Tom’s Pizza, Not Tony’s

I was all excited when I found these negatives of what I thought was Tony’s Pizza Palace across from the Rialto. That was the place that defined pizza for me. I sat in there many a night wolfing down pizza that cost, maybe, three bucks, and pumping quarters into the jukebox. Tony cut his pies into square slices, too, something I haven’t encountered anywhere else. We had a long discussion about pizza places in Cape in a May 2010 post. (Click on any photo to make it larger.)

Joint in Columbia looked like Tony’s

In the summer of 1964, Nancy Jenkins and I went to a summer workshop for yearbook staffers at Missouri University in Columbia. While we were there, we walked into a pizza joint that had the same look and feel as Tony’s: same ovens, same square pieces, same layout. It was uncanny.

Deju vu all over again

Shortly after I transferred to Ohio University in Athens, Ohio, I walked into a pizza place about four blocks down Court Street from the student newspaper office and this crazy feeling of deja vu: the place was laid out like Tony’s, had the same menu, same square slices. The only difference was that it was called Tom’s Pizza Palace. I was blown away.

Watching it being made

After I became a regular, I told Tom about the crazy coincidence of three pizza parlors in three different towns in two states that were carbon copies of each other. He laughed and said that they were all relatives of Tony’s. He found the formula of small college towns and good quality for a reasonable price to be a hit with college students and locals alike. Every so often, Tony would go back home to Greece and recruit a new relative to open up a pizza parlor.

I don’t know if the story was true, but it had the right ring to it.

Where’s the Jukebox?

When I started looking closely at the pictures, something didn’t feel right about it being Tony’s. I remembered the jukebox being in the back of the room, not the side of the room.

That’s not Broadway

The view out the front window should have been the parking lot between the Rialto and the H&H Building on Broadway, not a storefront.

Pizza box is the giveaway

The giveaway was when I looked closely at the top of the pizza box: Tom’s Pizza Palace.

So, if you were in Athens during the late 60s, this will make you feel right at home. If you were in Cape and loved Tony’s square slices, this is as close as I can get you until I find some new negatives.

Tony’s is a tattoo parlor

When I took this photo October 24, 2009, a tattoo parlor had moved into Tony’s old place. The sign fixture looks like the one I remember from Back When.

(You know, I may be wrong about the sign. I looked in the background of some photos of the 1964 Homecoming Parade and noticed the sign was square, not rectangular. Maybe the new business used the same mount, but changed the sign.)