Right around the corner from Stanton Street Pizza is Hakki Pizza, which is a really weird place. When I first walked in, I thought I saw a picture of Freddy Madball blown up behind the counter.
When I got closer up, I noticed that the other guy was Keanu Reeves, and I thought, "wow, Keanu is like a whole head taller than Freddy?! That means dude has gotta be like, ten feet tall!" But then I realized it wasn't Freddy Madball at all, it was some other guy who didn't even look like Freddy Madball one tiny bit except from really far away in that one picture and even then it was just the prominent nose. And then I realized that I had been so captivated with getting closer to the Madball poster that I hadn't looked around the place at all. Every square inch of the place, barring the floor, was plastered with pictures of the same guy with celebrities and doing crazy tricks, or hung with plaques, certificates and medals he had won in various pizza-related contests for acrobatically throwing pies. All of the awards were made out to Hakki Akdeniz, the Freddy Madball "lookalike," who was actually standing behind the counter serving slices when Kever and I walked in.
Sadly, while Hakki may be an expert at juggling flaming pies, he is not such an expert at making pizza sauce. This slice was great in every way except the sauce! The cheese had a great elasticity. The crust was delicious, thin without being frail, and expertly crisp. There was exactly as much grease as I would ever want on a slice. The sauce, though. There was too much of it, and it tasted like ketchup, which working in restaurants for years has made me realize is the most vile substance in all of human creation. I don't want my slice to taste anything like ketchup! Kever pretended he didn't know what I was talking about for a while when I initially brought up my umbrage with the sauce. He took bites and mugged like he was really enjoying them. I could see right through him and called him on it, and he broke down, "but I LIKE Hakki! I'm rooting for him!"
And I am too. Hakki and his pizza shop have a certain scrappy charm. And I think if his sauce was better, he'd have a perfect slice! Which is why I'm issuing this challenge: Hakki, make better sauce and send me an email. I will come back to your place and rate your slice again. If you think you are making the best sauce you possibly can, let me make the sauce. I will bring you a quart of tomato sauce, and you can make a pie with it, and we can eat it together, next to a pie with your shitty sauce, and you can try and tell me my sauce isn't better. And I'm not even like, a sauce expert. I just know I can make sauce that doesn't taste like ketchup. And I know that I really want to like Hakki Pizza, because it is so fucking charming and this guy obviously wakes, sleeps and breathes pizza, but it just isn't there yet.
Hakki Pizza - $2.00
170 Rivington St (Clinton & Attorney)
New York, NY 10002