In the crimson and cream city of Norman—a college town through and through—they absolutely love their pizza pies, with two longtime faves often causing a ruckus as epic as Bedlam itself whenever the question of “Who’s got the better pizza?” is posed to the hungry students and obese residents.
Yes, in Norman, when it’s time for a truly American slice of the ‘za, it typically comes down between two of the area’s most popular piemakers: the hang-loose dudes of Pizza Shuttle and the careful crafters of Sandro’s Pizza.
After being asked a few uncomfortable times to be the deciding factor in this cheese-covered argument, I spent a woefully misbegotten afternoon testing these two pizza parlors for price, quality and taste in this, the third installment of the ongoing Pizza Wars saga. May the sauce be with you…
Pizza Shuttle (1506 W. Lindsey St.)
In many of the stereotypical pornographic films of yesteryear, I have always wondered what pizza shop that the oversexed delivery drivers must work for; well, after sampling the dingy dining of Pizza Shuttle, I wonder no more, and I mean that as a sincere compliment.
With an atmosphere that wreaks of a bunch of laid-back stoners that got together in their sophomore dorm room to make some killer ‘za, brah, the Shuttle has been a Norman mainstay since 1981—that’s some wicked pepp there, fellas—but, even better, it’s also cheap as hell: for lunch, a slice of pepperoni is only $2.00. Can’t beat that price, son!
To be fair, however, it tastes like it too. Imitating a really good slice of pizza from a student joint in the quad, the gelatinous cheese holds the pepperoni discs beautifully, cupping only a few drops, surprisingly, of errant grease in their curves. With a thicker crust that academically bonds it all together, this is some sturdy frat house pizza.
Sandro’s Pizza (914 W. Main St.)
With a genuine family ambiance that had an impressive cross-section of the community eating pasta and sandwiches around 3 p.m., Sandro’s Pizza has taken Norman slice by slice since the late aughts with it’s absolutely Noo Yawk-style triangles.
A slice of pepperoni pizza was sold to me for $3.25 and, while it’s quite a bit pricier than the Shuttle, it was far more of a competent slice; with a crafter’s eye toward creating a completely edible pizza, my portion was very dominant. The grease, however, does need to be dabbed a few times with a napkin because it collects like a 401k, with plenty of interest.
The taste was something that was far more mature than I’m used to, with the Neapolitan-esque crust massages the spectacularly melty cheese in place, at least until it bends ever so slightly and begins to run down my hand and wrist. Are you trying to seduce me, Sandro’s?
If I was a broke college kid that spent all of my free cash on cheap beer and expensive textbooks, Pizza Shuttle would probably have a direct line to my parent’s credit card. But, being more of a grown man north of 40, Sandro’s is ultimately the premier pizza choice for me when in Norman; I don’t mind paying a little bit extra for quality these days.
That being said, the Shuttle’s got some pretty good pie when you come stumbling in at 2 a.m., far too spent to give a fuck about what you put into your body.