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Pizza at 3 a.m.

Kate Gales | Wednesday, December 10, 2003

“Pizza is just a great food.”

So says TJ Maruup, Dillon freshman, founder and Imperial Dictator of “Pizza at Three.”

What is Pizza at Three? Several weeks ago, I received a link from my friend Kevin Braun, directing me to the official Pizza at Three Web site, and began my initiation into the Pizza at Three phenomenon.

Pizza at Three is a tradition started by Maruup. Members of the Pizza at Three family join together at 3 am each Thursday morning to partake of Recker’s delicious – you guessed it – pizza. Why three in the morning?

“Well,” Maruup said, “no one has any excuses to miss it, unless you’re sleeping … and even that’s no excuse.”

Maruup, a science pre-professional intent, started the group with his fellow Dillon freshmen Braun and John Leyhane. It has expanded considerably over the semester as they move toward their goal of 40 consistent attendees.

The group has also expanded to California and Washington, D.C. It has overcome resistance by rival group Smoothies at Eleven, founded by David Duffey. It has been the subject of a poll on NDToday.com, receiving 81 responses. Although 46 percent said they would not attend this week’s Pizza at Three festivities, the idea had a strong response.

The official Pizza at Three website has also received some 4,200 hits since its establishment. The phrase “pepperoni me in” has also spread over the Notre Dame campus, to California and Washington.

I was curious enough about Pizza at Three to venture completely across campus at three in the morning, approximately five hours before my chemistry exam, to take part in it for myself. Armed with FlexPoints, the friendship of Chief Executive Officer Braun, and an unhealthy amount of caffeine, two friends I set off on a mission – to experience Pizza at Three for ourselves.

It’s not too surprising to hear that Pizza at Three is, well, a bunch of people going to Recker’s and eating at 3 a.m. Some of them are tired, some are studying, some are bouncing off the walls, and Charter Members Maruup and Braun are in costume.

However, after viewing the website (and reading this column), I don’t see how you can’t be intrigued by Pizza at Three. So after the big IU game, in honor of finals approaching, stop by Recker’s at 3 a.m. for some good pizza and good company. Just don’t take a nap – one member warns, “you’ll never come back.”