I was near Philidephia for a wedding and I popped into a few grocery stores for necessary supplies. I needed to stop at a PNC bank in one instance, and a few other times I needed beer. NEEDED.
Anywhere you go for groceries, you’re going to enter a Wegman’s. Wegman’s does a great job of expanding the idea of a grocery store. Traditionally, it should be a place to buy a banana for $.05. These days, it’s an event. They have a team of humans rolling sushi, eight kiosks specializing in a different type of edible material, and an entire restaurant. Yes, an already bloated grocery store has a restaurant inside of it. It’s a spectacle that I’ve seen replicated in Western Pennsylvania, but this is a bit out of control.
But pizza. Out of all the food they offer these grocery-giants are most proud of their pizza displays. The first obstacle encountered in any grocery store entered was a counter covered in pizza. Some pizzas were half-baked and ready for the taking. Other pizzas have yet to feel the hand of heat. Fresh pizza was also an option as most grocery stores contained pizza ovens as if the grocery store was built atop a pizza burial ground.
It goes beyond offering pizzas for suburbanites to place in their cart alongside bread, prescription pills, baby formula, and anything that’s buy one get one (BOGO). At the Wegman’s I visited they were offering families the opportunity to build their own pizza party. An admiral venture. I didn’t have the extra five dollars to take the class so I don’t know what happened. Maybe they taught the importance of having matching plates and napkins, or who at the party you serve pizza to first (whoever’s birthday is closest).
Slices of pizza are placed on podiums for the curious to admire. Will you tempt fate by eating pizza that’s been at room temperature longer than it’s taken you to snake your way through the store? I didn’t dare touch this pizza. I know, I’m a terrible pizza journalist. It looked overcooked and barren. Similar to the surface of
Mars dried sponge. Major Tom would have taken a chance with this pizza. Coming back from outer space will give you that extra ounce of courage (Editor’s Note: as we’ve seen before, pizza that looks like the surface of an alien planet is a good thing. Thanks to loyal pizza adventurer John Carman for pointing that out).
Is having a pizza palace inside grocery stores typical for the east coast? Or did I happen to wander into the right spots at the right time? Any insight you might have would be great. In the mean time, I’ll look into getting a grant to fuel a study.