Veggie Boy: Pie Zanos Kitchen

The "Kung To-Fuey."

“Vegans are punk as fuck!”

My late friend Sean Pettibone was kind of a caustic guy, as you’d probably reckon by the above quote. More opinionated than Henry Rollins (and twice as mouthy), Sean was a funny and whip-smart spitfire of punk ideology who was rock solid in his beliefs, whether it be veganism or anarchism.

We’d met through trading fanzines during our teenage years, and even though the cat lived in Detroit, we bonded much throughout high school and college over a mutual love of punk music and video games. One summer while hanging out in Boston (where he attended Emerson College), I got introduced to a small pizza place near Fenway Park that Sean swore had the “best crust on the planet.”

He was an expert on the subject, considering every slice he’d down would be scraped free of any mozzarella cheese. And although I disagreed with many of Sean’s opinions (including a declaration that Jello Biafra was a “washed-up sell-out”), he was spot on about the quality of the shop’s dough. In fact, I’d never tasted better until I got my mouth around the vegan and vegetarian pizzas of Pie Zanos Kitchen (4743 North 20th Street, 602-955-4225).

It’s a quaint little joint in the Town & Country Shopping Center where customers can choose from nine different eight-inch “house” pies (three of which are sans meat) or custom build their own personalized pizzas. PZ’s ingredients list isn’t just the usual sort of mushrooms, olives, and whatnot. You’ve also got a gardenfull of options to work with, like asparagus, broccoli, or sweet potato. As I said, the flavored crust selections (garlic, Cajun, and sesame seed are just three of the choices) is quite divine and can be prepared without animal products. Cheese is also optional.

Everything’s made from scratch, using fresh ingredients that are laid out in front of you (a la Subway), which will satisfy those who are nutty about how their grub is prepared.

The folks at Pie Zanos wanna toss your salad.

I started out with an amply sized salad made from spinach, walnuts, red onions, and dried cranberries, topped with zesty vinaigrette. As for my pizza, I went for “The Natural.” The counter staff then promptly loaded up a pesto crust with sliced green apples, caramelized onions, Gorgonzola, and Alfredo sauce. It had a tongue-tempting treat, with the fruity sweetness and the sharpness of the cheese contrasting nicely.

Witness the sweet-yet-sharpness of "The Natural."

My sister (who was along for the ride) warmed up to the “Kung To-Fuey,” and got served a scintillating combo of tofu chunks, red onion, broccoli, and mozzarella heaped upon a gluten-free crust slathered with teriyaki sauce. You’ll probably dig it as much as we both did, but ask them to go light on the sauce, as it has a tendency to dominate the other flavors.

I’m sure Sean, rest his soul, would’ve been down with the pie as well, but only after he’d scraped off the cheese.