I have never tried Buck's Pizza. To people outside of the Madison area this may mean nothing, but locals define Buck's Pizza as a Madison staple. The restaurant has served handmade pizzas in Madison since 1960 and stands as one of Madison's "best kept secrets" that everyone knows about. Basically, Buck's Pizza is kind of like what Geno's is to Philadelphians. Although not as large and famous as Geno's, Madisonians generally see Buck's as a cornerstone of Madison's restaurant scene. In fact, one of the first local food recommendations I received when I moved to Madison was something along the lines of, "Oooohh, man, you have to try Buck's Pizza!" For some reason, I never got around to acting on that recommendation until today. As a result, it makes the "I have never..." list.
Now, it's important to understand there is nothing fancy about what Buck's Pizza does. The restaurant makes basic pizzas with basic ingredients and nothing else. People do not see Buck's as innovative or unique, but everyone consistently says what they do, they do well. I usually trust such advice, particularly when I hear it from different sources, but I must admit I was a little worried about what I was getting myself into when I pulled up to the establishment.
Having only driven by Buck's in the past, I was unaware of what the restaurant really looked like up close. Upon entering Buck's parking lot, the sight of the former auto body turned restaurant, complete with garage doors stuck partially open, was enough to make me wonder what I was getting myself into. My concerns were amplified when I entered the building and saw my name stapled to a grease spotted white paper bag with a picture of Italy on it. "How authentic..." I thought as a man at the counter greeted me. He promptly gave me my total and punched a few keys on the register as I paid for the pizza. The man then slid the paper bag my way and gave me the customary, "Have a nice day" as I stood bewildered at the sight of my order. I carefully picked up the bag with a well-placed hand on its bottom and turned for the door as the man shot me a quick smile. I remember thinking whether it was genuine or one of those smiles you give someone when you're really thinking, "Good luck with that, buddy..." Regardless, I exited the building, placed the pizza in the backseat of my car, and started my drive home.
|The Italy bag makes a great grease trap.|
|This what I look like when I eat.|
I can now say I have tried one of Madison's cherished local eats, and I now have a go-to source for a quick game day meal. I can't say I will make Buck's Pizza a routine when I'm going out for a bite, but I'm glad I gave it a try. The food is more than enough to make up for management's decision to give the thumbs up to the questionable locale and an unorthodox choice of food container. Now I can no longer say I have never tried Buck's Pizza, which will save me a lot of stunned, disappointed looks the next time the restaurant comes up in conversation.