Battle Creek has its cereal, Plainwell has its ice cream, and Richland has its pizza. When it comes to this fine Italian dish, the home of Gull Lake High school has three locally established pizza juggernauts that are in a constant battle to win over the townsfolk. When there’s this much pizza competition in one small town, controversy ensues. So I hope to bring you to your conclusion on who’s got the best pizza in town: Big Tommy’s, The Local or NEDS.
I wanted to get a taste for what each spot had to offer, so I decided to take it upon myself to try all three. I also sent an undercover associate of mine to order a pizza from all three places to avoid any special privileges of giving their best pie possible instead of what everyone else gets. My opinions are set on each of the three pizza places, but first let’s meet each of the restaurants.
As the longest-tenured pizza establishment on this list, NEDS has a strong reputation and following from the community. From chicken wings to quality grinders, NEDS has you covered. However, their item most talked about is definitely their pizza. Their square-cut pizzas with a wide variety of toppings and specialty pizzas are their signature trademark that sets them apart from the other, more traditional pizza places.
Something that NEDS has going for them in comparison to their competitors is their easily shareable pies. With a square cut 18 inch pizza, it’s perfect for an event with a lot of pizza to get around to everybody.
On the other hand, I didn’t think that the quality of pizza itself was anything special compared to others. With its very greasy slices and no crust to hold on to, your hands have to get down and dirty. This calls for extra napkins, or you’ll have a grease stain on your brand new t-shirt. However, I think that NEDS could still be a good place to go if you’re in the area or on the lake.
If I had to come up with an adjective to describe NEDS pizza, it would be just reliable. Nothing too special, but it’s great for large gatherings and specialty pizzas with an absurd amount of toppings.
Big Tommy’s is the new kid on the block in the Richland pizza scene but have instantly made their mark. Despite the competition, it has risen up amongst the others with its seasoned crust and an ice cream cone on the side. The combination of pizza and ice cream has been tried before, in the same building as a matter of fact, but Big Tommy’s is proving to belong with the big dogs from their delectable pizza. They have also been involved in the community by serving their pizza at the Gull Lake football team’s concession stand and having a full-page ad in the soccer team’s game program to gain credibility from the community.
The pizza genuinely surprised me. I had reserved expectations going into my first pizza journey with Big Tommy’s, and they did not disappoint. The cheese and the crust were the type that you call home about. However, the one thing that I was slightly aggravated about was the splatter of sauce that they put on top of the pizza. I love the effort to be unique and stand out in the brutal competition of the Richland pizza market, but I think they should just let their pizza do the talking.
The Local hit the scene a few years ago, replacing the old Richland institution, Sajo’s pizza. It has taken the role of the community pizza place with signs of all of the lakes in the area and filling its website with beautiful pictures of the Richland area. This thick-crust pizza place loads up each of its pies with a ton of cheese. For all of you thick crust and cheese lovers, this is your spot.
When I went to the Local, I was slightly underwhelmed. I had heard the critics around school rave about this pizza, and I was genuinely excited to try it. However, their cheese blend just doesn’t do it for me. While the garlic butter crust was phenomenal and so was the sauce, the cheese was a little too much for my taste.
The Local seemed to be more than just their pizza, so I tried a sandwich as well. The sandwich was fantastic. That proves that The Local, or any of these places for a matter of fact have more than just pizza.
After a grueling few days of eating pizza and writing about it, I have come to my conclusions. I think that the best pizza in Richland has to be Big Tommy’s. The rookie in Richland impressed me with their pizza. The other places are both good for their own unique style and people may prefer The Local or NEDS better and that is just their own opinion. I still think that everyone should still try all of these pizza places to support the local Richland businesses.
I am a senior here at Gull Lake high school, and this is my first year on the newspaper staff. I play varsity soccer, and I am excited to write about sports and other news around the school. I look forward to writing for the Reflection this year.