While every day seems to bring new dining fads that take over our newsfeeds and office conversations, there is one that is here to stay: the vegan diet.
I personally venture out and eat vegan or vegetarian options quite often and am always excited to see how they hold up compared to the “real” thing I’m accustomed to eating. For this reason, I visited Pizza Boy in Glendale recently. While they have a large menu with plenty of meaty and cheesy non-vegan options, they also have one of the most extensive lists of vegan pizzas I’ve ever seen, not to mention plenty of positive buzz online.
The restaurant doesn’t look like your typical red and white checkered pizza joint. Located off of Colorado Street, it is modern with dark wooden tables and booths, and has a large bar upon entering where guests can sit and drink. While I knew prior to arriving they have a couple of different pizza crust options, I didn’t realize the extent. One of the walls inside the restaurant features all of them: the popular cauliflower crust, flax seed, zucchini, sweet potato, brown rice, almond, beet and broccoli, each boasting about its health benefits, such as “slow down aging.” Who knew you could eat pizza crust made of zucchini and fight wrinkles at the same time?
The highlight of the night was one of the dishes we ordered to start, and it seems to be one of the most popular items on their menu overall. We ordered the Ajarski Khachapuri ($8.75), which is a Georgian dish made of leavened bread filled with cheese and eggs. My dining partner ordered the small size with one egg, but it is also served in large (2 eggs) or extra-large (3 eggs). The khachapuri is served with a side of butter, and we were told to dip it in, mix, then tear off the bread and dip that into the egg to eat as you go. While not my cup of tea during dinner time, it was fantastic — perfectly gooey, cheesy, and the right amount of filling. They even offer an Ajarski made with a Portobello mushroom instead of bread ($5.50) for those who prefer a low-carb or gluten-free option.
In addition to the Ajarski, to start we ordered the vegan hot wings ($10.85) thinking they were going to be cauliflower wings, which was perhaps our first mistake. It is made of soy and was rather lifeless (no pun intended). There was no crunch, no texture, and didn’t make me feel like I could give up hot wings then and there if that is what awaited me. Cauliflower wings, on the other hand, have the perfect consistency and bite to them that feel like a hot wing without needing to mock the chicken flavor.
Then came the vegan pizza. I decided to go with the Vegan Meat Lover ($16.50), because if I’m going in on the meat alternatives, I might as well go all out. Pizza Boy’s meat lover comes with vegan ham, vegan sausage, vegan pepperoni, vegan chicken, and vegan cheese, all served on the cauliflower crust I opted for. The various meat alternatives (the peperoni in particular) made it all resemble the plastic, toy pizzas that kids cherish in play food sets. Perhaps it could just use more flavorful, textured “meats,” a thicker faux cheese for the price, or perhaps I had this particular experience because I’m not vegan and only eat like one every so often. I can’t say, but what followed — two non-vegan pizzas — completely turned the night around.
We ordered a medium “create my own pizza” with half of a Mexican pizza and half Armenian pizza. The Mexican came with mozzarella, pepperoni, chorizo, meatballs, Italian sausage and jalapeños. It was delicious and was my friend’s second favorite dish of the night. Greasy, soft and everything you think of when you envision pizza. My favorite was easily the Armenian portion, made with fresh tomatoes, fresh basil and an extremely generous amount of Armenian feta cheese piled over the top. It tasted beyond fresh, and while I know the overwhelming amount of cheese was not as health conscious as several other items on their menu, I didn’t mind one bit. It’s the perfect summer time, or any time pizza to indulge in.
The great thing about Pizza Boy is that they have it all. Whether that’s pizza or pasta, or even an array of sandwiches ranging from grilled chicken breast, Philly cheesesteak and Italian salami (all $10) to burgers, calzones and steak, the list goes on and on. There’s a hefty menu for tried and true vegans, for the health nuts, keto dieters, low-carb, all-carbs, and those who just want pizza, wings and beer. Yes, they also serve beer: Corona, Sapporo, Stella Artois, Heineken, and Samuel Adams. While I went in with high expectations for the vegan pizza in particular, I left with an appreciation for everything that Pizza Boy offers its customers. And better than that, you’re not judged on whatever you choose.
1321 E. Colorado St.,
Beer and Wine Served