A family night out for pizza is supposed to be an easy meal, but rarely is. The main issue: topping differences. My oldest daughter wants ham and pineapple while my youngest actually likes vegetables (damned California kids). My wife prefers it plain, and me? Just give me four slices topped with some type of pork product and I'm happy. The only thing we all agree on is that chicken and pizza have about as much business together as Michael and Lisa Marie. Our solution is to rochambeau it to see who gets to pick the toppings. But after sodas, tax, and tip, $45 is an awfully lot to pay for a meal that leaves 50 percent of my family dissatisfied.
Neighborhood night at Goat Hill Pizza solves our dilemma. Every Monday from 4 to 10 p.m., the Potrero Hill pizzeria becomes a kind of dim sum parlor, only instead of wheeling out an assortment of bao and shu mai, the servers make the rounds with an astonishing variety of pizzas.
How astonishing? On a recent visit we counted 19 different pies in a 30-minute window. There were plenty for the traditionalist: plain cheese, veggie combo, and, yes, Hawaiian. Servers bring out the pies one at a time so they stay hot and Goat Hill's signature sourdough crust stays crisp. But the real fun comes from trying off-the-wall combinations. Salami, pineapple, and jalapeno anyone? How about roasted garlic, tomato, bacon, and garlic cream sauce? You would never actually order these Jackson Pollock creations, but on neighborhood night, why not? For an all-you-can-eat price ($10.95/adults, $5.95/kids), your family can get their pizza ya-ya's out as long as they'd like, in peace and harmony.
Also included is an all-access pass to San Francisco's least politically correct salad bar: wonderfully out-of-season tomatoes, syrupy beets, canned olives ... you get the idea. What kind of greens are featured? Who knows -- lettuce? You won't be able to tell once they're blanketed with the thickest Thousand Island known to man. Our girls' "salad" is usually a mess of olives, chickpeas, and processed mozzarella drowned in balsamic vinegar. My wife looks on in horror.
Know in advance that there's typically not a wait if you get there before 6 p.m. Come later and you risk being stuck, with your kids no less, on a chilly sidewalk, listening to Goat Hill's beyond-annoying squeaky door open and shut. It's worse than fingernails on a chalkboard. Also understand that after 7, the crowd shifts from mostly families to younger, happier singles who pound pitchers of Anchor and eat pizza without risk of heartburn. Remember when you used to guzzle beer on Monday nights? Now you'll have to settle for the joy on your child's face when he discovers his love for linguica, sun-dried tomato, and pesto pizza. These days, that's good enough.
Goat Hill Pizza: 300 Connecticut (at 18th St.), 641-1440.
Other family outings in this series:
- Brunch at Maverick
- Fondue holiday at the Matterhorn