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Friday January 30, 2015
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The rise of NeoPapalis



If yours is a repeat visit, don't be surprised if he picks right up where your conversation left off last time, about why whole wheat dough won't work with his slow-rise Neapolitan recipe ("it'd come out hard as a board") or the importance of crushed tomatoes for the sauce ("and not just any tomatoes, or even any Italian ones, but the best San Marzano ones that we even private label for our other Pizza Papalis places around Detroit").

While he's talking to you, in a big-city fast clip, his eyes occasionally dart down the prep line to check on his young employees at their stations. Sheena is one intense foodie entrepreneur "mother hen."

As customer, you get the payoff in a meal with your choice of quality ingredients cooked in a very hot stone oven literally in minutes (between four and ten, on my visits). Or not cooked, in the case of salads you can also customize over beds of arugula, spinach, or romaine--again with high-quality ingredients, including some really fresh tomatoes and amazing sweet peppers one late-summer evening. The vinegar-and-oil dressing in a Greek salad had a bit of separation still, a pleasant thing in this era of emulsification. My favorite veggie pizza topping (also available in sandwiches) was the seasoned sauteed mushrooms, which had the pleasant woodsiness that justifies eating fungi.

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