Among my several annoying tendencies, few are more despicable than my unwillingness to listen to certain pieces of advice if my mind has already been made up relating to the subject. I’ve had many people tell me about how nice cruises are. I listen when they tell me this. Then I tell them I will never, ever, go on a cruise. If you find me on a cruise please call the FBI, because I’m obviously being held against my will, this is what I tell them. People tell me that oysters are fine if you just slurp them down. I don’t care what they say. I won’t eat one, chewed, slurped, or otherwise. People tell me that hiking is fun, because if you just walk a whole bunch you might see some squirrels or pinecones or some other bits of nature. Hard pass. But to my credit, when someone tells me where I should go eat pizza, I willingly and happily listen.
That’s what happened a few weeks ago, on some random day, when a friend sent me a note and instructed me he had just been to Wayne’s Pizza in Genoa City and that I should go there. I promised I would. What I didn’t know then was that I’d go there on that same day. Dinnertime comes once a day, and on that day I felt like taking a drive, and for the first time in my life, I felt like taking a drive to Genoa City. The timing was tight, as my wife and I left our house at 5 PM sharp and we had to be back to Williams Bay to pick my daughter up from Volleyball at 6 PM. This wouldn’t be easy, but since my food reviews came to a screeching halt and my pizza reviews are all at least a year old, the inconvenience to our schedule was warranted.
Because of this time crunch, I called ahead on the way down. The menu indicated that they had a deep dish pizza and a thin crust, and I didn’t know which pizza my friend had suggested so I ordered one of each. The thin crust would be sausage, and the thick crust was just cheese and mushroom. I ordered and we drove.
Genoa City is never really somewhere you go on purpose. I’m sure it’s fine, really. I’m sure people live there and they like it. But I don’t live there and I don’t know it and so I don’t have any reason to like it. My countertop guy is there. And there’s that one restaurant where they serve a unique fish fry out of an old house. That’s the extent of my loose Genoa City knowledge, and I’m fine with it. On my list of things that must be accomplished before I return to dust not a single one of them involves Genoa City. We made it to Wayne’s, in a gas station building (or next door, perhaps) where Highway 12 comes to a halt and turns southeast towards Richmond. I walked in and was pleased to see the restaurant turning a pretty meaningful business. Some tables were full of pizza eaters, and other cars were pulling up and taking away their to-go pizzas with consistent pace. I paid for our two pizzas and retreated to the car. $44.71, with the tip.
I figured it unfair to drive these pizzas home before eating them, so I did what any morbidly obese individual would do and I ate the pizza in the parking lot. With the sun setting over the western tree line and the hum of the highway to my east, I just stood in the gas station parking lot and ate pizza. My wife ate some, too, so it wasn’t like I was doing this alone like some sort of weirdo. The thin crust pizza was the only pizza that could be sampled, as the thick crust was a mess of sauce and pizza and as with most deep dish style pizzas it was best eaten on a porcelain plate with a knife and fork. The thin crust pizza was typical square cut, tavern style. And it held up pretty well to the parking lot buffet.
The crust was a bit softer than I would have preferred, as the pizza bent considerably under the flop test, as you can see above. The sauce was quite good, with some real body, but the pizza suffered from a bit too much cheese. In this way it reminded me of Pino’s in Walworth, but with a thinner crust. The sausage was substantial and tasty and wasn’t a fennel-fest. While most pizzas on my 2019 tour routinely needed a touch of salt, I found this pie to be actually salty. Maybe it was my palate on that evening, but the salt was too much. Was it just the cheese? Or was the sauce salty? I suppose I’ll never know. I snarfed a few pieces and drove home, just in time to pick up my daughter and still make it home to sample the deep-dish while it was still warm.
This pie looked like a Chicago-style deep fish, but the CSDD that I’m familiar with sport a cornmeal crust, while this pizza just had a typical dough crust that appeared to be doubled up to withstand the onslaught of cheese and sauce. The pizza was fine, but I wouldn’t consider it on par with Chicago deep dish. If I were to visit Wayne’s, I’d opt for the thin crust. On this evening, the thin crust was certainly good enough to remind me how much I enjoy pizza. But I don’t know as though it was worth the drive to Genoa City. I could envision this pie making its way into my rotation if I lived on the west or south side of the lake, or if I lived closer (in general) to Wayne’s. But from my house it’s a bit too far of a drive, and on this night that pizza was just a bit too salty. Give it a try and tell me if I’m wrong.
100 Elizabeth Lane, Genoa City
$18.65 for a 16 inch thin crust with sausage. $18.99 for a medium deep dish pan pizza