool, it’s absolutely amazing, the greatest burger you’ve ever had, I mean it! And the bun – oy! – sesame, toasted to a light golden brown on the inside, crunchy on the part that touches the patty, really stands up to the condiments, but soft on the outside, and the pickles and cole slaw they give you are fantastic, too! You must go there immediately!” Acknowledging her ecstatic response I said, “Wow, Muh, that burger sounds like it was really something. “And the fries,” she broke in, “absolutely wonderful – hot, hot, hot, thick and tasty – they go so well with this fabulous burger – you must go there!” she raved. I looked over at Bob who had remained silent throughout his wife’s extended gustatory rhapsody. “So you, had one, too, huh Dad, what did you think?” I asked. He looked at me calmly and responded: “It was alright.”

  2. Still wheezing from both of your descriptions of Our Mother’s food ecstasies. Not to mention the forever pithy Daddy.

    However, I must set the record straight.

    I know Colisseum Pizza. I’ve been to Colisseum Pizza. And I’m here to tell you that Colisseum Pizza is NOT kosher or, as Jeanne put it, kosher-Italian. When I reminded her of this, without missing a beat, she chimed in, “Oh, right! Of course it isn’t kosher!”

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