The Guilty Pleasure: "The Baker" pizza
Where to Get It: Boss Pizza Bar
What it Really Costs: A starch-on-starch carb overdose.
You know pizza, the most popular and communal of hot, cheesy foods. Pizza endures because it's not only delicious, but also infinitely personal: You can have one tailor-made to your specifications, including size, manner of crust and sauce, and toppings. And there are so many wonderful combinations, you could feast on pizza every day for the rest of your life, and possibly not run into the same configuration more than once.
Like all great foods, pizza is highly subject to trends and regional adaptation. We're talking stuffed crusts, flavor drizzles (see: honey sriracha), and regional varieties that, for one reason or another, have never quite transcended their local appeal (see: Midwestern Quad City-style pizza, or the gooey, cracker-crust St. Louis-style pizza made with Provel processed cheese, among other varieties).
You've seen pizzas topped with hamburger meat, carne asada, mac 'n' cheese, and hot dogs. You've seen novelty pizzas thick as phone books, and pizzas skinny as paper plates. You're probably not very impressed by pizza at this point in history – especially when there's a "twist" involved.
But you might be impressed with The Baker, a baked potato-inspired pizza being made at Boss Pizza Bar in Scottsdale.
Boss Pizza Bar, located on Second Street near Marshall Way, boasts a sprawling patio with strings of twinkly lights, white-washed picnic tables, and two separate bars. The specialty at Boss Pizza is straight-up Neapolitan-style pies. According to a server we spoke with on a recent visit, Boss Pizza owner Tony Alfonso traveled to Naples to learn how to make the traditional pies from local master pizzaioli.
Indeed, the crusts here are thin, crispy at the edges, the dough nicely swollen in places with air bubbles. But many of the signature toppings here are somewhat less traditional. There's a Memphis-style pizza made with pulled pork, for instance, and a Mexican pizza made with chorizo, carne asada, and salsa verde. There's even a pizza called B.L.T. on Steroids, which sounds more than a little intimidating.
But when someone tells you there's a baked potato-inspired pizza that actually tastes like a baked potato, you must, of course, try it for yourself. So, here comes The Baker, which is made with mashed potatoes, crispy bits of bacon, mozzarella, sour cream, and chopped green onions. There is a menu warning attached to The Baker's menu description: "No sauce." But there's no need for sauce.
The mashed potatoes are like a buttery paste, glued down to the crust with a generous scattering of sticky mozzarella cheese. The mashed potato base is so moist and delicious, it is enough to forget that sauce is normally an essential component of good pizza. The bacon, meanwhile, is crispy and salty, and generously embedded across the surface of the pizza. And then there's the sour cream, which sounds like it might not work. But it works, the cool zig-zag tang of the cream melting right into the hot potato base.
The Baker, as it turns out, is not just another cute gimmick or concept. It's actually a pretty great pizza.
Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.