Michael's of Monkton
In this week's Shallow Thought Wednesday post, John Lindner discovers there's decent pizza in Monkton. He lets us in on another, even more shocking, discovery at the end of this post. Make sure you read all the way through. Here's John. LV
It was Sunday around four in the afternoon. We hadn’t eaten since seven a.m. Hadn’t found a worthy looking restaurant on the back roads we were exploring. While our standards lowered with each curve and hilltop, all we saw were more curves and hilltops.
We had entertained blasts of rain and what felt like hail but probably wasn’t because it didn’t bounce. All day an annoyingly shifty wind battered us. And as we headed into Monkton down from PA the temp dropped and iced our bright new sunburns for about five shaded miles. So yeah, we’d been sitting all day, but we were sitting at fifty to sixty miles and hour and that can work a strain voodoo on you, especially if you’re just coming out of your winter cocoon.
I was pretty sure there was a deli at the confluence of 137, York Road and 138. I was kind of wrong. It’s a pizza place. Michael’s Pizza, 16952 York Road (couldn’t find a web site), is wedged into a brief strip mall grandly named Hereford Plaza Shopping Center (there must be a lot of money in nail places: I see them everywhere). We ordered a large pepperoni and sausage.
After placing the order we went back out to the parking lot to check on a headlight. My friend rode over a nasty bump on Route 1 that popped him out of the saddle (It was funny. I laughed. He didn’t hear me. Perhaps loud pipes do save lives … and friendships) and, mysteriously, knocked out his headlight. It wasn’t dark out. But headlights help you get seen and besides, like all good ideas, Mother Maryland mandates motorcycle headlight use 24/7, rain or shine and dark of night. What would we do without that law?
We popped back into Michael's a few minutes later and the young woman behind the counter apologized for not alerting us that the pie had been waiting for us. By my calculations, our pizza went from ordered to boxed in seven minutes. Uh oh.
Even adjusting for the acute hunger and complete indifference to quality I was experiencing, I’d have to rate Michael’s pizza well above average. Or better yet, in a class, not by itself, but among a rare, perhaps dying type. The only way I can think to explain it is as a cult movie. What it lacked (deliberately, I’m guessing) in subtlety, it made up for in character. It’s like Michael made a pizza suited to his taste and dared the rest of the world to get down with it. The sausage’s piquant notes led the, by comparison, less boisterous pepperoni. And while it looked a bit like the cooking process might have been convection thermo nuclear that united the cheese and sauce at the molecular level to create a third unique element (chauce or seese?) it tasted great, nicely supporting the meaty leads on a crust somewhere between the-ingredients-slide-off limp and cut-yer-gums crisp.
Yes, I neglected to get a picture. But maybe I’ll take a camera when I go back.
We spent maybe 45 minutes at Michael's. While there – late afternoon, well after lunch but, well, before dinner – we watched a thin but steady stream of customers come in for carry-outs. And there were two, maybe three cars (if Jeeps count as cars – no offense Jeep guy) with Michael's delivery signs coming and going. A big sign inside – where there’s seating for maybe six-seven depending on one’s mood and flexibility – tucked behind a glittering forest of baseball trophies, announced Michael’s 15th year serving Monkton. I got the sense that the place is a pizza institution in Monkton. And I think Michael knows his market.
By the way, Michael’s menu sports about every damn thing, from burgers and wings to sandwiches and, if memory serves, pasta. I curse myself for not thinking to look for crabcakes, but it wouldn’t surprise me if the kids behind the counter serve those, too.
So there you have it. I think Michael’s is the place to go after a day on the NCR trail or rafting the adjacent Gunpowder River. Or if you happen to be dying of starvation and wondering what possessed you to take up motorcycling, check the place out. It’ll renew your faith in stubborn resistance to conformity.
There’s just no smooth seque from Michaels to my discovery this Monday that they make Nair for men. But there it is. I’m still in shock.
A young pizza fan who was not -- full disclosure -- dining with John Lindner, nor out out riding a motorcycle with him. (I considered going with generic motorcycle art, but figured I'd pick the wrong bike. So there you have it.) Sun photo by Doug Kapustin