91. Once you go square

Wednesday September 23 2020

You know what’s great about our southwestern corner in Ohio?

Marion’s Pizza, that’s what. Referred to as appetizer pizza by Chicagoans who were weaned on their thick-crusted pizza stews, our local chain has offered the best combo of ingredients to ever come out of a can since 1965. Well, it used to be fresh ingredients, but with Dayton’s increased demand for the square-cut goodness, shortcuts had to be taken over the years. But Marion’s still makes it to the #1 spot in annual competitions.

Once you go square-cut, baby …

Founder Marion Glass gave Dayton the first dine-in pizzeria and jumped right into making history with feeding celebrities coming to town to perform in the Kenley Players for the next twenty-nine years. The restaurants are designed so you can see the assembly line process of making the pizzas before you find your seat by a wall mural depicting an outdoor scene. The very name Marion’s Piazza is intended to bring the appearance of outdoor dining while staying inside during our harsh Ohio winters.

While larger restaurants are closing, our local Marion’s seems to be surviving the COVID-19 restrictions just fine. When we order now, we drive to the front doors of the restaurant where a staff member comes to our window and confirms our phone order. After we offer up payment, the best smelling cardboard box in town is handed to us. Honestly, I hope this pizza drive-thru concept doesn’t ever change.

A lesson in patience.

So, when a free pizza is on the line, how far are we willing to drive? Apparently, the answer is three hours. And it wasn’t even an appetizer pizza.

We’re skipping town for a few days, heading for the Port Clinton area to hang with fellow car people. A handful of us who own cars dating back to the Edwardian era are getting together for a driving tour around this part of the Lake Erie area. And by driving tour, I mean we stop here and there to rebuild a Model T engine on the side of the road. It’s fun, they say. And there’ll be free pizza when you show up at the hotel.

I’m feeling edgy, as anytime I leave the house, about being around other people, and not just because I’m an introvert. Viral transmission is always a consideration these days, but I’m told all activities will be held outside. That, with proper social distancing, relaxes me a bit.

We make it safely to the hotel with car trailer in tow. The Holiday Inn Express informs us of their COVID-19 mandates, which at the same time, are both robust and completely doable. No housekeeping service during our stay and the breakfast bar is closed. Neither presents a problem.

The leaders of our brass car group brought in dinner from a local chain, Cameo Pizza. Sure, it was cut into pie slices, not squares, but I’m adaptive like that. It was good enough to get a good review from me on Trip Advisor, what with putting bacon on the pizza like why have I never thought of doing that before.

So anyway, here we are in Port Clinton with a cranky (get it? It has a hand crank? nevermind) Model T and a dog during a pandemic. What could go wrong?

Naw, we’ll be fine.

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