Life seems to be in short supply of pleasant surprises these days. I counted myself very lucky to be on the receiving end of one when I visited Mac’s Pizza Pub.
I had put off my visit until the last minute for a number of reasons, one being that I was afraid it would be filled with my students from UC and I would have to order a pop instead of a beer.
I was also quite smugly sure that I knew what I was in for. After all, I’ve eaten pizza through three college degrees and two college campuses. I’ve lived through the pepperoni days, the gourmet era and the whole wheat-pizza-is-healthfood craze. Hell, I’ve even served a pizza to German customers that was topped with a fried egg. In other words, like John McCain, I was pretty sure I’d been there and done that.
It turns out that when I’m wrong I’m really wrong. Right now Mac’s has only 192 friends on its MySpace page, but I’m thinking this is going to change soon — word on the street is that Mac’s has some of the city’s best pizza. It might even be some of the best pizza in the country: This past August PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) named Mac’s one of the Top 10 vegan-friendly pizzerias in the United States.
It was also voted “Best Pizza in Clifton” by 300 UC students in a blind taste test.
Mac’s opened two and a half years ago and has been building a solid, loyal customer base ever since. The pub offers a lunch buffet from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday-Friday. It also has a special on-tap beer each day from its selection of 65 beers, and it’s the only spot I know where you can eat a college student’s favorite food, drink a beer and get free WiFi access while watching your favorite local sports team all at the same time.
Mac’s has a bar on one side, a more restaurant-like space on the other, a second bar behind that and a newly remodeled patio out back. One wall on the restaurant side is plastered with art paraphernalia — posters of everyone from Frank Sinatra to James Dean. The other wall has another sort of paraphernalia. As I pointed out to my friends, in the painting of that pizza chef, he ain’t smoking a cigarette.
My two very svelte female friends and I ended up at Mac’s on a Friday accompanied by one friend’s 11year-old son and his buddy. We figured the boys would be able to help us eat the amount we needed to for a fair review. (And for all you aunts out there, when you are 11 years old, apparently nothing is cooler than to sit at your own booth in a pizza pub.)
We weren’t an easy table for a server. We arrived in shifts and 11-year-olds take some taming, but our server was heads above many I’ve seen in much fancier establishments. He was watchful, friendly, quick and personable.
We started with the Loaded Fries ($5.29) and mild Chicken Wings. The fries were waffle cut and covered in cheddar cheese and crispy bacon. The wings
MAC’S PIZZA AND PUB
Go: 205 W. McMillan St., Clifton Heights
Hours: 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Sunday-Monday; 11 a.m.-2:30 a.m. Tuesday-Saturday
Entree Prices: $4.29-$24.75
Payment: All major credit cards
Red Meat Alternatives: Salads, vegetarian
Accessibility: Fully accessible