I’m 62 years old and the original P&M Pizza is without a doubt my all-time favorite food – ever, bar none; better than lobster, steak, crab legs, or you name it. I’ve been eating the ORIGINAL P&M pizza since the mid 1960’s and have family members who have been eating it since the Moonie & Lefty Martz opened the place up many, many years ago. I was raised on it. I’ve eaten it thousands and thousands of times. So with all due respect, I do feel somewhat of an “expert” on it. I have no ties to either ownership. This is what I can tell you to clear up some of the B.S. I’ve heard off-and-on throughout the years.
1) The CURRENT, MODERN-day P&M (in Arnold) is decent, but is NOT the original recipe. It’s a good knock-off, however. The cheese is pretty darn close. It’s “in the same zip code”, however is missing that slightly “tangy” Limburg-like tangy flavor. The crust has the same texture and feel, but is slightly lacking in taste. The sauce definitely needs the most work; it lacks that slightly bitter-sweet, tangy flavor that the original recipe has. Overall, the pizza is a pretty decent knock-off.
2) Philipi’s, in Natrona Heights possess THE original recipe. They worked directly with the Martz brothers and bought the business directly from them, prior to branching off to the heights.
3) Both places suffer from pizza-to-pizza inconsistency. The original business also had pizza-to-pizza inconsistency; however it is much, much worse with these two modern-day versions. It is so common for people to say, “Boy they made it great”, or “boy they screwed it up today”.
Since day one, when the Martz’s ran the business, it has always varied in how the pizza has been “prepared” or “put together”, but the recipe and ingredients were always constant. Perhaps one cook made it with more cheese and less sauce, and vice versa, etc. Perhaps it was cooked a little longer, or a little shorter. Every cook had their own “twist”, but it was ALWAYS good and it was always “THE” recipe. Both the Philipi’s original version (Natrona Heights) and the new P&M (knock-off, Arnold) version “suffer” from this same pizza-to-pizza variation. The only difference is that the Arnold variation is amplified because the ingredients are not exact.
My advice to the owners of the original recipe (Philipis) is to USE MORE SAUCE. You should taste the sauce. Granted, the style of this pizza was the fact that it had much less sauce than a traditional style pizza, it still had MUCH more sauce in the original version. Also, do not change suppliers of your raw materials and if you have, please go back. It is imperative to let this original recipe live on, just as it did for many years. Also, your cooks should make it like YOU, the owners do. You have THE recipe, but try to minimize this batch-to-batch inconsistency between your cooks.
My advice to the best knock-off version (the new P&M in Arnold). Keep trying, keep tweaking. Also try to minimize this inconsistency a well. A good knock-off is better than nothing.