The Stamford-bar-pizza challenge

STAMFORD — When Rico’s (now Riko’s) opened and claimed to have a Colony-style pie that could top the original, we balked. I vehemently defended Colony as a Stamford institution and the purveyor of the gold-standard of the Stamford bar pizza.

Things have changed.

Riko’s has opened up a second shop in Newfield and Ridgeway Pizza has begun to sell Colony-style pies. I began getting cryptic all-caps emails from the owner of Ridgeway Pizza shortly after Riko’s opened, stating they would be the new kings of the pan pizza in Stamford.

Naturally, a taste test was in order.

At the behest of Brett Mickelson, the executive producer of the Hearst Connecticut Media Group’s interactive team, we lined up seven pies from the three pizzerias and dug in.

The results were not all that surprising, though we only slightly preferred Colony over Riko’s. Ridgeway was a distant last — as sports producer Sean Bowley described it, “basically the cheapest knock off…like Stop & Shop brand cola versus Coke or Pepsi.”

It’s hard to discern the difference between Colony and Riko’s though there are visual cues to the look of the crust. In the end, the main advantage Colony had over Riko’s was the hot oil, which was noticeably hotter and more flavorful in the original. We also thought Riko’s had a little too much sauce.

Given that Riko’s also uses the same sausage and other toppings as Colony, I may be willing to withdraw my passionate appeal for Colony and call it a case of personal (though still passionate) preference — but the Ridgeway pie was just not up to the comparison.

First off, the sauce was too sweet, having a disagreeable tomato-paste quality, the cheese was too sparse and the sausage, being ground was borderline tasteless.

Ultimately, for a takeout pie, proximity to either Colony or Riko’s may be the deciding factor.

Colony, however, certainly wins in the atmosphere and overall experience category.

So there is it, the final word on the great Stamford pan-pizza debate…hopefully we can put this to bed…I’m beginning to tire of the drama.

Chris Preovolos