You know that one food, your favorite food, the one you crave literally everyday, at any time of day? The food that you could, and would, eat for your last meal on Earth? Mine’s pizza. 

Pizza, to me, is a slice of home — literally. My family has been eating pizza (usually a few plain cheese pies from a local pizzeria) for dinner every Friday night since before I was born. Some of my earliest memories go way back to when I was a toddler and my mom would cut up our pizza into tiny rectangular slivers for me so that I, too, could enjoy the tradition of Friday Night Pizza. Fresh from the pizzeria or homemade, it doesn’t matter. It’s all delicious and means the world to me.

When I left for college, I hoped to at some point find a great pizza place. Of course, there are bigger things than pizza to worry about at college, especially when you’re just starting out and trying to adjust! Now that I’m in college, pizza isn’t strictly a Friday night thing for me. I love the tradition that I grew up with, but life moves very fast at college and Friday Night Pizza doesn’t always fit with my plans. Between classes and extracurriculars, I’ve found that it’s just easier to do whatever meals work that day.

While Friday Night Pizza isn’t always happening, I still do try to make room for it. Now that I am settled in, I’ve had a chance to try some new places with friends while studying at Georgetown University. Going out to eat in the D.C. food scene has been a big part of my college experience thus far. Being in Georgetown, a neighborhood surrounded by good food and restaurants, I knew I would have luck. I tried a few places in D.C. when I started school there, but nothing (yet) compares to Il Canale in Georgetown. It is hands-down the most amazing margherita pizza ever. The crust is light and thin, and slightly crispy. The sauce delivers a sweet yet neutral bite. The fresh mozzarella is draped across this picture-perfect pizza, with gorgeous garnishes of basil. Aaaaaamazing. With one bite, I know that I’m home.

Julia Kelly

The adjustment from leaving college and heading home last year was pretty abrupt, and was certainly a hard time for many people. During quarantine, Friday Night Pizza kept me going. I believe that the little things are what make life so special. Throughout all of the uncertainty and panic that quarantine was, pizza remained a comfort food and certainly a highlight of the week. During this time, my family sort of alternated between making homemade one week, and ordering a pie the next. Making homemade pizza was fun during quarantine, it gave us something to do!

I’ll admit we didn’t make the dough from scratch though. It can be time consuming and complicated. When my family makes homemade pizza on a Friday night, we get the dough already-made from a local pizzeria. Then, we use my mom’s tomato sauce, and mozzarella, and a drizzle of olive oil. Some ways we have cooked homemade pizza in the past: on a pizza stone in the oven, and also on the grill. If you like extra crispy crust, fire up the grill! We use some type of rounded tray, with small slits on the bottom side. This makes for a golden crust. Another great thing about homemade pizza is that you can easily make it in your kitchen at school (if you have one). This is also a super fun activity to do with your friends! All you need is dough, sauce, cheese, and an oven!

And for this summer, my family and I have ordered mostly from our local pizzerias. It’s nice to continue to support our local favorites, especially given how many businesses have struggled during this time. I’ll walk you through some of our top places:

Let’s start with Santoni’s Pizzeria in Ridgewood, NJ. They make a delicious pie. I’d say each slice is of medium thickness. Every bite is complemented with just the right amount of sauce, and a crispy yet classic bite of melty cheese. Santoni’s also has a variety of toppings/cool combos, like Penne Vodka Pizza or Buff Chick Pizza, which I can promise you are amazing.

Julia Kelly

Another love of mine is margherita pizza. I love the thin crust and smooth, fresh mozzarella. S. Egidio in Ridgewood, NJ definitely takes the win in my book (at home) for a solid margherita. It’s always a treat to order Friday Night Pizza from here!

Julia Kelly

When I get back to school, I am excited to keep trying new places! I am going to keep brainstorming and looking for restaurants/pizzerias to try. In my opinion, it’s good to have one constant place that you know will always be good — and then to additionally try others. Just because I’ve found one place at school that I love does not mean I’m done trying!

So, whether I’m at home or school, I am lucky to have some top-notch, delicious options for a slice of pizza (or a whole one, lol). Nothing beats a good slice. Whenever I have a bite of pizza, wherever I may be, I am reminded of the wonderful tradition that started it all: Friday Night Pizza.