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The quest for the best dorm pizza: Keenan, Siegfried and Zahm

and | Monday, September 23, 2019

Diane Park | The Observer

Zaland (Keenan Hall)

Time: Monday, 10:45 p.m.

Chef Ragan is jovial and enthusiastic, a pro at small talk and sells Zaland well. The pizzeria’s modern interior includes cushioned stools that enable customers to enjoy a meal while attempting to learn Zaland’s pizza secrets from the chef on duty. At the bottom of their cooler, V8 juice, whipped cream, Hershey’s chocolate syrup and Tostitos salsa offer spontaneous interior design. Devoted to cleanliness, Zaland carefully organizes their ingredients in the refrigerator and freezer, and also offers hand sanitizer and a large supply of napkins.

Their pizza is self-serve and sits open on the counter, but the chef is available for any needed assistance. Our pizza was smattered in a sweet sauce with an adequate quantity of cheese and spiced pepperoni. Although the crispy crust was a little bland, the pizza sizes were large and filling. Zaland’s many customers quickly devoured their slices.

Zaland toppings include cheese, pepperoni, sausage and hot sauce. Seasonings include black pepper, basil, Italian pizza seasoning and six pepper blend. Their coolers offer a wide variety of carbonated drinks, and candy and ice cream are also available to round out your meal. Zaland pizza is simple and sweet. Pizzas are $1 a slice, $6 for whole cheese, $7 for whole sausage/pepperoni.

Zaland hours: Sunday-Thursday: 9:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m., Friday-Saturday: 11:30 p.m.-2:30 a.m.

Siegfried Pizza (Siegfried Hall)

Time: Monday, 11:15 p.m.

Chef Shae confidently asserted that his pizza training included a single three-hour shift with the “manager” and served us with a smile.

The kitchen atmosphere was slightly disorganized, with cardboard boxes strewn around, but we forgive Siegfried as long as they recycle. Background music was playing, but it was almost undetectable. While their kitchen facilities are not equipped for dining, comfortable Siegfried lounges are only a few feet away. Because our pizza was made-to-order and there were customers ahead of us, we waited about twenty minutes for our (whole) pizza. Chef Shae (spice master) prepared our meal with care and dutifully upheld the dignity of “Siggy pizza.” Our half-cheese/half-pepperoni was served hot, fresh and sprinkled with oregano. The pizza sauce was more savory than sweet, and the crust was thicker than Zaland’s, both factors culminating in a moment of exaltation when we bit into the warm and stringy cheese — worth the wait!

Siegfried Pizza toppings include pepperoni, sausage, bacon and chicken. Sauce selection includes hot sauce and garlic sauce, with two sauces for 25 cents. Mini pizzas are $3.50 and whole pizzas are $7, each new topping costing an additional 25 cents. They also deliver anywhere on campus for free (take note, Carroll).

Siegfried Pizza hours: Sunday-Thursday: 9:30 p.m. -12:30 a.m.


Za Pizzeria (Zahm House)

Time: Friday, 12:15 a.m.

Chef Nick denies receiving training before assuming his prominent position, but as a “real Italian,” he claims that training is unnecessary. 

Outfitted in red walls with black trim and checkerboard flooring, Za certainly lives up to expectations of Zahm. A bit chaotic, with shredded mozzarella cheese scattered across the counter and constant foot traffic from customers, the pizzeria is a popular Friday night destination. The couch facing the counter encourages socialization (and distraction of employees). Audible — but surprisingly not deafening — music plays in the background.

The cheese pizza was warm and gooey, and we were quickly sucked into the essence of Zahm. Though pre-made, pizza was kept warm and fresh in a HeatMax food warmer behind the counter, which was easily accessible to customers. Chef Nick continued to prepare pizzas throughout the night, successfully merging occupation and socialization, with a special affinity towards the female population. Unlabeled seasonings caused a few mishaps (salt- not parmesan cheese), but customers adapted. Although an incident with a broken tip-jar posed a danger to customers, swift employee cleanup kept Za safe for all. 

Za Pizzeria toppings include pepperoni, sausage and mushrooms. Seasonings include six pepper blend, oregano and salt. Their coolers feature a wide variety of Arizona teas. Chef Nick also claims Za sells gluten-free pizza, but this is unconfirmed. 

Za hours: Monday-Thursday: 10 p.m.-1 a.m., Friday-Saturday: 11 p.m.-2 a.m., Sunday: 7 p.m.-1 a.m.


Best pizza: Siegfried 

Best atmosphere: Za (enter at your own risk)


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