My intention was purely to write about my favorite slice in Mobile County, Semmes House of Pizza, but the thirty plus minute drive from midtown raised my ire because there is not NY style pizza to be found anywhere within the city limits. The small handful of independents aren’t doing anything slightly noteworthy.
Semmes House of Pizza is a rural shop that’s not typically crowded during lunch, and on this visit the owner Devon Pinzone was the guy taking my order. As we began talking he explained that their dough was only flour, yeast, and water, and suddenly he had my undivided attention. We began to converse, and he explained his family background. His father started the now mini chain Papa’s Pizza in neighboring Baldwin County about 20 years ago. The other verstions of these family pies in nieghboring Baldwin County are still the closest to New York style along Alabama’s gulf coast.
This pizza has some really great flavor going on; the cheese is well melted top quality whole milk mozz; the sauce is very herbaceous concentrated, with no typical "slice fail" flaws. The screen baked crust had a few minor issues that weren’t noticeable enough to really diminish the experience. This is a prime example of a young pizza maker with integrity using great flavorful ingredients, and the spot is worth a drive when in Mobile.
This family has tried locations within the city limits before, and never found the needed traction with the locals. A few others have made attempts with the same result. The dark magic in this town hasn’t been strong enough to keep the bright lights of the chains away, and perhaps one day decent pizza will break the spell, and find a home in the city limits. For now and the foreseeable future, Semmes HOP is the only game in all of Mobile county.
For years I’ve had a serious belief that Mobile Alabama’s cliquish arcane culture might actually harbor a secret society plying magical forces repellent to decent pizza. Don’t get me wrong, the very closed culture of this colonial city is rare and fascinating, especially this time of year when all of the favored sons from all walks of life can be seen prancing around downtown nightly like so many penguins in white tie and tails. Large packs of all of these young turks can be found on any given night enjoying pizza and beer in quantity at any Mellow Mushroom.
3958 Snow Rd. N., Semmes, AL 36575