Say cheese!

Big Apple Pizza & Subs in Sparks serves authentic Philly/Naples style pizza.

Big Apple Pizza & Subs in Sparks serves authentic Philly/Naples style pizza.

By Todd Upton

Big Apple Pizza & Subs

720 Baring Blvd.
Sparks, NV 89434

(775) 359-9000

In a world full of mass-produced, cookie-cutter corporate restaurants unleashing platefuls of culinary crime on the GI tracts of an unsuspecting public, honest and pure natural food has become an endangered species.

It seems as though the masses don’t know or don’t care about what they’re actually putting into their bodies—hormones in meat, steroids, antibiotics, petrochemical pesticides and herbicides. Then we wonder why diseases like cancer and diabetes are so prevalent in our society. If we eat a bunch of crap, is it any surprise when we feel like a bunch of crap?

With that in mind, I checked out Big Apple Pizza and Subs in Sparks. The place is cute and clean, just like a place I would want to bring my mom. And most importantly, they only use the freshest and cleanest ingredients.

A flier on the counter explained how Big Apple follows most of the Neapolitan Pizza guidelines set by the Agricultural Ministry of Italy. These guidelines state that certain ingredients and techniques must be used to make traditional pizza just like it has been for many generations in Italy—from the dough made with a biga—to the type of tomatoes and the kind of oven. They are currently working on getting a wood-burning oven, which will be the final authentication for making traditional specialty pizza made the way it is made in Naples—Italian-style pizza’s place of origin.

Big Apple makes its own mozzarella cheese straight from curd. It makes me feel good to know that there are still people out there who care about good quality food made with the freshest ingredients.

While I was in the restaurant, I had a chance to speak with co-owner Jeanine Morgan. She hails from Philadelphia. In 2003, her and husband, Todd, brought their successful East Coast pizza operation to Reno. With it, they brought a legacy of quality driven cookery.

Whatever the case may be with the Morgans and Big Apple Pizza, Reno should embrace their family-style establishment and realize that it’s the little guys like Big Apple who give Reno that small-town feel, not the strips of chains with their huge mega-jars of tomato paste and factory-ready dough that take our money away from us and send it to a corporate headquarters on the other side of the country. Eating at places like Big Apple is like reinvesting in our own community. I hope the Morgans stick around to reap the benefits.

Meanwhile, Jeanine talked me into ordering some Stromboli for $10.99, made with onions, peppers, homemade mozzarella and meatballs wrapped in their homemade pizza dough, served with a side of marinara sauce for dipping. The thing was huge. I can’t believe I almost ate the whole thing!

The Stromboli at Big Apple wasn’t a soggy mess like other Stromboli I have had in the past. The dough was light and crispy but held its own. The fillings were fresh, with a slight chewiness from the mozzarella cheese. The marinara was made just right, with hints of garlic and oregano speaking up just when they’re supposed to.