Staff Editorial: Bon Appetit Pizza Review

At Lawrence, we have limited options for meals through our food provider Bon Appetit—we have the choice of splitting our meal plan into a majority of swipes or a majority of culinary cash. This is what dictates what we eat on campus—while the cafe’s menu stays mostly the same on a weekly basis, the Commons offers a greater variety of food for sit-down meals, but also offers the clamshell program that allows you to pay for a meal and take it to another place.

On Monday, April 10, signs began to pop up around Warch advertising Bon Appetit’s new pizza program. Between 2 p.m and 10 p.m. on Tuesday through Friday and between 4 p.m. and 10 p.m. on Saturday, the Commons are open to pick up a pizza that you can buy with culinary cash, Viking Gold, credit card or cash. On Friday, April 14, the pizza program began. It’s easy to wonder, however, how many students have utilized this resource over the past week? Is it even necessary?

Appleton has a lot of pizza. At Lawrence, we are located within a three-mile radius of at least 11 pizza places. Lawrence’s favorite seems to be Toppers, with every residence hall floor trash can flooded with Toppers boxes every Monday morning. Muncheez is another popular restaurant, with their free delivery and free cheesy breadsticks with every order.

Pizza is an essential part of the college student’s diet due to its late night availability. While Toppers and other local pizza shops deliver until at least 2 or 3 a.m. and seven days a week, Bon Appetit closes at 10 p.m. and serves only five days a week. One might argue that such early hours are not prime pizza hours for college students working to meet late deadlines during the week and as a late night weekend snack. Also, while Toppers and Muncheez offer other menu items such as subs, salads and wings that can be bundled with delivery, you need to wait in the cafe for any additional food item to go along with your Bon Appetit pizza.

We at The Lawrentian Editorial Board were generously bestowed with five pizzas to review as a courtesy of Viking Room Manager Kevin Biesack, as well as some insight into Bon Appetit’s newest endeavor. The new pizza system is starting off small, but hopes to eventually grow larger. According to Biesack, Bon Appetit would like to expand to provide more customizable pizzas, including specialty pizzas only available at Lawrence. Exclusive speciality pizzas would certainly differentiate Bon Appetit pizzas from the competition.

We tried one of these speciality pizzas – this week’s exclusive pizza was basil and mozzarella over a red wine sauce. Arts & Entertainment Editor and sophomore Ali Shuger enjoyed the unique pizza and said, “The sauce is what makes it.” Several other board members agreed that the pizza was pretty good. We also sampled the cheese and pepperoni pizzas – these certainly subdued our hunger, but lacked the wow factor of the specialty pie. Marketing Manager Rory Campbell explained, “It’s Commons pizza. People know what it is.”

Lastly, we tried the vegan option, which consisted of a crushed olive base in the place of traditional sauce and topped with fresh tomatoes. While we certainly appreciate Bon Appetit’s effort to cater to Lawrence’s vegan, vegetarian, and lactose-intolerant community, the vegan pizza failed to impress. In addition to being far too olive-heavy for our taste, all the toppings slid off almost immediately when we tried to pick up a piece. After eating several slices, Op-Ed editor Cassie Gitkin noted, “I need to lay down for a while.” Perhaps rather than trying to creatively replace the traditional pizza elements in their vegan options, Bon Appetit could just stick to tomato sauce, veggies, and maybe soy cheese.

What is the verdict? It seems Bon Appetit has found a way to compete with local pizza chains with their exclusive specialty pizzas. Their regular pizza options, however, are pretty standard. If you are a fan of not paying for food outside of the meal plan, maybe stick with the Bon Appetit pizza. If strapped for culinary cash, it might be the best idea to pick up a clamshell and fill it with eight slices—the equivalent of an entire pizza. It’s just Commons pizza after all!