MED PIZZA - THE BEST IN TOWN
My favorite pizzeria on South Beach is MED PIZZA, at 1240 Washington Avenue, right across the street from the Crunch gym, next to Pepper's Burrito Grill.
I know greasy pizza is popular, especially if it's baked in a pan, but I don't care much for it. I'd rather have a slice of Jimmy's thin-crust pizza. He puts fresh stuff on it and lays it down plumb naked in the oven.
If you're having just a slice, ask him to put a little extra something on it before re-heating it. The price is right to begin with. Jimmy's a generous and hospitable fellow, but don't tell him I told you so. He's generous with words too, especially if you like to talk Turkey - he's Turkish.
I walked right by the place twice a week for over a year before I finally went in and ordered a slice. The pizzas in the window were beautiful to behold, but I thought something must be wrong with them because I saw very few customers. Well, I missed a lot of good pizza, and conversations with Jimmy as well.
The pizza joint is jumping at night when people are out clubbing. Sometimes things get out of hand, just as they do at pizza joints in hoods throughout this great nation of ours. I asked Jimmy what he thought about South Beach's Memorial Day celebration of black culture, dubbed Urban Week, also known as Black Week.
"Mister David, I tell you, it's good for business."
"But aren't the people mean and rude?"
"Sometimes they are mean, Mr. David. Let me tell you. One year police came to break up a fight outside, and someone grabbed one of our stools and knocked the police officer out with it. I think he was in a coma. And last night, it was packed, and a guy reached over the glass and grabbed a slice, took a bite out it and threw it at me."
"Did you call the police?"
"No, Mr. David, that was nothing. I learned not to call the police."
"Why? There were cops all over, and the station is a block away"
"One time a man came in and asked to use the restroom in back, so I said sure. But a policewoman was using it, so he took out his thing and peed all over the floor back there, where I have food. The policewoman came out and saw him, asked me if I wanted him arrested. I said okay, and then had to go to court. The policewoman was there. The judge leaned over and had his helper talk to her, then she went away. I waited and waited and my case was called. They called out for the police officer, but, as I say, she had left. The case was dismissed."
"I guess the city did not want bad publicity for Urban Week, or maybe the civil rights people were hassling them as usual."
"I don't know. The judge was black, Mr. David. I don't care now. No problem, some pee on the floor, some pizza ruined. Profit is good."
A lot of locals trickle through MED PIZZA during the day. One day Jimmy and I were discussing a stabbing at the club across the street. A customer chimed in, complaining about the heavy drinking going on all night. He said he wished people would realize how unhealthy and dangerous alcohol really is. People would be happier and healthier if they gave up drinking and smoked pot to have fun and feel good.
"But people say marijuana use leads to using hard drugs," I remarked. "They say pot users are lazy, they lay around a lot, are in a fog, and then it's hard for marijuana addicts to withdraw without going into a rage. I read a scientific study of gorillas withdrawing from cannabis, and.... "
"Lies, lies and more lies!" the customer exclaimed, and expounded at length on the virtues of marijuana smoking and the vices of alcohol, gesticulating madly all the while, much to our amusement. "There is some great bud out there. For example, take a look at this," the customer pointed to a poster covered with all types of marijuana buds - I had not previously noticed it hanging on the wall by the ATM machine.
I could barely keep from laughing in the gentleman's face at his diatribe. Actually I should have felt sorry for him. I should have referred him to counseling for rehabilitation, but that might have really infuriated him.
"You know, it is a proven fact that men who smoke pot over several years develop very large breasts and become effeminate in their old age," I half-joked.
Jimmy was handing him the two-slice pizza special at that moment, so the pot-lover paid my remark no mind. He fell upon the pizza, putting one slice on top of the other, and wolfed it down in no time.
"Okay," he looked at his watch. "I've got to get back to work."
"How was your pizza?" I asked.
"It's the best pizza on Washington Avenue!" he said, and exited, rubbing his belly.
"That's right, Jimmy, you make the best pizza here. I've got to run now. Say," I paused at the door, "with all these taco joints around here, why don't you add Mexican pizza to your menu? And Kosher pizza might sell. You might charge an extra dollar a slice."
"We'll see, Mr. David. We'll see."
June 5, 2010
David Arthur Walters
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