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Angry Pete’s goes from pop-up to drive-thru

Detroit Pizza sidles into the husk of a shuttered Taco Bell

No longer a Taco Bell, this drive-thru slings Detroit pizza now
No longer a Taco Bell, this drive-thru slings Detroit pizza now
Video:

FEAST!: Angry Pete’s goes from Pop-Up to Drive-Thru


Stoners be warned. When muscle memory steers your Cheesy Gordita Crunch craving into the drive-thru off Clairemont Mesa Boulevard, you’ll be in for an Angry awakening. The Taco Bell that used to be in that building (5335 Overland Avenue, Kearny Mesa) closed, and Angry Pete’s Pizza has sidled into its remains, like a hermit crab moving into a Pepsi can.

Place

Angry Petes Pizza

5335 Overland Ave., San Diego


The sign has changed, but the building still has that unmistakable Taco Bell shape, and its magnificently bold, plastic interior. With booths and tables give you an idea what rainbows might look like, if they only had four colors, and those colors were purple, pink, red, and turquoise. Angry Pete’s has even made use of the old Taco Bell’s backlit menu boards, filling seven columns with what turns out to be much more than pizza.


Angry Pete's has left much of the Taco Bell decor intact


What really makes it clear we’re not in Taco Bell land would be HDTVs airing sports, Detroit sports team emblems, and a stash of stand-up arcade games in the corner. Over the counter hang Detroit’s flag and another the city’s Lions football team logo, almost giving the impression barbarians invaded the fast-food restaurant and raised banners to announce their victory. I’m sure it’s more likely founder and San Diego transplant “Angry” Peter Harbison simply cherishes his Michigan upbringing.


He certainly pays tribute with his supremely crave-worthy Detroit pizza. Angry Pete’s won me over to the style a few years back, as a pop-up vendor setting up at local breweries. I’ve enjoyed seeing brand incrementally branch out since, as the resident food vendor at Desi's Bar & Grill, in Point Loma, and as a concessionaire at Santee Lakes. So yes, after some six or seven years working towards it, if moving into this full time, standalone restaurant doesn’t feel celebratory to Angry Pete, it does to me. I mean, we’re talking about drive-thru deep dish here.



Sponsored
Sponsored

The Detroit pizza’s charms lie in its focaccia-like crust, ridged with caramelized cheese any place the toppings meet the pan. A full, rectangular pie looks hefty, like an 8- by 10-inch brick, and yields four, crispy-cornered slices ($21-24). And you may order most of the 14 topping combinations by the slice ($5.57-$6.50 apiece).


I gravitated to a sausage and pepper, because I apparently hate creativity. In the glass case I spotted slices Veggie lovers (cherry tomatoes, peppers, onions), cupping pepperoni, and buffalo chicken. But if you’re willing to order a whole pie, you can try birria pizza, animal style cheeseburger pizza, or bacon mac & cheese pizza.


Pinsa romana, a.k.a Roman pinsa, an ancient form of pizza made with lighter crust


If you don’t want to attempt the thick crust, you can get most of the least crazy toppings on a pie or slice of Roman-style pinsa, made on an easier to digest, lower carb crust ($4 slice, $13-15 per 10-inch pie). If you don’t want to deal with any crust, you can get pretty much all the crazy toppings as dishes: double smash cheeseburger with fries ($13), bacon mac & cheese ($16), or quesabirria tacos.


Also in the mix — as a food item or pizza topping — is the “Detroit style Coney Dog,” ($6) which is basically chili dogs with onions and mustard. I couldn’t resist figuring out what the $5 “Detroit style LooseBurger” was all about. Basically, it’s the chili dog without the dog.


A "Detroit style looseburger:" a chili dog without the dog.


Much like Detroit and San Diego sports teams, they can’t all be winners. Still, like it has since its pop-up days, Angry Pete’s sells a litany of Detroit-favorite snacks, and now there are more of them. Such as chocolate covered Michigan cherries, a full spectrum of Faygo fruit sodas, and Better Made chocolate covered potato chips.


Fun as it all may be, Angry Pete’s is worth a drive-thru for the Detroit pizza alone. It’s a clear upgrade over what they used to make here. It’s even better than a Crunchwrap Supreme.

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No longer a Taco Bell, this drive-thru slings Detroit pizza now
No longer a Taco Bell, this drive-thru slings Detroit pizza now
Video:

FEAST!: Angry Pete’s goes from Pop-Up to Drive-Thru


Stoners be warned. When muscle memory steers your Cheesy Gordita Crunch craving into the drive-thru off Clairemont Mesa Boulevard, you’ll be in for an Angry awakening. The Taco Bell that used to be in that building (5335 Overland Avenue, Kearny Mesa) closed, and Angry Pete’s Pizza has sidled into its remains, like a hermit crab moving into a Pepsi can.

Place

Angry Petes Pizza

5335 Overland Ave., San Diego


The sign has changed, but the building still has that unmistakable Taco Bell shape, and its magnificently bold, plastic interior. With booths and tables give you an idea what rainbows might look like, if they only had four colors, and those colors were purple, pink, red, and turquoise. Angry Pete’s has even made use of the old Taco Bell’s backlit menu boards, filling seven columns with what turns out to be much more than pizza.


Angry Pete's has left much of the Taco Bell decor intact


What really makes it clear we’re not in Taco Bell land would be HDTVs airing sports, Detroit sports team emblems, and a stash of stand-up arcade games in the corner. Over the counter hang Detroit’s flag and another the city’s Lions football team logo, almost giving the impression barbarians invaded the fast-food restaurant and raised banners to announce their victory. I’m sure it’s more likely founder and San Diego transplant “Angry” Peter Harbison simply cherishes his Michigan upbringing.


He certainly pays tribute with his supremely crave-worthy Detroit pizza. Angry Pete’s won me over to the style a few years back, as a pop-up vendor setting up at local breweries. I’ve enjoyed seeing brand incrementally branch out since, as the resident food vendor at Desi's Bar & Grill, in Point Loma, and as a concessionaire at Santee Lakes. So yes, after some six or seven years working towards it, if moving into this full time, standalone restaurant doesn’t feel celebratory to Angry Pete, it does to me. I mean, we’re talking about drive-thru deep dish here.



Sponsored
Sponsored

The Detroit pizza’s charms lie in its focaccia-like crust, ridged with caramelized cheese any place the toppings meet the pan. A full, rectangular pie looks hefty, like an 8- by 10-inch brick, and yields four, crispy-cornered slices ($21-24). And you may order most of the 14 topping combinations by the slice ($5.57-$6.50 apiece).


I gravitated to a sausage and pepper, because I apparently hate creativity. In the glass case I spotted slices Veggie lovers (cherry tomatoes, peppers, onions), cupping pepperoni, and buffalo chicken. But if you’re willing to order a whole pie, you can try birria pizza, animal style cheeseburger pizza, or bacon mac & cheese pizza.


Pinsa romana, a.k.a Roman pinsa, an ancient form of pizza made with lighter crust


If you don’t want to attempt the thick crust, you can get most of the least crazy toppings on a pie or slice of Roman-style pinsa, made on an easier to digest, lower carb crust ($4 slice, $13-15 per 10-inch pie). If you don’t want to deal with any crust, you can get pretty much all the crazy toppings as dishes: double smash cheeseburger with fries ($13), bacon mac & cheese ($16), or quesabirria tacos.


Also in the mix — as a food item or pizza topping — is the “Detroit style Coney Dog,” ($6) which is basically chili dogs with onions and mustard. I couldn’t resist figuring out what the $5 “Detroit style LooseBurger” was all about. Basically, it’s the chili dog without the dog.


A "Detroit style looseburger:" a chili dog without the dog.


Much like Detroit and San Diego sports teams, they can’t all be winners. Still, like it has since its pop-up days, Angry Pete’s sells a litany of Detroit-favorite snacks, and now there are more of them. Such as chocolate covered Michigan cherries, a full spectrum of Faygo fruit sodas, and Better Made chocolate covered potato chips.


Fun as it all may be, Angry Pete’s is worth a drive-thru for the Detroit pizza alone. It’s a clear upgrade over what they used to make here. It’s even better than a Crunchwrap Supreme.

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