On Friday, I took off work and drove to Columbia, Missouri, with my mom and brother for my younger sister’s Match Day. My sister stood in a huge room full of her classmates from med school, and they all got sealed envelopes telling them where they’re doing their residency next year. It’s equal parts terrifying and exciting.
When my sister opened the envelope and realized that she got her first choice, I surprised myself and started bawling. I didn’t expect to, but I guess that the pride, nervousness and reality of the moment set in and I melted into a puddle.
After that emotional roller coaster, my sister took us to lunch at Shakespeare’s Pizza. I’ve heard about Shakespeare’s for years but I’ve never tried it. It’s a Columbia institution and most people in St. Louis have plastic drink cups with the restaurant’s name printed on them, because you’re allowed to take them home.
Shakespeare’s isn’t trying to be something. It doesn’t have the complexity of Neapolitan pizza or the style of a particular region. But therein lies its charm: It is what it is, and it’s good at being what it is. It’s like the laid-back friend that you take on a road trip and make navigate from the passenger side of the car. The pizza is reassuring without trying too hard.
My two favorite parts about Shakespeare’s Pizza are the cheese and the crust. The cheese is melty and gooey, and it’s so piping hot that it slides off the top if you try to take a slice right away. It twirls around a fork like spaghetti. It’s classic pizza cheese.
I like pizzas with substantial crusts, and the ones at Shakespeare’s do not disappoint. They’re crispy and crunchy like breadsticks, so you can eat a whole triangle of pizza and save the crusts for last.
Here’s a song that reminds me of Shakespeare’s. My cousin just told me about it over the weekend. It’s good for long car rides, pizza-eating, road trips, or pretty much whenever.