I grew up in East Meadow, New York, and I absolutely loved it. I was a short bike ride away from Eisenhower Park in one direction, the library in another, and the grocery store, Italian bakery, and fish market were right down the street.
The pizza place was also close by. I remember it well. We never called in an order. We would drive to Pizza Kings, place our order, and wait. I would look at the frescoes of idillyc Italian vistas and chubby waiters and cooks on the walls, or count the tiles that were everywhere.
But still we waited. The restaurant smelled like pizza, and you could feel the heat radiate from the ovens that lined one wall.
If us kids were lucky. There would be one regular cheese pizza, and one Sicilian pizza. A real Sicilian pizza is a divine experience. Thick, crusty, and square....the corner pieces were the most coveted.
I want one right dang now.
Transporting the pizza home was a two-person operation. One of the parents would drive, and one of us kids would hold the pizza perfectly level on our lap. This involved lifting the pizza ever so slightly on the end closest to our bodies, and the other end was on our knees, that would get progressively warmer and warmer as the journey towards home progressed.
It was worth the heat. Even if I happened to be wearing shorts.
The perfect slice of cheese pizza is foldable, and if it is the right temperature you should slightly burn the roof of your mouth. You know, so that a tiny part in the middle of the top of your palate, right behind your two front teeth, burns and blisters.
Gross I know, but again it is part of the perfect pizza experience.
If there was leftover pizza (usually unheard of) it turned into the perfect cold breakfast the next morning.
When chains started popping up in the late 80's (like Domino's) we thought it was just nuts. Commercials for pizza on TV? Delivery? It can't be good. And boy it wasn't. There is just no comparison to the neighborhood slice.