Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Gumby's Pizza + Louise's Downtown

“Uh, hey -- do you guys deliver to KC?”

Ten years after graduating from college I can’t remember a thing from either semester I took of Astronomy, but I do still know the phone number for Gumby’s Pizza. So at the halfway point on the drive down K-10 with Shaw en route to see Wilco in Lawrence, I dialed 785-841-5000 to place an order for a pepperoni pizza and Pokey Stix. Since we had plans to rendezvous with Jeff, Jeremy and Ryan on Mass Street before the show, we picked up our food and took it with us to Louise’s Downtown.

We ordered schooners as soon as we walked through the door of the bar. Few things in life are as awesome as a schooner at Louise’s -- 32 oz. of ice cold domestic bliss served up in a glass goblet befitting of back alley royalty. They’re even better when daylight is coming through the front windows while you’re in one of the roomy wraparound booths where it’s kind of dark, the contrast making everything look all fuzzy as if you’re holding court with your friends at Cloud City's only dive bar. I'd halfway expect Lando Calrissian to walk in, only dressed more like Billy Dee Williams than Lando.

After Shaw and I said our hellos, we opened the Gumby’s box and discovered that they had neglected to actually cut our pepperoni pizza into slices, leaving us no choice but to literally tear into it. The pizza hit the spot, yet I couldn’t help feeling like there was something missing -- that delicious cheapness I loved was M.I.A. This was just...well...for better or worse, this was just pizza. Yeah, I know. I’m complaining about the pizza being higher quality than I remember.

Pokey Stix still rule. For the unfamiliar, think of a pizza cut vertically into thirds, and then cut across at about ¾” widths into tiny breadsticks. So garlicky. So buttery. And all that mozzarella-ella-ella-ella.

Couldn’t help but notice that the Gumby’s menu has gotten really complicated since we were in school. I’m fairly certain they only had pizzas and Pokey Stix back in the day -- now they’ve got salads, quesadillas, wings and like 25 or so different kinds each of subs, pasta, and rice bowls.

Let’s be honest. If you’re calling up Gumby’s, nine times out of ten you’ve already had a beer or eight. The last thing you want to do is to have to make a lot of decisions. And you’re certainly not thinking, “Rice bowl. I’d kill for a rice bowl.”

No, you need simple options. Gumby’s shouldn’t even give you a choice after 10 p.m. How it should work is you call them, tell them where you are, they bring you a pepperoni pizza and Pokey Stix, and you shut up and be happy about it. Might as well look on the bright side -- especially seeing as how there’s no more beer left in Lawrence because you just drank it all. At least you’re getting a late night snack.

As always, Wilco was pretty fantastic, and having the show outside in downtown Lawrence was way cool.

Before we drove back, we had a beer at the Replay Lounge and I totally dominated Shaw at Spider Man pinball. A band called Prizzy Prizzy Please from Bloomington, Ind., was playing. Not bad.

For the record, I still remember Pizza Shuttle’s number, too -- 842-1212. But me and my crowd, we were strictly Gumby’s people.
Gumby's: 1445 West 23rd Street | Lawrence, KS 66046
Louise's Downtown: 1009 Massachusetts Street | Lawrence, KS 66044

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