New York Times writer Kim Severson takes on a dangerous mission in this week’s Dining section: walking into Totonno’s, the Mecca of Coney Island pizza parlors, armed with a box from Domino’s.
Luckily, her journalist’s cred trumps the insult, and the owners (and patrons) of Totonno’s weigh in, volubly, on what they think of Domino’s new “Brooklyn Style” pie. This being Brooklyn, they don’t mince words: The sauce is too sweet, the pepperoni slices are “freakishly large,” and the crust “blends the characteristics of cotton and rubber.”
Still, it might play among those not lucky enough to live within subway distance, says Totonno’s owner Louise Ciminieri. “In Utah, they’re going to love it because they use ketchup and American cheese on their pizzas.”
Surprisingly, the usually discerning New York City pizza blog SliceNY doesn’t give the new pie a total smackdown, calling it “good for a Domino’s pie,” thanks mostly to a crust that’s thinner and chewier than the chain’s typical dough mattresses.
As for getting the message across, Domino’s spokeswoman Dana Harville says, “We’re really having a lot of fun with the culture,” which, from the company’s perspective in Ann Arbor, Michigan, means TV ads featuring an Italian-American grandma, a cabdriver of indeterminate accent, and an African American dude who can’t be heard over the rap blasting from his car stereo. (Check out the YouTube link—and more local disgust—at metro blog Gowanus Lounge). Even borough prez/shameless promoter Marty Markowitz isn’t appreciating the attention, calling the ads the product of “a multinational right-wing company mass marketing the Brooklyn attitude with obsolete ethnic stereotypes, not to mention flimsy crusts.”
Claims Markowitz, “Domino’s is about as Brooklyn as Sara Lee Cheesecake is Junior’s.” Or, as SliceNY taster Adam says, “I eat this stuff so you don’t have to.”