Thank you, Urbanspoon.
We were road-tripping it down around Daytona Beach a few weeks ago. As we’re coming into civilization out of the swamps into the strip malls, a desperate hunger popped out of nowhere. My job as navigator means I have to magically find the best place to eat (with vegetarian options) within a short distance from wherever we happen to be. So I start flipping through my phone for my Urbanspoon app, while The Man kindly tells some of the snowbirds and early spring-breakers what he thinks of their ability to maneuver their vehicles on a roadway.
The Ormond Beach/Daytona area is packed with tourists and college youths, and local restaurants can get away with murder when it comes to what passes for food. But The Man wanted food. Possibly pizza. Okay, definitely pizza. So… Okay Urbanspoon, nothing? Another mile up the beach and resetting the location offered Lenny’s NY Pizza. Yeah, because people are always honest about their “New York Style Pizza”.
But it got a rating in the mid-90%, and it was not far away. So out of desperation we stopped to give it a whirl. Reluctantly. It was in a strip of store fronts like all of the others that face the condos on the beach. To look at, it was nothing special. But we stood there to look at the menu for a minute. The staff were yelling at each other. And the customers. Pizza ovens were slamming open and closed. It smelled amazing.
We ordered a few slices of cheese pizza, and soda, and took a table at the window to wait. There was one guy who seemed to be running the place. Probably the infamous Lenny. It became obvious quickly that this place was for locals, and Lenny kept them coming back.
“Only one stromboli today?” he nagged one customer. “You always get two. One for dinner. You want two!” The regular nodded agreement finally and waited for his two strombolis.
Lenny craned over the counter at a group laughing on the side. A woman was trying to lift a huge sandwich with cheese falling off the side. “You can fit that in your mouth. It’s not too big,” he laughed, stopping just short of suggesting she had oral skills. She blushed and tried to open her jaw like a boa constrictor swallowing a small boar.
Our pizza came up, still sizzling from the oven. Each slice the size of a legal pad of paper. Exactly right. Thin crust that actually was hand tossed. Cheese that acted and tasted like actual cheese. Sauce could have been a bit zippier but was great anyway. Real pizza. Oh. My. Crap. It was good!
We left with a cannoli in a to-go box because we obviously were working up an appetite from sitting in the car. Lenny’s would be added to our list of places to come back to next time we were down this way. (Vittoria’s pastry shop and Anna’s Trattoria in Daytona are worth the drive on their own, and this is right up the shore.) It reminded me of Lisa Pizza in the mall back in the ‘90s. I had my learner’s permit and had to drive my sister and her friends to the mall for hours. I would get pizza and hide up in the balcony area, reading a book and avoiding the kids throwing cheese. Okay, that makes me feel old now.