Thursday, August 6, 2009


Over the years pizza has become a ubiquitous American fast food. Even though we’ve seen the pizza market slowly taken over by large-scale corporate pizza chains, you still see mom and pop pizza parlors going strong in every city in the US, carving out a niche where the Dominoe’s and Pizza Huts can’t compete. Este pizzeria in the Sugarhouse neighborhood of Salt Lake City has carved out its own niche as being a true to form New York style pizzeria. New York style pizza is characterized by its super thin crust with wide, foldable individual slices that are lightly sauced. It’s thought that New York style pizza most closely resembles pizza from Naples, Italy and Este definitely brings an Italian slant to the menu items at their quirky, little pizzeria.

In addition to standard starter fare, Este offers a house specialty of homemade garlic knots. This is basically pizza dough baked into a bite-sized knot, basted in garlic, olive oil, and oregano. The knots are baked to a crisp, golden exterior yet still maintain a light and airy, soft inside. A nice hot, fresh knot dipped in marinara really wets your appetite for a big slice of pizza. Speaking of the pizza, at Este you can top your pizza with any of the toppings offered on their menu or you can choose from a selection of specialty pizzas. Just a note though: you can’t get pineapple as a topping here. Apparently it appears to be somewhat of a faux pas to mention it at this establishment since real New York pizza is never served with pineapple. In fact at one point a can of pineapple was hanging from the wall with a big X pasted to it (on recent trips, I’ve noticed this has been removed). If you think that this might be a hint that all of their toppings are fresh….think again – they seem to be okay with using canned mushrooms.

Este also offers a wide variety of signature pastas, stromboli, and calzones but I’m thinking the main event here is the pizza. That said - one recommendation I do have outside their pizza menu is their sole dessert offering: a traditional Italian donut, called zeppole. These crisp, little, chewy bites are coated in sugar and served with a sweet agave nectar dipping sauce. Many of the local Italian restaurants don’t serve zeppole, so a trip to Este would be worth dessert in and of itself.

Some of my favorites on the Este specialty menu include the Italian Flag pizza, which is made of pizza sauce, ricotta cheese, and pesto; or the white pizza made of ricotta cheese, fresh garlic, oregano, and mozzarella; or the lasagna pizza with marinara, ricotta, and meatballs. All pizzas are made on the thin New York style crust and cut into wide slices that you can fold in your hand. The crisp, thin crust holds just the right amount of toppings, so usually the tops aren’t piled too high with stuff. The result is a perfect hand-held item that you can eat while standing on the side of a busy New York street or comfortably hold while watching a DVD on your screen at home in Salt Lake.

Este ~ Salt Lake City, Utah
Sugarhouse and downtown locations


Este Pizzeria on Urbanspoon