Thursday, September 5, 2013

Buffalo Pie

Published September 5, 2013 in the Memphis Flyer

"Sometimes it was mild, and sometimes it would be so hot I would go through a stack of napkins just wiping the sweat off my face," says Amy Stewart-Banbury, reminiscing about the Hi-Tone's famous hot-wing pizza.

While the live-music venue reopened earlier this summer at a new location, the pizza as of now remains a memory. There is nothing quite the same as the Hi-Tone's "flaming" hot-wing pizza, but several restaurants have their own variations on the Buffalo chicken pizza.

In June, the Memphis Pizza Café (MPC) created a new Buffalo chicken pizza as the "pizza of the month." It was so popular they added it to the permanent menu at every location. The pizza has an olive oil base and is topped with mozzarella, cheddar, chicken, Frank's hot sauce, and ranch dressing.

MPC's version definitely does not go easy on the Frank's. The artistic drizzle of ranch dressing may take a bite out of the heat, but the heavy-handedness with the Frank's definitely hits the spot and satisfies the strongest of Buffalo sauce cravings. The thin, famously crispy MPC crust is the perfect base and makes it (too) easy to polish off a whole pizza without blinking.

Memphis Pizza Café, multiple locations,

Camy's also has a Buffalo chicken pizza available for dine-in or delivery. The Buffalo sauce is more sweet than hot, and the standout on this pizza is the red onion scattered in rings across the top. It's tasty, but for a more "Buffalo" flavor, you can doctor it up with your own hot sauce. This is perfectly acceptable considering someone will bring the pizza to your door from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. (midnight on weekends).

Camy's, 3 S. Barksdale (725-1667),

The fanciest Buffalo chicken pizza in town is at High Point Pizza and is aptly called the Buffalo Chicken Supreme. Its base is a regular cheese pizza with red sauce. On top is cubed chicken breast, crumbled Gorgonzola cheese, and several swirls of a housemade Sriracha ranch dressing.

The pizza has a nice heat from the Sriracha, and the red sauce is an added bonus. The Gorgonzola definitely elevates it above an average Buffalo chicken pizza. (High Point Pizza is also doing some fun specials like a greens-and-pork pizza.) Oh, and, Celiacs, rejoice: High Point offers a gluten-free crust as well.

High Point Pizza, 477 A High Point Terrace (452-3339),

For those not opposed to hitting the road, Buon Cibo in Hernando has a mighty fine Buffalo chicken pizza they call the Itta Bena. (Maybe B.B. King is a Buffalo chicken fan?) Buon Cibo only serves pizzas in one size — 10 inches — so it's 100 percent socially acceptable to refuse to share. Buon Cibo's crust is stellar. It has the perfect chew and fold, much like a perfect New York slice.

The Itta Bena starts with a cheese pizza, like at High Point, and then tops it with cubed chicken that has been tossed in Buffalo sauce and has just the tiniest bits of celery sprinkled across. The menu listing says it also includes blue cheese, but, if this is true, it is incredibly subtle. Regardless, it's a damn fine pizza.

Buon Cibo, 2631 McIngvale, Hernando, MS (662 469-9481),

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