Hedo Turkoglu first became associated with pizza before Game 7 of the 2009 Eastern Conference Finals. Being a funny, funny guy, Hedo capitalized on his pizza fame by doing a commercial for a Canadian pizza company while in Toronto.
For some reason, the Toronto fans didn't find the commercial funny. I think it must be hard to laugh when it's so cold. I digress.
Interestingly enough, Hedo's pizza habits go back much further.
Our crack research team has uncovered (googled) this report from his rookie year in Sacramento, where he's quoted as asking a team staffer during a pregame media interview, "Can I get a pizza? Mozzarella cheese. No toppings."
You can take the boy out of Turkey, but you can't take the pizza out of the boy. And now that boy is a man and he's all ours.
If you watched today's press conference, towards the end some jackass asks Hedo if he's found a local pizza source. That jackass was me.
The answer was, "Not yet."
I think the only neighborly thing to do is help a Hedo out, so let's all put our heads together and find Hedo the best damn pizza in Phoenix!
Let's start with the obvious, Pizzeria Bianco. Bianco is both close to the arena, is owned by a Suns fan, is a favorite of Suns bigwigs, and is the trendy pick since it won some kind of minor award: Best Pizza in North America.
Personally, I am not a fan.
It's in a tiny building that literally can take hours to get into (may not apply to Suns starting players, but surely does for bench guys) and the staff there is a bit obnoxious. We had a run-in a few years ago related to an outside birthday cake that was pre-approved by the owner but then disallowed by the manager. The pizza is fine. Good, even, but not worth the hassle if you ask me (which you did).
Mostly, though, Bianco is just not pizza of the people and Hedo is a people's pizza man. That's obvious.
Our pizza recommendations for Hedo
This brings us to our favorite neighborhood pizza joints.
My entry is Spinato's Pizzeria.
Spinato's has four locations, one of them being a quarter-mile from my house. Their pies are very unique and a bit hard to describe. The crust is thin and they cut them into squares, even though the pizza is round. Odd, but cool. They are known for their sweet pizza sauce, which I admit isn't always what I am in the mood for, but it is yummy and different.
My favorite Spinato's pizza is their popular Mamma Spinato's Spinach Pizza, which comes with a load of fresh garlic and fresh Roma tomatoes and of course the spinach, which really goes well on a pizza (healthy, too!). We like to add sausage to ours, which used to come standard, but for some reason was removed from Mama's standard recipe. I blame PETA.
Their standard pizzas are good too, of course, and their restaurants have that neighborhood pizza place feel, which is to say it's not all fancy pants. Plenty of fake leather booths for all.
What's your recommendation for Hedo?
We don't know what part of town Hedo will be living in, so feel free to drop your favorite local pie joint in the comments below, but remember: locally owned only.