Since writing my 2018 pizza-eating goal list last January there’s a pizza spot that has continuously tempted me but always got put on the backburner. Maybe it was the 20-minute drive into the middle of nowhere it would take to get there or the fact that impromptu pizza pilgrimages weren’t as easy with a newborn on board; either way after a full year of procrastination, countless recommendations and consistent reminders from friends and colleagues I finally took a scenic drive for the most highly prized pizza in the Dane County area.
Bar pizza on another level.
Mount Vernon like many itsy bitsy rural unincorporated Wisconsin communities comes equipped with a church and a bar. In Wisconsin when most think of bar pizza, they think of an Emil’s frozen or some Portesi Cheese Fries tossed in a little metal pizza oven next to some Green-Apple Pucker bottles. Mount Vernon’s watering hole, on the other hand, holds an epically magical homemade pizza that has put them on the map.
Raising the bar (pizza).
Marcines Bar & Grill has people flocking from all over southcentral Wisconsin for good reason; an inch thick layer of exceptional toppings on a crust that’s as tiny as the town. I didn’t know what “excessive toppings” meant until I tried Marcines.
It’s like the cook was double-dog-dared into fitting a 20-inch pizza’s worth of toppings on to a 12-inch crust and just nailed it. They offer thin and thick crust—both require a fork and knife as either option basically just provides a vessel in which to shuffle gobs of melted mozzarella, over-sized sausages, and pepperonis into your mouth.
The quote of the day: “Look this bite doesn’t even have any crust, and I’m ok with it.” -Tess
Everything from the sauce to the sausage is seasoned extremely well. The sauce has a deep tomatoey depth of flavor and is not at all what I would expect from bar pizza. They use really good cheese too, it’s stretchy and wraps itself around everything. Gazing upon a cooled slice you can marvel at the cheese woven through the toppings like the boroughs of an ant farm.
The sausages are so large they look like meatballs and are balanced between a subtle sweetness of fennel and salty pork. They are hearty yet tender— with a nice texture that’s not too fatty. They were so delicious even no-sausage-on-pizza purists conformed. Tess, for example, doesn’t usually go for sausage on pizza, but she couldn’t resist Marcines and said it was actually one of her favorite parts of the meal.
Getting our pepperonis in a row.
New Years is a great time to take stock, tie up loose ends and do a little self-assessment. As I began to reflect on my 2018 I realized that I had a major box to check off my pizza goal list and I couldn’t stand the idea of heading into the New Year not having tried the #1 pick from last year.
It’s not easy finishing what we start as life pulls us in as many different directions as Marcines mozzarella does, but there is a profound joy that comes from seeing a plan through. Over the years I’ve often started to enjoy the simple pleasure I get when completing a task more than the tangible benefit the task itself brings.
The French writer Antoine de Saint-Exupéry says “True happiness comes from the joy of deeds well done, the zest of creating new things.”
What pizza taught me:
It’s better late than never. Whether it’s a New Years goal, resolution or just eating some anticipated pizza, the feeling of seeing our commitments through can often be the most rewarding part of any experience.
What I’m eating: Marcines pepperoni and sausage
What I’m reading: Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die -Chip Heath and Dan Heath